Canon 5D Mark II vs G12
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon PowerShot G12 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2008 and September 2010. The 5D Mark II is a DSLR, while the G12 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (5D Mark II) and a 1/1.7-inch (G12) sensor. The 5D Mark II has a resolution of 21 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 5D Mark II 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 5D Mark II 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 (51 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the G12 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G12 has a lens built in, whereas the 5D Mark II 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 5D Mark II and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|2.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|5.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|9.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|10.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|11.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|12.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|13.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|14.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|15.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|16.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|17.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Notes: 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 5D Mark II, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 5D Mark II features a full frame sensor and the Canon G12 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G12 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 4.6. The sensor in the 5D Mark II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G12 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 21MP, the 5D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the 5D Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. However, the G12 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the 5D Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 5D Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5D Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 28.1 x 18.7 inches or 71.3 x 47.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.5 x 15 inches or 57.1 x 38 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.7 x 12.5 inches or 47.5 x 31.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G12 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. 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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 5D Mark II provides substantially higher image quality than the G12, with an overall score that is 32 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.3 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|5.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|9.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|11.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|13.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|14.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 5D Mark II provides a higher video resolution than the G12. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the G12 is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 5D Mark II 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon G12 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|11.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 5D Mark II, 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 5D Mark II 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 5D Mark II and Canon PowerShot G12 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 5D Mark II has a microphone port, which is missing on the G12. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 5D Mark II (unlike the G12) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 5D Mark II and the G12 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark III, while the G12 was followed by the Canon G15. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon G12? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 10MP) with a 48% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (32 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (3.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/24p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.9 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 (850 versus 370) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:
- 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 5D Mark II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 152x114mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 5D Mark II).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 8 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 5D Mark II 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 5D Mark II or the G12. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|2.||Canon G12||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|5.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|9.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|10.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|11.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|12.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|13.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|14.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|15.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|16.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|17.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark II 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 5D Mark II||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||September 2008||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon G12|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||21 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5616 x 3744 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||2.07 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||23.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.9||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1815||161|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon G12|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon G12|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.9 shutter flaps/s||1.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon G12|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon G12|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||850 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
152 x 114 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 in)
112 x 76 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||401 g (14.1 oz)|
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