Canon Rebel vs S120
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (called Canon 300D in some regions) and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2003 and August 2013. The Rebel is a DSLR, while the S120 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Rebel) and a 1/1.7-inch (S120) sensor. The Rebel has a resolution of 6.3 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel 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 Rebel 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 dimensions 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 (58 percent) than the Canon Rebel. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Rebel 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 Rebel 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 Rebel and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|2.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|3.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|9.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|10.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|11.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|12.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|13.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|14.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|15.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|16.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||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 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 Rebel, 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.
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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon Rebel 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 Rebel 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 6.3 MP of the Rebel. 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 7.38μm for the Rebel). However, it should be noted that the S120 is much more recent (by 10 years) than the Rebel, 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 Rebel are 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for good quality, 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm for very good quality, and 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel 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).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|5.||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 also of capturing video footage. The S120 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Rebel does not. The highest resolution format that the S120 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Rebel 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 Rebel, the Canon S120, and comparable cameras.
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The S120 has a touchscreen, while the Rebel 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 Rebel 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 Digital Rebel and Canon PowerShot S120 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the Rebel 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 Rebel and the S120 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Rebel was replaced by the Canon XT, 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon Rebel 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 EOS Digital Rebel:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 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 (400 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 August 2003).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot S120:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 35%.
- 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.
- 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 118k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 2.5 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 Rebel requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 142x99mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Rebel).
- 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 1.1).
- 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 10 years of technical progress since the Rebel launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S120 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 Rebel 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Rebel or the S120. 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 expert reviews 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], 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 Rebel||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|2.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|3.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|4.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|9.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|10.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|11.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|12.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|13.||Canon XT||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|14.||Canon 20D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|15.||Canon 10D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|16.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|17.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||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 ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon Rebel 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 Rebel||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 2003||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon Rebel||Canon S120|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.7 x 15.1 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||342.77 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.3 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.3 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3072 x 2048 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.38 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.84 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)||55||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||21.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||11.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||544||246|
|Screen Specs||Canon Rebel||Canon S120|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon Rebel||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||2.5 shutter flaps/s||12.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon Rebel||Canon S120|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon Rebel||Canon S120|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
142 x 99 x 72 mm
(5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
100 x 59 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||649 g (22.9 oz)||217 g (7.7 oz)|
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