Canon SX20 IS Reviews

First published on: Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Last update (Sep 16, 2009): SX20 IS review

This post is a compilation of Canon PowerShot SX20IS professional and user reviews, owner opinions, reports and experiences, tests, conclusions, ratings and feedback.

Canon Powershot SX20 IS

Hopefully, you’ll be able to conclude whether the SX20 image quality, and the camera itself as a whole, meets your standards.

Full attribution is given by linking to the source and where available, the author’s homepage or photo gallery. has a strong recommendation for the SX20. J. Keenan, the reviewer, concludes:

AF acquisition time is faster, shutter lag is shorter. Flash range is increased and recycle times are lower. Macro focus range is closer. ISO noise performance is almost too close to call versus the SX10 IS, but the SX20 IS has an additional 2 megapixels on the sensor, so that’s a net gain (and performance compares favorably with the competition). The 720p HD video quality is one of the better ones I’ve come across in compact digitals, and you can zoom while shooting. The SX10 IS was/is a good camera — this one’s better.

Canon SX20 IS review at

There’s a pretty extensive collection of full-resolution photos taken with the camera, plus two video / movie clips, and 100% crops of test images from ISO 80 to 1600 are also provided.

Next up, Ben Hermann, a camera user whose opinions I trust, doesn’t think the SX20 IS camera performs up to mark in the image quality department, noting that the camera suffers from poor dynamic range, visible NR (noise reduction) smearing artifacts. Overall, it has poorer image quality and higher JPEG compression when compared to its predecessor, the Canon SX10 IS, which Ben also owns. Note that the SX10 IS allows for Superfine JPEG compression, while the SX20 doesn’t.

Mark Goldstein’s review of the Canon SX20 IS at PhotographyBLOG has the following conclusion:

The SX20 IS is virtually identical to its predecessor, with the only major additions being the new HD movie recording and an “upgrade” to 12 megapixels. The former is successful, the latter less so. Being able to shoot high-definition video with stereo sound and the ability to make full use of the 20x zoom is a real attraction and something that not many other cameras currently offer. Unfortunately the story isn’t so rosy with regards to still images, with noise and loss of fine detail first appearing at ISO 400 rather than ISO 800 as on the SX10. It seems that the move to more megapixels has compromised the overall image quality at higher ISO speeds, limiting this camera’s ability in low-light environments.

Mark awarded the camera 4 out of 5 stars.

Last but not least, this article at DC.Watch (English translation by Google) has a convenient collection of pictures of the front and back of the SX20 IS with the articulating LCD in various positions. There’s one showing a Canon Speedlite 580EX II external flash mounted on the camera.

Don’t forget to check out the owner reviews of the SX20IS at Amazon. On Sep 16, 2009, the camera has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, based on 11 reviews.

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