Canon PowerShot S120 Compact Camera

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Key Features

  • 12MP 1/1.7"-type CMOS sensor
  • 24-120mm equivalent F/1.8-5.7 lens
  • ISO 80-12800
  • 12.1 fps for the first six frames and 9.4 fps for the remaining 635 shots with a UHS-1 SDHC/SDXC card
  • Touch-sensitive 3.0 inch PureColor II G screen with 922,000 dots
  • 1080p/60p HD video with touch AF while recording
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Manual focus peaking
  • DIGIC 6 processor
  • New star shooting, background defocus, HDR scene and artistc sub-modes plus manual exposure control

Product Description

Canon’s S120 is maintains the popular features of its popular S-series predecessors, but promises to be faster and brighter. The 24-120mm focal length of the S110 remains unchanged, but with a brighter f/1.8-5.7 maximum aperture range. The touch screen has improved resolution, and allows the user to utilize its touch AF control even during video. The S120’s video is also bumped to 60p, and retains use of the optical zoom while shooting. Rather than using an electronic motor as past S-series cameras did, the pop-up flash is now deployed via a sliding switch on the left side of the camera.


User Reviews

3.72917 out of 5 stars
  • SergeyMS, Nov 3, 2013 GMT:
    Excellent camera

    This is the most compact from good IQ quality camera. In my opinion, IQ is much better than S110, it is new level of quality. Can be compared with much more expensive cameras, but this camera has really pocket size. Fast focus, nice finishing, instant Canon colors. I did not find any deficiencies. Very often I use S95  (in my opinion it is better than S110), now have changed it to S120.

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  • Cihangir Gzey, Nov 8, 2013 GMT:
    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 ...

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  • Ibida Bab, Dec 18, 2013 GMT:

    This is one incredible little camera. Fantastic Japanese made quality construction, you will never have second thoughts about Japanese built cameras. This year I bought two Fujis (China) and one Pentax (Indonesia), they don't even come close to the quality of this Canon masterpiece. For its size it is extremely solid, it takes fantastic images, videos. Zoom is fast, perfect macro, Canon quality colors. Best $350 I've ever spent on a camera.

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  • Marco Nero, Dec 18, 2013 GMT:
    s120 Review - ultimately a disappointment.

    I recently purchased the Canon PowerShot s120 to replace my Canon PowerShot s95 and I was GREATLY disappointed with this camera. This is the FIRST product from Canon (out of dozens I have owned) that I marched back to the store and returned. It is certainly beautifully built. It functions exactly as you would want it to with insanely fast shutter actuation and superb AF accuracy and speed. It's fully featured although some of those features are somewhat crippled for the user (such as Star ...

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Questions & Answers


What camera gives the most publishable results in the smallest package?

Hello! This is my first post even though I have been following dpreview for years now, on and off. I'm currently looking for a replacement for my Canon 40D. I'm in the market because I wan't to shoot video and pics of my future dog that will be born sometime in april onwards. The 40D doesn't have video and that's the main reason I need a new camera. I don't want to shoot crappy Samsung Galaxy S3 video. I'm also an artist, and although my photography has been on a break, I would like to have sufficient gear to shoot high qualiity art photography with. The 40D is a fine camera, but I'm not completely satisfied with the low accuracy for larger prints. Story of What I've Already Considered: I'm somewhat on a budget and at first I was considering a compact, like Canon Powershot S110 or Olympus Stylus XZ-2. I was debating the size. Then I went camera crazy and upped my budget. There came the Canon S120, G15 and G16. Fujifilm X20 etc. Then I found sony cameras, the Sony RX100 and RX100 II. ...

JMC Art asked
2 months ago


For what you are looking for I think you should take a close look at micro four thirds cameras. The former Sony NEX line/new a6000 and similar apsc sensor mirrorless cameras are really nice. However, you are still essentially using lighter versions of apsc sized lenses. With micro four thirds you are getting a slightly smaller sensor but the lenses are also much smaller. This gives you a smaller overall package. The Panasonic GM1 is tiny. The system is also pretty mature so there are tons of lens options at various price points and a large market for used lenses compared to other mirrorless systems. I would take a look at the Panasonic GX7. It has great image quality in a small package and the auto focus is fast. All photos taken with a modern digital camera are publishable. In fact, you probably don't need more that 5 megapixels for enough resolution to publish something in a good sized print. Always remember, it is really the photographer that makes the photo, not the ... Continue Reading

John Carb answered
2 months ago

What camera was this taken with??? (or cell phone) If you want publishable results, ask yourself, what kind of theme's are you shooting? Nature, people, create your own (studio/outdoors) scene, action, close, far, National Geo, travel pics, social pics, product pics, and so on. I have a feeling that you may be happiest with the RX10, even though it is not the smallest - but it seems to bring together most of what you desire. It certainly has the best video quality. The RX100-II and Nex-6 with kit lens perform similar - you have to consider the Nex-6 with higher IQ (faster) lenses to make a difference. If so, the Nex-6/A6000 is a good choice. I have not looked at the G1X-II - it is RX10 like, but smaller (less reach), and it incorporates a larger (but Canon) sensor. Something else to consider. I would not consider anything with a smaller than 1" sensor. Continue Reading

blue_skies answered
2 months ago

Yeah, and I haven't seen a better sensor score in a smaller package. You really don't know what you want... as evidenced by your own responses to YOUR thread. You have successfully "milked" this thread for all it's (its) worth. Get a camera, take some pics, and get a life! Continue Reading

KwhyChang answered
2 months ago


Should I buy a Canon S120 or a Sony DSC-RX100? (Pocket User-Friendly Buying Question)

Hello guys, I have a question to ask and I need your help. I have a Nikon D3200 with a few lenses and an external flash, but you know when you are hanging out with your friends or travelling a DSLR is not that friendly to carry it around. I have an iPhone 5 but the image quality in my opinion is not good, so I am looking to buy a premium pocket camera, a camera that would fit in my jeans like my cellphone a pocket-friendly gadget , that will take great photos at day and at night. I found two good cameras, Canon S120 and Sony DSC-RX100 (First Version) .I heard that RX100 (First Version) is better as an overall camera. But the reason I am going to buy a new camera as you can see is about the pocket-friendly compatibility. I want to feel comfortable when I carry it around.About what I’ve searched I found that RX100 (First Version) has better image quality but it’s bulkier and that S120 is more pocket friendly. What would fit my needs guys, what do you advice me? Is there any other ...

stelios112 asked
1 month ago


Don't rule out the Nikon P330. It is much improved over its predecessors. I still have the P300 and despite the critics, I still like mine and pop it into a pocket regularly. Continue Reading

Footski answered
1 month ago

No problem, but remember, when you have a short list, the only way to make a final decision, is to handle the cameras. Then buy the one that feels best to you. Continue Reading

Footski answered
1 month ago

I don't know if this is relevant to you, but the S120 has a 24 mm equivalent lens, the RX100 is limited to 28 mm. For holiday shooting, I find the extra wide angle useful. Continue Reading

Klaus dk answered
1 month ago


New P&S for Vacation

My current P&S is a Sony DSC-W80... until I got my iPhone 5S and realized how much better my pictures could be.  But after 6 months with the new phone I know that any picture heavy trips, such as my upcoming trip to Europe, would benefit from a new stand alone camera with modern specs.  It really doesn't seem like I bought the Sony *that* long ago but I guess I did.  It's nice to not be storage space restricted as you would be on a smartphone that is competing for space with apps/music/movies, as well as not spend the day draining the phone battery taking pictures all the time.  I also do a lot of cycling, which the phone is already draining doing the GPS tracking for my bike ride, I don't want to drain it more taking candid pictures of the ride. Looking at my previous vacation pictures I definitely like taking scenery and shots of the outdoors and plant life as well as candid portraits with friends and family.  I really enjoy doing macros in the spring when everything is in full ...

trickycoolj asked
5 days ago


You missed a classic with the ELPH 330, I got what was probably the last one in my town and it was the demo one, for $AU169. See the results here: I would get one with a bit of zoom for travelling as you can't always get near your subject, but apart from the excellent canon SX700 there is not much around. Here is my results from the SX260 its predecessor from my last trip: Brian Continue Reading

brianj answered
4 days ago

It looks like the ELPH 330 is still available on Amazon-US for $240-280 but I see it was originally less than that so I'm hesitant but might go for it anyway. The SX series wasn't really on my radar but I like what I'm seeing in the albums I'm finding with them. Loss of RAW probably isn't going to bother me much. Bummer that they don't have panorama mode but you're right about additional zoom, I recall trips to the zoo thinking if only I could get closer with my zoom!  If I have to have a panorama my 5S would do just fine. I think I need to get to a store and check some of these out in person size wise. I can't really tell if the SX series is "gigantic" or not. I did see the Sony RX100 and HX50 at Costco and didn't find them offensively large (probably because of my vintage 2003 CyberShot). Photos from both the 280 and 700 look great and are reasonably priced, any reason to go for one over the other besides the $100? Really enjoyed your albums and the macros of the iridescent bugs! ... Continue Reading

trickycoolj answered
4 days ago

People have had a lot of trouble with the SX270/280 model due to batteries going flat quickly especially in video mode, otherwise for the few that this didn't happen they are happy with theirs. If I had a choice I would buy another SX240/260 but they are mostly gone now. There is a forum documenting the battery issue here, its up to page 111 now and still no real solution to a lot of unhappy customers. That's a lot for the ELPH330, although it is possibly a bit sharper than the longer zoom SX models and has a slightly wider lens at 24mm. The SX series is about as big and heavy as a large cake of soap, and the 330 is noticable smaller and lighter. Its an extremely capable camera unless you really need the super zoom. You can see the settings I use here, I also don't use raw: Brian Continue Reading

brianj answered
4 days ago

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Warranty Information

"Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Canon Canada Inc. (collectively "Canon") warrant to the original end‐user purchaser, when delivered in new condition in its original container, that the Product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use and service for a period of one (1) year from the date of original purchase. Product returned to a Canon repair facility and proven to be defective upon inspection will, at Canon’s sole discretion and without charge, be (a) repaired utilizing new, remanufactured, repaired and/or recycled parts; (b) exchanged for a new Product or; (c) exchanged for a refurbished Product, as determined by the Canon repair facility. Warranty exchange or replacement does not extend the original warranty period of the Product. "

Go to Canon USA's warranty page for more information. DPReview GearShop is an authorized Canon dealer in the United States.

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