Updated (August 2011): Compare the Canon PowerShot G12 vs Sony NEX-5N

Canon PowerShot G12 vs Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Canon PowerShot G12

50

Sony Alpha NEX-5

42

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Canon PowerShot G12

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Lens
24p movies
Supports 24p
For that film look
Great macro
Macro focus
1.0 cm
Great viewfinder
Viewfinder
Tunnel
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
1000 ms startup delay
Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Interchangeable lenses
Interchangeable lenses
Many lenses to choose from

Items often bought with the Canon G12 or Sony NEX-5

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon PowerShot G12.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha NEX-5.

differences

Advantages of the Canon G12

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Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Lens
vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
380 ms vs 670 ms
Help
More than 40% less delay when taking photos
Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Tunnel vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
Canon PowerShot G12 Learn more about
the Canon G12

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
69.0 vs 47.0
Help
Around 50% better image quality
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 461k dots
Help
Around 2x higher resolution screen
Startup delay
Much less startup delay
1000 ms vs 2700 ms
Help
2.7x less delay when turning on
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 20.4 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.8 more bits of color
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 11.2 EV
Help
1.7 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen size
Larger screen
3" vs 2.8"
Help
Around 10% larger screen
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video at a higher frame rate
Interchangeable lenses
Has interchangeable lenses
Yes vs No
Help
Can take advantage of a variety of lenses
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
796 ISO vs 161 ISO
Help
The NEX-5 has excellent image quality: 2.3 f-stops higher ISO than the G12
Size
Smaller
111×59×38 mm vs 112×76×48 mm
Help
Around 40% smaller
Sensor type
Has a CMOS-family sensor
CMOS vs CCD
Help
CMOS-family sensors often produce better quality images
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
7 fps vs 2 fps
Help
3.5x faster continuous shooting
True resolution
Higher true resolution
14 MP vs 10 MP
Help
Capture more than 40% more detail in your photos
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The NEX-5's maximum light sensitivity is 4 f-stops better
Weight
Lighter
287 g vs 401 g
Help
Around 30% lighter
Thickness
Thinner
1.5" vs 1.9"
Help
More than 20% thinner
Longest exposure
Longer exposures
30s vs 15s
Help
2x longer exposures
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Learn more about
the Sony NEX-5
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent digital cameras, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Canon PowerShot G12 Canon PowerShot G12 50
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        42 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              HDR In-camera HDR Help
              Combines multiple exposures
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Common Weaknesses
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              G12380 ms
              NEX-5670 ms
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $280 body only

              $440 - $448 with 16-50mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              External flash Doesn't support an external flash
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon PowerShot G3 X

              Canon PowerShot G3 X

              Super zoom

              $999

              Zoom Has slightly more zoom
              Wide angle Has a slightly wider wide angle lens
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive

              Canon PowerShot G12 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon PowerShot G16

              Canon PowerShot G16

              Pro digicam

              $399

              Aperture Significantly wider aperture
              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              Canon PowerShot G15

              Canon PowerShot G15

              Pro digicam

              $440

              Aperture Significantly wider aperture
              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Canon PowerShot G7 X

              Canon PowerShot G7 X

              Pro digicam

              $484 - $649

              Aperture Significantly wider aperture
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              Macro focus Significantly worse macro capability
              Canon PowerShot G1X

              Canon PowerShot G1X

              Boutique

              $549

              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Macro focus Much worse macro capability
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Canon PowerShot G11

              Canon PowerShot G11

              Pro digicam

              $289

              Battery life Much longer battery life
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $605 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $350 with 16mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Slightly thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $549 body only

              $879 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $760 body only

              $660 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Slightly heavier
              Sony Alpha A6000

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $548 body only

              $698 with 16-50mm lens

              Image stabilization Image stabilization
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Size Slightly larger

              appearance

              Canon PowerShot G12 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Canon PowerShot G12 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Canon PowerShot G12 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Canon PowerShot G12
              PowerShot G12
              Canon

              Report a correction
              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

              Report a correction

              Showing 3 comments

              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (4:53 PM, July 08, 2012)
              Hi Corrado, thanks for the feedback!

              I think some of the confusion is coming from the "Reasons to consider" section.  These are not necessarily differences, just good things about the camera.  Yes both cameras have flip out screens and HDR, so these are not listed as advantages to either camera in the differences section.  Yes there are image stabilized lenses available for the NEX, like all DSLRs. 

              You're right it is odd that the G12 gets recommended over the NEX, its because our scoring system gives a lot of points to the G12 for having a built in lens, which is unfair against the NEX, we're going to improve this soon hopefully.
               
              Avatar for Corrado Casoni Corrado Casoni (1:21 PM, July 08, 2012)
              You say that G12 is better because of:
              * Image stabilization on lens. NEX also have lens image stabilization.
              * Flip out screen. NEX also have it.
              * In-camera-hdr. NEX also have it.
              "Great Macro" and "Excellent viewfinder" seem much more important than:
              Image quality: 69 vs 47
              Movies at 1080p vs 720p
              Double LCD res
              Large sensor
              Better resolution, dynamic range, ISO sensitivity, lower noise, 7fps vs 2fps, CMOS vs CCD...
              ...but same price !

              No comment: unbelivable!
               
              Avatar for bruce56 bruce56 (6:13 PM, January 26, 2012)
              the Sony NEX cameras have image stabilization in the lens