Canon PowerShot S120 Review

Review posted 04/02/2014

Quick Take
  • Thin camera with powerful list of features
  • One of the thinnest cameras available that can shoot in RAW
  • Image quality is very good in all shooting conditions
  • Extremely fast performer both in lack of shutter lag and in strong continuous shot mode in JPEG
  • One of thinnest f/1.8 lens cameras on market
  • Popup flash unit works well in low light situations
  • Touchscreen LCD simplifies camera operation
  • LCD offers sharp and bright images
  • Great mix of advanced manual control features and fully automatic features
  • Price is very competitive versus other cameras in this advanced fixed lens category
  • Limited telephoto capabilities at 5x optical zoom measurement
  • No hot shoe for adding accessories, such as an external viewfinder
  • S120's suggested price is almost equal to a basic interchangeable lens camera
  • Limited manual control options when shooting movies
  • Camera's burst mode slows considerably when shooting in RAW
  • Wi-Fi feature drains battery quickly and can be a little tough to set up for novices
  • Battery life overall is disappointing
  • Touchscreen options could be better with redesigned menus
  • No USB cable included in S120 kit
Bottom Line
Canon has created a very likable pocket-sized advanced fixed-lens camera with its PowerShot S120 model. This camera creates great images and works faster than its predecessor, thanks to the impressive DIGIC 6 image processor. The S120 minimizes shutter lag and provides a very impressive burst mode of about 10 frames per second. You'll find a sharp and bright touchscreen LCD with the S120 as well as built-in Wi-Fi, although both of these features could be better designed. Poor battery life, a limited 5x optical zoom lens, the lack of a hot shoe, and a high price hold the S120 back a little bit, but it's still an impressive thin camera. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
Canon's pocket-sized PowerShot S120 is the successor to the S110. The S120 features a 12.1-megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS image sensor, a 5x (24-120mm) wide angle zoom lens with an f/1.8-f/5.7 aperture, a DIGIC 6 image processor, improved Auto Focus speeds, up to 12.1 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and 1080/60p Full HD video record with a built-in stereo microphone and HDMI output.

The PowerShot S120 also includes built-in Wi-Fi to transfer still images and video to places like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Interestingly, there are actually three ways to use the S120's Wi-Fi:

  1. Connect the S120 to a PC over a local Wi-Fi network.
  2. Connect the S120 to the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY online photo album.
  3. Connect the S120 to a smartphone or tablet running the Canon CameraWindow app (available for iOS and Android). This app also allows users to control the S120 remotely.

The PowerShot S120 also boasts Canon's Smart AUTO technology as well as a number of Creative Shot Modes. Smart AUTO automatically chooses between 58 pre-defined scenes based on shooting conditions to ensure proper exposure. And the Creative Modes are things like HDR (High Dyanmic Range), the all new Star Mode which takes both long exposure stills and time-lapse movies of night skies, and a Background Defocus mode, which approximates shallow depth-of-field.

Canon PowerShot S120 Features:
  • 12.1-megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS image sensor (1/1.7" type)
  • 5x optical zoom lens
  • DIGIC 6 processor
  • Continuous High Speed Capture of up to 12.1 frames-per-second
  • Full 1080/60p HD Video
  • Creative Shot Modes
    • Star Mode
    • Background Defocus
    • Handheld HDR Scene
  • Smart AUTO Technology
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    • Canon Camera Window app
  • Li-ion battery pack (rated up to 260 shots)
  • SD card slot

Canon's PowerShot S120 has a suggested retail price of $449.99. It's available in any color, so long as it's black.

What's in the box?:
  • PowerShot S120 Digital Camera
  • Battery Pack NB-6LH
  • Battery Charger CB-2LY
  • Wrist Strap WS-DC11

Additional Product Views

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