Friday, August 21, 2009

Hands-on: Canon G11, SX120 IS, SX20 IS, and S980


While we were hoping to finally see the new Canon DSLR cameras, we were treated to a slew of new point-and-shoots that target specific camera users and that each show off uniqueness and individuality. The rundown includes the G11, SX20, SX110, S980 and S940. Though my hands-on time with each was very brief, here are my experiences.

Canon G11

The G11 is Canon’s new flagship point-and-shoot. It seems to share a lot in common with its highly raved about predecessor, the G10. The newer version has less megapixels than the predecessor to deliver cleaner images. New to the camera is a 2.8-inch vari-angle PureColor System LCD, new to the G-series, allowing for easier on-camera previewing and reviewing of images from nearly every angle, while still incorporating the optical viewfinder found on previous models. Because of this, the G10 may become a favorite of users who go to concerts often and want a camera that’s small with a decent zoom (5x Optical), can deliver cleaner images and will allow you to compose your shots easier. As with before, you can use a host of optional accessories, including Speedlite flashes, an underwater housing and a tele-converter lens to provide further photographic flexibility. Coupling all this with the option of RAW shooting will make this a very nice compliment to your 50D or 5D Mk II if you use flash often. Otherwise, you may want to go grab the S90.


Scheduled to be available in October, the PowerShot G11 Digital Camera retails for an estimated price of $499.99.

SX120 IS


The SX120 IS is the camera that students, travelers looking for a small camera that can zoom in (10x Optical), and enthusiasts looking for a camera with the option of manual controls may want to get their hands on. It seems almost identical to the SX110 IS, which I helped train someone on and that precedes this camera. People that aren’t tech savvy may enjoy this camera but may say that it’s still a bit too bulky for their liking. If you’re looking for something to throw around in your bag with a large zoom and can give you great manual control over your pictures, get this one.

Scheduled to be available in September, the PowerShot SX120 IS Digital Camera retails for an estimated price of $249.99. That’s not a terrible price at all for the camera.

Canon SX20 IS


The SX20 IS is the camera shown off today that looks like a DSLR and feels like one as well. As a shooter of an ancestor of this camera (the S5 IS) I can gladly say that this camera handles better as well as is much more feature packed than what we may expect only two years down the line. The SX20 IS has a 10.0MP sensor with a 20x Optical Zoom lens and Optical Image Stabilization helps to ensure images will be clear and how they were meant to be captured. Tourists and travelers may really enjoy the large 3.0-inch LCD that rotates for ease of composition. For the less tech savvy, there is an “Easy Mode” to make picture taking a snap! If you’re interested in this one, get your hands on some LiIon rechargeable AA batteries for easy power-up and replacement. However, like it’s predecessors it only shoots Standard Definition video–which shouldn’t be a problem for people that don’t care much about video at all.

Canon SD980


The PowerShot SD980 and SD940 (the latter I didn’t get a chance to try) are both ELPH series cameras that are meant more for the fashionista types out there. The S980 has a nice touchscreen with gestures like the iPhone. Remember a little while back when we talked about the tap-to-focus feature that the Apple iPhone 3GS had? Well that feature is in this now. If you’re composing your shot, you can tap on the screen and the camera will be able to focus on that spot immediately. In playback mode, the camera allows for gestures.


Slide your finger from right to left or left to right and you’ll be able to scroll through your images. Slide your finger down on the 3 inch touch panel and you’ll be able to erase the image. There are other gestures as well and the S980 is a much better take on other touchscreen cameras that I’ve seen out there. What would have been really nice would have been the addition of GPS, WiFi, etc. Either way, users will really enough the 720p HD video shooting capabilities plus HDMI output connector, a 5x Optical Zoom lens with an ultra-wide 24mm lens, plus Optical Image Stabilization, and the variety of colors it comes in.

Scheduled to be available in October, the PowerShot SD980 IS Digital ELPH Camera retails for an estimated price of $329.99.


  1. The SX20 doesn't have a 3.0" LCD, it's 2.8". Also it does take 720p HD video and isn't limited to SD.

  2. A "LiIon rechargeable AA" is 3.7 V, more than double a regular AA and 3x a NiMH AA, so don't try that unless you want to fry your pricy new camera.



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