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Nikon D70 versus Canon G12

The Nikon D70 and the Canon PowerShot G12 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2004 and September 2010. The D70 is a DSLR, while the G12 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D70) and a 1/1.7-inch (G12) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 10 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D70 vs Canon G12

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D70 and the Canon G12 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 you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D70 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D70 vs Canon G12
Compare D70 versus G12 top
Compare D70 and G12 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G12 is considerably smaller (45 percent) than the Nikon D70. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D70 nor the G12 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G12 has a lens build in, whereas the D70 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the D70 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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
Nikon D70» 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Canon G12« 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499- i Canon G12
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 Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
Fujifilm X10« » 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 n Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Nikon D100« » 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
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 G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 D70, despite having a lens build 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D70 vs Canon G12

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 Nikon D70 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon G12 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G12 is 88 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 4.6. The sensor in the D70 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G12 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D70 and Canon G12 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the G12 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixel, compared with 6 MP of the D70. This megapixel 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 7.85μm for the D70). However, it should be noted that the G12 is much more recent (by 6 years and 7 months) than the D70, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

D70 versus G12 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon D70» APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
Canon G12« 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147Canon G12
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 Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
Fujifilm X10« » 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550Fujifilm X10
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G12 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D70 does not. The highest resolution format that the G12 can use is 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D70 vs Canon G12

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D70 and the G12 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D70 and Canon G12 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D70»optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
Canon G12«optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 4000 1.1 Y Y Canon G12
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon G15« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.1 Y Y Canon G15
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
Fujifilm X10« »optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 10.0 Y Y Fujifilm X10
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2

The D70 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the G12 uses SDXC cards.

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
Nikon D70»Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
Canon G12«Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G12
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Canon G15« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G15
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
Fujifilm X10« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X10
Nikon D5100« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
Nikon D2X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
Nikon D100« »Y-----1.1---Nikon D100
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2

Both the D70 and the G12 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, while the G12 was followed by the Canon G15.

Review summary: Nikon D70 vs Canon G12

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D70 better than the Canon G12 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Nikon D70:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2004).

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.8" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 130k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D70 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 140x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the D70).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G12 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 5 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.

D70 05:13 G12

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 D70 or the G12 handle or 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. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D70»-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Canon G12«Rec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499- i Canon G12
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon G15« »Rec76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
Canon Rebel« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
Fujifilm X10« »-76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599- i Fujifilm X10
Nikon D5100« »HiRec76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D40« »81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »78/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« »---rev5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D2X« »-HiRec-rev- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Nikon D100« »-HiRecrevrev- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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? 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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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