(I had good intentions of posting this a few days ago but hope it is helpful anyway.)
Here are just a few basics and tips to consider after opening Santa’s gift: The new Canon G12 that you asked for. (Much of this applies to most digital cameras with specifics for the G12.)
Immediately find the battery and charger. Put the battery in the charger and plug in the charger. Although the battery probably has a slight charge already, begin the charging process. You’ll probably be too impatient to let the battery completely recharge but go ahead and add a few electrons now. Full recharge will take a couple of hours.
Unlike previous G series cameras, there is no printed instruction manual; however, there is a printed “Quick Start” guide. The instruction manual is in .pdf format on the CD that contains the Canon software. Install the software while electrons are being added to the battery. If you already have previous versions of the Canon software, Canon recommends that you install the current version over the older version. If you are using Windows XP, be sure to have installed all the available updates (Service Pack 3). Remember to restart the computer.
Unwrap the memory card. Santa did remember that the G12 doesn’t come with a memory card, didn’t he? I’m currently using a Class 6 Transcend 8GB SDHC card but it seems that almost anything will do. Slower cards will work fine but, uh, slower --especially while you wait impatiently for all those bits to be transferred to your computer. If your new memory card came with special software already stored, be sure to copy that software to your computer’s hard drive or a CD.
Flip the G12 upside down to get to the battery and card door on the bottom. Push down on the door and slide it over its catch then let it pop up. Insert the memory card so you don’t lose it while you read the Quick Start guide and wait for the battery to be charged. The memory card and battery can be inserted into the G12 only when properly oriented.
Get accustomed to the G12 and the layout of its controls. Take a look through the viewfinder and, if necessary, adjust the viewfinder optics to suit your vision. Pull out that nice articulated screen, gently flip it around and push it back onto the camera body.
Now that approximately 5 electrons have been added to the battery, go ahead and install it into the G12. Flip the G12 right side up and turn it on with the small button on the top of the camera. In using the G12, you will probably discover that it is easy to accidentally push the wrong button or dial on the back of the camera. You’ll get better at this but it is a problem. Try putting your thumb firmly on the thumb pad next to the button with * on it.
Reformat the memory card using the G12 menu system (page 17 of the Quick Start guide). The Menu button is on the back of the camera. Push it and use the large dial to cycle through the menu commands in amazement until you come to the one that says Format (it’s under the “tools” tab). Just think, soon you will know the meaning of all those options! Push the center button of the large dial on the back of the camera to activate the Format option.
Ready to take a picture (I bet you’ve really already taken one by now)? While you get the feel of the G12, put it in completely automatic mode. This means the green oval “AUTO” on the small top dial on the right hand side as well as the green AUTO on the larger dial beneath it. Rotate the dials to align these green labels with the light grey bar (actually a light). Take your first picture with the G12.
Did you remember to use the “half press” shutter button technique? This is one of the most useful and important techniques for modern cameras because it reduces the effective shutter lag while confirming focus. In fact, I think “Focus” as I do this. Push the shutter button gently and you’ll notice that the “feel” changes as the button goes about halfway down. You’ll probably hear a slight beep and see a green rectangle light up on the LCD. Hold that position momentarily then finish pushing the shutter button to get the picture. The “half press” technique is explained on page 18 of the Quick Start guide.
To do list:
Finish charging the battery.
Set the date and time using the menu system (page 14 of the Quick Start guide).
Get a second battery. The G12 battery is a good one but you’ll want a spare. I use the cheaper clone and get an adapter for charging in the car. Charge and test the clone as soon as you get it.
Get a wrist strap. I use a Gordy strap but there are many others to choose from.
Get a bag. It seems that most G series users opt for a small camera bag that can be mounted on a belt but I use a medium size shoulder bag to accommodate my “stuff”.
Get a real flash. The built-in flash is useful but not very powerful. Such built-ins often cause harsh shadows and red eye. A small, nice external flash is Canon’s 270EX (although I use a larger Canon flash on-camera and favor off-camera flash).
To connect the G12 directly to your HD TV, you need the HCMI cable HTC-100 (or a clone). This cable has a small connector matching the camera receptacle.
The RS60-E3 remote is a nice touch and very helpful.
Eventually, you may want a conversion lens adapter to mount filters or wide angle or telephoto lenses.
Name your camera, see a previous post.
Enjoy your G12. This blog is full of my trials and errors with the G9 and much of those experiences also fit the G12. Use the labels on the left hand side or the search button to find topics of interest to you.