In recent years, there's been a tremendous increase in the manufacturing of and added features to what can be referred to as the high-end compact digital camera. This increase in popularity has spawned an entirely new breed of compact digital cameras, the mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.
Despite the creation of this new generation, the features and elements of the older generations “luxury” compact digital cameras can still be found in the new Canon PowerShot G12 and according to some, in the Nikon CoolPix P7000 as well. Although both models face stiff competition against the newer generations of compact digital cameras, the G12 and P7000 are considered to be the closest competitors, needing to be compared to each other before competing against an entirely new category of compact cameras - but that is debatable.
So which brand and model is the best compact digital camera among the larger, “traditional,” fixed lens and small sensor compact digital cameras?
Well, it's important to know that the Canon PowerShot G-series is the original line of award-winning compact digital cameras designed to give film SLR photographers a more affordable tool in exploring the world of digital imaging compared to the very expensive DSLR cameras made during that time. Overtime, the G-series evolved into a compact digital camera with high-quality features, full manual control and a smaller, more attractive body - essentially becoming a new type of hybrid group altogether with features mixed between the offerings of a "mainstream" compact digital camera and a smaller DSLR camera.
The Canon PowerShot G12 is the most recent creation among this long line of compact digital cameras. And, although the G12 is extremely similar to its predecessor the G11 in terms of specification, it has plenty of other significant improvements added to it:
- Slightly lighter (by 4g)
- Higher resolution video mode (720p up from VGA)
- ISO expansion up to 12,800 (at 2.5MP)
- ISO control in 1/3EV steps
- New front control dial (similar to that found on EOS DSLRs)
- Greater choice of aspect ratios
- Hybrid IS mode
- HDR mode
- Electronic spirit level
- Tracking AF mode
In the opposite corner is the Nikon CoolPix S7000. Nikon has not been in the compact digital camera market nearly as long as brands like Canon have, but are still making attempts at breaking into it. With that being said, allow me to explain why Nikon and P7000 advocates need to take a step back and re-examine the P7000 cameras role in this equation. Although the P7000 is more impressive than its predecessors, the P5100 and the P6000, this is only because it resembles Canons older model, the PowerShot G11.
Similar to the G11, the P7000 is a medium-sized, square camera, with many external controls and chunky mode dials on its top plate. More features similar to G11 include the 3.0 inch LCD on its rear, its flash hotshoe and its optical viewfinder. Alas, the Nikon CoolPix P7000 does come equipped with a few key features worthy of mentioning:
- 10MP CCD sensor
- 720p HD video recording with mic jack for external microphone
- ISO 100-3200
- RAW capture option (.NRW format) and NRW+JPEG (fine)
- 7x zoom (28-200mm equivalent) f/2.8-5.6 with 2 ED elements and built-in ND filter
- 720p (1280x720) movie mode with AF and lens zoom during recording
- 3.0 inch 921k dot LCD screen
- 4 Picture Control preset modes + custom mode
- EXPEED C2 processor
- Active D-Lighting
- Electronic virtual horizon
- HDMI output
- Zoom memory function
- i-TTL compatibility with Speedlight SB-400/600/800/900 flashguns
- Dual IR receivers (front and rear) for wireless remote control ML-L3.
Okay. So Nikon had the right idea – borrow from your competitor especially if their idea was successful– but unlike the other manufacturers who took this original idea and created an entirely new category of compact digital cameras, Nikon tried to reproduce almost an exact replica of Canons compact models and to make matters worse, the P7000 attempts to copy the OLDER version of its competitors latest G-series model.
Maybe the P7000 and the G12 are comparable in theory, but not in actuality. Canon is a pioneer of the high-end compact digital camera class and the fact that it has evolved over the years but still remains to be a noteworthy competitor in the compact digital camera market leads to the conclusion that the Canon PowerShot G12 is likely to be in higher demand and sell faster than their Nikon CoolPix P7000 counterpart.