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Showing 1-10 of 190 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 303 reviews
on September 3, 2009
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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on January 22, 2016
So, my camera just died. We had good times and then a fairly quick death. It lasted just about 3 1/2 years. It was easy to use and did take some great photos. Action shots were difficult and there were many blurry shots. Then, sometimes it would have some great "frozen" shots of popcorn or items tossed into the air by my kids. Portraits were nice. I felt the photo quality in general was quite nice. It is best for close range shots. It is small, compact, and easy to operate. Now, about the "end". The battery life button would come on more and more often saying that it needed new batteries. You could put in new batteries and get 1-2 shots only. Next, it would say the batteries needed to be changed. I would have to turn it on, get a few fast shots before it shut itself down. This proved quite embarrassing! I am looking for a new camera now and have decided to spend more and hopefully get a camera that lasts longer.
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on June 16, 2012
I bought this camera after some research. The price seemed competitive for the features offered. After taking this camera on a a two week vacation, I have to admit it has wowed me.

The good:
There are a wide array of preset camera settings for different types of shots being taken. These really complement the various settings I encountered. When I was disappointed at the seeming lack of color of some sunset shots I took, I examined the camera and found a "Sunset" setting. The photos that were then produced were fantastic! It is important to adjust the camera for the setting preset for your situation. The ability to change so many aspects of the camera settings manually was an added bonus. The option to take macro shots also made my day when trying to photograph some of the local flora during my trip.

The 10x optical zoom was a real boon, and even the digital zoom mode the pictures were clear and crisp. I took photos of flowers in trees as if I was 3 feet away from them when I was more like 20 feet away.

The flash on demand worked extremely well and timing was perfect.

The bad:
Almost nothing. The automatic focus was a bit glitchy at very long distances/zoom levels. It wouldn't stay focused, but move around a bit, and so I sometimes had to time the shot for when it was most in focus. But again, this was only when I attempted to take shots at extreme distances/zoom levels.

There were just a couple of times when I wished the camera had a view finder due to difficult lighting situations where viewing the large LCD screen was difficult.

This is the Swiss army knife of point and shoot cameras, and made me feel like a pro (which I was at one time). The level of quality of this camera matches it's versatility which just wowed me time and time again. I did not expect to find a camera this good at this price range.
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on June 23, 2010
I bought this camera on Amazon about 6 months ago to replace a broken Nikon CoolPix. I wanted a camera that took better pictures than the CoolPix; better zoom, image stabilization, low light capabilities, etc. Essentially, more big camera features in a little package. But still within the category of a "pocket" camera.

I also wanted a camera that operated entirely from off the shelf AA batteries. When I go on trips, I do NOT want to lug a battery charger with me, OR have to pay ridiculous prices for proprietary rechargeable batteries specific to particular vendors OR have to carry a spare with me so I can keep shooting when the vendor proprietary battery expires, which is usually at the worst possible moment. Just put off the shelf AA batteries in which you can get ANYWHERE and keep shooting. Simple. It also gets around the "planned obsolescence" concept that camera vendors use to force you to buy a new camera every few years by discontinuing the proprietary batteries for older models under the justification of "beyond end-of-life".

I spent HOURS searching and finally came up with this Canon. Bought it when it was $199.00. Have used it several times in the last six months and I am STILL on the original set of alkaline AA's I put in it. Okay, I don't use the flash much. AND I turned off a lot of advanced, battery draining features that I didn't want in Setup (IR, etc.).

Good points:

1.) It is VERY good in low light.
2.) The image stabilization actually WORKS
3.) Battery life is very good (so far)
4.) Nice form factor

Bad points (actually, more like annoyances):

1.) It is a bit too large to be used as a "pocket camera". A large pocket maybe. I have to work to wedge it in and out of my jacket pocket. No big deal.
2.) They put the SD card under the battery door. Extremely annoying to have to open the battery door to get to the SD card. I transfer pics to my computer directly from the SD card and NEVER use the USB cable (it's just another thing to have to keep track of). Good news is the battery door is made of metal; at least it is not likely to break from the stress of being opened/closed continuously while accessing the SD card. We'll see.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with this camera and glad I bought it. Recommend it to anybody looking for something small, not quite pocket camera size, (but almost) with several "big camera" features that takes REALLY goo low light pictures and doesn't use proprietary batteries.
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on December 9, 2013
It's fantastic in direct sunlight on the macro setting from at least two feet away. However, this is not the camera for food photography. I spent a lot of hours with this churning out photos that will land me in the food blogger photograph razzies. (The website is in my profile.) For the longest time, I thought it couldn't focus up close; it will, though, but it's so exact that you have to get out the measuring tape, use the manual focus, and make sure your tripod is exactly that many centimeters from what you want to focus on. (Literally, you'll need marking tape.)

The "Macro" setting has a focus screen in the camera, but it's either unreliable, or it's just hard to read. I'd photograph something, and all that would be in focus, from a foot away, would be the surroundings--or the spoon in the bowl, or some random detail.

In addition, indoors on automatic and a white counter, it thinks everything is light blue. On a wood grain counter, it thinks everything is orange. You have to set the white balance (which it won't allow you to do in automatic.) Basically, unless you're photographing food outdoors in sunlight, this produces bad photos--and that's probably true for other close-up shots as well.

Also, the battery life has you praying that it's fragile enough to break when dropped. (Unfortunately, it's not.)

Get a DSLR with an f1.4 50mm lens, if you want to photograph food. Even an iphone with filters to correct bad color would produce better shots without a lot of post-production.
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on May 24, 2010
I did a lot of researching on CNet, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and several other places before I decided to buy this camera. I was looking for something that was simple to use, had a lot of zoom, had good-to-excellent picture quality, was for everyday use (i.e., I'm clumsy, so I didn't want it to break the first time I touched it), and was in the $100-200 range. I also wanted a camera that was nice enough and had the technology to last several years. Basically, for what I was wanting, I narrowed it down to three cameras: the Kodak Z915, the Canon SX120IS, and the Panasonic Lumix ZS3. The Panasonic had a wide-angle lens, which I was very interested in but which wasn't necessary, while the Kodak camera was (at the time of purchase) about $50 cheaper than the Canon. I decided I wanted something a bit more sturdy than the ZS3 and with better photo quality than the Kodak, so I decided to give this camera a try.

As other reviewers have said, this camera has some good and bad to it. I've been playing with it for four months now, and I love it sometimes and hate it others. That said, the good things include:

--excellent photo quality (by my standards and for its class)
--versatility (the camera has settings for foliage, aquariums, snow, different indoor lighting, and a sunset filter)
--the opportunity to have more control over IS, exposure, focus, etc., than a basic point-and-shoot
--sturdy design. Because it's a bit larger than other cameras, it can't fit into a pocket, but it is also not going to fall out of my hands from strong winds or clumsiness.
--The ability to take multiple shots is nice (I know other cameras do this, but it's the first time I've had the ability to play with it). This camera will take 3 shots at about 1 second per shot and will refocus on the subject between shots.
--The flash is manually popped up when you want to use it so it doesn't accidentally go off when you don't want it to. You can also take pretty good pictures in most lighting without the flash.
--The camera takes AA's, so if you run out of batteries in the middle of a trip or away from a plug-in, you can just buy replacements.

Some of the bad things I've found:

--If you want a good shot, you have to make *everything* hold still. My little brother shows cattle, and 6 out of every 10 pictures will be blurry if taken when the calf is walking around the ring. Once things are held still, though, the photos look very nice.
-- The auto-focus and image stabilization don't always work as planned. Sometimes I will center something and try to take a picture of it, only to find that the camera was focused on something behind it (this may be due to impatience in taking the picture).
--It takes about 5-10 seconds after you use the flash for you to be able to take another picture. I usually fix this by taking a shot with flash first and then closing the flash so that I get a faster turnaround.

Also, I've been through 3 pairs of AA's since I bought the camera and have taken hundreds of pictures and used several hours of playback, so I would say that that is fairly decent battery life. However, I also take the 'dead' batteries out and they function in my tv remote, so the camera doesn't actually use all of the juice in the batteries, it just takes a lot of power to run.

Overall, I really like this camera despite my inability to get it to take good shots of fast-moving objects. The quality of the pictures it takes correctly, the price, and the sturdiness/longevity of it make it a good value for the price.
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on December 1, 2010
The reason I purchased this camera was:

1) I didn't want to always lug around my large and heavy Canon D40,
2) I needed a camera the wife and kids could use with little fuss,
3) Came with the ability to take movies, and
4) Had the quality to take good photos at a low enough price point that if the camera were accidentally broken I wouldn't become upset.

Prior to this camera I had a Canon Powershot S3, which I used extensively for a year or two before I received the "E18 Error of Death" (search Google). Considering that a substantial price investment in that camera, initially I was not interested in another Canon to replace the broken one (it would have cost more to get it fixed than purchase a new one). So I researched the other brands extensively, reading many review websites and forums. While no camera is perfect, for my needs and requirements this camera met the bill.

I am writing this review a year after I purchased the camera and can firmly say I'm still pleased with my decision and have not had any problem with the camera. This is after extensive use (and perhaps abuse) from being used by three boys (12, 9, and 7). While I've taken the time to train them that this is not a toy, they do take good care of it - but kids will still be kids. All that to say, it has held up well.

Lastly, the picture quality is not on par with more expensive cameras (and rightly so), I'm also very happy with the results.

CONCLUSION: If I were in the market today, I would purchase this camera again without hesitation due to it's low price point and quality results and build.
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on March 3, 2010
I just got back from Israel. I took this camera with me and was so happy to have gotten shots at a moment's notice. The quality of the pictures is amazing. I found I did better on a manual setting for shots in which I had time to set up. Just a rotation of the wheel on the back and I had the shutter set and I was ready to go. I only use Duracell 2650mah batteries in my Canon. They perform for almost two days of shooting. I was on this trip with another who had the same camera, the SX120IS, and he only had the akalines which came with his. They lasted almost half a day. I shared some of my batteries and he was very pleased with his camera after that.

The only real drawback for this camera is it's hard to grip. I had a PowerShot A530 that I loved, but it suffered from eating batteries. i had sent it back and they fixed it, but three years later it got hungry again. That is when I got this one. If the bump on the front were bigger I would feel better about holding it. As it is, I used the wrist strap all the time and it was fine. If you have a camera strap, use it. You'll have a nicer camera for a longer period of time.

I have 680 shots from my trip and they all came out great. Just push the shutter halfway down and make sure you allow the camera to focus before taking any pictures. Love my Canon!
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on June 30, 2011
I bought this camera new. Amazon was awesome as always. I have used many Canon cameras (I own an A60, A75, A400, A510, A540, and an A580). I have taken and printed many pictures from all of these cameras. I have always liked the feel of Canon's cameras, because they feel substantial and comfortable.
The first thing I noticed about this camera is how out-of-balance it felt. The grip area was too thin, and it always felt like it was going to slip out of my hands. The large LCD is nice, but would benefit hugely from some kind of hood, or the choice of an optical viewfinder. The LCD is very hard to see in bright sunlight.
The controls of this camera felt well laid out to me. I liked the wheel for scrolling through adjustments or reviewing pictures. Again, they would have felt that much better had the grip been more substantial.
The zoom is magnificent. Control of the speed of it seems well balanced and smooth. I like the automatic lens cover.
Battery life was very good. I was able to take over 200 photographs, some with flash, on one set of batteries with time to spare. I used 2400 mAh NIMH batteries.
I bought this camera in April 2011. I sold it in June. After taking almost 400 photographs with it, I can say without hesitation that I did not like the quality of the photos it produced. This is funny, because most of the professional reviews I read of this camera stated that photo quality was the main redeeming characteristic of this camera. I found it to be most inaccurate while in the "Auto" mode. White balance was almost never right, colors appeared under-saturated, and the photos always seemed to be over- or under-exposed. Again, this is with the selector in "Auto" mode. I actually got my best photographs in full manual mode. Even in Aperture-Priority mode, my favorite mode when I want to be more creative, the camera seemed hard to predict. The results were most predictable in manual. I spent most of our vacation taking pictures in manual mode so I could get some decent prints! These traits I find unacceptable.
I have snapped gorgeous off-the-cuff photos with my wife's A580 in Auto mode. To me, this is the way "Auto" mode should be. I shouldn't have to hope the white balance is correct, or that the camera will choose the best shutter speed and aperture. My A510, which is a 3.2 megapixel camera, takes beautiful pictures that yield nice 8 X 10 prints. I like the 510's pictures better than the SX120 IS pictures. What gives, Canon?
As a result of these findings, I sold this camera and bought an older Canon Powershot S3 IS 6 megapixel camera, one of Canon's older "Pro" cameras. I can say without hesitation that the S3 photos are heads and tails above the SX120. The S3 also feels like a well-made professional piece of gear in my hand, with good balance and a good grip. When I want serious photographic power, this six-year-old, comparitively low-resolution camera is the camera I will be taking with me.
In conclusion, I have to say that I no longer believe in megapixels or that newer is better. I feel like Canon has dropped the ball with this unit. It has a lot of features and a high-resolution sensor, but if the picture quality isn't there, who cares? I'd rather have an older model with a better feel and better quality prints than the latest and greatest with lousy prints. I'm happier with Canon's older units. Perhaps, when the time comes, it may be necessary to give loyalty to another brand.
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on June 22, 2010
It would be an understatement to say that I am impressed. I bought the Canon SX120-IS as an intermediate solution between my wife's point-and-shoot and my semi-professional Olympus E-10. I wanted a pocket size, high quality camera with professional operating modes like, shutter priority, aperture priority, spot focusing, exposure selections, and even manual focus. I also wanted a camera that wouldn't hopelessly flash without my permission and the pop-up flash solves this problem nicely.

But I wasn't prepared for the big surprise - it actually takes good quality pictures I couldn't get with my bulky profession camera! The 2.8 lens is fairly fast, but combined with the image stabilization and relatively low noise ISO options up to 1600, I can take pictures never before possible in low light conditions. And, the shutter lag (or lack thereof) is also amazing at only .06 seconds for pre-focused shots, allowing stop action of moving objects.

Unfortunately, it appears that the SX120-IS may be nearing the end of its lifetime and I don't see anything to replace it near its current price. This camera is a steal at $179. If you know how to use a camera and you want a handy semi-professional grade camera that you can carry in your pocket, then don't pass this one by.
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