It’s high time…

Over the holidays, the SLR was in great demand for the family portrait work, and I pulled it out periodically for some “street-style” photography.  I found myself instead getting out my 4 year old P&S camera, which is very long in the tooth to say the least.  So, I’ve decided that it’s time to retire the one and venture into new territory.  I am currently waffling between three cameras:

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

The G12 is a compelling camera.  The features I am liking are the LCD resolution, the f2.8 on the lens, and the manual controls over the exposure triangle (shutter, aperture and ISO).  It helps that I can also shoot in RAW which would fit my existing work flow.  The biggest cons for me are the proprietary battery, the MP count (I’d rather have 8 than 10 for this size sensor – makes for better noise handling in my opinion), and the price tag.  (Really?  $500 for a P&S Canon?  I can get an entry level SLR for that price…take it down $100 and you’d have a lot more buyers!)

The Powershot SX130 IS  is equally compelling.  With the larger 3″  LCD, acceptance of regular AA batteries, and manual controls, it’s tempting to go with this option.  The problem is that the Megapixel count is so high.  I wasn’t thrilled with the 10MP count above, so 12 here makes me very nervous.  After all, let’s face it that Canon’s handling of noise is not at the standard of the Nikonian crowd.  Here it’s also not the budget-buster that the G12 is either – a very enticing element to consider.

The Powershot SX 120 IS is no slouch either.  Saving a little more coin is always a good thing (it retails $20 cheaper), and is back down to 10MP for the sensor.  The problem here?  Saving $20 also compromises the ability to control things manually.  Frame rate is also noticeably slower too.  That’s a lot to lose to save a few pennies.  I likely will not go this route as it’s just too much being sacrificed for a minimal short term savings.

So, it’s really between the G12 and the PowerShot SX130 IS.  I think I am leaning toward the latter simply because I am not going to sacrifice as much in functionality.  Still have to check out some reviews and DXOMark ratings though.  A final answer should be forthcoming soon, but that is the upshot of where the Christmas Cash is gonna ching!  Of course, new gear is always coming out and Spring time is no exception.  That will lower the cost of entry on these current generations considerably, so I might hold off for a month – see what happens in the market to these three!

Some, of course, will ask why I didn’t consider the new SX30 or the A12000.  Truth be told, in Canon’s line-up, the A series is a notch below the SX series for a reason…it’s just as beefy!  As for the SX30, I read several reviews on it and the noise level at even ISO 400 seems high to what people were expecting.  I’m just not willing to throw money at a P&S for no reason other than “because it’s new”.

Let’s turn the perspective outward…anyone out there get any Yuletide Yen they’ll be using for new gear items?  What are you getting and why?


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11 comments for “It’s high time…

  1. January 11, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Don’t have any extra money for gear at the moment; that all went into car repairs after killing a deer… but leaving that aside, I have a suggestion about the high MP count and noise. I’m wholeheartedly with you concerning 8 vs 10/12 MP in a P&S, I’d rather have 8, too; but since one method used to control noise is to down-res the picture (I’ve used this multiple times to get microstock shots accepted that were initially rejected for noise issues), I think in this case noise can be marginalized as a factor in making your decision. Dropping the photo dimensions from 10 to 8 MP in post-processing should be enough to get rid of noise, from what I recall; on the other hand, I’m working with files from a DSLR, so they’re not as noisy to begin with… considering that, I think I want to retract what I said about marginalizing the factor of noise; I don’t have any experience in dealing with P&S noise.
    Could you get both cameras for a few days, do some tests, and write a post about various noise control methods (e.g. software such as Noiseware and Noise Ninja vs. Lightroom vs. downsizing photos)? I’d be really into seeing the results from something like that! If that’s a larger-scope project than you have time for, I’d still like to hear how well downsizing photos works for P&S files, what drawbacks there may be with that approach, etc….

    • January 12, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Did you at least get some venison out of it? *licks lips*

      I guess down-sampling could be an option in post, but down-ressing to reduce noise seems sort of counter-intuitive…what if I want to crop the image for some reason? Then I am losing even more data and the down sampling might not be as much an option

      This isn’t really intended as use for microstock – more just image capture and having a camera with me that is a good “2nd choice” to the SLR…without much post production time or needs – unless of course I want to! 🙂

      I suppose I could get both cameras back-to-back but that would require fronting the money to do the test shots (Canon still hasnt come calling to give me access to equipment for testing… *sigh*) 🙂

  2. January 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Okay, here’s the skinny…… Months ago when the G12 was announced I ran out and got a G11 discounted. For kayaking you know. And I’ve had some fun with shots on the water since getting it.

    I have to say, at least for the G11, it’s kind of noisy even at low ISO in RAW. Producing HDRs with it I’ve found it to really be noisy. As far as jpegs go, they’re all fine.

    I’m not certain what improvements have gone on for the G12. What I’ve decided about the G11 is that I’ll use it more for jpegs and paddling, and less toward it being an HDR camera for me. ISO 100 and 3 RAW images combine into a super noisy HDR sky and must be handled heavily in Lightroom after the fact.

    There’s my input. 🙂

    • January 12, 2011 at 7:29 am

      But I am not all that skinny… 🙂

      Thanks for the insights Rich – the G12 is also coming in at a hefty price tag, so…we will see! 🙂

  3. January 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    What about the Powershot S95?

    • January 12, 2011 at 7:40 am

      The only reason the G12 was in there because it’s the “top of the line”. That’s if I throw the budget factor to the wind. Since the powershot S95 comes in as a budget buster, I had eliminated it from consideration under the logic that if I am gonna break the budget – may as well get the top of the line! (The S95 is only $100 less than the G12: )

  4. January 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve heard some good things about the G12. Based on buzz alone, I’d probably tend to go that route myself.

    Also, did the contact form send you an email from me about the magazine? Haven’t heard back from you yet, so I just wanted to check in.

    • January 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

      I’ve not had a chance to push out the January newsletter. They typically go out the first Friday of every month, but because of the timing thus far in January, I’ve been out of town both weekends and this weekend should be home to ensure things are finished up for everyone! 🙂

  5. Martin
    January 12, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I actually believe the G12 is going to most satisfy both your artistic and technical needs. I’m not an SLR user (in fact you anaswered my question on Quora). I don’t have a G12 but did get to use a G10 for a weekend. It certainly had a much better image (if you like pixel-peeping) from a noise point of view than my other Canon P&S. The G12 (and S95) have a relatively large sensor which gives them an advantage. While the G12 is physically bigger it has a slightly longer lens, little features like a ND filter. But then again an S95 would fit better in a pocket.

    An eye-opener is to look at this G10 versus a $35K Hasselblad article

  6. January 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

    *Sigh* I wish the G10 was still available in retail – that’s the one I really wanted! 🙂

    Luminous Landscape is a great website and I remember the Canon/Hasselblad article with affection! 🙂

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