Looking for a good manual mode compact.

I am seeking an alternative compact camera to my Fuji F300EXR. So far I am most impressed by the Canon G12. The ideal functions I am interested in are:

1. Full manual control including focusing.
2. Dial control for shutter, aperture, ISO etc without going into menus to find them.
3. 24 or 28mm wide angle lens capability.
4. Variangle LCD.
5. Optical viewfinder.

I am open to other camera model suggestions apart from the G12. I would also like to know G12 owners opinions of this camera particularly on how good the manual mode is.



betwixt and between
Martin, I'm sorry that somehow your thread here has been missed.:blush:

I'm not sure about which camera might meet your needs, but I'm pretty sure we have a couple of G12 shooters here who should be able to weigh in on their experiences. Let's see if my reply's bumping this up will catch some member's attentions.


Martin, sorry for not seeing your thread earlier. I own the Canon G12 and like it very much. It looks like the G12 could indeed be the camera you are looking for, because I don't know any other compact camera which has all functions you want.

The G12 has a mechanical control to change ISO, which is fantastic, and a mechanical control for exposure compensation, which is marvelous! There are two control dials, one in front of the camera and one on the backside, such that there is one dial for each of the three parameters to set exposure. However, if you want to use manual exposure mode and manual focusing, things get tricky, because while being in manual focusing mode you loose control over the aperture (you have to leave manual focusing mode to change the aperture and go back again). But this has never been a problem to me, since this is not how I photograph.

The optical viewfinder is nice to have, but I never use it. It is rather small and shows only about 70-80% (I don't know the exact number) of the picture. Since I try to compose my pictures precisely, anything worse than 90% coverage is too bad to be used by me. However, there is no compact camera, which is better than the G12 in this respect (apart from that, there are only very few compacts with an optical viewfinder - I know only a second one, the Nikon P7000).

I really love the swivel screen and do not want to miss it anymore. I use it all the time, because I do not turn it around to hold the camera in front of me, but hold it near my body looking down at the screen. This position, which is very stable, and the excellent image stabilization are really helpful in low light situations, because I can hold shutter times till 1/10s without any other support to keep the ISO down. I have set continuous shooting mode and always take two pictures when shutter times are that long. The first picture is most times sharp enough and the second one tendentially sharper than the first one.

The image quality is very fine for a compact camera. I shoot raw and cannot say much about the jpegs it generates, but I also own the Canon PowerShot S90, whose jpegs I know better (the quality of the jpegs of both cameras should not differ). Although the jpegs are not bad, the quality I get from raw using Lightroom 3 is significantly better (it is significantly better than the quality I get from the raw files using Canon's software, too). The quality I get with Lightroom 3 is great until ISO 200 and still very good until ISO 400. I do not apply noise reduction until ISO 200 and only sometimes a little bit until ISO 400. This is very good for a compact camera. ISO 800 is still good (and dependent on the motive it can still be very good) after applying moderate noise reduction. The automatic lens correction of Lightroom 3 is great, I have set it as default, such that it is applied to all raw files automatically.