Canon Powershot SX20 IS : Compare Prices and Read Reviews

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Amazon for $349.00

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Canon Powershot SX20 IS Review

The Canon Powershot SX20 IS is an update of the SX10. Canon has installed several upgrades, starting with the increase in resolution from 10 megapixels to 12 megapixels. They also retained several elements, like the body, case, and the lens. It practically looks like SX10, save for slight changes in markings.

The camera looks like a compact DSLR. It has a matte-black plastic body, with some splashes of silver in the grip. It looks very sturdy. The grip is quite deep for a non-DSLR. It is measured at 4.9 X 3.5 X 3.4 inches and has an operating weight of 22.9 ounces. These figures make the SX20 heavier and bulkier than all the recent long-zoom digital cameras.

Almost all of the control buttons are on the right hand side. There are no buttons at the front camera. You will only see the stereo microphones in the upper left and right sides of the lens. The Canon SX20 IS has 20X wide-angle optical zoom lens with a focal length of 5 ? 100 mm with 35 mm equivalent of 28-560mm. The lens, along with the camera?s 12-megapixel resolution, gives the luxury of being able to effectively shoot any scene from wide-angle to telephoto. The SX20 has a VCM or Voice Coil Monitor to ensure a quiet, speedy, precise, and energy-efficient lens movement. You can see focal length markers when the lens zooms out. IS means that the camera is equipped with Canon's image stabilization that reduces camera blur when shooting, especially when using longer focal length. You will be assured of clear and crisp images, even when zoomed in.

The Canon SX20 IS allows you to record High Definition (1280 x 720) videos straight from your digital camera. You can even use the zoom, while recording video clips. The camera has an HDMI connector that will allow you to play videos or photo slideshows straight to your HDTV. This is a big upgrade from its predecessor that only records in VGA format. The video quality is good enough for a super-compact digital camera. The zoom function is useable while recording a video and you can take still photos simultaneously while recording a movie. You can start recording a movie, by just pressing the movie button. It is fast and easy to create your own HD video.

In shooting stills, the camera is equipped with the new Smart AUTO. Canon worked so hard to give you the greatest enjoyment when using their cameras. They developed multiple technologies to give the best photography experience. You do not have to worry about the technical aspects of shooting; just set the dial to smart AUTO and the SX20 IS will choose the best settings for you, every time you press the shutter button. Smart Auto will intelligently choose the best scene mode among 22 predefined settings. This is very essential when shooting spontaneous events that will lead to amazing memories.

PASM settings are also available with 20 other typical and special scenes. Special scenes include Stitch Assist, Color Accent, and Super Macro. Stitch assist will allow you to create magnificent panoramas by simply aligning sequential images. Color Accent makes you retain a single color, while turning the others into monochrome, resulting in a high impact image. Capture the most vivid and minute details of a subject up close, with Super Macro. The Super Macro mode is very effective from 0 to 3.9 inches.

Canon?s DIGIC 4 image processor powers the Powershot SX20 IS. Canon image processors have always been the benchmark in the industry and DIGIC 4 gives you faster processing and better image quality. With the help of ISAPS scene recognition technology, you will see the difference in focus speed, accuracy, white balance, and exposure.

The camera uses a 2.5 inch Varia-angle PureColor LCD screen. The LCD screen allows you to take photos, even in the most awkward angles. It also has an Electronic viewfinder that provides convenience in shooting close-ups, when in Super Macro mode. Both provide 100% coverage at 235,000 pixels. You will never miss an important scene with these elements. 4 AA batteries power the SX20 IS. If you run out of battery power, you can simply purchase AA batteries in stores worldwide. It would have been better though if Canon provided rechargeable batteries to have greater flexibility.

The camera has an ISO sensitivity ranging from 80-1600 with a special mode of 3200 that allows you to shoot in lowlight conditions without flash. You can either choose between 3 metering modes: evaluative, center-weighted, and spot.Canon increased the flash range in Automatic ISO for this camera compared to the previous models. It is now 22 ft for wide-angle and 12 ft for telephoto.

The Canon Powershot SX20 IS does not compromise speed. Its autofocus acquisition is 0.40 seconds, which is better than all of its competitors. The shutter lag is at an excellent 0.02 seconds.

For image quality, you can see some barrel distortion at wide-angles, which is expected in megazoom cameras. There are some softness on edges and corners. Minimal chromatic aberrations are also observed, although you will only notice this in 200% zoom. The colors from the sample images by the SX20 are accurate and the sharpness is moderate. With the help of Canon?s I-Contrast feature, you will be able to add more detail in the dark areas of your image, without affecting the lighter portions. All in all, the image quality is good and better than most of the cameras in the same category.

Canon Powershot SX20 IS Sample Image 1

Canon Powershot SX20 IS Sample Image 2


- 12.1 Megapixel
- 20 X Optical Zoom
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- HD Movie
- Digic 4
- 2.5 inch Vari-Angle LCD
- AA Battery Powered
- Smart Auto
- Intelligent Contrast Correction
- Super Macro Mode


- Fast Auto-Focus
- HD video capability
- Solid build and ergonomics


- Heavy and Bulky
- No RAW file support
- No Rechargeable Battery Provided


The Canon Powershot SX20 IS is a solid megazoom camera. It offers great flexibility allowing you to capture images as close as 0 inches while giving you an ability to shoot effectively from a distance. Canon?s DIGIC 4 processor makes your images look their best no matter what setting you use.

The camera also allows you to create high definition movies with just a press of the dedicated movie button. You can take advantage of its zoom lens, while shooting movies, plus you can even take still images even when you are recording an HD movie. If you are a big fan of long zooms, then you should try to check out the Canon Powershot SX20 IS. It is a well-built long-zoom camera from one of the world?s most popular and reliable camera brands.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5

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Prices last updated on: Mon, 24 Jan 2022 17:46:11 PST

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