Canon G12 vs Sony A6400
The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Sony Alpha A6400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and January 2019. The G12 is a fixed lens compact, while the A6400 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and an APS-C (A6400) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony 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 Sony Alpha A6400? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon G12 and the Sony A6400 are illustrated 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 Sony A6400 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Canon G12. It is noteworthy in this context that the A6400 is splash and dust-proof, while the G12 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G12 has a lens built in, whereas the A6400 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 A6400 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G12 gets 370 shots out of its NB-7L battery, while the A6400 can take 410 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A6400 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|2.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|3.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|5.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|6.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|7.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|8.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|9.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|10.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|11.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|12.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Sony A6100||120 mm||67 mm||59 mm||396 g||420||n||Aug 2019||749|
|15.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|16.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|17.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|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 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 A6400, 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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 Sony A6400 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6400 is 753 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 A6400 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A6400 offers a higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the A6400 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A6400 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 4 months) 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 Sony A6400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A6400 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 A6400 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 Sony Alpha A6400 are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-102400.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6400 offers substantially better image quality than the G12 (overall score 36 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.6 bits higher color depth, 2.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.2 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.
| DXO |
|9.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|11.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|12.||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 A6400 provides a better video resolution than the G12. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6400 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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 Sony A6400, and comparable cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A6400 has a touchscreen, while the G12 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The A6400 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.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A6400 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The G12 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A6400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A6400 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 Sony Alpha A6400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the A6400 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 A6400 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. 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 and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G12 better than the Sony A6400 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of 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 A6400 requires a separate lens.
- 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).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (36 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p 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 (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k 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 (11 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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 8 years and 4 months of technical progress since the G12 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6400 is the clear winner of the contest (24 : 6 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 Sony A6400 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 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 A6400. 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.
This is why expert reviews 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.
|1.||Canon G12||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|2.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|3.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|5.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|6.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|7.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|8.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|9.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|10.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|11.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|12.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|13.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|14.||Sony A6100||..||..||82/100||4/5||5/5||Aug 2019||749|
|15.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|16.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|17.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|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. 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 Sony A6400
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||Sony A6400|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/2.8-4.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||January 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G12||Sony A6400|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.07 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||23.04 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 32,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||24|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||161||1431|
|Screen Specs||Canon G12||Sony A6400|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G12||Sony A6400|
|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||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G12||Sony A6400|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro 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||Sony A6400|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 76 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
120 x 67 x 50 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||401 g (14.1 oz)||403 g (14.2 oz)|
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