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490 of 503 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rank Amateur's Review
I can't write an in depth review of this camera because I simply don't have the knowledge of either cameras or photography. But I can tell you what I, as a rank amateur, like about it and why I chose it.

I have grandkids. I needed a camera that would allow me to capture decent pictures of them - and in a digital format - so that I can, like all good...
Published on September 18, 2009 by Mary Kate

versus
684 of 713 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (Maybe not) The one I've been looking for
I have been debating whether to get a point-and-shoot that is ok, or an SLR that is fantastic. I couldn't justify spending mega$$$ on an SLR because I'm not that sophisticated a photographer. But I have been unhappy with point-and-shoots that are so slow you miss the picture and that have only a "mini-zoom" feature. But the Canon SX120IS solved it all. First, it's a...
Published on September 3, 2009 by D Sing


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490 of 503 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rank Amateur's Review, September 18, 2009
By 
Mary Kate (Wisconsin, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
I can't write an in depth review of this camera because I simply don't have the knowledge of either cameras or photography. But I can tell you what I, as a rank amateur, like about it and why I chose it.

I have grandkids. I needed a camera that would allow me to capture decent pictures of them - and in a digital format - so that I can, like all good grandparents, brag about my grandkids via email and attach photos to prove that they are the cutest kids on the face of the earth.

I had my "good" camera - an old Pentax K1000 that I've had for about 30 years - and a small, inexpensive digital camera that I got a few years ago and have never been happy with. Not only was the Pentax not digital, it also turns out that the grandkids can move much faster than I can focus. And that camera purchased as my first attempt at digital just wasn't cutting it. It was overly complicated and with it I wasn't getting pictures good enough to share.

I gave my needs some thought and made the following criteria list:
Easy to use.
Fast shutter speed.
Easy to use.
Small enough to fit into my purse easily.
Easy to use.

My needs were simple and I didn't think it would be too hard to find a camera to fit the bill. Happily, I was right.

After my initial research had convinced me to go with a Canon, I borrowed my brother's Rebel (don't know the model number) and my son's Canon PowerShot Pro Series S5 IS. I knew that neither fit my criteria (not to mention the $500-$700 price range was more than I wanted to spend), but using them for a few days gave me the opportunity to check out some of Canon's features.

That's how I discovered the Optical Image Stabilizer. I can see from reviews of other cameras that it's been around for a few years, but I'd never used it before. It immediately went to the top of my list of desired features - even above "easy to use"!

I have a tremor condition that causes fine shaking in my hands. It doesn't bother me and doesn't always affect close work, but it can make holding something steady - say, for instance, a camera - almost impossible. As you can guess, the result of that shakiness when snapping photos is, most often, crappy photos.

Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer was like a miracle for me. With it, I could take close ups that were startlingly clear - not every time, of course, but MOST times. And, in combination with a fast shutter speed, the Image Stabilizer helped me to get some great shots - even action shots - of my test subject, my dog.

With my adjusted criteria list, I did some more research that led me to the Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP. One of Canon's newer models, the PowerShot SX120IS puts ease of use in the forefront of its advertising. It fit all of my criteria and at a decent price.

I haven't had this camera for very long, but I'm already thrilled with it. The Easy Mode is actually EASY! What a concept! The LCD screen is larger than what I've used previously and makes it easier for me to judge if the picture I just took is relatively clear. The Image Stabilizer continues to be my new best friend.

Good points:
IMAGE STABLIZER!!
Fast shutter speed
Genuinely easy to use
Small size
Decent price

Bad points:
I'm so happy with my choice that I can't think of any right now!

If I was a serious photographer, I may well have chosen a more comprehensive camera (with all those features and symbols only serious photographers can decipher). But for my level of use and my personal needs, this one does a terrific job and didn't overly strain the budget. Yeah!

Recommended.
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234 of 240 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Camera, though a bit noisy, September 15, 2009
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
My needs for a camera are as follows:
1) It needs to fit in my pocket
2) It needs to turn on quickly
3) It needs to shoot "decent enough" photos on auto mode
4) It needs to have enough options to tweak lighting settings.
5) It should have both good indoor and outdoor performance.
6) I'd like something that can do automatic exposure bracketing or otherwise support HDR photography.

I've gone through various cameras over the years, and have borrowed some others to mess around with, and until last week was using a Canon A620, which was a surprisingly good camera, capable of taking shots as good as a DSLR, especially when tweaked correctly. It also could do automatic exposure bracketing for HDR photography when using the CHDK firmware for it. Then I accidentally left my A620 on a bench on South Beach when visiting last week, and so I suddenly found myself in the market for a new camera.

I was seriously looking into the Fuji 200EXR and the Ricoh CX2 for the HDR photography mode, but they didn't have the tweakability settings I liked... the 200EXR was great except it always blew out the ISO levels to compensate for its limited image stabilization capabilities, which made auto mode shots almost always unacceptably grainy. I ended up settling on the SX120IS because it matches all my needs except for HDR photography. That, I'll hold off on until a new generation or two of HDR cameras has come and gone.

It has very good low-light performance, as long as you're willing to put up with a certain amount of graininess Indoors, with the curtains drawn and just a couple normal lamps lighting the living room, it was able to take quite decent photos at ISO200. Without a flash. The IS was quite helpful in this regard, and the only downside was that the image had a noticeable level of noise in it. This will bother some people. Myself - I'm happy that it doesn't do what most P&S cameras do, which is reduce the shutter speed to such a low level that everything blurs into nothingness. This is rather the opposite - quite crisp images with no blur, but you pay for it with a little bit of noise. I'm fine with that, really. I never carry a tripod, instead carrying it around in my pocket whenever I travel, and I like to be able to whip it out and photograph something on the spot, indoors or out.

The camera turns on quite quickly, and the auto mode does a generally decent job for taking those quick shots that would otherwise pass you by (the bird posing on the branch). The camera also has a the right amount of manual settings for tweaking your shots just the way you want them. (Another poster on here complained it was too complicated for him, and I suppose that could be a fair criticism, but for me it's the right level of complexity.) Like with my other Canon, it allows you to tweak ISO, aperture priority, time priority, or all three, as well as something the A620 couldn't do - a manual focus setting, which has been quite fun to play around with.

As far as all the vaunted features on this camera (auto face recognition, Digic 4, etc.), I didn't really notice it taking photos noticeably different from my A620. Image quality was about the same with the experimentation I did replicating several shots around the neighborhood. However, since I had no complaints about the A620, this is not a criticism. The one thing I do miss, though, is the flip out viewfinder. I much prefer a viewfinder that can flip around for self-portraits, or flip backwards to protect itself over the always-out LCD viewfinders which always get scratched up very quickly. But all of them are that way nowadays, so I am not really complaining that much about it.

All in all, a great camera.

Edit: After more experience with the camera (I've taken several thousand shots with this camera in different settings now), I have an update to this review.
1) The SD card is very inconveniently located under the unwieldy battery door - I much prefer separate memory card doors on my cameras, so I can pop it out and into a computer easily.

2) The smallish sensor size is not fully compensated for with the IS system. It has the noise of my previous camera at two ISO settings higher, and the auto mode tends to take shots in much higher ISO settings than needed, meaning you need to manually control the ISO mode most of the time, which is a minor annoyance.

3) The zoom lens on this camera rocks. Much better than most P&S camera zoom lenses. It makes a 100 yard shot look like it is 10 feet away, with no visible distortion or chromatic aberration. Macro shots also look very nice.

4) At first I was annoyed by the wheel on the back of the camera, since it would tend to move when trying to push up or down, but it does make browsing through lots of old photos a snap.

5) I've seen some people complaining about the fact that the SX120IS has a manual pop-up flash, whereas the higher level SX200IS model (which my father has, and I've used) automatically pops up the flash when you turn the camera on. However, believe me when I say that I greatly prefer the manual popup - it means you never take a flash photo when you don't want to. And flash sucks for a lot of shots since it wipes out depth in a photo and annoys people, like curators at museum. The camera knows the flash is disabled, and sets its properties accordingly. You can manually disable flash on other cameras, but if you set those cameras to auto mode, a lot of models will automatically re-enable the flash. With this camera, it'll never happen. I love it.

6) I don't quite like the form factor on the camera. It seems easier to drop than other Canons that I've used.

7) Being able to turn on auto-histograming and zebra highlighting over- and under-exposed parts of a photo on every shot out of the box is a very nice feature. I used to have to use CHDK to enable that on my older Canon.
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684 of 713 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (Maybe not) The one I've been looking for, September 3, 2009
By 
D Sing (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
I have been debating whether to get a point-and-shoot that is ok, or an SLR that is fantastic. I couldn't justify spending mega$$$ on an SLR because I'm not that sophisticated a photographer. But I have been unhappy with point-and-shoots that are so slow you miss the picture and that have only a "mini-zoom" feature. But the Canon SX120IS solved it all. First, it's a lot less expensive than an SLR. And with the image stabilizer and a really fast shutter response time, I can catch the action before it's over! It takes great close-ups, it has 10X optical zoom, and it has lots of other cool features I can't wait to learn how to use. Plus the LCD screen is large and the controls are easy to use. My only disappointment is that it has no view finder and in some bright light conditions it is hard to see the screen. But overall, I give it thumbs up!

OK, now that I've used it a while, I have more comments. First the good: I could get it from Amazon and it takes really fantastic pictures in difficult lighting conditions, (see my uploaded images.) Then the not-so-good: it eats batteries, (which I think is true of any camera that uses regular batteries) and the lack of a viewfinder is a bigger pain than I thought. Now I'm reducing the rating and thinking I should have spent a little more and gotten the SX10IS or the newer SX20IS. They have viewfinders, 20X zoom and all the good features i like on the SX120IS.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very impressive camera for the price with some really stupid software..., December 6, 2009
By 
Hey Mo!! (The City of Townsville) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
I was looking for the best zoom with image-stabilization in the under-$200 category and I'm pretty sure I've found it. In addition, I got what seems to be the smartest camera in its class. Unfortunately, the people who designed it were thinking more about getting the images onto the camera than getting the images off. It doesn't mount as a USB mass-storage device and the bundled software is total "poo." It's a good camera, but save yourself a headache and get a card reader if you don't have one already.

I paid about $20 less than Amazon's price for this camera, which put it in the same price range as a typical 3x-zoom pocket Panasonic, Pentax or Kodak camera, but IMHO it's better than any of those and way better than the Olympus cameras I've tried that cost more. Some of those other cameras will be 12-megapixels while this one's a "mere" 10MP, but don't buy into the megapixel myth.

*_Pros:
10x optical zoom for the price of a 3x zoom camera. The image-stabilization makes it a snap to get great pics while zoomed to the max.

Picture quality is very nice. With decent lighting there's little noise, banding or color-shifting, even at the edges of the images where other cameras tend to sneak it in. Indoors, in Auto mode there's some fine noise in the red and green channels that's easily detectable, but about on-par with cameras in this price-range.

The Auto setting gets you shooting high quality pictures in a hurry. About 2 seconds from power-on to the first shot.

If, like me, you love to fiddle, this thing offers lots of manual settings. ISO, WB, manual focus, aperture control, custom exposure time up to 15 seconds... The Manual settings are especially useful for indoor and macro shots.

People complain about the camera eating batteries. The cheap batteries that it came with were depleted before I'd finished reviewing the controls, but with Energizer Titaniums I easily got at least 250 shots -- some with flash -- before the batteries ran down. I haven't tried Lithium yet.

The little battery used just for keeping time. Sometimes I leave my camera shelved for a month or two and with previous cameras I'd have to set the time and date and other presets all over again. This camera: No pain.

Duplicating images and some tweaking including red-eye correction can done be while browsing images in Playback mode instead of at the time of the shot.

The camera can be set to display detailed image data including a histogram when a picture is displayed at the time that it's shot and also later in the Preview mode.

Pop-up flash with fine flash controls.

Uses standard AA batteries. No proprietary charger to deal with.

I honestly don't know that the auto face recognition does anything to improve my picture-taking, but it's fun to play with when you've got lots of people in a shot and the time to fuss around.

...

*_Cons:
While the manual says that the camera's memory card will mount on a Mac or PC using the supplied USB cable, I've found that it simply doesn't work and a little Googling confirmed that this is an epic fail for almost all Canon cameras. The camera is detected on the USB bus, but it's never mounted as a mass-storage device. I've got a card reader so it isn't a big deal, but it's annoying. Notably, if you lack a card-reader and if you've got a Mac, Apple's Image Capture software -- bundled with the OS -- detects the camera and lets you copy the images anywhere on your drive quite efficiently. This is in contrast to...

The "Camera Window" software that Canon wants you to use to get images and movies off of the memory card is one of the most stupid inefficient pieces of crud ever to pollute my computer. It has almost no configurable options, shows thumbnails but doesn't allow a user to simply drag and drop images to the Desktop or to a convenient folder and forces the user to import the images into an awful awful awful proprietary image-catalog application. Whoever decided to push this lousy software on us deserves to be tarred and feathered and publicly flogged. I just want the memory card on my camera to mount on my computer so that I can copy my pictures to wherever the heck I want and decide for myself how I want my images cataloged. Almost every digital camera did that 10 years ago. Why is it so hard for modern camera-makers to do this?!!

WB suffers a lot indoors when using the Auto mode without the flash.

The camera's display tends to make images look brighter and more saturated than they actually are. Plan accordingly.

Continuous shooting has a delay of about a second between shots. It should be faster.

When shooting video, the WB and ISO seem to be stuck at whatever setting they are at when the camera starts recording so moving from a bright room to a darker room makes for color-shifts and noise.

Also when shooting video, the optical zoom is stuck at whatever setting you had when you started recording. You can't zoom out from there and zooming in from that point is digital-only and adds noise.

...

*_Nit-Picking:
The plastic case makes it seem like this camera is low-end when it just ain't.

The battery compartment can be hard to open. There should be some grooves in the battery-door to help you get the traction to slide the door out to the position where it swings open. I've found a trick to doing it with minimal effort: Move the little button with your fingernail, then keep your fingernail in the slot and push with the edge of your nail towards the side of the camera to slide the battery-door out to the point where it can swing open.

Movies are shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio (640x480, AVI, MJPEG compression with raw 8-bit/11KHz mono audio). They are generally of excellent quality -- good enough to stand in for a camcorder in a pinch -- but modern devices should shoot in 16:9 instead of 4:3. Oddly, VLC reports encoding errors in the movie files, but QuickTime 7 has no problem with them.

It's not really big or heavy, but this is not a camera that can easily fit in a pants-pocket. It does fit in the inside pocket on some of my coats. I actually went out and got a little camera case with a belt-loop and shoulder-strap for mine so I don't have to worry about it dangling from my wrist when I'm not using it.

The big white wrist strap that mine came with is ugly. I replaced it with a svelte gray strap from another camera.

The PhotoStitch software that it comes with crashes instantly under Mac OS 10.5 and 10.6. I didn't buy it for the cheezy software, but if you want to make panaramas be warned.

The images are saved at 180dpi. I've noticed this with other Canon cameras. I can see a rationale for 72 dpi. I can see 96 or 244 or 300dpi. Why 180dpi? I know that it's arbitrary and largely meaningless, but that number is just weird.

I wish this camera would save pictures in LZW TIFF or RAW format. I hate JPEG.

...

Okay, so you've read this far and you see lots of criticisms. I still recommend this camera. It takes good pictures, it's got a great zoom with some of the best image-stabilization I've seen and the interface is suitable for both the neophyte and the advanced amateur user. It's a sweet camera and the price is fantastic for what you get. If you want better, you're going to end up paying a lot more.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the advanced photographer that's all about control, November 10, 2009
By 
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
The Canon Sx120 is for the advanced photographer who wants more control than the typical digital camera, but without the extra bulk or price. I got this camera after having used the previous SX100 and Sx110 and some DSLRs. The main upgrade from the past is the DIGIC IV processor and the noise reduction at ISO 800 and 1600. In the previous SX models the noise was pretty bad, specks of odd color pixels were very obvious at high ISO, but with the SX120's new NR processing, it's a noticeable improvement. Granted it's not DSLR level, but very usable for a compact digital camera. All the other features are just minor tweaks from the previous models.

This is a great camera for the money. It allows manual operation of aperture, shutter speed, even flash intensity (which comes in useful for optically triggering off-camera flashes). I wish more compact cameras allowed this kind of control for creative shooting. The aperture operation isn't like some other manufacturers that only have 2 settings, wide and small. It actually has increments in 1/3 stop steps which gives great control. One other feature you can't find in any other value compact digital camera is how fast the lens is. I mean how much light it lets in even when zoomed in (f2.8-f4.3). This allows faster shutter speeds to freeze the action in dimly lit areas. Most cameras have tiny lenses that lets even less light through when zoomed in, this makes the camera turn up the ISO (more noise), or slows the shutter speed (more blur). The Canon SX120 has a big enough lens to counter these effects. Even the new Canon SX200 has compromised in this area of the lens.

Other nice features of this camera I like are being able to adjust contrast, saturation, and sharpness of images. I prefer to turn these down as much as possible to capture the most data at first, I can post-process the pictures later on a computer if I wanted (alternative when RAW isn't availble).

This camera has so many great little things about it. I'll just list them here for completeness sake. It has great image quality, a lot of control for the user, intuitive interface, adequate performance speed for the category, uses convenient & greener AA batteries. I just have a few minor gripes that would make this an even better camera:

1) Super-fine JPG mode is not available anymore, I wish the JPG compression was more adjustable.

2) The Zoom level is not precisely displayed. I prefer an equivalent focal length display instead of an ambiguous zoom bar that only appears for a second or two when the zoom is activated.

3) Flash recharge is slow, but it's to be expected since it uses AA batteries. This really isn't so bad since I don't use flash very much because the camera is able to take good photos in low-light with the big lens and good high ISO performance along with the optical image stabilizer. I get good performance out of the camera using slow-discharge NiMH batteries (don't get the high mAH rating ones, they have a high self-discharge rate).

4) There's no way to turn off the auto-lens retraction when playing back images, which resets the settings when I turn the camera back on to shoot again (I have to readjust my zoom level and exposure compensation settings for example.)

5) Wide-angle isn't very wide at 36mm EFL, I prefer a bit wider and give up some in the telephoto end, while keeping the same lens performance.

6) Video recording is ok (640x480 in mJPEG), optical zoom disabled while recording. I dont' take a lot of videos and figured this camera is really for taking creative still photos. So it's an ok compromise for me.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the all purpose, September 8, 2009
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
I am a beginner and I got suddenly interest in taking great pictures. So I was looking for a camera that has high zoom, manual controls as well as auto controls. When I started searching for good camera reviews I shortlisted 4- 5 cameras that included canon sd1100,sd770, Sony DSC H20 and canon sx100 is. The first two were point and shoot and had all functionality that I was looking for other then some manual, but less optical zoom. Sony and canon both were good but I chose to go for canon as it has lots of shooting options.
I was looking to buy sx110is (sx100is 's successor) and then I got a news that sx120is is released. I was not sure whether to take the older one or get the new one who has not been rated. But I bought this and I am happy with it. It is not that much heavier then other cameras with good optical zoom. though comparing to Panasonic's lumix, it is heavier.
It has great functionality such as:
*Easy to use. if you just want to say with auto selection then that also gives you best pictures.
*face detection, that is very useful while taking self picture. Detects up to 9 face at a time.
* continuous shooting , like taking 3 pictures simultaneously at fast speed.
* iso 3200
* 10x optical zoom, 40x digital zoom.
* 15 shooting mode
* sunset,sun rise detection,
* Great functionality in video shooting like zoom out, zoom in.
* manual controls,you can set shutter speed, Av, Tv mode.
* Image stabilizer.
* Big LCD screen in which display picture rotates according to holders direction i.e while displaying pictures, if you are holding camera horizontal it sets picture automatically horizontal.
* We can focus picture first and then can take pictures.

the only thing is that it doesn't have a viewfinder. some people might not like it but it doesn't matter for me as far as I can see what I am taking , what is in focus through LCD. Also it requires AA battery that has its own plus and minus point, but it requires only 2 AA batteries and can take 200 to 300 snaps.That is good enough.The flash is not automatic. you have to fire it manually,it has its plus minus too.Too much auto pop of flash might frustrate some one, or some might want auto flash, but camera detects and let you know that this picture requires flash so you can raise the flash, not bad!!

It can fit in pocket so not bad then any other point and shoot.
I took some pictures from it while I was learning its functionality. I took some on low resolutions. That can not give justice to camera, later I got some great pictures by learning some mode. Here it is: [...]
The camera is working perfectly till now.
I will sure recommend this to any one. Good one for who wants to start exploring photography.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Major disappointment, December 27, 2009
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
I bought this camera over the Kodak Z915 (takes AA batteries with 10x zoom) or Z950 (lithium battery with 10x zoom) due to the reviews. Well it's biggest problem is picture quality. I rarely got an image that wasn't soft, no matter what I tried. Also, the focus square would most always not select the main subject. When I chose the select faces option, only one or two faces would be chosen and often those in the background rather than the nearest subject. There also wasn't a multi-point focusing. Only one green square box would come up. Regarding camera build, it is built well and feels sturdy. The pictures just were always soft and slightly out of focus. Also, indoor photos had a yellow cast to them when I got them printed at Kodak site. Lastly, you must realize before buying this that you will wait a full FIVE seconds between shots when using the flash. That is an eternity folks! At my Christmas party with all the kids posing with Santa, I was the one they were waiting for the camera to recharge, while my sister-in-law with the Sony point and shoot and cousin with the Nikon were shooting away. Often after a flash shot, when the camera screen appeared so I could shoot again, the flash would not go off, so I ended up with an underexposed (and blurry) picture. Oh, and forget about the high ISO options (which is another reason I bought it). I attempted to take shots in a gymnasium of my son wrestling. Exposure wise they came out well, just that they were blurry and NOISY. For these reasons I'm going to get either the Kodak Z915 or the Z950 and return this. In summary, I can't believe how highly this is rated for how badly it produces photos.

Update: I bought the Kodak z915 and absolutely love it. Pictures are sharp (albeit I learned for large groups of people us the landscape button for best sharpness). It also has an incredible "stage" scene mode that allows you to take pictures of people on stage and no flash or camera sounds go off and pictures come out great! Also, it has a "high ISO" scene that allows incredible indoor shots, which I took at a Rutgers basketball game from row 20 off the floor. Lastly, has a completely manual option, where you can play and learn with iso, aperture, shutter speed and exposure. Unbelievable camera conveniently powered with double A batteries. Only wish it had a viewfinder. Ten times better than the Canon.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good camera, but it lacks features, October 13, 2009
By 
Rafael Sarres (Brasilia, Brazil) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
It is a good camera, as a powershot S1, S2, and S5 ex-user, I bought it because of its portability. I love the powershot S series ultra-zoom cameras, but now I want a smaller camera. But keep in mind, in this case, smaller the size, fewer the features. So this review is directed to S-series users that look for ultra-zoom portability.
First the good:
- Good image quality, IMHO. As I am not a professional, just an enthusiast, my amateur eyes tell me that the quality is almost the same of my previous S5, maybe a little more noisy.
- AA batteries: For me it is a must!
- Good battery life: Not as good as S series, as it uses only 2 AA, but It lasts two days of heavy using. in my last vacation, I took more than 1000 pictures, lots with flash, and changed the batteries maybe 4 times at most - Sony Cycle Energy 2000 mAh.
- Good optical image stabilization: same performance as S-series
- Manual control over shutter/apperture/ISO. A must!
- I-contrast: I realy think it works! The dark areas with bright background photos are better than the ones with S5.
- Automatic lens cover: No more manually covering the lens like on S-series.

Now the bad:
- No color accent!!!! Why Canon? As it is a software feature, why strip this useful feature (I think) from this camera? I loved it on my S5 and now it is gone. (Ok, I could do it with photoshop...)
- No color swap too - I did not use this one very much, so no big deal for me.
- No stich assist!!!!! Why again, Canon? No space left on the function dial? No space for more Digic4 code? :(
- No optical zoom with video... I am not a camera engineer, but it looks like a very difficult feature to fit on smaller cameras. As a user, I think: move the zoom lens, keep focusing and evaluating exposure - No big deal. It does not seem to be difficult, but, it may be, as a lot of pocket cameras lacks this feature. Sx120 has only digital zoom while recording videos (I hate the output quality of digital zoom), so I do not use it. For the record, you can use the optical zoom before starting the video recording, but it gets locked on this position until the video recording stops.
- No HD video: For me, it is no big deal, I like the 640x480 quality.

Bottom line: S-series users, it is a good camera, but I do not know why some good software features were stripped. I have accepted that it is the price for portability (it can fit on a large pocket), but as soon as a new AA-battery, compact, ultra zoom model with the SX120 lacking features comes around, I will sell this camera.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for Amatuer and Advavced users. EZ Controls., October 6, 2009
By 
Larry Wolford (Washington State) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
As a Good Amatuer who carried Japanese Analog Camera's for 40 years,and now have tried 6 Digital camera's,including Panasonic's DMC-TZ5,I must say: "Wow!" Very simple to understand instructions , plus straight forward controls, and even the in "Auto" mode it produces XLNT results( very good brain input integration). But in the Creative modes of "Apeture and "Shutter Priority" you can do Professional work. The Nickel Hydride "AA" batteries and their large capacity, work very well in this Camera. All Camera's I have seen/tried in this price range have some noise over 400 ISO. Sometimes I read reviews of those who have bought High Res. Camera's, but have no way to view the better resolution result, because their Monitor is limited. Thus their disappointment in better and higher resolution camera purchases is a result of their reviewing source. This Camera will not disapppoint those "who know their stuff." Amatuers will apprecate it's "Brain." Buy this Camera! A wonderful bargain in my opinion.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Canon Reliability!!, January 20, 2010
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (Electronics)
I am the owner of numerous Canon cameras. I am a professional videographer and music photographer.

I can't always lug around my Canon DSLR, but I always have to have a camera with me.

This camera was purchased in hopes of bridging the gap between the high power of my DLSR and the portability and ease of use of my aging point and shoot...since that same point and shoot took an average of 1.25 seconds to "click over"....or so my stopwatch said.

My negative remarks on this camera are few, but below I list both pros and cons.

Pros of the Canon SX120IS

+ extremely quick shutter response
+ vivid true to life colors
+ face detection and face tracking (especially helpful with moving musicians)
+ pro level manual controls (I shoot a lot in M and AV modes)
+ huge selection of shooting modes
+ high quality zoom lens
+ exceptional image stabilization
+ ISO selection is super easy
+ intuitive layout/handling
+ exceptional live view/photo review on the large LCD
+ dedicated ISO 3200 mode
+ weight/build feel is typical Canon quality
+ depth of field and background blur VERY close to my DSLR
+ manual flash instead of auto pop up
+ very high quality video capture

Cons

- low light performance is not as crisp as I would like
- indoors, skin tones can be a tad pink
- battery life is almost non-existent
- shooting mode dial is a bit tough to rotate due to being deeply recessed into the body
- no HD video mode
- kit does not include carrying pouch...even my old Pentax came with a sleeve

Overall, the Sx120Is is by far the most intuitive and striking point/shoot in this price bracket. Nothing comes close to this camera in terms of photo quality, ease of use, color reproduction, and options in the sub $300 category.

As a professional, I trust my photos to the Sx120Is. This camera's value is far greater than its price tag!
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