Canon G12 vs Sony RX100 II
The Canon PowerShot G12 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2010 and June 2013. Both the G12 and the RX100 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G12) and an one-inch (RX100 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon G12||Sony RX100 II|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|28-140mm f/2.8-4.5||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor||20 MP, 1" Sensor|
|720/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800)||ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600)|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|2.8 LCD, 461k dots||3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|1.1 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|370 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 g||102 x 58 x 38 mm, 281 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G12 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II? 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 Sony RX100 II is provided 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 RX100 II is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon G12. Moreover, the RX100 II is markedly lighter (30 percent) than the G12. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G12 nor the RX100 II are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the G12 gets 370 shots out of its NB-7L battery, while the RX100 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon G12||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.9 in||14.1 oz||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|Sony RX100 II||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.9 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Canon G7 X||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon G15||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX50||4.8 in||3.4 in||4.2 in||21.0 oz||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Fujifilm X10||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.3 oz||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|Nikon P7800||4.7 in||3.1 in||2.0 in||14.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|Olympus E-450||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|Panasonic FZ150||4.9 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||18.6 oz||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|Panasonic G10||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic LX5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony ZV-1||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||10.4 oz||260||n||May 2020||799|
|Sony RX100 VII||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.7 in||10.7 oz||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199|
|Sony RX100 III||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.2 oz||320||n||May 2014||799|
|Sony RX100||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the RX100 II, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 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 Sony RX100 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 II is 170 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the G12 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 II offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the RX100 II offers a higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the RX100 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the RX100 II is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 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 RX100 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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 RX100 II offers substantially better image quality than the G12 (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.6 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.
|Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
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 RX100 II provides a better video resolution than the G12. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, 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 G12 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX100 II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G12, the Sony RX100 II, and comparable cameras.
|Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
Both the G12 and the RX100 II have zoom lenses built in. The G12 has a 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 optic and the RX100 II offers a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 II offers the faster maximum aperture.
The G12 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Sony RX100 III||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX100 II 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.
Both the G12 and the RX100 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G12 was replaced by the Canon G15, while the RX100 II was followed by the Sony RX100 III. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G12 or the Sony RX100 II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G12:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- 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 (1229k vs 461k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 112x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 120g or 30 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the G12 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 II is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G12 and the Sony RX100 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G12 or the RX100 II. 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.
|Canon G12||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|Sony RX100 II||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Fujifilm X10||..||76/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|Nikon P7800||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|Olympus E-450||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|Panasonic FZ150||+ +||76/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Sony ZV-1||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|Sony RX100 VII||..||..||4/5||..||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199|
|Sony RX100 III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|Sony RX100||+ +||78/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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.
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 your choice using the following search menu. 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 7D II vs Canon G12
- Canon G12 vs Canon M6 Mark II
- Canon G12 vs Canon T7i
- Canon G12 vs Fujifilm X-T10
- Canon G12 vs Leica D-LUX Typ 109
- Canon G12 vs Olympus E-P3
- Canon G12 vs Panasonic LF1
- Canon G12 vs Ricoh GR
- Nikon D610 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic S1 vs Sony RX100 II
- Panasonic S1R vs Sony RX100 II
Specifications: Canon G12 vs Sony RX100 II
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 RX100 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/2.8-4.5||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||September 2010||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G12||Sony RX100 II|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.07 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||23.04 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.4||22.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||161||483|
|Screen Specs||Canon G12||Sony RX100 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G12||Sony RX100 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.1 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G12||Sony RX100 II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G12||Sony RX100 II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||350 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)
102 x 58 x 38 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||401 g (14.1 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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