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Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Nikon D3000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and July 2009. The G12 is a fixed lens compact, while the D3000 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and an APS-C (D3000) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon G12   Nikon D3000
Canon G12 Nikon D3000
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 Nikon F mount lenses
10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 10 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-3200 (80-12800) ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
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 shutter flaps per second
370 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 g 126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G12 and the Nikon D3000? 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: Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G12 and the Nikon D3000 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000
Compare G12 versus D3000 top
Comparison G12 or D3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3000 is considerably larger (44 percent) than the Canon G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the D3000 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 D3000 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 D3000 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon G12» 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499- i Canon G12
 
Nikon D3000« 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon G15« » 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« » 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Fujifilm X10« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« » 4.7 in 3.1 in 2.0 in 14.1 oz 350 n Sep 2013 549- i Nikon P7800
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Panasonic FZ150« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic LX5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 9.6 oz 400 n Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 D3000, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 Nikon D3000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3000 is 767 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the G12 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D3000 offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.

Canon G12 and Nikon D3000 sensor measures

Even though the D3000 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixels. This implies that the D3000 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 2.07μm for the G12), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the G12 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the D3000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

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 Nikon D3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

G12 versus D3000 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the D3000 offers substantially better image quality than the G12 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.8 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon G12» 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147Canon G12
 
Nikon D3000« APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon G15« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
 
Fujifilm X10« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054Nikon P7800
 
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
 
Panasonic FZ150« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic LX5« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241Panasonic LX5

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G12 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D3000 does not. The highest resolution format that the G12 can use is 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G12 and the D3000 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 Nikon D3000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon G12»optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y Canon G12
 
Nikon D3000«optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
 
Canon G15« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
 
Fujifilm X10« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y Nikon P7800
 
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
 
Panasonic FZ150« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic LX5« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y Panasonic LX5

The G12 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3000 uses SDHC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

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 Nikon D3000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon G12»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G12
 
Nikon D3000«Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon G15« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
 
Fujifilm X10« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon P7800
 
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
 
Panasonic FZ150« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic LX5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic LX5

Both the G12 and the D3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3000 was replaced by the Nikon D3100, 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 and Nikon websites.


Review summary: Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G12 better than the Nikon D3000 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • 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 swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D3000 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 126x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D3000).
  • 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the D3000).

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Advantages of the Nikon D3000:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.8 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 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 on the market for longer (launched in July 2009).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G12 comes out slightly ahead of the D3000 (9 : 8 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 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.

G12 09:08 D3000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Nikon D3000 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G12 or the D3000 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews: Canon G12 vs Nikon D3000

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon G12»+73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499- i Canon G12
 
Nikon D3000«+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon G15« »+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »+ +72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Fujifilm X10« »-76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
 
Nikon P7800« »--4/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549- i Nikon P7800
 
Nikon D3100« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D5000« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »80/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D40« »81/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Panasonic FZ150« »+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
 
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic LX5« »+73/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499- i Panasonic LX5
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon G12:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3000:
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 Nikon D3000

    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 Nikon D3000
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2010 July 2009
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon G12 Nikon D3000
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.07 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 23.04 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80-3200 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 80-12800 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 161 563
    Screen Specs Canon G12 Nikon D3000
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G12 Nikon D3000
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.1 shutter flaps/s 3 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 Nikon D3000
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G12 Nikon D3000
    Battery Type NB-7L power pack EN-EL9a power pack
    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)
    126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 401 g (14.1 oz) 536 g (18.9 oz)

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