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Canon G12 vs XSi

The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and January 2008. The G12 is a fixed lens compact, while the XSi is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and an APS-C (XSi) sensor. The G12 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 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 XSi
Canon G12 Canon XSi
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF mount lenses
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.8 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.1 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G12 and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G12 and the Canon XSi. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi is considerably larger (49 percent) than the Canon G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the XSi 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 XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G12 gets 370 shots out of its NB-7L battery, while the XSi can take 500 images on a single charge of its LP-E5 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
3.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
6.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
10.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
11.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
12.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
13.
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499i
14.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
17.
 
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.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 XSi, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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 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 XSi an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the XSi is 665 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 XSi offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of chip-set technology, the G12 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the XSi (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon G12 and Canon XSi sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the XSi offers a higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the XSi nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. However, the G12 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 7 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 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 EOS Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

G12 versus XSi MP

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 XSi offers substantially better image quality than the G12 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV of lower dynamic range, and 2.1 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.

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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 XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
3.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
4.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
5.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
6.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
7.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
10.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
11.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
12.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
13.
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
14.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
15.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
16.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
17.
 
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. The G12 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the G12 can use is 720/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G12 and the XSi 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G12 and Canon XSi along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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 XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
6.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
9.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
10.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
12.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y

The G12 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the XSi uses SDHC 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 EOS Rebel XSi 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 XSiY----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
11.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymonomono--mini2.0---

Both the G12 and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G12 and the Canon XSi? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 3).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/24p movies.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the XSi).
  • 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 modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G12 comes out slightly ahead of the XSi (10 : 9 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 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 10:09 XSi

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Canon XSi place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G12 or the XSi perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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.

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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 XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
3.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
4.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
5.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
6.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
7.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
9.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
10.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
11.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
12.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
13.
 
Olympus E-450......4/54/5 Mar 2009 499i
14.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
15.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
16.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
17.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
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. 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.

Canon G12:
Check Ebay offers
Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Canon G12 vs Canon XSi

    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 XSi
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2010 January 2008
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon G12 Canon XSi
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 328.56 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 26.7 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4272 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.07 μm 5.19 μm
    Pixel Density 23.04 MP/cm2 3.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 80 - 12,800 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 21.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 161 692
    Screen Specs Canon G12 Canon XSi
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G12 Canon XSi
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.1 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G12 Canon XSi
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G12 Canon XSi
    Battery Type NB-7L LP-E5
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 112 x 76 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
    129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 401 g (14.1 oz) 524 g (18.5 oz)

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