Canon SX120 IS

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS front
  • 10MP - 1/2.5" Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 80 - 1600
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 640 x 480 video
  • 36-360mm (F2.8-4.3) lens
  • 285g - 111 x 71 x 45mm
  • Released August 2009
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Canon SX120 IS summary

Canon SX120 IS is Canon's Small Sensor Compact digital camera originally released on August of 2009. The camera houses a 10MP, CCD 1/2.5" sized sensor and has a max resolution of 3648 x 2736.

The SX120 IS is rated #162 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras and over-all #1087 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our list. You should check out our Advanced camera filter to get camera ratings based on your personal criteria.

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Here is a graph of various factors used in the rating system.

Canon SX120 IS Pros and Cons

Below is a collection of pluses and minuses of the Canon SX120 IS based on factors that are often considered essential in a digital camera.

above average minimum ISO (80)
built-in flash
flash sync is higher than normal (1/500s)
good zoom range (36-360mm 10.0 x zoom)
has image stabilization (Optical)
long reach (360mm)
screen is a decent size (3 inches)
you can focus manually
can't change lenses (fixed lens mount)
can't use external flash
does not have phase detect auto focus
does not have RAW files
heavier than competition (285 grams)
lack of external mic socket
lack of HDMI socket
lack of headphone socket
lack of Time Lapse mode
max zoom aperture not good (f4.3)
MP count low (10MP)
no articulating screen
pixelated screen (230 k dots)
screen is not selfie friendly
slow continuous shooting (1.0 frames/s)
slow max aperture (f2.8)
small sensor (1/2.5")
video resolution low (640 x 480 resolution)
wide angle not fantastic (36mm)
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Canon SX120 IS Sensor details

The Canon SX120 IS is run by the Digic 4 processor. The sensor measurement in the Canon SX120 IS is 5.744mm x 4.308mm (1/2.5"). The 25 mm² sensor has the capability to capture 3648 x 2736 pixels and aspect ratios of 4:3 and 3:2. The camera has got Image Stabilization (Optical). Sensor stabilization is more effective than digital stabilization as the latter can easily lead to cropping.

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The CCD sensor boasts 10MP and delivers a standard ISO range of 80 - 1600. Sadly, RAW format is not supported which means that the user has less margin for error.

The picture below illustrates the SX120 IS's sensor dimensions in comparison to other popular sizes. The SX120 IS sensor comes with a crop factor of 6.3 and is outlined in green.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS sensor size Photobucket discusses licensing 13 billion images with AI firms

To get a sense of specific aspect ratios, you should refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Canon SX120 IS dimensions

Canon SX120 IS weighs 0.63 lbs (285 gr or 10.05 ounces) and features outer dimensions of 111mm x 71mm x 45mm (4.4" x 2.8" x 1.8"). The weight of typical Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 gr so the Canon SX120 IS is more heavy in comparison with other competitors.

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Listed below is a visual of the Canon SX120 IS besides a soft drink so you're able to have a sense of its scale.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS dimensions scale

The top view here will illustrate the button design on the SX120 IS.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS topview buttons dials

Canon SX120 IS Lens specs

The SX120 IS houses a built in lens and it has a focal range of 36-360mm giving it a 10.0 x zoom which might not be outstanding however it is going to be valuable in a few conditions.

At the widest 36mm, the lens provides an aperture of f2.8 which is quite slow and not the best in low light circumstances and you may find it hard to capture a shallow depth of field. You will also need to raise the ISO resulting in noisy photos. With the tele end, 360mm is exceptional zoom and comes with f4.3 which is quite slow and you may need to apply slower shutter speeds.

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Canon SX120 IS Connectivity

The SX120 IS has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Digital cameras that include NFC and / or Bluetooth compatibility are able to be controlled wirelessly via smartphones. You can easily transfer files and sometimes change settings without the hassle of connecting physically to the camera.

Certain applications even allow a Liveview and hit the shutter whenever you are not near the camera. If the camera comes with a HDMI out, it can easily be connected to an external screen. Most cameras will allow you to recharge the battery pack with the USB port.

Photography Glossary

Canon SX120 IS Video specs

The max video quality in the Canon SX120 IS is 640 x 480 and it can shoot in Motion JPEG file format. 480p is low by today's requirements. You really should shoot for a minimum FUll HD quality for good video. The camera does not have a mic and / or headphone port which means you have little control over your sound. It is perhaps a better idea to have a look at another camera in case you require better sound in your videos.

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Canon SX120 IS Weather Sealing

There is no environment sealing in the Canon SX120 IS so you need to be careful in rainy or dusty conditions.

Canon SX120 IS Screen and Viewfinder

The Canon SX120 IS is equipped with a 3" fixed display screen supporting a resolution of 230k dots.

Please be aware that the display offers no touch support.

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS screen and viewfinder Sora from OpenAI releases its first ever music video

The ViewFinder details regarding Canon SX120 IS are the following:

  • ViewFinder None

In those bright outdoor conditions which make the camera displays washed out and tricky to view, viewfinders will be rather valuable.

Canon SX120 IS Shutter specs

Canon SX120 IS continuous shooting speed is 1.0 frames/s. The max shutter speed is 1/2500 seconds.

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Canon SX120 IS Flash and Hot shoe specs

Canon SX120 IS has got only built-in flash without external flash support. The max flash sync speed is 1/500 seconds.

Canon SX120 IS Autofocusing specs

Canon SX120 IS has got just Contrast Based AF and doesn't have Phase Detect AF. Phase Detection focusing is a lot faster and exact in comparison with Contrast Based focusing.

Canon SX120 IS features manual focusing when needed in low light occasions or you need to have more precise focusing control.

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Canon SX120 IS Battery life

The usual Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 has the maximum (470) battery life in this range of cameras.

Following is a listing of Small Sensor Compact cameras that come with the highest battery life:

Canon SX120 IS for various categories of photography

The following graph indicates a rundown of the Canon SX120 IS for various categories of photography. To look at more, go to the specific paragraph below.

Canon SX120 IS Portrait photography information

The Canon SX120 IS gets a points total of 33 which is lousy, and means the camera is not really suitable for portrait photography. Taking portrait photos leans greatly towards sensor dimension, RAW support & flexibility to utilize external flash.

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has manual focus
flash sync speed is above average (1/500s)
can't use external flash
resolution not great (10 megapixels)
sensor is small (1/2.5")
lack of RAW support

Canon SX120 IS Street photography advice

Coming in at a moderate rating of 51, the Canon SX120 IS is fairly suited to use in street photography. A good street photography camera provides a good balance of picture quality and portability.

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built in image stabilization (Optical)
no moving screen
small sensor size (1/2.5")
has no RAW files
more heavy than average (285g)

Canon SX120 IS Sports photography info

A lousy sports photography score of 26 indicates the Canon SX120 IS is not really suitable for taking pictures of sports. A camera needs to have excellent tracking and fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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has image stabilization (Optical)
continuous shooting slow (1.0 frames per second)
low megapixels (10 megapixels)
sensor size is very small (1/2.5")
does not have phase detect autofocus

Canon SX120 IS Travel photography highlights

Size is pretty critical in picking a camera for travel. Overall, the Canon SX120 IS gets a reasonable 51 for a travelling camera which makes it reasonably suitable for your holidays.

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built-in flash
long reach (360mm)
does not have Timelapse mode
more heavy than average (285g)
sensor resolution not great (10MP)
screen is not selfie friendly
wide angle not the best (36mm)
sluggish maximum aperture (f2.8)

Canon SX120 IS as a Landscape photography camera

When you're looking to buy a camera for landscape photography, the most essential aspect will be image quality. The Canon SX120 IS at it's lousy rating of 36 as a landscape camera is not really suitable compared to its rivals.

Photography Glossary
has manual focus
screen size is good (3")
built in image stabilization (Optical)
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
wide angle not good (36mm)
slow max aperture (f2.8)
MP count low (10MP)
small sensor (1/2.5")
lack of RAW format
does not have Time Lapse function

Canon SX120 IS as a Vlogging camera

A camera for vlogging preferably should offer a articulating screen, microphone input and ideally IBIS. Considering every thing, the Canon SX120 IS is not really suitable for vlogging as it gets a lousy score of 23.

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has image stabilization (Optical)
wide angle not good (36mm)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f2.8)
does not offer selfie friendly display
video resolution low (640 x 480 resolution)
no microphone socket
more heavy than competition (285 grams)

Canon SX120 IS Alternatives

If you are interested in alternatives to the SX120 IS, below is a selection of the top scored cameras which fall in to the class of Small Sensor Compact.

The line chart underneath provides you a bird's eye view of the SX120 IS compared to it's top ranking rivals mentioned above.

These are various other cameras you might take a look at as alternative options. To look at a complete comparison, simply click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS
Small Sensor Compact
Physical type
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Digic 4
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
5.744 x 4.308mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
10 megapixel
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
4:3 and 3:2
Max resolution
3648 x 2736
RAW images
Max native ISO
Lowest native ISO
Focus manually
Autofocus touch
Autofocus continuous
Single autofocus
Tracking autofocus
Autofocus selectice
Center weighted autofocus
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detection focus
Contract detection focus
Phase detection focus
Lens mount type
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
36-360mm (10.0x)
Largest aperture
Macro focusing distance
Focal length multiplier
Type of screen
Fixed Type
Screen size
3 inches
Screen resolution
230k dots
Selfie friendly
Touch friendly
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Min shutter speed
15 secs
Max shutter speed
1/2500 secs
Continuous shutter rate
1.0 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual mode
Exposure compensation
Custom white balance
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
3.00 m
Flash settings
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Fill-in
Hot shoe
WB bracketing
Max flash synchronize
1/500 secs
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Video resolutions
640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps), 160 x 120 (15 fps)
Max video resolution
Video file format
Motion JPEG
Mic port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
285 grams (0.63 lb)
Physical dimensions
111 x 71 x 45mm (4.4" x 2.8" x 1.8")
Battery ID
2 x AA
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Time lapse recording
Type of storage
SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Card slots
Pricing at release