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Canon PowerShot S120

Canon PowerShot S120

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Price and Ratings

Source: Manufacturer

GENERAL

The PowerShot S120 was introduced by Canon in August 2013. It belongs to the enthusiast Compacts category.

Canon is well-known and shouldn't require further introduction, please see our manufacturer's page for more digital cameras by Canon.

ManufacturerCanon
CategoryEnthusiast Compact
Introduced08/2013
SENSOR

The PowerShot S120 features a CMOS sensor in Compact size that has an area of approximately 6 x 5 mm² (0.24" x 0.18").

The PowerShot S120's image sensor has an effective resolution of around 12 megapixel. The resolution is somewhat below average but will be sufficient for most purposes. Photos with this resolution can easily be printed to A3 size.

The Canon supports taking images in RAW. RAW images are stored as they come from the sensor, without any in-camera processing or sharpening. Converting to JPEG or other formats takes place on the computer, using software like Adobe Lightroom or Canon's RAW converter. This involves one extra processing step but almost always results in superior image quality. Some filters, like converting to monochrome (black and white) will only yield decent results when used with RAW images.

FormatCompact
Sensor area6.17 x 4.55mm²
(0.24" x 0.18")
TypeCMOS
Resolution (physical)12.10 megapixel
Resolution (effective)12.10 megapixel
Pixel size2.37 µm²
Sensor cleaning
RAW support
Continuous 9 frames/second
LENS

The PowerShot S120 has a built-in lens that can not be changed.

The Canon's focal length goes from 24mm to 120mm, a zoom range of 5x. The aperture varies from F1.8 at the short or wide-angle end, to F5.7.

Interchangeable
Focal length (min)24mm
Focal length (max)120mm
Aperture (max)1.8
Aperture (min)5.7
VIEWFINDER

The PowerShot S120 does not come with a built-in viewfinder. The camera's display is used to compose the photo. That can be cumbersome in broad daylight.

SHUTTER

The PowerShot S120's shutter speeds range from 1/2500s to 250s.

The highest shutter speed of the Canon is just 1/2500s. That's no longer state of the art and may cause problems in challenging light conditions.

Max. shutter speed1/2500s
Min. shutter speed250s
SENSITIVITY

The PowerShot S120's sensitivity goes from 80 ISO und 12800 ISO, a very useful and practical range.

Automatic
Min. sensitivity80 ISO
Max. sensitivity12800 ISO
METERING

The PowerShot S120 supports all common metering modes.

The Canon will also allow spot metering, a must for challenging motives.

Multi
Center weight
Partial
Spot
AUTO FOCUS

The PowerShot S120's auto focus processor uses 9 AF points (or sensors). A basic rule of thumb says that the more AF points you have, the better. More AF points mean a better chance to have a point at the location of interest in a scene, a big plus in challenging situations (e.g. with low contrast subjects).

Manual focus is also possible with the Canon, a plus in tricky situations or for some creative freedom.

TypeTTL
AF points9
Manual focus
FLASH

The PowerShot S120 features a built-in flash with a range of up to 7m (23 ft.). That range will work for most situations.

A hotshoe is missing from the Canon.

Built-in
Range7.00m
(23 ft.)
Hot shoe
DISPLAY
PowerShot S120 display and touch screen

The PowerShot S120 features a monitor with a diagonal of 75.00mm (3.0 in.) and a resolution of c. 0.92 megapixel. That's about average.

Unfortunately, the PowerShot S120's monitor is not articulated. That can make it tricky to frame your subject in some situations, e.g. when taking selfies.

The PowerShot S120's monitor can work as a touch screen, just like a smartphone. That can be very useful, for example to pick AF points, but keep in mind that touch screens usually don't work when wearing gloves.

Display characteristics at a glance:

TypeLCD
Size75.00mm (diagonal)
(3.0 in.)
Resolution0.92 megapixel
Articulated
Touch screen
VIDEO

When recording videos with the PowerShot S120, the highest supported resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixel, in other words Full HD Video. 4K videos are not supported by the Canon.

A connector for an external microphone is missing from the Canon. A built-in mike will usually record everything in front and to the sides of the camera which is not always what the film maker wants. Internal microphones also tend to record camera sounds like focus beeps.

Videos with the Canon PowerShot S120 at a glance:

Max. resolution1920 x 1080 pixel
...with frame rates30 frames/second
60 frames/second
External microphone
CONNECTIVITY & WIRELESS

The PowerShot S120 has Wifi connectivity already built-in. Use Wifi to transfer images to a smartphone or computer and to remote control the camera.

Connect the Canon to a monitor or TV set over HDMI.

The Canon connects to your PC over USB 2.0.

The Canon's connectivity at a glance:

WiFi
Bluetooth
NFC
Remote (wired)
Remote (infrared)
Apps
HDMI (standard)
HDMI (mini)
HDMI (micro)
USB 2.0
USB 3.0
USB Micro
USB Mini
USB-C
Custom
STORAGE

What memory cards can be used with the Canon PowerShot S120?

The camera will accept all common SD HC and SD XC cards.

With an average image size of 5 megabytes (JPEG, fine) a 32 GByte memory card would hold up to 6400 images.

Supported memory cards at a glance:

Slots1
Memory cardsSD
SDHC
SDXC
MISC. FUNCTIONS

Let's have a look at some other features of the Canon PowerShot S120:

The PowerShot S120 doesn't have a built-in GPS receiver. If you want to add coordinates to your photos, you'll have to do so in 3rd party software like Adobe Lightroom. However, with Wifi built-in, location data can also be added via a connected smartphone.

The PowerShot S120 features a built-in stabilizer. With a 5x zoom a good thing to have.

A nice addition is the Canon's electronic level. The camera displays an indicator on the monitor that makes it super-easy to level the camera horizontally, very useful when doing architectural photography.

If you are into HDRs, the camera won't create those automatically. You will have to manually create image sequences and later assemble those sequnces in third-party software.

The PowerShot S120 is not environmentally sealed against dust and moisture; keep that in mind in the rain and on the beach.

The Canon's features in a handy table:

GPS
Image stabilizer
Level indicator
Panoramas
HDR
Environmentally sealed
BATTERY

The Canon PowerShot S120 works with a NB-6L LiIon battery. The battery lifetime is an average 230 shots. That's on the lower side of things for a full day, consider a spare battery for the PowerShot S120.

The battery can be charged over USB while in camera. Very useful, especially on vacation when most people bring a USB charger for their smartphone anyway.

The PowerShot S120's battery at a glance:

TypeNB-6L LiIon
Removable
In-camera charging
Battery life230 photos
DIMENSIONS

The Canon PowerShot S120's dimensions are 100.2 x 59 x 29mm³. (3.9" x 2.3" x 1.1"). This includes the lens. The camera's weight is only 217 grams (7.0 oz.), lens included.

Front and top view of the PowerShot S120 with dimensions:

Canon PowerShot S120 Dimensions (Width / Height)
Canon PowerShot S120 Dimensions (Width / Depth)
SIZE COMPARISON

To put the size of the camera in context, here it is next to a typical ID card (c. 86mm x 55mm, about the size of a credit card).

The PowerShot S120 is not much bigger:

Canon PowerShot S120 size comparison
ONLINE
DownloadSpecs, manual & software

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Price and Ratings

Source of specifications and product images: Manufacturer. This page was generated by an experimental computer program. Errors and omissions excepted.

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