Canon G12 vs M5
The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Canon EOS M5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and September 2016. The G12 is a fixed lens compact, while the M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and an APS-C (M5) sensor. The G12 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the M5 provides 24 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 PowerShot G12 and the Canon EOS M5? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G12 and the Canon M5 is provided 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 M5 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Canon G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the M5 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 M5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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 G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|2.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|3.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|4.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|5.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|6.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|7.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|8.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|9.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|11.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|12.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|13.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|14.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|15.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G12 was launched at a lower price than the M5, 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 G12 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Canon M5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M5 is 672 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the G12 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the M5 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, the M5 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 7) than the G12 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 24MP, the M5 offers a higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the M5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M5 is a much more recent model (by 6 years) than the G12, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 M5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot G12 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M5 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 consideration, the M5 offers substantially better image quality than the G12 (overall score 30 points higher). The advantage is based on 3 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 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.
| DXO |
|13.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|15.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|16.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the M5 provides a better video resolution than the G12. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the G12 is limited to 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M5 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the G12 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G12, the Canon M5, and comparable cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M5 has a touchscreen, while the G12 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the G12 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G12 and the M5 write their files to SDXC cards. The M5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the G12 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 PowerShot G12 and Canon EOS M5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the M5 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the G12 does not provide wifi capability.
The M5 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the G12 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G12 was succeeded 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 what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G12 better than the Canon M5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the M5 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 116x89mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the M5).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 295) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (30 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 7 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 461k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the G12 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M5 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 G12 and the Canon M5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 G12 and the M5 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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 G12||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|2.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|3.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|4.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|5.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|6.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|7.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|8.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|9.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|11.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|12.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|13.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|14.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|15.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon G12 vs Canon M5
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 G12||Canon M5|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/2.8-4.5||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 979|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G12||Canon M5|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.07 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||23.04 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 7|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47||77|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||23.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||161||1262|
|Screen Specs||Canon G12||Canon M5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Magnification||.. x|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.8inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1620k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G12||Canon M5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.1 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G12||Canon M5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G12||Canon M5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||295 shots per charge|
112 x 76 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
116 x 89 x 61 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||401 g (14.1 oz)||427 g (15.1 oz)|
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