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Canon G12 vs SX40

The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and September 2011. Both the G12 and the SX40 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX40) sensor. The G12 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the SX40 provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon G12 versus Canon SX40
Canon G12 Canon SX40
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/24p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800) ISO 100-3,200
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.8 LCD, 461k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.1 shutter flaps per second 10.3 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 g 123 x 92 x 108 mm, 600 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G12 and the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G12 and the Canon SX40 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G12 vs Canon SX40
Compare G12 versus SX40 top
Comparison G12 or SX40 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX40 is notably larger (33 percent) than the Canon G12. Moreover, the SX40 is substantially heavier (50 percent) than the G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the SX40 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the G12 gets 370 shots out of its NB-7L battery, while the SX40 can take 380 images on a single charge of its NB-10L power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
2.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
3.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
5.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
6.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
8.
 
Canon SX30 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 601 g 370 n Sep 2010 429i
9.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
10.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
11.
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499i
12.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
13.
 
Panasonic FZ100 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 540 g 410 n Jul 2010 499i
14.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
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 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 SX40 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the G12, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 SX40 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX40 is 35 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon G12 and Canon SX40 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX40 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the G12. 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 1.53μm versus 2.07μm for the G12). However, it should be noted that the SX40 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the G12, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX40 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX40 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX40 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 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 PowerShot SX40 HS are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

G12 versus SX40 MP

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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
2.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
3.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
4.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
5.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
6.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
7.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
8.
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p........
9.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
10.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
11.
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
12.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
13.
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
14.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
15.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
16.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX40 provides a better video resolution than the G12. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/24p, while the G12 is limited to 720/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX40 has an electronic viewfinder (202k 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 SX40, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
2.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon SX30202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6 Y Y
9.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
13.
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
14.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

Both the G12 and the SX40 have zoom lenses built in. The G12 has a 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 optic and the SX40 offers a 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX40 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the G12. The SX40 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G12 and the SX40 write their files to SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 PowerShot SX40 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
3.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX30Ystereomono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

Both the G12 and the SX40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G12 was replaced by the Canon G15, while the SX40 was followed by the Canon SX50. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon G12 better than the Canon SX40 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.8" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
  • More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 123x92mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 199g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/24p vs 720/24p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10.3 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.7 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G12 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

G12 12:10 SX40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Canon SX40 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G12 or the SX40. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews 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], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G124/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
2.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
3.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
5.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
6.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
8.
 
Canon SX303/5+ +..3.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429i
9.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
10.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
11.
 
Olympus E-450......4/54/5 Mar 2009 499i
12.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
13.
 
Panasonic FZ100..+..4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
14.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
16.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon G12:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX40:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon G12 vs Canon SX40

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G12 Canon SX40
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8
    Launch Date September 2010 September 2011
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon G12 Canon SX40
    Sensor Technology CCD BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.07 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 23.04 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 161 ..
    Screen Specs Canon G12 Canon SX40
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G12 Canon SX40
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.1 shutter flaps/s 10.3 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 no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G12 Canon SX40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI YES HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G12 Canon SX40
    Battery Type NB-7L NB-10L
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 112 x 76 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
    123 x 92 x 108 mm
    (4.8 x 3.6 x 4.3 in)
    Camera Weight 401 g (14.1 oz) 600 g (21.2 oz)

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