Stock image - powershot g12

If you're in the market for a new camera and don't want the bulk of a proper DSLR – or even a smaller mirrorless camera such as the Sony NEX-3 – the G12 fits the bill extremely well. The manual modes and dials on offer, while daunting to beginners, will be hugely appreciated by anyone who's grown frustrated by the mistakes their compact makes in manual mode.

However, although the Canon G12's image quality is as good as it can be for a camera with a 1/1.7in sensor, it still can't match the quality from a DSLR, which is a major problem for photographers.

The difference between the Canon PowerShot G12 and something like the Canon EOS 1000D might not be hugely apparent when images are viewed zoomed out, but start cropping – particularly at higher ISOs – and you'll soon appreciate the benefits of a larger sensor.

And with the likes of the Canon 1000D, around £100 less than the G12, the choice is made muddier still. The 1000D doesn't offer HD video recording and takes longer to configure thanks to fewer body-mounted dials, but it does record better images up to its maximum ISO 1600 sensitivity. The fact that it's compatible with the formidable range of Canon EF and EF-S lenses is another major plus.

If you're rigidly set on buying a compact, the Canon G12 is just about the best you can buy – but keen photographers should carefully consider whether they shouldn't just bag a DSLR instead.

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