A Compact Camera with Big Camera Features

In another life I was a professional photographer. My wife teases that I am the most highly-trained snapshot photographer she knows—and she’s probably right. Over the course of my career I’ve worked with large format sheet film, medium format film, and high-end digital cameras. None of which are very practical to take on a bike tour.

When I decided I wanted a compact camera to take on the road with me, I spent months doing research about features, image quality, and mega-pixels to figure out just exactly what I wanted. I found it.

Although I purchased this little guy a year ago, it’s been a fairly constant companion almost anywhere I go. It has it’s own pocket in the messenger bag I take to work, it traveled with me to London and Tokyo last year on a couple of business trips as well as accompanying me across the country. I’ve found that if I have it with me, I’m always capturing interesting things that I might not otherwise photograph because I’d left the big camera home, or the light wasn’t perfect, or a myriad of other excuses I’ve used over the years.

The Canon G12 turned out to be the perfect little camera for me (although I’d been a Hasselblad and Nikon man throughout my professional career). It’s a little bit bigger than the average point and shoot, but gives me all the manual controls I wanted for those situations when I just didn’t trust the computer inside this little 10 megapixel beauty. Although I have to admit, I seldom use the manual settings because the camera is pretty darn smart. With the exception of the GoPro video posted on this site (another great little camera), all the photos (the photos on this post were taken from Canon’s website) have been taken with my Canon G12—on program mode.

The controls are familiar to anyone used to traditional camera functions. After a few minutes thumbing through the manual, I was able to quickly set the default functions like exposure preferences, ISO, and the other presets. Despite how technically advanced this camera is, it’s very easy to use. It looks and feels like a very sophisticated rangefinder camera, that sports a very useful 2.8-inch TFT color LCD (Vari-angle type with wide-viewing angle) display. It also comes with a traditional viewfinder, which I typically use for most shooting situations, but the display is very capable for most of the shooting situations you might face (I just happen to be “old school” and like looking through a traditional viewfinder). I’ve really come to appreciate the ability to swing the view screen around to the front and how it also swivels when shooting up over my head. When I bought the camera I didn’t think that would be a feature that would resonate with me, but it has.

Since I purchased my camera, Canon has come out with a newer version or two. I think they sport more megapixels and a few more features. If they’re anything like my G12, I know where I’ll go for this little guys replacement when the time comes. In the mean time, I can’t say enough about how pleased I’ve been with this camera. It fits in a leather jacket pocket, but I usually have it in my saddle bag. It’s a little heavier and bulkier than some of its lower-priced siblings, but they don’t measure up in my mind to what this camera can do.

I’ve found this to be the perfect companion on the bike and take it with me everywhere I go.

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