S120 is an excellent camera

Started Nov 8, 2013 | User reviews
Cihangir Gzey Contributing Member • Posts: 565
S120 is an excellent camera

This was the camera I was waiting for to change my beloved Fuji F200EXR for travel photography. I did some side by side portrait shot comparisons with Canon 50D+85mm f/1.8 (indoor, ISO1600, artifical light) yesterday. IMHO, the difference in quality is not well worth carrying huge DSLR stuff since side by side comparison is satisfactory for me (casual non-pro, family and light travel photo taking). If I hadn't had EF-S 10-22 in hand, I would willingly sell my beloved 50D. I think Canon finally did it. I primarily choosed this model over RX100II for having 24mm and being smaller & lighter. Not finished all fancy stuff inside yet (like Wifi, face register recognition reliability, etc.).

My observations so far for this little squeezed down monster:


-24mm (with little barrel distortion). 5x zoom.

-Very light and small in hand. Paint is non-slippery.

-Very high quality premium finish. Pleasure to handle and play with. Front rotary switching knob is very nicely implemented. All switches, buttons, doors are premium. Nothing is el-cheapo in this camera. Made in Japan by the way. As good as it gets.

-VERY FAST start up, AF, operation, menu scroll, etc. This little camera is like SUZUKI ESCUDO DIRT TRIAL CAR (PIKES PEAK EDITION)! Very small and very powerful.

-Touch screen operation is fantastic. Menu layout is easy.

-AF is instant.

-1080 60p indoor video is buttery smooth with good Image Stabilisation operation with very little noise (I wish there had been manual adjustment stuff inside the menus). Optical zooming while taking video is so smooth and engaging.

-Manual flash and its place is proper for flawless usage. It doesn't go up automatically.


-Mode adjustment knob is a little on hard side (maybe after some usage it softens)

-NO PANORAMA MODE. WHY!? OK this is an expert camera but... I want sweep panorama mode without PC struggle.

-No manual video adjustment stuff (not possible to adjust aperture or shutter speed). As the sensor is just 1/1.7", it will not make any creamy bokeh to select big apertures in this camera. Maybe that is the reason why it is not put over there.

If Canon puts back above CONS related tools inside in a future firmware, this camera will become almost perfect.

Canon PowerShot S120
12 megapixels • 3 screen • 24 – 120 mm (5×)
Announced: Aug 22, 2013
Cihangir Gzey's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Canon EOS 50D Canon PowerShot S120 Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Sony RX100
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boogisha Contributing Member • Posts: 591
Re: S120 is an excellent camera

Thanks for the review!

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 4,085
Re: S120 is an excellent camera

Telling it like it is, an excellent review, Cihangir Gzey.

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Thanks for posting, have a great day.

afm Regular Member • Posts: 361
Re: S120 is an excellent camera

May I ask your opinion of the G15s IQ.  Have a chance to get one but wondered if spending a bit more on a G16 would be worth it.  Only concerned with IQ.  Thank you.  Regards Alan

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PC Wheeler
PC Wheeler Forum Pro • Posts: 17,765
Re: S120 is an excellent camera

afm wrote:

May I ask your opinion of the G15s IQ.

PMFJI, but I prefer the G15 IQ to that of the S120. I've had two S120s and both showed some color fringing at edges when shooting f/1.8 to f/2.8 wide open (24 mm). The first was far worse than the second -- and my S100 did better than both under the same conditions. Note: A minor niggle; the S120 excels at fast AF, even in low light where my S100 will not focus at all -- plus I prefer the mp4 movies of the S120 to MOV of S100 and G15.

A big plus of the S120 is that it goes wider than the G15/16: 24-120 mm vs. 28-140 mm. Big plus of the G15/16 is faster lens (f/1.8-2.8 with zoom vs. f/1.8-5.7) -- and the OVF which I find usable on my G15.

And of course there is the size difference.

As an aside. I bought the S120 because I feared my S100 (Lens Failure S/N range) would fail and leave me without my small camera. After S120 #1 arrived my S100 did fail. Five days later it returned from Canon Service all repaired at no cost. In the end I returned S120 #2 because for shooting outdoors in good light the S100 IQ just seemed better to me -- and now I trust the S100.

But not having an S100 the S120 would have been a requirement vs. using my iPhone 5S for such shooting.

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