Features & Controls

The SX120 IS features a Canon all-glass 10x zoom lens that covers a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 36-360mm. The maximum aperture range is from f/2.8 wide to f/4.3 telephoto makes tack-sharp long telephoto shooting positively practical. Despite its extensive optical range, this the lens is quite compact. By retracting into the camera when the camera is powered down this unit allows the SX120 to retain it's compact super-zoom status.

With Canon's optical Image Stabilization technology, users have the flexibility of actually shooting at shutter speeds 2-3 stops lower than would otherwise be possible. The PowerShot SX120 IS features multi-mode Image Stabilization - users can choose between Continuous IS (always active), Panning IS (active when vertical camera shake is detected) and a "Shoot Only" IS mode (active when the shutter is pressed all the way.)

The SX120 employs a high-speed 9-point TTL Autofocus system. You can choose from Normal, Macro and Manual focus modes as well as AF frame size, AP-Point Zoom and AF Frame options via the menu. The focusing range is:

    Normal:1.6 ft. (50cm) - infinity (Wide), 3.3 ft. (1m) - infinity (Tele)
    Macro:0.4 in. - 1.6 ft. (1 - 50cm) Wide


The manual pop-up speedlight has modes for Auto, Auto w/ Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On w/Red-eye Reduction, Flash Off; FE Lock, Safety FE, Slow Synchro. Flash Exposure Compensation can be adjusted from of ± 2.0 stops in 1/3- stop increments via the Function shortcut menu.

The working flash range is:

    Normal: 1.6-9.8 ft./50cm-3.0m (W), 3.3-6.6 ft./1-2.0m (T) (ISO Auto)

The 230,000 pixel 3.0-inch color LCD that can be used for preview, review and accessing the camera's menu system. This display offers 100% frame coverage, along with 5 levels of brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, it does not feature a non-reflective coating.

Top Controls: On the left is the built-in speaker. The Mode Dial has positions for Easy, AUTO (point-n-shoot mode), Program AE, Tv (shutter speed-priority), Av (aperture-priority), Manual, Movie, SCeNe, Indoor, Kids&Pets, Night Snapshot, Landscape, and Portrait. Next is the Power button, and the Shutter release with the zoom controls mounted around it. The Zoom controls also activate the Magnify and Index options during image playback.


Controls on the back: Top left is the Print/Share button, which can also be set to control specific camera settings in Record mode. On the right of the LCD is the Playback button. Below that we have the dedicated Face Select button, which enables a face priority type mode. You select the main subject's face, and the camera will track and keep the exposure and AF locked on that subject. The exposure compensation button also switches between aperture and shutter speed values when using Av/Tv/M modes. During playback, it functions at the delete button. The 4way controller on the SX110 is unique, as it offers a control dial. Not only do you press the dial up, down, left and right, but it can also be rotated. As with past models, press "Up" to change ISO, "Right" for flash mode, "Down" to change the Drive mode or "Left" to change focus modes. Rotating the dial allows you to quickly navigate the menu, search through stored images as well as controls various functions depending on the exposure mode being used (like aperture and shutter speed values, Movie mode, etc.) In the center is the FUNCtion/SET button, which calls up the function shortcut menu, as well as accepts menu selections. Lastly, we have the DISPlay button to control the amount of overlay info on the LCD, and the Menu button to call up/dismiss the onscreen menu system.


I/O ports are located on the right hand side, the DC INput jack for the optional ACK800 AC adapter kit. Next is the combination USB 2.0 Hi-Speed data and the A/V Output port, video is selectable for NTSC or PAL. On the left hand side of the camera is the date battery holder, which allows the camera to remember settings as well as the time and date.

The SX120 stores images and movies on SD/SDHC memory card, MultiMediaCard, MMCplus card and HC MMCplus card. Canon includes a 128MB card but you'll be better served with at least a 1GB sized memory card. See the charts below for approx. storage capacities.

Number of Recordable Images
Large (L) Medium 1 (M1) Medium 2 (M2) Medium 3 (M3)
File Size (KB) 2,565 1,226 1,620 780 1,116 556 558 278
2GB 749 1,536 1,181 2,363 1,707 3,235 3,235 6,146
8GB 2,994 6,140 4,723 9,446 6,822 12,927 12,927 24,562

Small (S) Widescreen (W)
File Size (KB) 150 84 1,920 918
2GB 10,245 15,368 1,007 2,048
8GB 40,937 61,406 4,026 8,187

Time of Recordable Movies
Standard Definition
640 x 480 640 x 480 320 x 240
30 fps 30 fps LP 30 fps
Movie size (KB/sec.) 1,920 960 660
2GB 16 min. 47 sec. 33 min. 02 sec. 46 min. 33 sec.
8GB 1 hr. 07 min. 06 sec. 2 hr. 12 min. 03 sec. 3 hr. 06 min. 04 sec.
Note: N=Normal, F=Fine
Storage Capacity varies depending on camera settings. This data is estimated from Canon's
standard shooting conditions. Figures for Movie Mode represent total capacity of the
particular media.


Power is supplied by 2 standard AA type batteries, Canon supplies alkalines but we recommend high-capacity NiMH rechargeable AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries will save you money in the long run, and can be reused hundreds of times.

Canon estimates that the approx. battery life with alkalines is 130shots and a total of 7 hours of playback time. Using NiMH batteries you can expect approx. 370 shots or 9 hours of playback time. (LCD screen on. The above figures comply with CIPA testing standards and apply when fully-charged batteries are used.)

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