Canon 90D vs S120
The Canon EOS 90D and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2019 and August 2013. The 90D is a DSLR, while the S120 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (90D) and a 1/1.7-inch (S120) sensor. The 90D has a resolution of 32.3 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.
|Canon 90D||Canon S120|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||24-120mm f/1.8-5.7|
|32.3 MP, APS-C Sensor||12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200)||ISO 80-12,800|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 922k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Fixed touchscreen|
|11 shutter flaps per second||12.1 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|1300 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|141 x 105 x 77 mm, 701 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 90D 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 90D and the Canon S120 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
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 (60 percent) than the Canon 90D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 90D is splash and dust resistant, while the S120 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the S120 has a lens built in, whereas the 90D 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 90D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon 90D||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||1300||Y||Aug 2019||1,199|
|Canon S120||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.1 in||7.7 oz||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon R||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.3 in||23.3 oz||370||Y||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Canon 80D||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||25.8 oz||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Canon G3 X||4.8 in||3.0 in||4.1 in||25.9 oz||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|Canon 7D II||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||4.6 in||2.9 in||2.6 in||19.5 oz||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon 70D||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon T5i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon G15||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX50||4.8 in||3.4 in||4.2 in||21.0 oz||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon 60D||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|Canon 50D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon 40D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Canon 30D||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Panasonic LF1||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||6.8 oz||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The S120 was launched at a lower price than the 90D, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 90D 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 90D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the S120 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 32.3MP, the 90D offers a higher resolution than the S120 (12MP), but the 90D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.23μm versus 1.89μm for the S120) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 90D is a much more recent model (by 6 years) than the S120, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 90D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 90D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 34.8 x 23.2 inches or 88.4 x 58.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 23.2 x 15.5 inches or 58.9 x 39.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon S120 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The 90D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 90D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot S120 are ISO 80 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon R||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.5||13.5||2742||89|
|Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the 90D provides a higher video resolution than the S120. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the S120 is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 90D 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 90D and Canon S120 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 90D, but is missing on the S120 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The 90D has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the S120 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the 90D is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon 90D and the Canon S120 both have 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 90D and the S120 write their files to SDXC cards. The 90D supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the S120 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 90D and Canon PowerShot S120 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the 90D has a hotshoe, while the S120 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The 90D is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the S120 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the S120 from Canon. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 90D better than the Canon S120 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 90D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (32.3 vs 12MP) with a 67% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1300 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the S120 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot S120:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 90D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 141x105mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 90D).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 90D is the clear winner of the match-up (23 : 6 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 90D 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 90D or the S120 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon 90D||+||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2019||1,199|
|Canon S120||+ +||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon R||o||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||2,299|
|Canon 80D||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Canon G3 X||+||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Canon 7D II||+||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||+||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon 70D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon T5i||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon 60D||+||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|Canon 50D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon 40D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Canon 30D||+ +||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Panasonic LF1||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 90D 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 Model||Canon 90D||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||August 2019||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,199||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 90D||Canon S120|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||32.3 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6960 x 4640 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.23 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||9.57 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||Digic 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||246|
|Screen Specs||Canon 90D||Canon S120|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 90D||Canon S120|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||12.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 90D||Canon S120|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon 90D||Canon S120|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1300 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
141 x 105 x 77 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
100 x 59 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||701 g (24.7 oz)||217 g (7.7 oz)|
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