* The new camera will be used mostly to take photos at birthdays, holidays, family vacations, and the kids/family dogs running around.
* The new camera needs to have good ISO performance and/or flash performance for different lighting conditions.
Based on these criteria, I've narrowed it down to the G15 and G1X, and I'm leaning toward the G15, because the reviews I've read state the G1X has slow autofocus, which could cause problems when she tries to take photos of the dogs and kids running around.
What do you guys think would be the best camera for my mom?
I had both the G12 and G1X. Was not happy with either. Gave the G12 to my 62 year old mother for purposes similar to what you mention above. She never uses it unfortunately. Just was not intuitive to her I guess and she has a PhD so it is not a matter of intelligence. Even the G12 is slow to focus and not ideal for catching kids or animals. A lot of shots will be missed...
I got rid of the G1X as well. I loved its image quality and shots of adults or scenery were very good as long as I had a couple of seconds to compose the shot...Its autofocus was slow and time between shots was terrible. Enough to frustrate me and eventually dump it for 60% of what I paid for it...
Not sure if the Canon SX50 (Amazon link below) would be any better or not but you might want to look at it as well. Take your mom to a store and see which one she seems "comfortable" with. If she is comfortable then she will pick it up and use it. If not it will just grow dust like the one I gave to my mom...Good luck.