Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Amarillo TX
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Canon PowerShot SX120 IS
by Dave Johnson , Macworld.com
Canon's10 megapixel PowerShot SX120 IS is a AA-powered pocket megazoom for the photographer on a budget. It's a slim, sexy, and lightweight 10X-optical-zoom camera with features for both beginners and advanced shooters, but its shutter lag and short battery life might be deal-breakers.
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Canon PowerShot SX120IS
The 10X optical zoom spans from a wish-it-were-wider 36mm to a deep 360mm telephoto, and optical image stabilization and face detection are available to enhance your shooting sessions. Face detection is fun—you can let the SX120 IS find faces in your scene and use them to focus and set exposure, for example. Or, in self-timer mode, you can set the timer to begin after faces enter the frame. I found, however, that the feature worked inconsistently, sometimes failing to identify the face).
On the SX120 IS you'll discover no shortage of exposure options from which to choose. You get aperture priority and shutter priority modes, plus full manual controls. If you want the camera to handle overall exposure duty but you still want the option to fiddle with details like white balance and exposure compensation, choose Program mode. Auto mode handles almost everything on its own and is great for the casual user. Oddly, though, the camera also has a redundant Easy mode that is a lot like Auto but offers fewer options for customizing the shot.
The SX120 IS provides 13 scene modes; Indoor, Night, and Landscape are on the main control wheel, while less-common scenes (such as Aquarium and Foliage) spill over onto the menu in the LCD. Notably absent is a dedicated Sports mode, but you do get a Kids & Pets setting that similarly favors a faster shutter speed.
Shutter speed tops out at 15 seconds, and you have an aperture range from f2.8 to f8. Though the ISO maxes out at 1600, the camera has a special scene mode that pushes the sensor an additional stop, to 3200. It achieves that, in part, by dropping the resolution to 1600 by 1200 pixels. The results are predictably noisy, but not as bad as I expected, making that mode a reasonable option for capturing photos in really dark environments. At more ordinary ISO levels, image quality is quite good, with accurate color. The pop-up flash is especially strong, able to fill a room indoors and more than able to illuminate the foreground of skyline portraits.
On the other hand, the camera is slow enough that you feel like you've earned every photo you take. Waiting 4 seconds between shots under normal lighting is bad enough, but it took about 5 seconds to get control of the camera back after using the flash. The camera does have a continuous shooting mode; but at about one frame per second, even that felt sluggish.
Be sure to pack an extra pair of batteri...
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