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.


Body type
Body type Compact
Max resolution 4000 x 3000
Other resolutions 4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2248, 4000 x 2664, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1600 x 1064, 1200 x 1200, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 13 megapixels
Sensor size 1/1.7" (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
Sensor type BSI-CMOS
Processor Digic 6
ISO Auto, 80 - 12800
White balance presets 7
Custom white balance Yes (2)
Image stabilization Optical
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Superfine, Fine
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.) 24–120 mm
Optical zoom 5×
Maximum aperture F1.8 - F5.7
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom Yes (4x)
Manual focus Yes
Macro focus range 3 cm (1.18)
Number of focus points 9
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3
Screen dots 922,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT PureColor II G Touch screen LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type None
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 15 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/2000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 7.00 m
External flash No
Flash modes Auto, on, slow synchro, off
Continuous drive 12 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60 or 30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Videography notes Miniature Effect (720p, 480p) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps; Super Slow Motion Movie (480p, 240p): 120, 240 fps; Star time-lapse movie (1080p): 15 fps
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage included None
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (Mini)
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes Wireless LAN (IEEE802.11 b/g/n)
Remote control No
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Lithium-Ion NB-6LH rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 230
Weight (inc. batteries) 217 g (0.48 lb / 7.65 oz)
Dimensions 100 x 59 x 29 mm (3.94 x 2.32 x 1.14)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes (Star time-lapse movie)
GPS Optional
GPS notes via mobile (linked to compatible smartphone)


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.

    Continue Reading

  • 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


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
25 days 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
24 days 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
24 days 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
24 days ago


Canon PowerShot S120 Memory Card maximum speed

What is the maximum speed of the memory card supported by Canon PowerShot S120? Should I spend extra money to buy SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC UHS-I (up to 95 MB/s read speed. Write speed up to 90 MB/s) or Lexar Professional 400x 32GB SDHC (60MB/s read speed) is fast enough?

marisa lee asked
11 days ago


I`m not sure if you`ll find a genuine answer to that question, but in the meantime you may check this post with some theoretical calculations. Continue Reading

boogisha answered
10 days ago

Don't waste your money.  Only the fastest camera or uncompressed hd video could make use of that speed.  The S120 is a slow consumer P&S, not a 1D X. Continue Reading

howardroark answered
10 days ago


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
1 month ago

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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