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Canon G1 X Mark II vs S120

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2014 and August 2013. Both the G1X Mark II and the S120 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and a 1/1.7-inch (S120) sensor. The G1X Mark II has a resolution of 13 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 G1 X Mark II   Canon S120
Canon G1 X Mark II Canon S120
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-120mm f/2.0-3.9 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7
13 MP, 1.5" Sensor 12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12800 ISO 80-12800
Viewfinder optional No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
5.2 shutter flaps per second 12.1 shutter flaps per second
240 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
116 x 74 x 66 mm, 553 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 PowerShot G1 X Mark II 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Canon S120 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G1 X Mark II vs Canon S120
Compare G1X Mark II versus S120 top
Comparison G1X Mark II 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 (31 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. Moreover, the S120 is substantially lighter (61 percent) than the G1X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X Mark II nor the S120 are weather-sealed.

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, 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon G1 X Mark II» 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon S120« 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.1 in 7.7 oz 230 n Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
Canon XC10« » 4.9 in 4.0 in 4.8 in 36.7 oz .. n Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
 
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
 
Canon G15« » 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« » 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic LF1« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.8 oz 250 n Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the G1X Mark II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X Mark II features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Canon S120 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the S120 is 84 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon G1 X Mark II and Canon S120 sensor measures

With 13MP, the G1X Mark II offers a slightly higher resolution than the S120 (12MP), but the G1X Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.49μm versus 1.89μm for the S120) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the G1X Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the S120, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot S120 are ISO 80 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

G1X Mark II versus S120 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon G1 X Mark II» 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon S120« 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656Canon S120
 
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
 
Canon XC10« » 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Canon XC10
 
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
 
Canon G15« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
 
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
 
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic LF1« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.811.621152Panasonic LF1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the S120 provides a faster frame rate than the G1X Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the G1X Mark II is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1X Mark II and the S120 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the G1X Mark II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G1 X Mark II, the Canon S120, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon G1 X Mark II»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon S120«- n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y Canon S120
 
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
 
Canon XC10« »- n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 1/2000s 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
 
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
 
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
 
Canon G15« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
 
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
 
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic LF1« »200 n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Panasonic LF1
The G1X Mark II 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 Canon G1 X Mark II 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.

Both the G1X Mark II and the S120 have zoom lenses built in. The G1X Mark II has a 24-120mm f/2.0-3.9 optic and the S120 offers a 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). The S120 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G1X Mark II and the S120 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

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 PowerShot G1 X Mark II and Canon PowerShot S120 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon G1 X Mark II»Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon S120«-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon S120
 
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
 
Canon XC10« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon XC10
 
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon G1 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
 
Canon G15« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
 
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
 
Panasonic LX100« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic LF1« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic LF1

It is notable that the G1X Mark II 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 G1X Mark II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the S120 has been discontinued (but it 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.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon G1 X Mark II better than the Canon S120 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the S120).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot S120:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 5.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.0).
  • More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 116x74mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 336g or 61 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1X Mark II comes out slightly ahead of the S120 (9 : 8 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G1X Mark II 09:08 S120

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Canon S120 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 G1X Mark II and the S120 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon G1 X Mark II»+77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
 
Canon S120«+ +-4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
 
Canon T6s« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s
 
Canon XC10« »-80/100--- Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
 
Canon SX60« »+ +75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon G1 X« »+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
 
Canon G15« »+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon SX50« »+ +72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Canon T1i« »+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
 
Canon XSi« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
 
Panasonic LX100« »+ +85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
 
Panasonic LF1« »+-4/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499 i i Panasonic LF1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon G1 X Mark II:
Check Amazon price
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon G1 X Mark II 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 G1 X Mark II Canon S120
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-120mm f/2.0-3.9 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7
    Launch Date February 2014 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon G1 X Mark II Canon S120
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1.5" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 18.7 x 14.0 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 261.8 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 23.4 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.85x 4.5x
    Sensor Resolution 13 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4160 x 3120 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.49 μm 1.89 μm
    Pixel Density 4.96 MP/cm2 27.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 80-12800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 Digic 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 58 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 581 246
    Screen Specs Canon G1 X Mark II Canon S120
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon G1 X Mark II Canon S120
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000/s 1/2000/s
    Continuous Shooting 5.2 shutter flaps/s 12.1 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer 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-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon G1 X Mark II Canon S120
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon G1 X Mark II Canon S120
    Battery Type NB-12L NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)240 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 116 x 74 x 66 mm
    (4.6 x 2.9 x 2.6 in)
    100 x 59 x 29 mm
    (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
    Camera Weight 553 g (19.5 oz) 217 g (7.7 oz)

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