Canon PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH vs. Canon PowerShot S120

Comparison

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PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH image
vs
PowerShot S120 image
Canon PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH Canon PowerShot S120
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Megapixels
3.20
12.10
Max. image resolution
2048 x 1536
4000 x 3000

Sensor

Sensor type
CCD
CMOS
Sensor size
1/2.7" (~ 5.33 x 4 mm)
1/1.7" (~ 7.53 x 5.64 mm)
Sensor resolution
2063 x 1551
4027 x 3005
Diagonal
6.66 mm
9.41 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1.99
(ratio)
Canon PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH Canon PowerShot S120
Surface area:
21.32 mm² vs 42.47 mm²
Difference: 21.15 mm² (99%)
S120 sensor is approx. 1.99x bigger than S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor.
Note: You are comparing sensors of vastly different generations. There is a gap of 11 years between Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH (2002) and Canon S120 (2013). Eleven years is a huge amount of time, technology wise, resulting in newer sensor being much more efficient than the older one.
Pixel pitch
2.58 µm
1.87 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 0.71 µm (38%)
Pixel pitch of S230 DIGITAL ELPH is approx. 38% higher than pixel pitch of S120.
Pixel area
6.66 µm²
3.5 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 3.16 µm² (90%)
A pixel on Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor is approx. 90% bigger than a pixel on Canon S120.
Pixel density
14.98 MP/cm²
28.6 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 13.62 µm (91%)
Canon S120 has approx. 91% higher pixel density than Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.



Specs

Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH
Canon S120
Crop factor
6.5
4.6
Total megapixels
3.30
12.80
Effective megapixels
3.20
12.10
Optical zoom
2x
5x
Digital zoom
Yes
Yes
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400
Auto, 80-12800
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
47 cm
Macro focus range
10 cm
3 cm
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
35 - 70 mm
24 - 120 mm
Aperture priority
No
Yes
Max. aperture
f2.8 - f4.0
f1.8 - f5.7
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
f18.2 - f26
f8.3 - f26.2
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
±3 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
No
Yes
Min. shutter speed
15 sec
15 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/1500 sec
1/2000 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Optical (tunnel)
None
White balance presets
6
7
Screen size
1.5"
3"
Screen resolution
120,000 dots
922,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
Storage types
Compact Flash (Type I)
SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB
USB 1.0
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
Canon Lithium-Ion
Lithium-Ion NB-6LH rechargeable battery
Weight
250 g
217 g
Dimensions
87 x 57 x 27 mm
100.2 x 59 x 29 mm
Year
2002
2013




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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH diagonal

The diagonal of S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor is not 1/2.7 or 0.37" (9.4 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 6.66 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 5.33 mm
h = 4.00 mm
Diagonal =  5.33² + 4.00²   = 6.66 mm

Canon S120 diagonal

The diagonal of S120 sensor is not 1/1.7 or 0.59" (14.9 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 9.41 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 7.53 mm
h = 5.64 mm
Diagonal =  7.53² + 5.64²   = 9.41 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor area

Width = 5.33 mm
Height = 4.00 mm

Surface area = 5.33 × 4.00 = 21.32 mm²

S120 sensor area

Width = 7.53 mm
Height = 5.64 mm

Surface area = 7.53 × 5.64 = 42.47 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

S230 DIGITAL ELPH pixel pitch

Sensor width = 5.33 mm
Sensor resolution width = 2063 pixels
Pixel pitch =   5.33  × 1000  = 2.58 µm
2063

S120 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 7.53 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4027 pixels
Pixel pitch =   7.53  × 1000  = 1.87 µm
4027


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

S230 DIGITAL ELPH pixel area

Pixel pitch = 2.58 µm

Pixel area = 2.58² = 6.66 µm²

S120 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 1.87 µm

Pixel area = 1.87² = 3.5 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

S230 DIGITAL ELPH pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 2063 pixels
Sensor width = 0.533 cm

Pixel density = (2063 / 0.533)² / 1000000 = 14.98 MP/cm²

S120 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4027 pixels
Sensor width = 0.753 cm

Pixel density = (4027 / 0.753)² / 1000000 = 28.6 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor resolution

Sensor width = 5.33 mm
Sensor height = 4.00 mm
Effective megapixels = 3.20
r = 5.33/4.00 = 1.33
X =  3.20 × 1000000  = 1551
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 1551 × 1.33 = 2063
Resolution vertical: X = 1551

Sensor resolution = 2063 x 1551

S120 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 7.53 mm
Sensor height = 5.64 mm
Effective megapixels = 12.10
r = 7.53/5.64 = 1.34
X =  12.10 × 1000000  = 3005
1.34
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3005 × 1.34 = 4027
Resolution vertical: X = 3005

Sensor resolution = 4027 x 3005


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


S230 DIGITAL ELPH crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 6.66 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 6.5
6.66

S120 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 9.41 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 4.6
9.41

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

S230 DIGITAL ELPH equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 6.5
Aperture = f2.8 - f4.0

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f2.8 - f4.0) × 6.5 = f18.2 - f26

S120 equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 4.6
Aperture = f1.8 - f5.7

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f1.8 - f5.7) × 4.6 = f8.3 - f26.2

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