Canon 20D vs G12
The Canon EOS 20D and the Canon PowerShot G12 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2004 and September 2010. The 20D is a DSLR, while the G12 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (20D) and a 1/1.7-inch (G12) sensor. The 20D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the G12 provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 20D and the Canon PowerShot G12? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Canon G12 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G12 is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Canon 20D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 20D nor the G12 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G12 has a lens built in, whereas the 20D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 20D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 20D gets 700 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the G12 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NB-7L power pack.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|14.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G12 was launched at a lower price than the 20D, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 20D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon G12 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G12 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.6. The sensor in the 20D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G12 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the G12 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the 20D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the G12 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 20D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.07μm versus 6.42μm for the 20D). However, it should be noted that the G12 is much more recent (by 6 years) than the 20D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G12 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G12 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 20D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 20D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot G12 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
In terms of underlying technology, the 20D is build around a CMOS sensor, while the G12 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the 20D provides substantially higher image quality than the G12, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV of lower dynamic range, and 2.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|16.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|17.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The G12 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 20D does not. The highest resolution format that the G12 can use is 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the G12 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 20D, the Canon G12, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the 20D, but is missing on the G12 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 20D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the G12 uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 20D and Canon PowerShot G12 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|14.||Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 20D (unlike the G12) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 20D and the G12 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 20D was replaced by the Canon 30D, while the G12 was followed by the Canon G15. Further information on the features and operation of the 20D and G12 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 20D Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon G12 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 20D better than the Canon G12 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 20D:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 370) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2004).
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 2).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.8" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 118k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 20D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 20D).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the 20D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G12 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 20D and the Canon G12 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 20D and the G12 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon G12||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|14.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 20D vs Canon G12
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 20D||Canon G12|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||28-140mm f/2.8-4.5|
|Launch Date||August 2004||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 20D||Canon G12|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||2.07 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||23.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 2||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||721||161|
|Screen Specs||Canon 20D||Canon G12|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||2.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 20D||Canon G12|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||1.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 20D||Canon G12|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 20D||Canon G12|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
112 x 76 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||770 g (27.2 oz)||401 g (14.1 oz)|
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