Canon PowerShot SX20

Consumer Reports rated 33 digital cameras including the Canon PowerShot SX20. In their report, only three cameras outperformed the SX20. I own a Canon PowerShot SX20 and find most of its features outstanding and a few to be mildly annoying.


Review: Canon PowerShot SX20

Published 05:47 am

In 2019, I purchased a Canon PowerShot A620. The day the PowerShot refused to power-up, I went in search of a new camera.

The Eventual Purchase Decision

My camera preferences were few, but the camera had to have a swing out LCD monitor like my defunct PowerShot A620 has.1 I like being able to face the camera in unique directions, like straight down or up, and having the swing out LCD monitor for viewing enables me to make those shots. In the Canon line of digital cameras, the PowerShot SX20 IS2 filled my needs. Satisfied with my research, I purchased the Canon PowerShot SX20 in October 2019.

My Favorite Features of the Canon PowerShot SX20

20x Optical Zoom. I shot five pictures at a distant object (a bird bath) from slightly different angles with the 20x optical zoom fully extended. Once downloaded, I was really impressed at the picture clarity. The optical image stabilizer that comes with SX20 camera did the trick at focusing the images. I could see outstanding detail of the raised design on the birdbath. Depending on the pixel setting used, the clarity of the picture can be retained up to 80x zoomed digitally, i.e., with the computer.

Battery Life. The battery life using the PowerShot SX20 is good and I believe better than with my A620. With the SX20, I turned off the display of shots just taken, which I think helps extend the battery life. I use rechargeable batteries.

Display. The display of shots taken, camera settings and warnings can be seen in either the view finder or the LCD monitor. The A620 only displayed those in the monitor. The view finder on the SX20 also has a diopter knob to fine tune the view to your specific eyesight, a highly valuable feature for me.

Shooting Modes. I like being able to easily change the shooting mode to special settings like snow, fireworks or beach, which makes a big difference in lighting and colors that are more true to life. The stitch assist is a feature that can butt end-to-end a series of pictures taken over a connecting area for a long picture that could be suitable as a banner, like on an internet webpage.

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The Only Complaints about the Canon PowerShot SX20

Size and Weight (with camera strap). The PowerShot A620 measures 4 inches wide, about 2 inches from front to back, and weighs 11.5 ounces. The PowerShot SX20 is 5 inches wide, 4 inches front to back, and weighs 24.5 ounces. Being the chick that I am, I prefer the lighter and smaller A620 camera size; my husband on the other hand, likes the meatier SX20 size. Plus, I could carry the PowerShot A620 in my purse unlike the SX20, which is too large. Subsequently, I've lost the easy ability to pull a camera from my purse to take a picture anywhere. I either need a larger purse, perhaps one on wheels to deal with the added weight of the SX20, or I need to remember to take the unhideable camera with me. After six months of use, I've come to accept the size and weight of the Canon PowerShot SX20 camera because of the added features the camera brings.

Lens Cap. The lenses cap has no cord to keep it attached to the camera. Instead, there's a little clip on the inside that slips over the camera strap. "Slips" is the operative word as the cap will not stay secured to the strap while using the camera. I am so paranoid about losing the lens cap that I will leave it in the house or car and only cover the lens when I'm finished with the camera.

Zoom During Video. The PowerShot SX20 can take video clips. When combining zoom with the video, the sound of the zoom mechanism can be heard on play-back. Where it's not particularly loud, it is noticeable. I've come to talk about what I'm "filming" when I use the zoom to disguise the zoom noise as, well, noise from me.

1 Amazingly, I fixed the A620, but not until after I had the new camera. I decided to take the LCD panel apart, having read that there is a battery contained in the panel that (if I recall correctly) helps to retain the date when you remove and replace the AA batteries. I pulled out the disc-shaped battery, cleaned the contact points and the battery, and after putting the LCD panel back together, the camera worked fine.

2 IS "stands for iSAPS Technology which is an entirely original scene-recognition technology developed for digital cameras by Canon," according to this article by Gizmos for Geeks.

Bestselling Canon PowerShot SX20 Products in 2020


Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-Inch Articulating LCD (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-Inch Articulating LCD (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2020
  • High-powered 20x wide-angle optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Capture 720p HD movies with stereo sound; HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV
  • 2.5-inch Vari-Angle System LCD; improved Smart AUTO intelligently selects from 22 predefined shooting situations
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor; 12.1-megapixel resolution for poster-size, photo-quality prints
  • Powered by AA batteries (included); capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

PowerShot SX20 IS

PowerShot SX20 IS
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2020
  • This high-powered 20x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer reduces camera shake
  • Provides flexibility to use the optical zoom while shooting superb 720p HD movies with stereo sound so you can fully capture those fun
  • Improved Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper settings for the camera based on 22 predefined shooting situations.
  • This classically styled DIGIC 4 Image Processor, 12.1 Megapixel camera is a perfect device for any shooter!
  • Large 2.5-inch Vari-Angle System LCD enables easy viewing.

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