Canon PowerShot S120 Review


Overview of Canon PowerShot S120 Camera

The design of the Canon PowerShot S120 camera is a little bit different from other models at the first look. For most thin cameras with fixed lens which is similar to the S120 in terms of the appearance, the performance or the image quality is not really great.

However, with this model, there are a lot of of more advanced than beginner-level features which photographers are looking for. The performance is extremely fast and the shutter lag is at the minimal level, in which you can shoot up to 10 frames per second. The CMOS image sensor, is measure at 1/1.7-inch, which is a considerable advantage compared to that of point and shoot cameras. There is an inclusion of a touch screen interface with this Canon PowerShot camera, which helps you find it easy to use the camera.

You will find a lot of great features with this thin model – which has a thickness of only 1.14 inches. However, the price tag is a little bit high with the MSRP up to $449. Many photographers may not afford to buy this camera. If you have limited budget, you can consider a mirrorless ILC or DSLR camera which is aimed at beginners. In addition, the small zoom lens which is limited to 5X is another disadvantage.

But if you are still keen on a thin model which has the great performance like an advanced camera, the PowerShot S120 is worth your consideration. It is one of the best choices in the current market. However, I hesitate to give it a higher rating because the price is too high. But in cases when you can receive a big discount from the MSRP, this is really worth your consideration.

Summary of the Canon PowerShot S120 Camera


  • The resolution is 12.1 megapixels
  • The optical zoom lens is 5X (24-120mm)
  • The 3-inch LCD Screen has a 922,000-pixel resolution
  • The image size is 4000 x 3000 pixels at maximum
  • The camera uses a Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • The dimensions are 3.94 x 2.32 x 1.14 inches
  • The weight is 6.81 ounces (with the battery and memory card included)
  • The 1/1.7 in image sensor use the CMOS technology
  • A full HD 1080p (60fps)movie mode is supported


  • The performance is very fast
  • Lens offers f/1.8 aperture
  • The Raw format is available with this camera and the image quality with this format is good.
  • It is easy to use the camera with the touch screen display capabilities
  • Mixture of advanced shooting modes and beginner shooting modes


  • The high price tag may be beyond the budgets of many photographers
  • The Optical zoom lens is small, which is just limited to 5X
  • There is no hot shoe for attaching the external flash
  • The menu structure of the camera would be better if it uses a redesign to make the touch screen performance better
  • It is not easy to set up and use the Wi-Fi feature
Canon PowerShot S120 Camera Review & Buy

Canon PowerShot S120 Camera Review & Buy

Detail Review of the Canon PowerShot S120 Camera

Image Quality

You can easily find the image quality extremely great with the 1/1.7-inch image sensor using the CMOS technology. This image sensor has brought the camera a leg up over other small cameras which use fixed lens but their physical image sensors are smaller.

There are two image formats that you can select: RAW or JPEG with the PowerShot S120 camera. Commonly, not many of thin cameras can shoot in the RAW format.

You will see some noise in the photos which are shot in low light circumstances and  you set the ISO settings at the mid range. However, in general, the image quality is great in all kinds of lighting conditions.


The overall performance of the PowerShot S120 is fast. Because the PowerShot S120 use the latest image processor, you can operate the camera at high speeds. The shot to shot delays is minimal and you don’t have to worry about the shutter lag. You can be also satisfied with the fast autofocus mechanism as well. In general, this great image sensor is not common among small cameras using fixed lens.

There are a variety of advanced shooting modes with the S120. Among those high-powered shooting options, you can make use of the full manual photography as well. In addition, the inclusion of the basic shooting modes and the touch screen help you easy to handle the camera.

When you use the burst modes, the performance is extremely great. The PowerShot S120 has offered the very fast performance levels when you set the full resolution.

Another advantage of this camera is that you can use the Wi-Fi capabilities. However, it is difficult to set up and use this Wi-Fi. And the Wi-Fi connection also drain the batters in a very short duration. Even without the Wi-Fi, you should not expect the battery to be good as it should be. The solution for this case is that you should have a second battery along.


Perhaps the most disappointing aspect in the design of the Canon PowerShot S120 camera is that its optical zoom lens is not large. In comparison with other similar cameras in the current market, the 5X optical zoom lens is unfavorably compared to them inspite of the price. If the camera had a larger zoom lens, the PowerShot S120 would be a great option for a travel camera. With that small zoom lens, the camera is more like a camera for shooting portraits. However, a wide open aperture at f/1.8 is offered with the lens, which is nice for such a thin camera.

Although it is great to find a touch screen display in this Canon model, the design of the camera has not been in quite a while. The older menus don’t make best use of the screen functionality as they should do. The 3.0-inch display screen will bring you the images of high resolution and sharpness.

A popup flash unit has been included with the the S120. With this flash unit, the performance is great even in the low light conditions. However, there is no hot shoe which you can use to attach an external flash unit.


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