Below is a comparison of the Canon PowerShot G12, Nikon CoolPix P7000 / P7100, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and the Samsung TL500. I am really excited about these Advanced Point and Shoot cameras. First of all, they support the RAW file format which is what I shoot. RAW files used in these cameras will keep all the information needed for post processing and the data will have more detail in the shadows and highlights that are lost in the JPEG file format. JPEG files from your camera discards a lot of useful information that will help in post processing. These cameras would make a great backup for a pro or advanced amateur and a fantastic light compact camera for travel. Each of these cameras have their strong points. The chart below the video compares the features that I personally look for in a camera. You may have your own opinion on what’s important to you, but this is a good place to start.
Compare Camera features Chart
While remaining true to many of its predecessor’s features, the G12 comes busting out of the gate with what’s fast becoming a standard on digital cameras: digital video (with stereo sound no less!). Shoot 1280 x 720p HD video with stereo audio using this compact, yet versatile camera. In addition to riding the video tide the G12 also stays competitive with its 10MP still image capture. Shoot RAW and JPEG files to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, among others, with the help of the camera’s 1/1.7″ CCD image sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor, otherwise referred to as Canon’s HS System. The G12 additionally sports a 3200 ISO setting for excellent shooting in low light settings. Another notable feature on the G12 is its High Dynamic Range. Based on the principle of bracketing, HDR helps you capture a well balanced image that presents both highlights and low lights (AKA: shadow) in an appealing manner – giving your images that pop factor! This function also has an aspect to it named, i-Contrast. i-Contrast lets the user determine the amount of HDR correction that’s applied to the image, which can be helpful in avoiding highlight blowout and keeping details from getting lost in the shadows. Canon’s Tracking AF also comes into play here by allowing the shooter to select a subject to ‘track’ in case of movement while shooting.
Note: Nikon has updated this Camera with a new model (Nikon CoolPix P7100) it is basically the same camera. They fixed a few of the bugs, added a very angle display, at Improve the auto focus and improve the shutter response. August 2011
The Nikon CoolPix P7000 isn’t loaded down with frivolous bells and whistles–it’s got seriously awesome bells and whistles like a 10.1MP CCD sensor, a sharp, wide-angle to telephoto 7.1x optical zoom lens (28-200mm 35mm equivalent) made with Nikon ED glass, 720p HD video, 1.3 frames per second shooting at full resolution, 5-way image stabilization for sharp photos even in low light, and a beautiful 921,000-dot high resolution 3″ LCD display. And you can shoot using JPEG or RAW format for ultimate control over your images. But there’s a lot more. Fast auto focus and start-up, so you never miss a picture waiting for your camera to catch up. Low Noise Night Mode for beautiful photos without flash at night, with minimal noise. Or Subject Tracking to automatically track and auto focus on a moving subject; video recording with optical zoom and stereo sound; and 18 scene modes including the Scene Auto Selector, which automatically recognizes any shooting situation and optimizes all the settings for that scene.
By combining a high-quality lens and sensor ready for a variety of shooting conditions with a wide-range of accessories and manual controls, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is ideal for professional photographers and serious amateurs looking for a compact digital camera that allows for a full range of creative photography capabilities. The camera incorporates a wide angle f/2.0 aperture Leica DC Vario- Summicron lens with 3.8x wide-angle optical zoom (equivalent to 24mm – 90mm on a 35mm film camera) and the MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) system. The camera also incorporates an enhanced 1/1.63-inch CCD that is capable of capturing 10.1-Megapixels and has been designed to provide more space for each pixel to minimize image noise and optimize image quality and dynamic range. The CCD is also capable of reproducing images in 4 aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 or 1:1), and the Multi Aspect mode allows the camera to take an image in all three aspect ratios simultaneously. It also boasts the Venus Engine FHD high performance image processing LSI to dramatically reduce image noise (even using the high sensitivity setting of ISO 12800), and provide fast shooting performance with an incredibly fast shutter lag, and burst shooting capability.
Samsung TL500 is their most ambitious point-and-shoot yet: a 10-megapixel camera with a F1.8-2.4 Schneider-KREUZNACH 35mm equivalent 24-72mm lens that is one of the fastest and one of the widest lenses in this category. This gives the TL500 a decided edge in shooting under low-light conditions and provides a more professional look for your photos (the 24mm lens is a workhorse for many professionals, but rarely found in this class of camera). Coupled with ISO ratings stretching up to 3200 and the Dual Image Stabilization system, the TL500 can handle almost any situation that you encounter. In addition to a wide range of shooting and focusing modes, creative color effects (Sketch, Defog, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom RGB), automatic optimized settings for common situations (Night, Portrait, Fireworks, Macro, Sunset, Backlight, etc.), and a “smart” filter that gives you fish-eye, vignetting, and “miniature” effects; the TL500 gives you professional tools like a hot-shot for an auxiliary flash (in addition to the built-in flash), plus RAW and JPEG shooting capability for getting the absolute best from your photographs.
All 4 of these cameras will take stunning photographs, but in my opinion, the Nikon takes first place. I really like the 5 exposure auto bracketing (great for HDR), optical viewfinder, 28-200mm (35mm equiv.) F2.8 lens and stereo input jack for video. Canon takes a close second place with many of the features of the Nikon. The Canon also has a cool underwater mode (requires underwater housing), an HDR mode and a Vari-Angled LCD screen. Panasonic has a legendary Leica 24-90mm (35mm equiv.) F2.0-3.3 lens and you can get an optional External Live View Finder. Samsung has a very wide-angle 24-72mm (35mm equiv.) fast F1.8-F2.4 Schneider lens. Depending on your needs, any of these cameras will do the trick. So do your homework and get the camera that’s right for you.