Canon Digital IXUS 120 IS Review

October 12, 2009 | Gavin Stoker | |

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#1 herzinfarkt

I think The first thing you’ll notice is how small this camera is. To date, its the smallest Canon camera yet almost to the point that its difficult to handle. I’d call it Ultra-compact and this thing can fit anywhere. The button are more flush than any other Canon which makes button finding and feeling a bit cumbersome.

7:55 am - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#2 wanderintraveler

What is the difference between this camera and Canon ixus 110?  Which has better image quality specially for taking pics indoor?

12:58 pm - Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#3 Robin

I have to strongly disagree with the image quality rating of 4 on this camera. I made the mistake of buying it, which was a heavy disappointment:

Its optics suffers from severe out-of-focus problems at its maximum zoom, turning anything even slightly fine-grained, such as f.e. a wire mesh fence, into a hazy fuzz. The off-centre focus problems are also very, very bad at widest angle, and well noticable at full tele and even in the middle of the focal length range where zoom optics perform their best. Chromatic abberation is also notably worse on this model than earlier Ixuses.

The 720p recording mode is also under all criticism. The image quality and video compression is so gritty and destroyed that in order to maintain anything remotely resembling clear video quality or “high definition”, one has to scale the 1280*720 video material down to about 960*544 (or similar 16:9 aspect format), completely voiding the entire point of purchasing this camera for its 720p “HD” recording. Needless to say, optical zoom does not work in video recording mode either, regardless resolution. Sound is also just mono.

I would not recommend this camera to anyone looking for decent 720p capabilites, or even decent still photo quality in a small pocket camera. The dire truth is that in these two areas, which ironically are what a camera is used for, the 120 IS just plain sucks. However, for those looking for other things in a camera than image quality, the 120 IS has three other things going for it:  its small size, its excellent battery time, and its image stabilization in movie recording mode.

I’d give this camera a 3 out of 5 on everything, and with that I haven’t even covered how clumsy it is to handle because of not having any guiding notches on the buttons, leaving you clueless as to what button your thumb is resting on….

5:31 pm - Friday, March 5, 2010

#4 Dex

I’m very disappointed in this camera and the quality of photos. The most of the time, especially when shooting at wide angles, images are not sharp and they resemble photos taken using mobile phone. Even my sister, who is everything but a camera freak, sees sharpness difference in shots taken by this camera, 5-year old A95 and some cheap 3-year old Practica camera.

Canon can say they put 12Mpix and image stabilization into this camera but the final result is far below what I could expect.

On the other hand, post processing is very good. The colors are vivid and at the most of the times there’s absolutely no need to edit photos and change anything. Macro is very good and the hi-res video is nice to have.

9:31 am - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#5 Tom

I’m a ‘casual’ hobby photographer and use a Nikon DSLR for ‘serious’ photos. I wanted a very small camera I could carry in a shirt pocket on holiday when I didn’t want to be heaving an slr around. I’ve had the 120 for a few months and have used it on holiday and weekend breaks several times.

I think the review is a little generous and the comments here are a little harsh. There is definite lens distortion that can be distracting and results are generally soft and undersaturated on ‘standard’ settings. The camera’s preview screen is more punchy than monitors or prints.

In my opinion the results are good given the compromise in size and weight. Most issues can easily be corrected in post processing if you want to. Results will never rival a ‘serious’ camera, but then it isn’t one. I’m very happy with this shirt pocket camera. It means I get to take photos where I would not normally bother taking a camera. Just don’t expect ‘near slr’ results.

Being very old, I compared some prints taken on holiday in the 1980s using a pentax SLR and prime lens with snaps from the 120 taken this Spring in Barcelona. It’s astonishing how far photography has come in a single generation.

5:05 pm - Thursday, June 17, 2010

#6 sinoj

canon lounched ixux 120 in 2010..
          it was a mistake.
If launching date was 1990
            that was an incident.

  friends dont buy this bad image mechine
            i am the victim…........

6:58 pm - Thursday, December 2, 2010

#7 Giovanni

It’s shit to buy this model due to its lens error. You know, my 120is camera was so easy to get errors and its photo quality is not really stable and it takes too long to take a photo, I am sure. So, next time, I will buy a Nikon only.

10:05 am - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

#8 Vladimir

I bought it ex-demo for $100 so my comment is basing on this price:
- small and well built;
- image quality is the same as many other snapshot cameras with 1/2.3 sensor and can be easily corrected and improved with software.
So, the bottom line - I’ve got want I wanted: pocketable camera that you even forget that you carry it around with good pictures for the moments happening around you every second.
For serious shooting I have Canon 60D that is 15 times more expensive and 10 times more heavy…

1:52 pm - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#9 Jon

I agree it’s very compact and easy to use. From the outset it was sometimes slow to focus. Within 2 years of buying this Canon I started to encounter lens errors, with the lens stuck in the open position. Initially I was able to clear them. Canon agent quotes almost £125 for replacement of lens unit and return shipping. Very disappointed.  I have not previously experienced a digital camera lasting only 2 years.

7:46 pm - Sunday, December 30, 2012

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 720p, 12 megapixel, 2.7 inch LCD, 4x zoom, elph, canon ixus 120, PowerShot SD940 IS Digital ELPH Review, Canon Digital IXUS 120 IS Review, canon powershot sd940. ixus

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