Canon Powershot S120 review

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Canon S120 uses SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. Battery is a Li-Ion unit which lasted up to 150 shots at best during my review and that is really low number. Recording videos and “chimping” images will reduce battery life even further, so you will need to have a spare battery with you at all times. Charging lasts between 2-3 hours. External charger is part of the kit.


Menu system is the same as found on previous models and other Powershot camera. It is relatively easy to get used to, but is still far from excellent menu system found in Canon EOS models. Quick menu is also available and is used to adjust often needed options like white balance, resolution, ISO, focus points etc. Sadly, it does not remember the last setting used and when called upon it resets “cursor” at the beginning so you have to scroll each time again to find the desired setting.

“Night display” mode changes all menus and overlay informations to a dark shade of orange – usefull when shooting in low light since it is easier for eyes.

Overall responsivity is quite good for a compact camera. It can take a shot in 2 second time after turned on. Menu is also reasonably fast, but there is a delay using quick menu since it has animated transitions between options.

Canon S120 can shoot up to 12 fps but this is limited to JPEG format; it only does 2fps in RAW.


Canon Powershot S120 lets you select single frame focus or Face AiAF (that one focuses on entire frame but prioritizes on people’s faces if found). Single frame size can be set at two sizes: normal or small. Touch AF also helps a lot and will be much used feature in this camera. Auto focus was consistent during my review time and did its job flawlessly in good light. It is slower in lower light, especially when the lens is zoomed in (slow max aperture) and it can fail to focus at times.

Canon S120 also has focus peaking option altough I do not see the benefit of it on a camera like this; this is most usefull on mirrorless cameras when used with old MF lenses, I don’t think many S120 owners will focus manully in good light. Classic manual focus is easy since the camera can enlarge part of the frame.


Video recording is possible in MP4 file format. You can select 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720 and 640 x 480 resolutions, and the highest one gives you the option of recording at either 60p or 30p. 3.5mm microphone input is not present so you will need to rely on built-in stereo microphone.

Movie quality is rather good; videos are sharp and well exposed and image stabilization helps to keep them steady.

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