Sunday, 5 July 2015

Canon PowerShot S120 review

The Canon PowerShot S120 is the 2013 successor to the PowerShow S110 and is the latest in the PowerShot S line. It costs around £200-£210 new and is a steal if you consider the multitude of features which come built-in.

It takes (4000 x 3000) 12.1MP pictures at shutter speeds varying from 1/2500 of a second to 250 seconds. The automatic camera mode produces crisp images with deep colours which is perfect for simply capturing a moment. Though, there are also modes that prioritise shutter speed or aperture and automate every other variable if you want a picture to look a specific way without the process of taking it being too complicated. There are also full manual, custom and program modes for people who like to fiddle with every setting.

If you'd like to apply an effect, the camera comes with dozens including fish-eye, miniature, and background defocus – which produces SLR styled images. The HDR effect produces pictures with vivid colours however if the subject is moving quickly, noticeable outlines appear which spoil the image.
 High Dynamic Range

There are also numerous filters and modes so the camera can adapt for any scene or environment. These include an underwater mode, a firework mode, a portrait mode, and an impressive star mode. The star mode split into a further three modes: one which simply takes high quality images of stars, another which takes a picture of star trails (works best on a tripod), and one which records a video of the stars moving across the sky (also works better on a tripod).
Star trail mode

There are also a handful of settings available on every mode and filter for continuous shooting, self-timing, changing the aspect ratio, and determining the image size (as well as the really basic settings such as adjusting focus manually and turning flash on or off). The continuous shooting setting allows users to take 12.1 shots per second for the first five frames and then 9.4 shots per second for all the frames following.

On the front of the camera there is a control ring which you can change what setting it tweaks. By default, it controls the 5x optical zoom in most modes. This extremely handy feature, which is uncommon on most point-and-shoot cameras, makes zooming easy and effortless.

The PowerShot S120 boasts the ability to wirelessly share or backup pictures. You can connect your phone or tablet to the camera via WiFi to review pictures as soon as they have been taken, or even connect the camera to an online service such as Flickr, Google Drive, or CANON iMAGE GATEWAY to back them up.

One of the things that the PowerShot S120 does best is record videos. It can record 1920 x 1080 Full HD videos at 60 fps. The two slow motion modes allow recording at 240fps at a compromised 320 x 240 resolution or 120fps at VGA quality (640 x 480).

Regular video recording does expose one of the S120's major flaws. The microphone, unlike previous models of this camera, is situated on the top which is great if you're trying to record audio in all directions, however poor if you only want to primarily record the sounds in front of you (like what most people will want). This means that there is often lots of unnecessary background noise - especially when recording in loud/busy places. If you can get over the sound niggle, the video quality is very good overall.

The build quality of the camera is very high. The metal and plastic body make the camera feel well built and like it could survive a few drops. The control wheel on the front feels especially sturdy and the 3-inch multi-touch screen on the back feels like it's not going to crack easily. One problem is the battery life though - or lack of it. The Canon battery really doesn't last long which is a shame since this is such a good little camera. Sadly, the more settings you change and the more modes you use, the less the battery seems to last.

Overall, despite the unfortunate misplacement of the microphone and the short battery life, the picture and video quality more than makes up for the flaws this camera has. The sheer amount of settings, modes, and features this camera boasts makes it a very good product - and the high build quality only adds to that. I'd highly recommend this camera for day trips and weekend breaks however you'll always need to pack the charger with you if you go anywhere for more than a few days as the battery will simply not last.