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Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
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Canon PowerShot SX20 IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera - Black

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Product description
Product Information
The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS is a digital camera that is ideal for photographers who want to take images in low light automatically. This type of Canon digital camera makes it easy to take pictures and videos in almost any amount of light without the pictures turning out blurry, thanks in part to the 12.1 MP sensor. The amount of MP in the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS automatically increases the amount of light in every picture. At the same time, the 12.1 MP digital camera can also capture HD-quality videos, which can be played back on any HD television. As an added bonus, the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS can create quality pictures up to 13 X 19-inches when printing. Equipped with an optical image stabilizer, the Canon digital camera also features a 20x optical zoom for taking crisp pictures from a distance. This 12.1 MP digital camera requires four AA batteries. A DIGIC 4 image processor allows for quiet, yet efficient use every time.

Product Features
  • Wide-angle superzoom
    A 20x wide-angle (28mm) optical zoom provides outstanding telephoto reach for stills and movies alike; plus, with Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and Voice Coil Motor (VCM), zooming and focus are fast, accurate and near-silent. Canon's optical IS technology works across the zoom range, to counteract the blur caused by camera shake.
  • 12.1-megapixel
    A 12.1-megapixel sensor captures the detail you need to make stunning, large-scale prints, or creatively crop images to perfection.
  • 2.5" vari-angle LCD
    A 2.5" vari-angle PureColor VA provides a comfortable way to shoot from almost any position. Quick-Bright and Night Display functions enhance screen visibility in bright or low light.
  • Smart Auto and Shooting modes
    Smart Auto mode analyzes subject brightness, contrast, distance, hue and movement. Intelligent Scene Detection technology then selects the scene type from 22 variables, applying the best settings for optimum output. 24 dedicated shooting modes include full Manual for complete control.
  • DIGIC 4 processing
    Canon's DIGIC 4 processor drives exceptional processing speeds, responsive operation, and superb image quality and color reproduction. Advanced Noise Reduction ensures richly detailed, clean images, even at high ISO speeds.
  • Anti-blur
    The PowerShot SX20 IS combats blur with Motion Detection technology. Several advanced methods determine camera and subject movement, ISO settings are then adjusted for optimum results. Blur is also combated by Servo AF/AE, which retains focus on moving subjects while continuously adjusting exposure.
  • Face Detection technology
    For perfect portraits, the PowerShot SX20 IS features Canon Face Detection technology. Face Select and Track lets you select a particular face as the main subject, while FaceSelf-Timer makes group photos easy - taking a shot after an extra face enters the frame.
  • i-Contrast
    In shooting or playback, enhanced i-Contrast optimizes dynamic range according to the scene- retaining detail in shadows and preventing overexposure of highlights. The result is natural images with the best possible contrast.
  • HD movies and HDMI output
    Shoot HD movies (720p, 30fps) with CD quality stereo sound - ready for sharing on any HDTV via an HDMI connection.
  • Speedlite compatible
    For extended shooting options and creative lighting, the PowerShot SX20 IS is compatible with many models in Canon's EX Speedlite flash range.

Product Highlights

Product Identifiers
ModelSX20 IS
UPC013803113662, 4960999645605, 628586109223, 705105141718, 8714574540528

Key Features
Camera TypePoint & Shoot
Optical Zoom20x
Digital Zoom4x
Sensor Resolution12.1 MP
Screen Size2.5"

Optical Sensor
Sensor Size1/2.3"
Sensor TypeCCD

Lens System
Macro Focus Range0-50cm
Focus AdjustmentAutomatic, Manual
Auto Focus typeTTL contrast detection
Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera28 - 560mm

Max Shutter Speed1/3200 sec
Min Shutter Speed15 sec
Exposure compensation±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps
Exposure MeteringCenter-Weighted, Evaluative, Spot
Exposure ModesAperture-Priority, Automatic, Manual, Program, Shutter-Priority
Light SensitivityISO 100, ISO 1600, ISO 200, ISO 3200 (2Mpix), ISO 400, ISO 80, ISO 800, ISO auto
Light Sensitivity Max3200

Camera Flash
Flash TypePop-up Flash
Red Eye ReductionYes
Effective Flash Range0.5 m - 6.8 m
Camera Flash FeaturesAF Illuminator, Auto Flash, Fill-in Flash, Flash +/- Compensation, Flash Off, Red-eye Reduction Flash, Slow Sync
Flash ModesAuto Mode, Fill-in Mode, OFF mode, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro

Memory / Storage
Supported Flash MemoryMMC Plus, MultiMediaCard, MultiMediaCardplus, SD Card, SD Memory Card, SDHC Card, SDHC Memory Card

Viewfinder TypeDigital, Electronic
Viewfinder Diagonal Size0.44"

Depth3.42 in.
Height3.48 in.
Width4.88 in.
Weight19.8 Oz.

Display TypeLCD
Display RotationRotating
Screen DetailsLCD display - TFT active matrix - 2.5" - color
Display Size2.5"

Microphone TypeMicrophone - built-in - electret condenser - stereo
Microphone Operation ModeStereo

Connector Types1 x HDMI output, 1 x USB, 1 x composite video/audio output
Expansion Slot1 x SD Memory Card

System Requirements for PC Connection
Operating System SupportedApple Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.5, MS Windows Vista, MS Windows XP

Battery Form FactorStandard form factor

File Format
Digital Video FormatH.264, HD (High Definition)
Still Image FormatDPOF 1.1, EXIF 2.2, JPEG

Max Video Resolution1280 x 720

Environmental Parameters
Min Operating Temperature0 °C
Max Operating Temperature40 °C

Other Features
Additional Features720p HD Movie Recording, AE/FE Lock, AF Lock, Audio Recording, Automatic Face Tracking, Blink Detection, Brightness Control, Cropping An Image, DPOF Support, Digital Image Rotation, Digital Tele-Converter, Direct Print, Exif Print Support, Face Detection Self-timer, Histogram Display, Image Stabilization, Motion Detection, Not Interchangeable Lenses, Orientation Detection, PictBridge Support, RGB Primary Color Filter, Red eye Fix, Red-eye Correction, Resizing an Image, Safety Zoom, Scene Detection Technology, USB 2.0 Compatibility, With LCD Protected Position, i-Contrast system (Intelligent Contrast Correction)
Face DetectionYes
Shooting ModesFrame Movie Mode

Shooting ProgramsAquarium, Beach, Fireworks, Foliage, High sensitivity, Indoor, Kids & pets, Landscape, Night scene, Night snapshot, Portrait mode, Snow, Stitch assist, Sunset
Special EffectsBlack & White, Color Accent, Color Swap, Custom Effect, Darker Skin Tone, Lighter Skin Tone, Neutral, Positive Film, Sepia, Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red
White BalanceAutomatic, Cloudy (Preset), Custom, Daylight / Sunny (Preset), Fluorescent (Preset), Presets, Tungsten (Preset)
Continuous Shooting Speed1 frames per second
Video CaptureH.264 - 1280 x 720 - 30 fps, H.264 - 320 x 240 - 30 fps, H.264 - 640 x 480 - 30 fps

eBay Product ID: EPID100106009

Reviews & Research

CNET Editors' reviewVery Good


    Solid battery life; articulating LCD; comfortable shooting design; can zoom during movie capture; hot shoe; exceptionally close macro focus.


    Slower than its predecessor overall; no raw support; images soft and noisy as low as ISO 80.


    The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS is a solid, but not standout, megazoom option for the money.

  • (C) 2014 CBS Interactive., a CBS Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Customer Reviews

Average review score based on 137 user reviews


of customers recommend this product

Rating distributions

Feature ratings

  • Picture quality
  • Features
  • Size / weight
  • Value for money
Created: 11/09/10

Love the PowerShot SX20 IS Camera

I have been in the market for a new digital camera for awhile. I needed one with some specific features, like a long zoom and the ability to take action shots. After doing some online research I narrowed it down to a couple models, but ended up with the Canon due to price and availability. I'm really glad I did get the Canon! This camera takes amazing photos. The super zoom is excellent and can really get you close to the action. The camera is easy to use, and has all of the basic settings that the average person needs. This camera has more adavanced features then I will ever need. What I like is that the basic scene setting work so well, that you don't need to play with the advance settings to take good pictures. The sport scene setting has been great for allowing me to capture action shots. My son is in marching band, and I have been able to capture some great action shots in both daylight and low light conditions (night time field shows on a football field). The night setting works great as well, way better then my old Nikon Point & Shoot camera. With the night scene you can take photos without the flash, sometimes they do come out a little grainy due to the low light conditions, but none of my shots have been too dark or underdeveloped.

I like that I have the option of using the LCD screen or the viewfinder on this camera to take photos. The camera focuses much faster with the viewfinder, but the swivel LCD screen allows you to take photos and different angles, like over the heads of a crowd of people (very handy).

This camera uses regular AA batteries. I was concerned that they wouldn't last very long, but I just replaced my first set after taking about 400 photos. (I should state that I have mostly used the viewfinder to take photos and not the LCD screen, so if you only use the LCD you will get worse results from your batteries since the LCD uses more power.) That's really good, considering my old Nikon rechargeable battery use to only last for about 100 photos. Also because it uses AAs, it's easy to get extras batteries when you need them.

Overall I can say that this camera has met and exceeded my expectations. This camera is a great intermediate camera, that is a huge step up from the standard point and shoot cameras, but not quite as complex and versatile as a digital SLR. I may upgrade to a digital SLR some day, but for now this is all the camera I need to take great photos.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 03/06/10

Weird behavior in low light!

This is not a full review and you should read others' reviews for a balanced POV. Before I took a photo, which I didn't do, I looked through the viewfinder around my low-lit living room, lit only by chairside lamps and 2 CRT TV screens. My present S3 IS shows the scene as it looks, although a bit brighter, and the view doesn't change nor does the focus hunt. But when I looked through the viewfinder of the SX20 IS, I didn't like what I saw. As I moved the camera around the view through the viewfinder kept brightening up beyond use and then it would settle down. Additionally, the focus kept hunting until it also settled down. Right after that trial I packaged the camera and listed it on eBay.

When it's used outside in the daylight it should behave without the above effects. But I didn't find out as the majority of my indoor photography is for eBay photos and while I use one of those daylight fluorescent bulbs I don't want to deal with the problems I outlined above.

I did want the higher megapixel and the superb 20X optical zoom (I'm a UFO "hunter" and I want to be able to reach that dot in the sky, or stay at a distance in case I witness an event where I'm not going to be able to get close) and I might have been happy with the camera. But as I said, I do a lot of indoor photography and I didn't want the hassles.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Feature ratings

  • Picture quality
  • Features
  • Size / weight
  • Value for money
Created: 11/11/11

Fantastic camera with loads of features

Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

What a marvelous little camera! I bought this because my friend has one and takes fantastic pictures with it and I have not been disappointed with my purchase. The zoom is amazing and I love the fact that it will automatically change to macro when it senses a close-up shot. And then there is the super macro setting if you even want to get smaller! It is very easy to use and has a lot of features if you want to get creative with your photography. I also like the feature that you have to pull up the flash manually as there are some instances when I don't want the flash to fire and forget to turn it off beforehand. Battery life with the rechargable batteries seems to be very good although it is a bit cumbersome to carry 4 extra batteries when on a photo shoot. The only thing it lacks for me is the ability to plug in a remote switch for the shutter but that is only a minor inconvenience. It is a bit heavier that a lot of 'point and shoots' but is easy to hold. Because of the zoom it isn't as compact but I would rather have the fantastic zoom than a small camera. I would highly recommend this camera to any to any level of photographer!

Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 02/14/11

Canon PowerShot SX20 is all I need!

I am an advanced amateur photographer, having started taking pictures some 50 years ago. I have shot a great variety of cameras, going from small box cameras to large SLRs in 35mm. I went to the smaller digital models for more portability but was too often frustrated with the lack of ability of these point-and-shoots. I may have found my fit with this Canon. I have had it for about a month, so don't have it "down" yet, but I am happily learning its features and strengths. They are: good versatility, sharp focusing, great zoom, good handling, enough detail to work with in the cropping, decent flash,(though I miss bounce capability), and of course, video capability. The similar Nikon camera lost my vote by its 15x zoom and the microphone placement. The main weakness of the Canon is the lack of filter threads, as others have noted. I read the reviews of others before I purchased, and so far I concur with their comments and am not at all disappointed with my "toy" or the pictures it takes. This is a serious camera with advanced photo capabilities at a decent price! I am impressed with it thus far. I only hope it lasts as long as my good ol' Pentax Spotmatic SLR has!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 01/02/10

Canon PowerShot SX20 IS 12.1 Megapixel

I LOVE IT!!!!! IT IS WORTH THE EXTRA PRICE!!!! The settings are a little more confusing to use over my 1st camera, a Kodak, but I'm sure the more I use it, the more familiar it all will get. My Kodak took great pictures as long as they were outside or in bright light. I was always disappointed when I wanted indoor volleyball action pictues or a pictures of my kids school concerts. I was looking for a camera that took great inside sports pictures without either coming out too dark or blurry. I found it in this Canon. After buying this Canon camera, I 1st tried it out for my daughters Senior year Xmas Jazz band concert. Their last few songs done with the gym lights out, except for a lit Christmas tree & each student having a single flashlight shining to the ceiling. I was beautiful. I was in the back of the gym & got the most amazing looking pictures!!! I took some of these pictures & cropped out a section & englarged it, & the pictures was NOT grainy. I am not a person that has to have the best & will buy a cheaper item always wondering if I would have gotten a better item & a higher price or would have just wasted my money. I was brought up with the idea that bigger/more expensive is not always better. But this Canon camera made feel much better for spending the extra money to buy something better.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

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