Canon D30 vs S120
The Canon EOS-D30 and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2000 and August 2013. The D30 is a DSLR, while the S120 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D30) and a 1/1.7-inch (S120) sensor. The D30 has a resolution of 3.1 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-D30 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon D30 and the Canon S120 are illustrated 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 (63 percent) than the Canon D30. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D30 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 D30 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 D30 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon D30||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||750 g||540||n||May 2000||2,999|
|2.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|3.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|5.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|6.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|8.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|9.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|11.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|12.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|13.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|14.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|15.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|16.||Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||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.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The S120 was launched at a lower price than the D30, 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. 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon D30 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 D30 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the S120 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the S120 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 3.1 MP of the D30. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 10.29μm for the D30). However, it should be noted that the S120 is much more recent (by 13 years and 3 months) than the D30, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon S120 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S120 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon D30 are 10.8 x 7.2 inches or 27.4 x 18.3 cm for good quality, 8.6 x 5.8 inches or 21.9 x 14.6 cm for very good quality, and 7.2 x 4.8 inches or 18.3 x 12.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS-D30 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).
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The S120 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D30 does not. The highest resolution format that the S120 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D30 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon D30, the Canon S120, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon D30||optical||Y||1.8 / 114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|2.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|16.||Canon D60||optical||Y||1.8 / 114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||200||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D30, 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 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 D30 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the S120 uses SDXC cards.
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-D30 and Canon PowerShot S120 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon D30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon T7i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the D30 has a hotshoe, while the S120 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon D30 (unlike the S120) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D30 and the S120 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D30 was replaced by the Canon D60, 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon D30 better than the Canon S120 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-D30:
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- 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.
- 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 (540 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2000).
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot S120:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 3.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 93%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 114k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 3 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 D30 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 150x107mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D30).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D30 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S120 emerges as the winner of the match-up (15 : 12 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon D30 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D30 and the S120 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.
|1.||Canon D30||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||May 2000||2,999|
|2.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|3.||Canon T7||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|5.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|6.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|8.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|9.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|11.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|12.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|13.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|14.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|15.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|16.||Canon D60||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Canon D30 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 D30||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||May 2000||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon D30||Canon S120|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.0 x 14.9 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||327.8 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.6 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||3.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2160 x 1440 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||10.29 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.95 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|
|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 D30||Canon S120|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||114k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon D30||Canon S120|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||12.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon D30||Canon S120|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 1.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon D30||Canon S120|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||540 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
150 x 107 x 75 mm
(5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
100 x 59 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||750 g (26.5 oz)||217 g (7.7 oz)|
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