Monday, January 31, 2011

Adventure with the Canon Powershot G12 - Seattle, WA

The wife and I spent a week in the Emerald City. While she attended an Astrophysics Conference, I took some pictures of this wonderful city. I walked around and saw some wonderful people and places. And of course, being a coffee fiend, I visited the place where it all started - the Starbucks on Pike Place. There were singers on almost every corner of the Pike Place Market and there are coffee shops on every street - downtown Seattle is really every coffee connoisseur's dream.

The Canon Powershot G12 and the Emerald City

My Canon 5D Mark II was in my Lowepro Fastpack 250 but the camera that I used about 98% of the time was the Canon Powershot G12 - it was all that I needed for my street photography. First, it was small which made it stealthy. Second, I can check out a locale first and if I deemed it safe enough to bring out my camera, I can easily do so since I just put the camera on the inside breast pocket of my jacket. Yes, I could've easily reached for my DSLR since I used the Fastpack, but having a camera right in front of you is still the fastest access one can have. I had the BlackRapid SNapR but I left the bag in the hotel and just used the hand strap that came with it.

I was able to stretch the limits of the G12 with this trip to Seattle. I have proven, with this trip that this camera is a really very capable machine.

The only limits that I set for myself were:
  • I didn't go above ISO1600
  • I didn't set the shutter speed below 1/40s.
That is why some of the indoor shots were dark. But, hey, I didn't mind having dark pictures of Battlestar Gallactica and Jimi Hendrix inside the Experience Music Project / Science Fiction Museum.

One thing, though, that I couldn't wrap my head around was when I used the built-in flash for fill. The camera was in Manual the whole time but when I turn the flash on, the camera seemed to have a mind of its own - I couldn't make it behave the way I wanted it too. I need to do some more practice with the flash turned on with this camera.

The only time I used my Canon 5D Mark II was went up the Space Needle for a second time to take sunset photos. I felt that, with the bigger sensor, I could stretch the ISO limit more. Note, though, that all the photos here were taken by the G12.

There are three things that, I think, are not on the positive side:
  1. Having the live-view all the time made me dependent on it so much. Yes it made making pictures really easy, but, coming from a DSLR perspective, I would have wanted to use the viewfinder more. I know I could've just turned the articulating screen around, but then I would have lost the ability to know what my settings are.
  2. Having a 28mm-equivalent focal length wasn't wide enough. When I went up to the buildings to get an unobstructed view (unobstructed, but cloudy), I felt that the widest setting for the G12 was still too narrow.
  3. The flash as stated above.

But despite these setbacks, the Canon Powershot G12 is still a very capable camera and would do well for street photography.

Seattle is a beautiful city and the Canon G12 was able to capture it.

[N.B. I would have put a slide show of the photos that autoplay but Picasa is not behaving well right now...]


  1. Hi Gary!

    Do you have any tip for making pictures faster with my Canon G12? Is there any way to lock the manual focus on a specific distance without losing configuration when closinf the lcd?


    Hugo Mourão

  2. Hi Hugo. That's the problem with the manual focus of the G12. Even at that setting, the camera will change focus when you change perspective - it will focus on the thing that sits on your focus point. I'm as lost as you on this one.





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