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Canon Powershot SX20 IS
Canon Powershot SX20 IS

Hey! You should know that Canon has released a newer version of this product: the Canon Powershot SX30IS.

Canon Powershot SX20 IS

We've given the SX20 IS a grade of B.

Editor's Review

The SX20 is a great camera for hobbyists who want a little bit of everything: a huge zoom, high megapixel count, and HD video. It was one of the top extended zooms throughout late 2009 and most of 2010, but now it's out of production and has been replaced by the SX30, a very powerful camera with similar specs -- plus a 35x zoom. This SX20 is still a great camera, but it's becoming very difficult to find it for a decent price, so we've knocked the grade down a few notches.


  • 12-megapixels
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processing
  • 20x optical zoom
  • HD movie mode (720p)
  • HDMI output
  • 2.5-inch articulated LCD display
  • AA batteries
  • SD/SDHC memory storage
  • Part Number: SX20IS
  • UPC: 4960999645605
  • Release Date: Sep 15, 2009

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Canon Powershot SX20 IS Reviews

Canon Powershot SX20 IS Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 4.0 out of 5
Pros&Cons (Anil P — 03/15/2010)
The camera is an excellent overall performer.It really annoys a budget DSLR user bcos its too expensive 2 get this much zoom on a DSLR! The built in flash is poor. And surprisingly there is no battery indicator and Card memory usage indicator. I think my cam has a manu. fault with that? Can anyone help me in that?
  • 5.0 out of 5
My Very First Upgrade from Point and shoot (Alice — 03/09/2010)
I was ready to take this camera back as i wanted good photos of birds and they were turning out cloudy and horrible.. I went on the net and read what others did to get good photos. Low and behold changing settings for a few days i finally am getting good shots of birds, chipmunks etc. I love when i forget to put the card in and the little card door is open the camera won't go on. The photos mattered the most and now i am happy with them . I have a good eye for phots as my dad taught me that. Also i pushed the lens way past the 20x optical zoom and a lot of photos are turning out better than you would expect.. I love the viewfinder. Now i have to learn how to get good photos of people. I want to learn how to use a camera that is not just point and shoot and this camera is a very good place to start. hope this helps a newbie like me..
  • 4.0 out of 5
More! (Ron — 01/04/2010)

Just an update on a beginner's (ME!) view of the SX20IS. I have played around with settings as I am determined to get more out of it than just have it sitting on 'auto'. I have had good results varying the ISO to get quite good pics of houses with Christmas lights. I did strike a small problem as forgot to raise the flash while trying to take shots at an evening bbq. Kept wondering why it wouldn't flash! However, I think it's the sort of thing you do only once! Watch this space.

  • 4.0 out of 5
So far, very happy with it (Jeff Tenwinkel — 12/30/2009)

Have had this camera for a couple of months and so far am very happy with it. Upgraded from Canon S5 IS which also performed well, and which is now my wife's camera. SX20 IS is my 6th digital, and 3rd Canon (also have 2 Kodaks and one Minolta). Especially happy with battery life - using viewfinder instead of LCD results in very long battery life. Long 20X optical zoom compared to 12X in S5 IS is particularly handy - I take a lot of bird and animal pictures in our area, and this camera really reaches out! The IS feature is very effective, and pictures taken at full (optical) zoom are good even without a tripod if taken carefully. Only drawback I have noticed so far is an apparent red color bias with indoor pics taken under incandescent lighting when compared to other cameras (e.g. Canon S5 IS). Have also switched to high speed (Class 6) SD card which stores pics more quickly than Class 2 and 4, and reduces lag time between pics. All in all very staisfied with this camera.

  • 4.0 out of 5
So far so good (Ron — 12/17/2009)

I'm still finding my way around it but so far so good. It feels comfortable to handle and easy to use. I'm looking forward to learning more and using it to the obviously great potential it has. I like the 10x zoom and the stability control. I'll come back in 6 months to write more.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Every day a new thing to enjoy (Jorge — 11/27/2009)

It really great, makes beautiful pictures and filming HD while you are in movement in your car gives a real good result. It a shame I can not focus big structures in a short distance. Great zoom. I would recommend it

  • 5.0 out of 5
Better than the Nikon P90 (Victor — 11/27/2009)

I got this camera after exchanging the P90 I bought two weeks ago. I'm going to center the review in the following aspects:

1. Case/Construction: The camera feels solid and well built. A little bit heavy for my taste but has lots of metal, specially in the lenses and the back of the LCD.

2. Quality of Images: Color calibration is ok. Pictures taken in auto mode usually are of good quality, the thing gets better when you use the scene modes or, if you have some knowledge (I'm still learning), the manual modes, where you can play with shutter speed, diaphragm, ISO, etc.

3. Speed: With a good SDHC Class 10 Card writing goes unnoticed (1 p/image)

4. Features: Good firmware, good auto mode, ample choice of scene modes, manual modes make you feel using a dSLR. 20X zoom is great.

5. Video: HD in 720p, .mov format (quicktime), mini HDMI out so you can play it directly on your TV - the quality is pretty high to the point that my 1 year old camcorder became obsolete.

I never returned an item to a store before the P90. But I think I took the right choice. P90 color calibration was horrible, all images looked with full magenta on auto mode. Canon SX20 IS is practically the opposite in quality and features (specially the firmware).

  • 5.0 out of 5
This camera does it all...including video (Larry Smith — 11/14/2009)

I was able to record a home video with this camera, which has an excellent sound recording system...and upload it to Youtube with no problems. Excellent quality all around and simple operation with lots of options.

  • 4.0 out of 5
I do love it (DannyM — 10/20/2009)

In general I love it.
But it's a few small details that got me somewhat disappointed:
1) Final picture quality is good although somewhat soft, not as crisp as my A95 or even my S410. Can't find how to increase the sharpness within the camera. (Picassa gets it right).
2) Focus is sometimes slow in the evaluative mode, especially under low light with tele extended. With SPOT it works better.
3) Some features like Image Stabilization and IContrast seem to work only in none-auto modes, why?

The ZOOM is great, fast and amazing, feature-rich camera for the none-professional enthusiastic.

Camera is much bigger then what you would think just by looking at pictures, and a little heavy. Definitely not a real compact.

Seems like a DSLR with a fixed lens.

I do love it.