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Canon Digital IXUS 120 IS - Canon Digital IXUS 120 IS

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The secret to great quality is attention to detail, and the IXUS 120 IS gets most of its details exactly right. The LCD monitor is sharp and bright with a superb anti-reflective surface and an exceptionally wide viewing angle of almost 180 degrees in all directions. It works well even outdoors in bright sunlight, assuming you can find some.

The 120 IS has Canon's recently revised function menu, and I have to say that it's absolutely superb. This is the way camera menus should be done; intuitive, responsive, and superbly easy to understand, with explanatory tool tips for every function. It even looks good, with a nice gradient shading effect and a clear readable font. The main menu is just as good; sensibly laid out and very easy to use. Again there is explanatory text for every function. There are several other manufacturers (cougholympuscough) who should take a look at Canon's menus and learn a few things.

As a point-and-click pocket compact the IXUS 120 IS doesn't have much in the way of creative manual control apart from colour adjustment, but it does have a wide range of useful automatic features. These include optical image stabilisation, a rare feature on a camera this small, but which works extremely well, allowing hand-held shooting at shutter speeds as low as 1/15th of a second. The IXUS 120 also has i-Contrast, which is supposed to boost shadow detail in high-contrast situations, but in fact all it seems to do is increase overall brightness, improving shadow detail but burning out highlights.

The video recording mode is about average for its class. It can shoot at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) and a frame rate of 30fps. Audio recoding is mono via an internal microphone, and as usual the optical zoom cannot be adjusted while recording. Clip length is limited to 10 minutes at maximum quality and resolution.


January 17, 2010, 9:59 pm

Any comment on why the body of the tested camera is all scratched and marked? If I paid £260 for a status symbol camera, I'd be pretty annoyed if it very quickly looked all and scratched and scruffy through kust normal use..


January 18, 2010, 1:00 am

The value score seems a bit mean... how many other cameras of that size + price can take pictures that good? The performance ISO performance for example seems to match that of some DSLRs.


January 19, 2010, 4:15 pm

Looks great. But where has your forum gone? Why is it broken still? Is anyone actually fixing it?

Cliff Smith

January 21, 2010, 5:34 pm

Noodles - The cameras was marked like that when I recieved it, presumably by a previous reviewer who is less careful when handling loaned cameras. The body is aluminiunm and can be scratched by contact with harder materials, but it's not especially prone to damage.

Williamn - May I direct your attention to the Panasonic FS62, and also to the Nikon S640 review which I'll be adding later today. Both have optical image stabilisation and good image quality and cost a lot less than the IXUS 120.

John - No idea, and to be honest I hadn't even noticed that it was broken. Does anyone have an answer for this one? Do we really need a forum anymore when we have this comments section?


February 8, 2010, 8:23 pm

I bought one of these, but it soon went wrong. On inspection there was apparently moisture getting into the works. Jessops said Canon advised this was the customer problem. Apparently it is not, and I quote, 'weatherproof' - it's says so in the manual.

Also, they advised and again I quote 'not to take it to a hot country' as that might cause atmostpheric moiture. They wanted me to pay £150.00 to fix it. No more Canon products for me... If you want a camera that will work reliably in a hot country, or indeed where there is weather, I would choose another one.


February 27, 2010, 6:35 am

Got it for £166 and also bought the IXUS blue coloured camera purse bag with it for £10.5, looks really elegant with the two together, got it for a birthday present for my wife and she really likes it.

I guess I got lucky as they brought the price down because the IXUS 130 is coming out.

Planning to get the Lumix-GF1 for myself, and crossing my fingers that the price will somehow come down too.

Ashutosh Ranjan

May 12, 2010, 5:52 pm

I have bought this canon camera. and have all features that a user required. the <a href="http://www.clickindia.com/e... digital cameras</a> are really affordable and stylish in design. anyone one can gift this to his loved ones.

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