Canon G12 vs Panasonic L1
The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and February 2006. The G12 is a fixed lens compact, while the L1 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and a Four Thirds (L1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 7.4 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1? 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 Panasonic L1 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 width, height and depth dimensions 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 Panasonic L1 is considerably larger (49 percent) than the Canon G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the L1 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 L1 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 L1 and their specifications in the Four Thirds 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, 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G12 was launched at a lower price than the L1, 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 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 Panasonic L1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the L1 is 423 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G12 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the Panasonic L1. 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 2.07μm versus 5.51μm for the L1). However, it should be noted that the G12 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 months) than the L1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G12 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G12 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L1 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the G12 is build around a CCD sensor, while the L1 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|8.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|10.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|11.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|14.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|17.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 L1 does not. The highest resolution format that the G12 can use is 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G12 and the L1 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G12, the Panasonic L1, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The G12 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the L1 uses SDHC 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the G12 and the L1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The L1 was replaced by the Panasonic L10, 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 Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G12 or the Panasonic L1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP) with a 16% higher linear resolution.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/24p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.8" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 207k 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 L1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 146x87mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the L1).
- 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 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the L1 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:
- 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.
- 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 (750 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2006).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G12 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Panasonic L1 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G12 and the L1 in practical situations. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|7.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|8.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599||ebay.com|
|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.
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.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Panasonic L1
- Canon 40D vs Panasonic L1
- Canon 7D vs Canon G12
- Canon G12 vs Canon SX610
- Canon G12 vs Leica M10-P
- Canon G12 vs Nikon 1 V3
- Canon G12 vs Samsung NX500
- Canon G12 vs Sony A77 II
- Leica X Vario vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon D1 vs Panasonic L1
- Panasonic GX80 vs Panasonic L1
- Panasonic L1 vs Sony RX1R
Specifications: Canon G12 vs Panasonic L1
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||Panasonic L1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/2.8-4.5||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||February 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G12||Panasonic L1|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||7.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||3136 x 2352 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.07 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||23.04 MP/cm2||3.28 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||Venus|
|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||Panasonic L1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.8inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G12||Panasonic L1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1.1 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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||Panasonic L1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon G12||Panasonic L1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
112 x 76 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
146 x 87 x 64 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||401 g (14.1 oz)||606 g (21.4 oz)|
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