Canon PowerShot S120 Detailed Review

See all images of the Canon PowerShot S120


In additional PowerShot S120 was introduced by Canon in August 2013. It belongs to the enthusiast Compacts category.

Canon is well-known and shouldn’t require further introduction, please see our manufacturer’s page for more digital cameras by Canon.

Brand Canon
Category Compact
Date 08/2013
Sensor Properties

Also PowerShot S120 has a Compact CMOS sensor with size of 6 x 5 mm² (0.24″ x 0.18″).

The PowerShot S120’s image sensor has an effective resolution of around 12 megapixel. The resolution is somewhat below average but will be sufficient for most purposes. Photos with this resolution can easily be printed to A3 size.

Format Compact
Sensor area 6.17 x 4.55mm²
(0.24″ x 0.18″)
Resolution (physical) 12.10 megapixel
Resolution (effective) 12.10 megapixel
Pixel size 2.37 µm²
Sensor cleaning
RAW support
Continuous 9 frames/second
Focal length (min) 24mm
Focal length (max) 120mm
Aperture (max) 1.8
Aperture (min) 5.7
Viewfinder Properties

The PowerShot S120 does not come with a built-in viewfinder. The camera’s display is used to compose the photo. That can be cumbersome in broad daylight.


The PowerShot S120’s shutter speed varies from 1/2500s to 250s.

The highest shutter speed of the Canon is just 1/2500s. That’s no longer state of the art and may cause problems in challenging light conditions.

Max. shutter speed 1/2500s
Min. shutter speed 250s
Sensitivity Properties

The PowerShot S120’s sensitivity goes from 80 ISO und 12800 ISO, a very useful and practical range.

Min. sensitivity 80 ISO
Max. sensitivity 12800 ISO
Exposure Modes

The PowerShot S120 supports all general exposure modes.

The Canon allows spot exposure for the difficult occasion.

Center weight
Auto Focus Properties

The PowerShot S120’s auto focus processor uses 9 AF points (or sensors). A basic rule of thumb says that the more AF points you have, the better. More AF points mean a better chance to have a point at the location of interest in a scene, a big plus in challenging situations (e.g. with low contrast subjects).

Manual focus is also possible with the Canon, a plus in tricky situations or for some creative freedom.

Type TTL
AF points 9
Manual focusing
Flash Specs

The PowerShot S120 features a built-in flash with a range of up to 7m (23 ft.). That range will work for most situations.

A hotshoe is missing from the Canon.

Range 7.00m
(23 ft.)
Hot shoe
Display Specs

The PowerShot S120 features a monitor with a diagonal of 75.00mm (3.0 in.) and a resolution of c. 0.92 megapixel. That’s about average.

Unfortunately, the PowerShot S120’s monitor is not articulated. That can make it tricky to frame your subject in some situations, e.g. when taking selfies.

The PowerShot S120’s monitor can work as a touch screen, just like a smartphone. That can be very useful, for example to pick AF points, but keep in mind that touch screens usually don’t work when wearing gloves.

Display characteristics at a glance:

Type LCD
Size 75.00mm (diagonal)
(3.0 in.)
Resolution 0.92 megapixel
Touch screen
Video Specs

PowerShot S120 video supported the resolution with 1920 x 1080 pixel.

ACamera is not equipped with an external microphone.

Canon PowerShot S120 Video parameters:

Max. resolution 1920 x 1080 pixel
…with frame rates 30 frames/second
60 frames/second
External microphone
Connectivity & Wireless Specs

The PowerShot S120 has Wi-fi connection. You can transfer photos to a mobile or laptop using wi-fi.

Connect the Canon to a monitor or TV set over HDMI.

The Canon supports USB 2.0.

Connection parameters:

Remote (wired)
Remote (infrared)
HDMI (standard)
HDMI (mini)
HDMI (micro)
USB 2.0
USB 3.0
USB Micro
USB Mini

The camera supports SD HC and SD XC cards.

Memory cards characteristics:

Slots 1
Memory cards SD

The Canon PowerShot S120 works with a NB-6L LiIon battery. The battery lifetime is an average 230 shots. That’s on the lower side of things for a full day, consider a spare battery for the PowerShot S120.

The battery can be charged over USB while in camera. Very useful, especially on vacation when most people bring a USB charger for their smartphone anyway.

The PowerShot S120’s battery battery parameters:

Type NB-6L LiIon
In-camera charging
Battery life 230 photos

The Canon PowerShot S120’s dimensions are 100.2 x 59 x 29mm³. (3.9″ x 2.3″ x 1.1″). This includes the lens. The camera’s weight is only 217 grams (7.0 oz.), lens included.

Here is front and top view of the PowerShot S120:

Dimensions Comparison

To put the size of the camera in context, here it is next to a typical ID card (c. 86mm x 55mm, about the size of a credit card).

The PowerShot S120 is not much bigger:

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