Canon SX20 IS

 
Canon PowerShot SX20 IS front
 
  • 12MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 2.5" Fully Articulated Screen
  • ISO 80 - 1600
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 28-560mm (F2.8-5.7) lens
  • 600g - 128 x 88 x 87mm
  • Released July 2010
  • Succeeded the Canon SX10 IS
  • Replacement is Canon SX30 IS
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
Portability
65
Imaging
36
Features
40
Overall
37

Canon SX20 IS summary

Canon SX20 IS is Canon's Small Sensor Superzoom digital camera initially introduced on July of 2010. The camera has a 12MP, CCD 1/2.3" size sensor with a max resolution of 4000 x 3000.

Canon brought out this model in an effort to update the previous Canon SX10 IS (Read Full Comparison) & afterwards brought out the newer Canon SX30 IS (Read Full Comparison) in an effort to replace this model.

The SX20 IS stands at #196 out of 243 in Small Sensor Superzoom cameras & over-all #844 out of 1428 for digital cameras in our collection. You should check our Advanced camera search to see camera results based on your customized requirements.

Control Profoto B10 & B10 Plus with your Android Phone

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

Canon SX20 IS history

The Canon SX20 IS is part of a family of cameras. You can read the full list underneath.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Canon-PowerShot-SX70-HS front thumbnailCanon SX70 HS
SX20 IS vs SX70 HS
21-1365mm
F3.4-6.5
20MP1/2.3"2018
Canon-PowerShot-SX740-HS front thumbnailCanon SX740 HS
SX20 IS vs SX740 HS
24-960mm
F3.3-6.9
21MP1/2.3"2018
Handle those 8K RED files like a boss
Canon-PowerShot-SX730-HS front thumbnailCanon SX730 HS
SX20 IS vs SX730 HS
24-960mm
F3.3-6.9
20.3MP1/2.3"2017
Canon-PowerShot-SX620-HS front thumbnailCanon SX620 HS
SX20 IS vs SX620 HS
25-625mm
F3.2-6.6
20MP1/2.3"2016
Canon-PowerShot-SX720-HS front thumbnailCanon SX720 HS
SX20 IS vs SX720 HS
24-960mm
F3.3-6.9
20.3MP1/2.3"2016
Canon-PowerShot-SX540-HS front thumbnailCanon SX540 HS
SX20 IS vs SX540 HS
24-1200mm
F3.4-6.5
20MP1/2.3"2016
400 Megapixel mode coming to Fujifilm GFX 100
Canon-PowerShot-SX420-IS front thumbnailCanon SX420 IS
SX20 IS vs SX420 IS
24-1008mm
F3.5-6.6
20MP1/2.3"2016
Canon-PowerShot-SX410-IS front thumbnailCanon SX410 IS
SX20 IS vs SX410 IS
24-960mm
F3.5-5.6
20MP1/2.3"2015
Canon-PowerShot-SX610-HS front thumbnailCanon SX610 HS
SX20 IS vs SX610 HS
25-450mm
F3.8-6.9
20MP1/2.3"2015
Canon-PowerShot-SX530-HS front thumbnailCanon SX530 HS
SX20 IS vs SX530 HS
24-1200mm
F3.4-6.5
16MP1/2.3"2015
Canon-PowerShot-SX710-HS front thumbnailCanon SX710 HS
SX20 IS vs SX710 HS
25-750mm
F3.2-6.9
20MP1/2.3"2015
Instagram's $20 billion Ad success
Canon-PowerShot-SX60-HS front thumbnailCanon SX60 HS
SX20 IS vs SX60 HS
21-1365mm
F3.4-6.5
16MP1/2.3"2014
Canon-PowerShot-SX400-IS front thumbnailCanon SX400 IS
SX20 IS vs SX400 IS
24-720mm
F3.4-5.8
16MP1/2.3"2014
Canon-PowerShot-SX520-HS front thumbnailCanon SX520 HS
SX20 IS vs SX520 HS
24-1008mm
F3.4-6.0
16MP1/2.3"2014
Canon-PowerShot-SX700-HS front thumbnailCanon SX700 HS
SX20 IS vs SX700 HS
25-750mm
F3.2-6.9
16MP1/2.3"2014
Canon-PowerShot-SX600-HS front thumbnailCanon SX600 HS
SX20 IS vs SX600 HS
25-450mm
F3.8-6.9
16MP1/2.3"2014
Canon-PowerShot-SX510-HS front thumbnailCanon SX510 HS
SX20 IS vs SX510 HS
24-720mm
F3.4-5.8
12MP1/2.3"2013
Canon-PowerShot-SX170-IS front thumbnailCanon SX170 IS
SX20 IS vs SX170 IS
28-448mm
F3.5-5.9
16MP1/2.3"2013
Canon-PowerShot-SX160-IS front thumbnailCanon SX160 IS
SX20 IS vs SX160 IS
28-448mm
F3.5-5.9
16MP1/2.3"2013
Photographer fined '$200,000' for failing to deliver photos
Canon-PowerShot-SX280-HS front thumbnailCanon SX280 HS
SX20 IS vs SX280 HS
25-500mm
F3.5-6.8
12MP1/2.3"2013
Canon-PowerShot-SX270-HS front thumbnailCanon SX270 HS
SX20 IS vs SX270 HS
25-500mm
F3.5-6.8
12MP1/2.3"2013
Canon-PowerShot-SX50-HS front thumbnailCanon SX50 HS
SX20 IS vs SX50 HS
24-1200mm
F3.4-6.5
12MP1/2.3"2013
Canon-PowerShot-SX500-IS front thumbnailCanon SX500 IS
SX20 IS vs SX500 IS
24-720mm
F3.4-5.8
16MP1/2.3"2012
Canon-PowerShot-SX260-HS front thumbnailCanon SX260 HS
SX20 IS vs SX260 HS
25-500mm
F3.5-6.8
12MP1/2.3"2012
Canon-PowerShot-SX150-IS front thumbnailCanon SX150 IS
SX20 IS vs SX150 IS
28-336mm
F3.4-5.6
14MP1/2.3"2012
Canon-PowerShot-SX240-HS front thumbnailCanon SX240 HS
SX20 IS vs SX240 HS
25-500mm
F3.5-6.8
12MP1/2.3"2012
Canon-PowerShot-SX40-HS front thumbnailCanon SX40 HS
SX20 IS vs SX40 HS
24-840mm
F2.7-5.8
12MP1/2.3"2011
Canon-PowerShot-SX230-HS front thumbnailCanon SX230 HS
SX20 IS vs SX230 HS
28-392mm
F3.1-5.9
12MP1/2.3"2011
Canon-SX220-HS front thumbnailCanon SX220 HS
SX20 IS vs SX220 HS
28-392mm
F3.1-5.9
12MP1/2.3"2011
Google will print your 'Best' photos for $8 a month
Canon-PowerShot-SX30-IS front thumbnailCanon SX30 IS
SX20 IS vs SX30 IS
24-840mm
F2.7-5.8
14MP1/2.3"2010
Canon-PowerShot-SX130-IS front thumbnailCanon SX130 IS
SX20 IS vs SX130 IS
28-336mm
F3.4-5.6
12MP1/2.3"2010
Canon-PowerShot-SX20-IS front thumbnailCanon SX20 IS28-560mm
F2.8-5.7
12MP1/2.3"2010
Canon-PowerShot-SX210-IS front thumbnailCanon SX210 IS
SX20 IS vs SX210 IS
28-392mm
F3.1-5.9
14MP1/2.3"2010
Canon-PowerShot-SX200-IS front thumbnailCanon SX200 IS
SX20 IS vs SX200 IS
28-336mm
F3.4-5.3
12MP1/2.3"2009
Canon-PowerShot-SX1-IS front thumbnailCanon SX1 IS
SX20 IS vs SX1 IS
28-560mm
F2.8-5.7
10MP1/2.3"2009
Canon-PowerShot-SX10-IS front thumbnailCanon SX10 IS
SX20 IS vs SX10 IS
28-560mm
F2.8-5.7
10MP1/2.3"2009

Canon SX20 IS Pros and Cons

Here is a collection of good and bad points of the Canon SX20 IS based on criterias which are often considered necessary in a digital camera.

built-in flash
does have HDMI port
focusing manually
great flash sync speed (1/500 seconds)
image stabilization (Optical)
incredible zoom range (28-560mm 20.0 x zoom)
long zoom (560mm)
really wide (28mm)
screen can move to multiple angles
screen is selfie friendly
very good minimum ISO (80)
does not have external mic port
does not have headphone port
does not have Time Lapse recording
heavier than competitors (600g)
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
low video resolution (1280 x 720 pxls)
max fps low (1.0 frames/s)
max zoom aperture not good (f5.7)
no phase detect autofocus
no RAW format
pixelated screen (230 thousand dot)
sensor resolution low (12 megapixels)
sluggish maximum aperture (f2.8)
small screen (2.5 inch)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
World's smallest camera makes it into Guinness Book of Records

Canon SX20 IS Sensor specs

The Canon SX20 IS features the Digic 4 processor. The specification of the sensor in the Canon SX20 IS is 6.17mm x 4.55mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor has the capability to capture 4000 x 3000 pixels using aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9. The camera has Image Stabilization (Optical). Sensor stabilization is superior than digital stabilization as the latter might lead to cropping.

Coronavirus is affecting the sensor business

The CCD sensor has 12 megapixels and has a standard ISO range of 80 - 1600. Unfortunately, RAW format is not supported therefore the user has less room to maneuver in post.

The graphic underneath displays the SX20 IS's sensor size compared to other popular sizes. The SX20 IS sensor has a crop factor of 5.8 and is pointed out in green.

Canon PowerShot SX20 IS sensor size Unsplash partners with Institutions to bring historical archive photos

To get a sense of different aspect ratios, you can refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Canon SX20 IS dimensions

Canon SX20 IS weighs in at 1.32 lb (600 gr / 21.16 ounces) & the physical size of the camera is 128mm x 88mm x 87mm (5.0" x 3.5" x 3.4"). The weight of typical Small Sensor Superzoom camera is 387 gr so the Canon SX20 IS is heavier as compared with its rivals.

Last day to get your files as Canon Irisa shuts down

Here is a picture of the Canon SX20 IS besides a softdrink so you're able to get a sense of its size.

Canon PowerShot SX20 IS dimensions scale

The top view just below will highlight the button layout on the SX20 IS.

Canon PowerShot SX20 IS topview buttons dials

Canon SX20 IS Lens details

The SX20 IS features a built in lens having a focal range of 28-560mm giving it a 20.0 x zoom which is huge and will allow you to zoom all the way in.

At it's widest 28mm, the lens has an aperture of f2.8 and that's really sluggish and not very good for low light situations and you might struggle to get a shallow depth of field. You might also need to boost your ISO producing noisy images. With the long end, 560mm is excellent zoom and comes to f5.7 which is fairly slow and you would have to choose slower shutter speeds.

Coronavirus is affecting the sensor business

Canon SX20 IS Connectivity

The SX20 IS has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras that contain NFC or Bluetooth compatibility can be controlled wirelessly via smartphones. You can transfer files and at times change settings with no need to connect straight with the camera.

Certain apps also allow a Liveview and hit the shutter in case you are not near the camera. If the camera includes a HDMI port, it can be hooked up to an external monitor. Many cameras enable you to recharge the battery pack using the USB port.

Control Profoto B10 & B10 Plus with your Android Phone

Canon SX20 IS Video details

The max video quality in the Canon SX20 IS is 1280 x 720 and you can record in H.264 file format. 720p is awful for today's standards. You should really aim for a minimum 1080p quality for decent video. The body does not have a microphone or headphone socket which means that you have absolutely no control over the audio. It is perhaps best to order another model if you want decent audio for your videos.

Handle those 8K RED files like a boss

Canon SX20 IS Weather Sealing

There is no environment sealing in the Canon SX20 IS so you have to be careful in wet or dusty conditions.

Canon SX20 IS Screen and Viewfinder

The Canon SX20 IS has a 2.5 inch fully articulated display having a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

The screen is selfie friendly for self portraits and even group shots when required. Unfortunately the display isn't a touch screen.

Canon PowerShot SX20 IS screen and viewfinder 400 Megapixel mode coming to Fujifilm GFX 100

The ViewFinder details for Canon SX20 IS are the following:

  • ViewFinder Electronic

Viewfinders can be rather helpful during sunny outdoor conditions which can make the camera screen washed out and very difficult to see.

Canon SX20 IS Shutter details

Canon SX20 IS has the capability to shoot continuously at 1.0 frames/s. The maximum shutter speed is 1/3200s.

Instagram's $20 billion Ad success

Canon SX20 IS Flash and Hot shoe details

Canon SX20 IS has both in-built flash together with external flash support. The maximum flash sync is 1/500s.

Canon SX20 IS Autofocusing details

Canon SX20 IS has only Contrast Detect Autofocus & does not have Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection focusing is a lot more faster & precise as compared with Contrast Detect focusing.

It has 9 focus points to pick from. Canon SX20 IS features manual focus if needed during low light situations or you need to have more exact focus control.

Photographer fined '$200,000' for failing to deliver photos

Canon SX20 IS Battery life

The usual Small Sensor Superzoom camera battery life is 316. Fujifilm HS35EXR comes with the maximum (600) battery life within this range of cameras.

Following is a list of Small Sensor Superzoom cameras having the strongest battery life:

Canon SX20 IS for various styles of photography

The following chart displays a summary of the Canon SX20 IS for various styles of photography. To view more, go to the specific paragraph underneath.

Canon SX20 IS Portrait photography advice

The Canon SX20 IS receives a rating of 37 which is low, and means the camera is simply not acceptable for portrait photography. Shooting portrait images favors greatly towards sensor dimensions, RAW support in addition to the ability to work with external flash.

World's smallest camera makes it into Guinness Book of Records
focusing manually
flash sync is higher than normal (1/500s)
low MP (12 megapixels)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
lack of RAW files

Canon SX20 IS Street photography factors

With a moderate rating of 49, the Canon SX20 IS is somewhat suited for street photography. A decent street photography camera provides a perfect balance of picture quality and portability.

Unsplash partners with Institutions to bring historical archive photos
fully articulated screen
has image stabilization (Optical)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
has no RAW support
heavier than competitors (600g)

Canon SX20 IS Sports photography features

A low sports photography points tally of 34 means the Canon SX20 IS is simply not acceptable for shooting sports. A camera must have good autofocus plus shutter speeds for sports photography.

Last day to get your files as Canon Irisa shuts down
amazing zoom range (28-560mm 20.0 x zoom)
image stabilization (Optical)
continuous shooting slow (1.0 frames per second)
low MP (12 megapixels)
sensor size is tiny (1/2.3")
doesn't have phase detect AF

Travel photography with Canon SX20 IS

Portability is super crucial in buying a travel camera. Over-all, the Canon SX20 IS gets a moderate 53 for a travelling camera which makes it fairly appropriate to buy for your vacations.

Coronavirus is affecting the sensor business
flash built-in
selfie friendly display
relatively wide (28mm)
long reach (560mm)
missing Timelapse mode
more heavy than competitors (600 grams)
MP count low (12MP)
slow max aperture (f2.8)

Canon SX20 IS Landscape photography features

For anybody looking to buy a camera for landscape photographs, the most important aspect is going to be image quality. The Canon SX20 IS with it's low rating of 35 as a landscape camera is simply not acceptable within the current market.

Control Profoto B10 & B10 Plus with your Android Phone
you can focus manually
relatively wide (28mm)
built in image stabilization (Optical)
cannot swap lens (fixed lens mount)
sluggish max aperture (f2.8)
screen is somewhat small (2.5")
resolution not great (12 megapixels)
sensor is small (1/2.3")
no RAW files
missing Timelapse function

Canon SX20 IS Vlogging information

A camera for vlogging preferably should come with a moving screen, mic port and ideally image stabilization. Taking all things into account, the Canon SX20 IS is reasonably adequate for vlogging as it comes to a moderate rating of 50.

Handle those 8K RED files like a boss
really wide (28mm)
selfie friendly display
has image stabilization (Optical)
somewhat slow max aperture (f2.8)
low quality video (1280 x 720 pixels)
no external microphone jack
more heavy than average (600 grams)

Canon SX20 IS Alternatives

If you are shopping for alternatives to the SX20 IS, here is a range of the top rated cameras which fall under the class of Small Sensor Superzoom.

The graph down below shows you an overview of the SX20 IS versus it's highest ranked competitors suggested previously.

Here are a handful of other cameras you might view as alternate options. To check out a extensive comparison, simply click the "compare" link.

400 Megapixel mode coming to Fujifilm GFX 100

Specifications

General Information
Brand Name
Canon
Model
Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Category
Small Sensor Superzoom
Released
2010-07-06
Body design
SLR-like (bridge)
Sensor Information
Sensor type
CCD
Chip
Digic 4
Sensor size
1/2.3"
Sensor dimensions
6.17 x 4.55mm
Sensor surface area
28.1mm²
Sensor resolution
12 megapixels
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
4:3 and 16:9
Max resolution
4000 x 3000
RAW files
Max native ISO
1600
Minimum native ISO
80
Autofocusing
Focus manually
Touch focus
Continuous autofocus
Single autofocus
Tracking autofocus
Autofocus selectice
Center weighted autofocus
Autofocus multi area
Live view autofocus
Face detection autofocus
Contract detection autofocus
Phase detection autofocus
Number of focus points
9
Lens
Lens mount
fixed lens
Lens focal range
28-560mm (20.0x)
Largest aperture
f/2.8-5.7
Macro focus distance
0cm
Crop factor
5.8
Screen
Screen type
Fully Articulated
Screen sizing
2.5 inch
Screen resolution
230 thousand dot
Selfie friendly
Liveview
Touch screen
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder
Electronic
DXO scores
DXO Overall score
not tested
DXO Color Depth score
not tested
DXO Dynamic range score
not tested
DXO Low light score
not tested
Features
Min shutter speed
15 seconds
Max shutter speed
1/3200 seconds
Continuous shutter speed
1.0 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation
Yes
Set white balance
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash range
6.80 m
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Fill-in
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
White balance bracketing
Max flash sync
1/500 seconds
Exposure
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)
Max video resolution
1280x720
Video format
H.264
Mic jack
Headphone jack
Connectivity
Wireless
None
Bluetooth
NFC
HDMI
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
GPS
None
Physical
Environment seal
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
Weight
600 grams (1.32 lbs)
Physical dimensions
128 x 88 x 87mm (5.0" x 3.5" x 3.4")
Other
Battery model
4 x AA
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Time lapse recording
Type of storage
SD / SDHC / MMC / MMC Plus / HC MMC Plus
Storage slots
1
Pricing at release
$500