Canon S120 vs Panasonic FZ80
The Canon PowerShot S120 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 (labelled Panasonic FZ82 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and January 2017. Both the S120 and the FZ80 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/1.7-inch (S120) and a 1/2.3-inch (FZ80) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 18 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 PowerShot S120 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon S120 and the Panasonic FZ80. 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 Panasonic FZ80 is considerably larger (107 percent) than the Canon S120. Moreover, the FZ80 is substantially heavier (184 percent) than the S120. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the S120 nor the FZ80 are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the S120 gets 230 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the FZ80 can take 330 images on a single charge of its DMW-BMB9 power pack. The power pack in the FZ80 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic TS7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449||amazon.com|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony HX350||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||652 g||300||n||Dec 2016||449||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The FZ80 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the S120, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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 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. 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 S120 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Panasonic FZ80 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FZ80 is 35 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.5 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the FZ80 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the S120. 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 1.25μm versus 1.89μm for the S120). However, it should be noted that the FZ80 is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the S120, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the FZ80 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic FZ80 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the FZ80 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 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 Canon PowerShot S120 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|6.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|9.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the FZ80 provides a better video resolution than the S120. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FZ80 has an electronic viewfinder (1166k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the S120 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon S120 and Panasonic FZ80 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic TS7||1170||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/1300s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic LF1||200||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX350||202||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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 FZ80 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 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.
Both the S120 and the FZ80 have zoom lenses built in. The S120 has a 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7 optic and the FZ80 offers a 20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Canon. The S120 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the S120 and the FZ80 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.
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 S120 and Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||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 G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic TS7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic LF1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX350||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the FZ80 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The S120 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
The FZ80 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. 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 features and operation of the S120 and FZ80 can be found, respectively, in the Canon S120 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic FZ80 Manual.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon S120 or the Panasonic FZ80 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot S120:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 130x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 399g or 65 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2013).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (330 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the S120 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the FZ80 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon S120 and the Panasonic FZ80 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Superzoom 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the S120 or the FZ80 perform in practice. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic TS7||..||+||..||..||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449||amazon.com|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony HX350||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Dec 2016||449||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.
- Canon S120 vs Fujifilm X-T2
- Canon S120 vs Leica S-E Typ 006
- Canon S120 vs Olympus E-30
- Canon S120 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Canon S120 vs Pentax KP
- Canon S120 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Canon SL2 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Nikon A1000 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Nikon D5600 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Panasonic FZ80 vs Pentax KP
- Panasonic FZ80 vs Sony RX100 VII
Specifications: Canon S120 vs Panasonic FZ80
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 S120||Panasonic FZ80|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/1.8-5.7||20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9|
|Launch Date||August 2013||January 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon S120||Panasonic FZ80|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Digic 6||Venus|
|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 S120||Panasonic FZ80|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1166k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon S120||Panasonic FZ80|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12.1 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon S120||Panasonic FZ80|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon S120||Panasonic FZ80|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
100 x 59 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
130 x 94 x 119 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||217 g (7.7 oz)||616 g (21.7 oz)|
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