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Canon PowerShot S120 real-world samples (UPDATED)

By dpreview staff on Oct 7, 2013 at 11:02 GMT
Buy on GearShop$449.00

Canon's new 12MP PowerShot S120 arrived in our Seattle office a few days ago and we've created a small gallery of samples, taken in a range of different conditions to show off what the camera can do. The PowerShot S120 features a 24-120mm (equivalent) zoom lens which starts at F1.8 at the wide end. We've just added more images to the gallery, to show off the S120's abilities in low light. Click the links below to see our gallery.

Canon PowerShot S120 Real-world Samples: Published October 7, 2013

There are 38 images in our samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.

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Canon PowerShot S120

Comments

Total comments: 66
boogisha
By boogisha (6 months ago)

I really hope for that full review for a while now, it should be there, soon hopefully :) As a note for the reviewer, it would be good to pay extra attention to video sound "muting" while zooming in/out, checking how annoying it actually is (topic about it here -- http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3562922).

0 upvotes
hal Sandick
By hal Sandick (6 months ago)

Do you plan to have a full review? My wife is buying me a camera for my birthday (middle of November) and I'm trying to decide between this camera and the sony rx-100 II. Your review would help me make my decision.

Thanks.

Hal

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (6 months ago)

After looking at these samples and the samples from other sites, I'm more and more convinced that DPReview's copy has a decentered lens. None of the other samples I found on other sites have the same non-uniform sharpness or the large amount of axial chromatic aberration that these samples display.

1 upvote
jim seekers
By jim seekers (6 months ago)

I preffer 28mm than 24mm and its about time canon stoped living in the 20th century and came up to date with their own version of the RX100 ... Killer Cam.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (6 months ago)

$449.00? Is it some kind of a joke? I can get the RX100 for $50 more... the only advantage the S120 has over the RX100 is the wider lens and the Wi-Fi...

0 upvotes
vapentaxuser
By vapentaxuser (6 months ago)

Also, the capacitive touch screen.

0 upvotes
Boky
By Boky (6 months ago)

RX100 looks and feels like a brick. It is not pocketable. Have you actually tried holding and using RX100 and S110? RX100 and RX100II have yellow overcast as well and this can not be removed easily.

RX100II is a great camera. I thank Sony for finally forcing Canon to come with really good S120 to compete. I will now seriously consider upgrading my S90. RX100 / 100II are way too heavy and big to be considered as a threat to S120. I will always sacrifice a bit of performance for a true pocketability and wonderful colour straight out of jpges and raws.

0 upvotes
simon65
By simon65 (6 months ago)

It would be nice to compare these S120 shots with some samples from its closest rival, the Nikon P330 launched last March. Any chance DPR? The Nikon's been kicking around for some time.. Thanks

0 upvotes
vapentaxuser
By vapentaxuser (6 months ago)

I would like to point out, in defense of the dpreview guys, that the lighting conditions here in Seattle this weekend were about as bad as you can get for photography. So just keep that in mind when looking at the photos.

0 upvotes
Red Swan
By Red Swan (6 months ago)

The colors are dull and lifeless to my taste. Really missed IQ from older Canon PowerShots like my old 4MP Ixus SD10 from 2003.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

What are you making general IQ claims based on jpegs from a camera that shoots raw?

0 upvotes
jim seekers
By jim seekers (6 months ago)

I find AWB on the Sony RX100 to be Poor.
Greens are Rendered very Poor on the RX100 ... wonder if anyone agrees.
and RX100 is more easy to mark around the lens with the black around the lens ring that comes away ... might be that my nails are a little long.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Boky
By Boky (6 months ago)

I tried RX100 as a possible replacement for my lovely S90, and was stunned by size, weight, yellow and green overcast. Returned it immediately. Now, S120 might be the S90 replacement. I gave up on RX100 / 100II and I really wanted to give Sony a go....

0 upvotes
qianp2k
By qianp2k (6 months ago)

I like Canon S-series colors and IQ in general from perspective of 1/1.7" sensor size. However personally I will not buy another S-series compact. My S95 suffers that notorious lens error second time (the lens gets jammed and unable to extend). This time Canon refused to give another free fix and it doesn't make sense that I would spend $170 for a fix. This lens issue that I believe on flaw designed lens assembly is pretty common in S-series cameras. The issues in both cases developed by its own not because of any abuses or drops or squeezed. I just bought on unbelievable $399 deal of EOS-M with 18-55, 22 pancake and 90EX flash last night. That's my new replacement of S-series camera. Bigger and heavier but at least will not have this stupid lens issue, and can use my EF lenses thru an adapter.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
WayneDB
By WayneDB (6 months ago)

Where did you get the $399 deal? I got one with the 22mm only for $355 but want to get another spare.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (6 months ago)

I have S95 and it's fine, never heard of "notorious lens error". Got approximately 5000 pics, that means lens opened and closed 4000 times, since I take usually one shot at time....

0 upvotes
qianp2k
By qianp2k (6 months ago)

WayneDB: http://www.canonpricewatch.com/blog/2013/10/insane-eos-m-18-55mm-22mm-90ex-for-399-at-buydig-via-ebay/

Jerome: It's a known and common issue. Just search and you will find many had that issue. It's a design flaw although not affecting to all owners that depends on how you use it. My copy is lightly used and took no more than 1000 shots but it's 3 years old (I bought in full price when it's launched). Now it's useless.

0 upvotes
arammc
By arammc (6 months ago)

I had the same lens error issue on my s95. They wouldn't even cover mine under warranty. I got a micro-four thirds (bigger but better) and haven't looked back

0 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (6 months ago)

Ugh. Terrible dynamic range, witness the leaves in front of the elephant and the hand and bird feathers that are completely blown out. Not impressed.

2 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (6 months ago)

Looking at the sample pictures they seems quite underwhelming (I don't think that this is a photographer fault). If this is fifth generation of wonderful (at the time) S90 from years back what one can say about progress of this line? This is not outside of the box approach. Sony has shown with RX100 what is possible with pocketable camera. Smart phones are making the segment S120 is placed within looks really obsolete.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (6 months ago)

The difference is the 5x zoom lens.

I don't think cell phones have this feature and, until they do, it is a very biased comparison.

So, one may prefer a cell phone for some reason and one may prefer cameras with adjustable focal lengths.

There was a time when having an adjustable focal length lens was a big deal. Who remembers the 'human zoom' commercials..? Now, everyone wants to use a prime lens :^)

As far as the Sony being an example of a pocketable camera. Again, does it have a zoom lens? I think it is one focal length but really don't know.

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (6 months ago)

You can get zoom attachment for smart phones. There is also high quality QX10, again from Sony.
Cell phones being most used photographic devices on this planet will keep evolving unlike small sensor compact. Not to mention that smart phones set of utilities cannot be matched by any camera yet.
I would like to point you to reviews of Sony Cybershot RX100 and RX100II. You might want to find out answer to your question and much, much more...

0 upvotes
bzanchet
By bzanchet (6 months ago)

100% crop images are too noisy, too close to the new gen of smartphones cameras...

2 upvotes
bzanchet
By bzanchet (6 months ago)

I wish Sony RX100 have the colors of this Canon! Would be great to combine the sharpness and low light ability of the RX100 with the color on the Canon S series!

1 upvote
Vladik
By Vladik (6 months ago)

totally, those images look super smooth, love it. RX100 sensor with Canon Digic and it's a winner for sure!

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Where are y'all getting raws?

And the RX100II is going to be a good bit better in lowlight.

0 upvotes
B1ackhat
By B1ackhat (6 months ago)

Agreed! Sony's tone/color/AWB is pretty awful, but I tolerate it b/c the camera just puts out some damn fine IQ.

0 upvotes
maksa
By maksa (6 months ago)

Google Analytics links look so weird.

0 upvotes
SayCheesePlease
By SayCheesePlease (6 months ago)

I have the s95, a super little camera. the s120 looks like it has many fine worthwhile improvements. A camera also held in high regard is the Sony RX100.

Wouldn't it be great if we could combine the best of these to great cameras!

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (6 months ago)

How do you not take even one low light shot in all of those samples?

The picture of the sky in low light doesn't count.. because it's a picture of the lit sky..

What's going on over at dpr?

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (6 months ago)

Calm down - these pictures were mostly taken in a single day -we'll be adding more pictures to this gallery this week.

3 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (6 months ago)

Thank you.

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (6 months ago)

Hi Barney,
Can you tell me why DPR seems to always gravitate towards bright light shots? I know they were all done in one day, but what about shooting golden hour?

I assume the answer is you intentionally take shots in less than ideal light to push the camera and see what it is capable of doing in less than ideal conditions. Is that a conscience decision? Take the elephant shot for example. Bright light and shadows in one shot?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (6 months ago)

In this case, the answer was simply that I had an extremely compressed timeframe to get the pictures up for publication this morning. Nothing more. I had plans one evening for some social activities, which fell through, hence no people pictures (yet). I updated the gallery an hour or so ago (it's 38 pictures now) to add some low-light pictures, too.

When you're handed a camera late on a Friday, you just do what you can :)

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (6 months ago)

Thank you for the explanation. However, I'll say that I hardly ever look at bright light photos anymore, since almost any pocket camera or smartphone can excel in those conditions. Low light is certainly the differentiator: For noise, for low-light detail, for wide-open lens performance... Low light tells us everything about the camera while bright light tells us nothing compared to other cameras.

The question then is whether DPR has more to gain by posting pictures sooner that don't provide enough differentiating information about the camera versus other cameras (i.e. low value examples), or posting pictures later that are worth examining closely (high value examples).

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (6 months ago)

Barny,
I also thank you for your explanation.
I also second other posters: I would like more low light photos; both at high iso and low iso (using tripod). Remember Fuji's X-10 and its superb low light performance? I am always eager for a camera that can approach that level of performance, and if all test photos took similar subjects in similar light, then comparing one camera to another would be more of an apples to apples (Washington apples of course) experience.
Thanks for posting.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mjdundee
By mjdundee (6 months ago)

Wow - what a surprise: lots of blown highlights, average sharpness and the overall IQ of a $200.00 point and shoot camera.
The only amazing 'improvement' of the S120 is the price tag (for Canon).
Maybe some more serious sample shots would have helped to find out what is so special except the size and operations (nearly unchanged since the S90)

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Wait for raws and serious raw extraction software.

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (6 months ago)

Well, what would the pictures look like if the exposure was for the highlights and then shadows lifted in PP ? I imagine they would look better.

For the elephant picture, the elephant was well exposed, I think. For an in-camera JPG, something has to give and I guess it may as well be leaves. They still have some color.

Instant sharing seems to be a big deal now. People muttering they don't have time for a whole weekend of PP to share a pic. They need to do it now. Sharing aside, what do those people or JPG people do..?

I imagine they expose as best they can for the elephant and let the leaves go a bit. Or, they have reasonably exposed leaves and a dark elephant. I kinda like the bright leaves.

Or, they expose for the highlights and do PP stuff. I have lots of P/S pics with odd elements. I expose for the subject and the rest falls where it will. I don't want to PP P/S images...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (6 months ago)

Given that the "big" upgrade is the F1.8 versus F2.0 it would be nice to see more lowlight shots.

For most of your examples, an iphone would have been fine....

Also on my review wishlist: since canon is making some fairly dramatic claims on speed and responsiveness improvements over the S110 it would be nice if you had some sort of timing comparison between the new and old model to help us determine if an upgrade is worthwhile.

4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (6 months ago)

More low-light shots are on the way.

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (6 months ago)

I think I see what you mean by a cell phone could have taken these kinds of pictures. But it isn't always about low light. The elephant picture was taken at 26mm.

0 upvotes
utomo99
By utomo99 (6 months ago)

I hope canon review Canon S 120 and also Panasonic LF1. and compare it with LX7 and also RX 100 MK2

0 upvotes
utomo99
By utomo99 (6 months ago)

I wish Canon make real competitor of Sony RX 100.
This S series did not really RX 100 competitor.

2 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (6 months ago)

I am surprised that after 1 year there is still no direct competitor to the RX100.

4 upvotes
M DeNero
By M DeNero (6 months ago)

Not many want to pay $750 for a tiny camera. Canon is too intelligent to create an RX100 competitor.

0 upvotes
ThaQuest
By ThaQuest (6 months ago)

don't know why i would get this when i could get the eos M + 22 f2 for less money...and still stuck with an S100.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (6 months ago)

How about so you aren't stuck at 35mm equivalent all the time, and how about so you have something that's thin and pocketable?

13 upvotes
Altruisto
By Altruisto (6 months ago)

I see at least one advantage: the longest focal seems improved on the S110 I own. Other than that, noise performance seems to be on par, and the lens has always that trend to bloom (haloes around whites).

0 upvotes
BeaniePic
By BeaniePic (6 months ago)

No mention on either the S120 and G16 features, up to 9FPS (12 FPS for first 5 shots) with continuous focusing. New Star Shooting mode including Time lapse. 60FPS movies etc.... Image quality enhanced with sensor and DIGIC 6 etc... All in a pocket-able camera...

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (6 months ago)

Looks to me like the lens is decentered. I've had lenses that looked like that before and they were repaired or replaced. If this is the lens performance of the actual in-spec article, that's not good at all.

1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (6 months ago)

DPR: I see MANY previews, but hardly any review. What's happening?

9 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (6 months ago)

We only received this camera 3 days ago.

4 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (6 months ago)

canon also stated that the focus and shot to shot (?) speeds were increased, can you test that please? between the S90/100/110/120? I'm wondering if the power up time has down down as well. Thank You.

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (6 months ago)

@Barney: I am not asking specifically about this preview. I am talking about ALL the previews that have been floating around since the beginning of the year. Many of those cameras are already on the shelf, so there's no excuse about availability. If DPR is not impressed by those cameras, they can easily add a note explaining their gripes or concerns and why they have chosen not to review those cameras.

1 upvote
Tan68
By Tan68 (6 months ago)

Well, it has been 4 days now.
Where is the review!?
What did DPR do yesterday...
Seattle take a day off??

hup, hup :^)

0 upvotes
Stitzer23
By Stitzer23 (6 months ago)

dear dpr, can you please include an indoor bar scene whenever you take test shots like these.

6 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (6 months ago)

Include a newspaper with date and headline visible.

0 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (6 months ago)

For a camera model that has changed so little from the previous version, I am surprised dpreview is spending time on it.

2 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (6 months ago)

Indeed, the S110 review/compact roundup isn't even a year old yet... You'd think something truly new (Panasonic LF1?) would fall in first in the queue. The S line sells very well tho so I imagine the review will get plenty of attention... The S120 MSRP just seems like such a poor value compared to the S110 @ $350 or even the LF1 @ <$450 tho.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (6 months ago)

New lens, new processor. That's hardly a small change.

0 upvotes
BeaniePic
By BeaniePic (6 months ago)

Up to 9FPS with AF in M, TV, AV and P and Starlight Photography and Time Lapse Movie. Also backgroud defocus. I wish everyone would actually find out what the new features are, before commenting. This is a completely different camera V the S110 as is the G16 V the G15, same new features in both...

0 upvotes
108
By 108 (6 months ago)

Anybody doing better with a DSLR ? ( just kiddin' ...)

0 upvotes
Martin87
By Martin87 (6 months ago)

Looks Ok. But nothing special. S120 is a tiny upgrade in my opinion.

4 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (6 months ago)

agree

0 upvotes
BeaniePic
By BeaniePic (6 months ago)

Disagree. Look at the specs... http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Cameras/Digital_Camera/PowerShot/PowerShot_S120/

0 upvotes
Total comments: 66