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Canon 450D vs S120

The Canon EOS 450D (called Canon XSi in some regions) and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and August 2013. The 450D is a DSLR, while the S120 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (450D) and a 1/1.7-inch (S120) sensor. The 450D has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the S120 provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 450D versus Canon S120
Canon 450D Canon S120
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-12,800
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
3.5 shutter flaps per second 12.1 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 100 x 59 x 29 mm, 217 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 450D and the Canon PowerShot S120? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 450D and the Canon S120. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 450D vs Canon S120
Compare 450D versus S120 top
Comparison 450D or S120 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon S120 is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Canon 450D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 450D nor the S120 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the S120 has a lens built in, whereas the 450D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 450D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 450D gets 500 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the S120 can take 230 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
3.
 
Canon 750D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon 760D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
6.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
9.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
10.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
11.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
12.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Canon 1000D 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
14.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
15.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
16.
 
Panasonic LF1 103 mm 62 mm 28 mm 192 g 250 n Apr 2013 499 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The S120 was launched at a lower price than the 450D, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 450D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon S120 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the S120 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.5. The sensor in the 450D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the S120 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 450D and Canon S120 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the 450D offers a slightly higher resolution than the S120 (12MP), but the 450D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 1.89μm for the S120) due to its larger sensor. However, the S120 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 6 months) than the 450D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS 450D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot S120 are ISO 80 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

450D versus S120 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 450D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the S120 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
3.
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
6.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
7.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
9.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
10.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
11.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
12.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
13.
 
Canon 1000D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
14.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
15.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
16.
 
Panasonic LF1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The S120 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 450D does not. The highest resolution format that the S120 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 450D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the S120 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 450D and Canon S120 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 760Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
11.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
13.
 
Canon 1000Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic LF1200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The S120 has a touchscreen, while the 450D has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon S120 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The 450D writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the S120 uses SDXC cards. The S120 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 450D cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 450D and Canon PowerShot S120 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon 760DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon 1000DY-----2.0---
14.
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LF1-stereomono--mini2.0YY-

It is notable that the 450D has a hotshoe, while the S120 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the 450D and the S120 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 450D was replaced by the Canon 500D, while the S120 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 450D better than the Canon S120 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Canon EOS 450D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot S120:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 450D requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 450D).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 450D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S120 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

450D 08:14 S120

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 450D and the Canon S120 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 450D and the S120 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 450D..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
3.
 
Canon 750D5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
4.
 
Canon 760D5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
6.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
7.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
9.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
10.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
11.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
12.
 
Canon 500D..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Canon 1000D..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
14.
 
Canon 400D..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
15.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
16.
 
Panasonic LF13/5+..4/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 450D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon S120:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 450D vs Canon S120

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 450D Canon S120
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7
    Launch Date January 2008 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon 450D Canon S120
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 Digic 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 246
    Screen Specs Canon 450D Canon S120
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon 450D Canon S120
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 12.1 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon 450D Canon S120
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Canon 450D Canon S120
    Battery Type LP-E5 NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    100 x 59 x 29 mm
    (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 217 g (7.7 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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