Canon Powershot SX120 IS : Compare Prices and Read Reviews

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Canon Powershot SX120 IS Review

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS camera is part of Canon's PowerShot series featuring compact digital cameras with a lot of features. This series also promises to be an affordable yet powerful compact digital camera. Upon evaluation, the PowerShot SX120 IS is truly a feature-packed digital camera that's quite affordable. It boasts of a 10x optical zoom lens with an optical Image Stabilizer and offers manual and semi-manual controls for more flexibility. Here's a list of this powerful camera's features.

The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS comes with a 10 megapixel sensor and Canon's world renowned DIGIC 4 Image processor. This setup is enhanced by a 10x Optical zoom lens with a built-in Image Stabilization function. This powerful combination ensures that you get professional quality pictures all the time.

With a 10 megapixel sensor you can shoot large images up to a size of 3648 x 2736 pixels. This will allow you to print 8 x 10 inch pictures at great quality. You also get Canon's long years of expertise in the digital imaging industry with the DIGIC 4 Image processor. But what makes this camera stand out is the built-in optical image stabilization (IS) feature. With IS at work, it will help you take sharper pictures and reduce blurring brought about by camera shake. The IS technology also allows you to shoot handheld at lower shutter speed settings without having to use a flash and still come up with sharper images. This is of course, as compared to using a camera without Image stabilization.

The 10x optical zoom is equivalent to a focal range of 36-306mm in a 30mm. Unfortunately, the lens is not wide-angle. Our team prefers a wide-angle lens. Taking pictures of landscapes or large groups is easier if you have a wide-angle lens. The 10x optical zoom however is powerful enough to zoom in on distant subjects. And we just love how the pictures turned out. The colors looked natural and images were very sharp even with the zoom fully extended.

The PowerShot SX120 IS is easy to use even for first time users. This camera comes with an Easy mode and a Smart Auto shooting mode to make your life easier. In Easy Mode the camera does all the work for you. All you have to do is point and shoot. The built-in flash will even automatically pop up when needed. In the Smart Auto shooting mode, the camera uses Canon's Scene Detection Technology to determine the shooting conditions and set the camera to the proper settings for effortless shooting all the time.

But this camera is not only for beginners. More advance users will love the opportunity to be able to set the camera in manual and semi-manual settings. You can set the camera to Full Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, or Programmed AE. These settings are similar to those that can be found in digital SLRs for professional photographers. This makes this camera perfect for beginners who want to practice with these manual and semi-manual settings in preparation for owning a digital SLR in the future. It also makes this camera perfect for advance users who enjoy using these settings but can't afford to buy a professional digital SLR.

Understandably, with a more powerful zoom lens, the camera is bigger and bulkier than most point-and-shoot cameras. It also is heavier than the slimmer and more compact models. Adding to this is the fact that the camera supports AA sized batteries. We consider this an advantage however, as AA batteries tend to last longer and they can be replaced more easily because of its availability in any convenience store or supermarket. The camera's added size and weight doesn't make it very handy. However, given the additional features and flexibility that it provides, it still is worth carrying around. Besides, it is still smaller and lighter than a digital SLR.

Added bonuses for this camera are the video recording capability and the 3.0 inch color display. The PowerShot SX120 IS is capable of recording videos at the standard resolution of 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second. Video quality is good enough but we would have preferred high definition (HD) recording. Given this camera's price range, we don't think Canon would be upgrading this to HD anytime soon. A nice surprise though is the camera's 3.0 inch color LCD display. We always love a large display. It just makes composing pictures for a shot and then viewing them later much easier.

Canon Powershot SX120 IS Sample Image 1

Canon Powershot SX120 IS Sample Image 2

When composing pictures in direct sunlight, it is sometimes hard to see clearly through the LCD display. For this reason, we would have preferred an optical viewfinder in the camera. An optical viewfinder would also make the camera move a step closer to truly resembling a digital SLR.

Aside from all these, the PowerShot SX120 IS is also equipped with technologies that Canon developed to make photography easier. The camera supports 22 different scene modes, Auto red-eye correction, Advance Face Detection technology that can detect up to 35 faces, Face Self-timer, and i-Contrast just to name a few.


- 10.0 Megapixels with Canon's DIGIC 4 Imaging processor
- 10x Optical zoom lens
- Built-in lens-shift type Optical Image Stabilizer
- 3.0 inch color LCD at 230,000 dots
- 2 AA sized Battery support
- Canon's Easy Mode Operation
- Smart Auto Shooting Mode
- 640 x 480 video recording at 30 fps
- ISO Sensitivity from 80-3200


- Excellent image quality
- Semi-manual and manual controls
- Affordable
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- Easy to use


- A bit bulky
- Not wide-angle
- No optical zoom during video recording
- No optical viewfinder


The Canon PowerShot SX120 IS is best suited for users looking for a powerful camera with manual settings and a powerful zoom at a not so expensive price. It can be a great camera for beginners who require the user-friendliness of a point-and-shoot camera but would want to experiment also with the manual controls of a digital SLR. It can also be perfect for advance users who enjoy the flexibility of having manual settings without having to deal with the bulkiness and intricacies of a digital SLR.

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

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Lowest Price: Amazon for $199.00

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Prices last updated on: Mon, 24 Jan 2022 18:41:08 PST

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