Canon IXUS 120 IS review

  • £299

It's pretty, but just how deep does this compact's beauty go?

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For

  • Beautiful looks
  • Neat design
  • Excellent image quality
  • Good videos
  • Useful shooting modes

Against

  • Expensive
  • Too small for some hands
  • Awkward buttons
  • No manual controlsl
  • Flash easy to obscure

It's been a busy year for Canon. Take the gorgeous new Digital IXUS 120 IS. Look familiar? If so, that's because it's visually almost identical to its predecessor, the IXUS 100 IS, which was launched in Canon's spring collection just seven months ago.

And while the touchscreen-wielding 200 IS, the other new face in the IXUS lineup, delivers innovation in a subtly quirky design, the 12.1-megapixel 120 IS is all about looks.

That's no bad thing, either, as we'd be happy to look at the 120 IS all day. Its brushed aluminium body is tastefully broken by a thin glossy strip around its edge, while the lens, LCD screen and buttons all sit flush with the surface of the camera, creating an overall package that positively drips style and elegance.

Read: Best Canon IXUS 2011: current models by price and specs

Simply put, the Canon IXUS 120 IS is simply the best looking digital compact around right now.

Given its style-conscious billing, you could argue (though we ourselves don't) that this alone makes it worth five stars. What we will say, though, is that potential buyers of the 120 IS are as likely to be swayed by its appearance as its specification, and in that sense it is very much job done.

ixus 120

It's also very compact. It may be a couple of millimetres fatter than the IXUS 100 IS it so closely resembles, but it is smaller than the Sony TX1, the Panasonic ZX1 and Nikon's new Coolpix S640, its chief rivals in the growing 'style compact' category.

In fact, Canon's marketing types proudly call the IXUS 120 IS its slimmest wide-angle Digital IXUS ever, highlighting another current battleground for compacts – wide-angle lens measurement.

Starting at a (35mm-effective) 28mm, the 120 IS matches the Nikon in the wide-angle stakes, but falls short of the Panasonic's 25mm. Its 4x optical zoom range is shy of Nikon's 5x, and well short of the Panasonic's outstanding 8x zoom range.

ixus 120

This hardly paints the Canon as inferior, but simply shows the class of the opposition. And even with 720p HD video capability on board, a launch price of £299 is by no means cheap, especially with Canon's own touchscreen 200 IS costing just £30 more.

ixus 120 is

The IXUS 120 IS might need every flutter of its well-groomed lashes to impress us.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
USBYes
HDMIYes
Product FamilyDigital IXUS
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMMCplus, HC MMCplus, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom4x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)120 g
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height54.9 mm
Width89.5 mm
Depth20 mm
Focal Length5 mm to 20 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product Model120 IS
Product NameDigital IXUS 120 IS Compact Camera
Product LineDigital IXUS
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number3966B016
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.canon.co.uk
Marketing Information

The thinnest wide-angle IXUS ever. The 12.1 MP Digital IXUS 120 IS conceals a 28mm wide-angle lens, a 4x optical zoom with optical IS and a 2.7 inch PureColor LCD II display in a stylish metal body. The Digital IXUS 120 IS's 12.1 Megapixel CCD captures every scene in fine detail.

Package Contents
  • Digital IXUS 120 IS Compact Camera
  • NB-4L Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • Charger
Limited Warranty1 Year