Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Review

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS the successor of the SX110 IS model, which was released the year before and was an upgrade to the successful SX100IS model from 2007. Canon has once again increased the resolution compared time compared to the SX110IS. In addition, the sensor in the SX120 has been upgraded from nine to ten megapixels, but its size remains the same.

The body of the Canon SX120 IS is almost its predecessor of its predecessor. The only discebesidesference, other than the fact that the buttons are labeled differently, is that the print button, previously located on the rear panel to the top left of the LCD, has been removed.

As with its forerunner, the Canon SX120 IS has dimensions of 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8 inches (111 x 70 x 45mm) and weighs 10.7 ounces (302g), including the battery and flash card. It won’t fit comfortably in your shirt pocket because of its size, but it isn’t an unreasonable amount of space either.

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS has a ten-megapixel sensor and a ten-times optical zoom lens, giving it a focal length range that extends from a wide-angle equivalent of 36 millimeters to a practical telephoto equivalent of 360 millimeters. When shooting wide-angle, the maximum aperture is f/2.8; when shooting telephoto, it is f/4.3. The “IS” in the SX120’s name gives away the fact that it maintains Canon’s Image Stabilization technology, which helps combat the effects of blur caused by camera shake. This is especially crucial when working with longer focal lengths. This model does not include an optical viewfinder, which is not surprising given that it is a long-zoom camera. Instead, images are framed and examined on a color LCD 3 inches in size and 230,000 pixels.

The image processor of the Canon SX120 IS represents the single most important improvement over its predecessor, the SX110. The former camera utilized a previous generation of Canon’s DIGIC processor, which has now been upgraded to the current specification and is currently found in the SX120 IS. In addition, the introduction of DIGIC 4 processors into PowerShot cameras began in the previous year. These processors should improve picture noise, autofocus, and autoexposure.

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS provides users with a variety of scene modes and a Program auto mode, and the option to regulate the shutter speed manually and the camera’s aperture settings. In addition, Canon’s implementation of face detection is included, and the functionality of face detection is linked not only to the autofocus system but also to the exposure metering and white balance systems to ensure that portraits have the appropriate exposure. This is done so that the camera can accurately expose faces.

A bright orange LED is the autofocus aid when working in low-light conditions. Adjustments and customizations are available in a wide variety for photographers with more experience. These include a range of ISO sensitivities (from 80 to 1,600 equivalent), metering modes, autoexposure and flash exposure locks, flash output control, white balance options, and image sharpness, contrast, and color options that can be adjusted.

When the ISO sensitivity is set to automatic, the PowerShot SX120 IS has a slightly enhanced flash range compared to its predecessor, with a maximum reach of 13 feet when using the wide-angle setting and 8.2 feet when using the telephoto setting respectively.

Images may be stored on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCard media with the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS, including the more recent (and larger capacity) SDHC varieties of these media. The product package comes with a 128 MB SD card, which is large enough to save around 30 images at their original resolution and with the least amount of compression.

The Canon SX110IS, just like its predecessor, the SX110, is powered by a pair of AA batteries. These batteries might be Alkaline, lithium, or NiMH rechargeable types. You will find a couple of disposable alkaline batteries in the bundle of products you have purchased.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Build Quality

The Canon SX120 IS is physically distinct from its predecessor, the Canon SX110, despite the clone-like similarities between the two models. For example, the Print/Share button on the back of the SX110 has been removed because it is unnecessary, and the front finger grip now has a more oversized metal accent. Aside from that, they are an identical pair of twins.

This is not to suggest that I experienced the same feelings as them. When I pulled the Canon SX120 IS out of my pocket, for some reason, the flash would automatically activate and stay that way. I couldn’t figure out why. After the first day, I decided to quit doing that, and it was simple to do so because the flash protruded from the body shell.

Another modification we found was that you wouldn’t lose time even if you remove the coin battery that maintains the clock running when you change the batteries in your Canon SX120 IS. This is because the time is stored separately from the coin battery (at least with AAs installed).

This opulent 3.0-inch LCD screen has 230K pixels, which is a good resolution but not relatively as high as it might be. I may be becoming accustomed to higher-resolution LCDs, but being as how this one is identical to the one on the SX110, I can’t complain about it.

The Canon SX120 IS, much like its predecessor, is not a very compact camera. Canon has a long-standing practice of making its smaller cameras slightly on the bulky side. The flagship G11, as well as the G10 and G9 that came before it, is an excellent illustration of this. And the Canon SX120 IS, much like its predecessor, the Canon SX110, does not attempt to shrink in size, even though I could fit it in my shirt pocket. So invest in an ELPH if you want something compact. Compared to the Canon SX120 IS, an ELPH will need you to sacrifice much functionality.

The Canon SX120’s body is made of plastic with rounded edges and corners. As a direct consequence, the grip may seem a little bit slick to certain people. However, on the rear is a wonderfully carved thumb grip, and on the front is a decent ledge highlighted with chrome for you to rest your other fingers. It never managed to get away from my grasp.

I wouldn’t call it hefty, but it has a respectable heaviness. As a result, the camera will frequently tremble when you hit the shutter button on a featherweight. However, the Canon SX120 IS does not have this issue.

The control arrangement hasn’t altered, so getting used to it won’t take long. The Mode dial is enormous and can be thumbed through easily from the device’s rear. Additionally, the shutter button, surrounded by the zoom control, is vast and straightforward to locate. Unfortunately, this time, the Zoom control was set at an inappropriately high level (it could sit slightly lower than the Shutter button). Finally, there is room for improvement in the Power button’s design, which is a bit rectangular inset behind the Shutter button.

The LCD serves as your viewfinder and performs admirably even when exposed to direct sunlight. Fingermarks are visible because of the antiglare surface. However, they are simple to remove with a wipe or a cloth.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Storage & Battery

The 10-megapixel sensor produces images with the most significant size possible of 3,648 by 2,736 pixels. Seven hundred forty-nine high-quality photographs and 1,536 stock photos may be stored on a card with 2 gigabytes capacity.

The same card can only store more than a minute and a half of high-quality video at the maximum setting. However, a 2GB card can hold 16 minutes and 47 seconds of video.

You have options available to you in terms of technology thanks to the fact that AA batteries power the Canon SX110. Unfortunately, the most powerful lithium can only be used once and cannot be recharged. However, they are an excellent option if most of your photography is done around the holidays and seldom during other times of the year. The alkalines that come standard with the camera are the least potent choice available, having a rating of only 130 shots when measured according to CIPA standards (which take quite a few flash photos). Rechargeable Ni-MH batteries are in the middle of these two categories but are physically closer to lithium batteries. Using the CIPA testing procedures, they were given a rating of 370 shots.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Image Quality

Throughout our examination, the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS has generated photographs of satisfactory quality. However, the biggest shortcoming of the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS in terms of image quality is noise, with ISO 400 displaying some noise, blurring of detail, and moderate desaturation of color. As the ISO increases, noise and loss of information become increasingly noticeable until you reach the highest possible value of 1600.

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS has performed admirably in handling chromatic aberrations, with only a few instances of purple fringing visible in conditions with strong contrast. However, the images captured with a resolution of 12 megapixels came out of the camera with a lackluster level of sharpness when the camera’s default sharpening setting was used. As a result, you will need to either perform additional sharpening in an application such as Adobe Photoshop or increase the level of in-camera sharpening.

The night shot turned out alright, with a maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds, allowing you to catch sufficient light for most scenarios; nevertheless, the final image appeared to have been very over-processed.

Even though there is a lot of lens distortion and shadows at such a short distance, the performance of the camera’s macro mode is a standout highlight, allowing you to focus as near as 1 centimeter away from the subject of your photograph.

The built-in flash did a fantastic indoor job, producing images free of red-eye and with enough overall exposure. In addition, anti-shake performs well when shooting in low-light settings with the camera held by hand or utilizing the telephoto end of the zoom range.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Performance

Lag in the shutter: With full focusing, the camera has a shutter lag of 0.80 seconds at wide-angle and 0.93 seconds at maximum telephoto, which is about average for a long zoom but slower than some of its more modern competitors. On the other hand, the prefocus shutter latency is only 0.066 seconds, which is significantly faster than usual.

The length of one cycle

In single-shot mode, the cycle time is a little slow since it only captures a frame once every 2.07 seconds. Although Canon claims that the SX120 IS’s continuous mode can capture 1.3 frames per second, we could not verify this.

Recycle the flash

After a full-power discharge, the flash on the PowerShot SX120 IS takes 12 seconds to recycle, which is a significantly slower rate than the norm.

In the Box

The following items may be found inside the retail package:

  • Digital camera Canon PowerShot SX120 IS
  • Strap for the wrist WS-800
  • 2 AA Alkaline batteries
  • AV cable AVC-DC400
  • IFC-400PCU stands for the interface cable
  • 128MB SD card
  • Compact Disc (CD)

Accessories That Come Highly Recommended

  • Rechargeable NiMH batteries
  • Memory card with a large capacity for SD or SDHC. (The pricing of 8GB is reasonable compared to its storage capacity in today’s market.)


Body typeCompact
Max resolution3648 x 2736
Other resolutions3648 x 2048, 2816 x 2112, 2272 x 1704, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480, 3456 x 1944
Image ratio w h4:3, 3:2
Effective pixels10 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors10 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.5″ (5.744 x 4.308 mm)
Sensor typeCCD
ProcessorDigic 4
ISOAuto, 80,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
Focal length (Equiv.)36–360 mm
Optical zoom10×
Maximum apertureF2.8–4.3
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)SingleLive View
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39″)
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2500 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject/scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash Range3.00 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Fill-in
Continuous drive0.9 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weighted spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Resolutions640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps), 160 x 120 (15 fps)
FormatMotion JPEG
Storage typesSD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Storage included128 MB SD card
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
Battery description2 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
Weight (inc. batteries)285 g (0.63 lb / 10.05 oz)
Dimensions111 x 71 x 45 mm (4.37 x 2.8 x 1.77″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS the Final Verdict

If I were the type who always has a handbag or purse with me, I wouldn’t think twice about bringing my Canon PowerShot SX120 around wherever I go. I don’t carry bags, yet even when it’s warm out, I find myself reaching for a waist pack or a jacket so that I may have the Canon SX120 IS. It’s a company, even though I don’t carry a handbag. The item is a bit large to fit into pockets when the weather is beautiful; coats are preferable.

But suppose you don’t mind taking it around with you, and you’re not the type who wants to make a fashion statement with their camera. In that case, you’ll enjoy the Canon SX120 IS for what it is: a capable camera and incredibly inexpensive camera. You will adore the 10x zoom range that does not need you to forego the enjoyable experience of taking macro photographs. This should be mandated by law. You’ll discover every shooting mode imaginable, including all the manual ones, right here (which includes a helpful Aperture Priority mode for changing your depth of field).

Even though we live in an HD era, the movie mode on the Canon SX120 IS is still only available in the standard definition. This indicates that Canon is sliding behind its competitors in terms of innovation. But other than that, this dependable jewel has almost everything else covered. It is a Dave’s Pick because it makes photography enjoyable for first-time photographers while providing something new and exciting for more experienced photographers to experiment with.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS FAQs

What year is Canon PowerShot SX120 IS?

In August 2009, Canon announced the launch of the PowerShot SX120 IS.

How much is Canon PowerShot SX120 IS worth?

When purchased pre-owned, the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS may have a different worth depending on its condition, the model’s availability, and any other variables.

As of 2023, it is an older model of camera, and its worth may have diminished due to the passage of time. It’s possible to find a used Canon PowerShot SX120 for anywhere between $30 and $100, but the price can shift anytime.

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