Predicted, rumoured, leaked, the Canon PowerShot G12, the latest update to Canon's high-end G-series compact cameras, has now been officially launched.

The G12 replaces the G11, filling in one of the obvious omissions by including 720p video capture, flicking two HD fingers to Nikon's new P7000, which doesn't offer HD video.

In terms of looks little has changed, although the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice a few cosmetic changes as well as the addition of a front dial, which can be programmed, so you can, for example, control aperture on the front dial, and shutter speed on the rear dial, for swift manual control.

Like G-series forbears, the G12 is solidly built offering functionality over svelte dimensions. As such you get a 2.8-inch vari-angle 461k-dot display around the back as well as an optical viewfinder.

You also get a built-in flash in addition to a hot shoe that will take accessories, including Canon's range of Speedlite flashes.

Internally the G12 packs a 10-megapixel CCD sensor, but now benefits from Canon's HS System, offering the combination of a high sensitivity sensor with the DIGIC 4 processor, the aim being to offer better low light and high ISO performance.

ISO gets a dedicated dial allowing adjustments in 1/3 stop increments; the G12 also lets the user set the maximum auto ISO level. A Low Light mode offers ISO 12800. You also get Hybrid IS, again contributing to the low light shooting, letting you handhold longer exposures without the need for a flash or a tripod.

On the front you'll find at 5x optical zoom lens, with a range of 28-140mm (in 35mm terms), with a maximum aperture of F/2.8 at the wide angle.

Full manual control is offered as well as RAW capture for the more creative or experienced photographers, along with a full range of other shooting modes. You can now also choose the aspect ratio for shooting, with 1:1, 16:9, 3:2 and 4:5 on offer.

There is a new HDR (high dynamic range) option presented as one of the Scene shooting options, which takes three shots and combines them to bring detail into shadow areas and highlights for an image more like what your eye sees.

Video capture is now offered up to 720p at 24fps, with stereo audio. You also get an electronic level in the viewfinder and/or on the screen, meaning an end to shooting wonky.

A removable barrel ring means you'll be able to add a filter accessory onto which you can add any 58mm filters, further expanding the range of shooting possibilities that the G12 presents.

A comprehensive and compelling package it may be, but it comes in with a launch price of £539, putting it on a par with entry-level DSLR cameras and it will be available from early October.

Like the look of the Canon PowerShot G12? Check out our exclusive hands-on photos and see how it stands up against the best compact Nikon has to offer.