Canon 30D vs SX540
The Canon EOS 30D and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2006 and January 2016. The 30D is a DSLR, while the SX540 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (30D) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) sensor. The 30D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the SX540 provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Canon SX540. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX540 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Canon 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the SX540 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX540 has a lens built in, whereas the 30D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 30D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|2.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|5.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|6.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|7.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|9.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|10.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|11.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|12.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|15.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|17.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX540 was launched at a lower price than the 30D, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 30D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX540 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX540 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the 30D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX540 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the SX540 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 30D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 30D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the SX540 is much more recent (by 9 years and 10 months) than the 30D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX540 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX540 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX540 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 30D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The SX540 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 30D does not. The highest resolution format that the SX540 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 30D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX540 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 30D and Canon SX540 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Canon SX540||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon T6||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX530||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|13.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon XT||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|17.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the 30D, but is missing on the SX540 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SX540 uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 30D and Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SX540||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon T6||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX530||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon XT||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|17.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 30D has a hotshoe, while the SX540 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the SX540) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 30D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 30D was succeeded by the Canon 40D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 30D or the Canon SX540 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 30D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 205) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 54%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC 2).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 30D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 30D).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 30D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX540 emerges as the winner of the match-up (15 : 13 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Canon SX540 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 30D or the SX540 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|2.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon T6||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|5.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|6.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|7.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|9.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|10.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|11.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|12.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|13.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon XT||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|15.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|17.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon 30D
- Canon 30D vs Canon G1 X
- Canon 30D vs Canon Rebel
- Canon 30D vs Fujifilm X-E1
- Canon 30D vs Olympus XZ-1
- Canon 30D vs Pentax K-3
- Canon SX540 vs Fujifilm GFX 50R
- Canon SX540 vs Nikon D100
- Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FZ330
- Canon SX540 vs Samsung NX500
- Canon SX540 vs Sony A6400
- Canon SX540 vs Sony RX100 II
Specifications: Canon 30D vs Canon SX540
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 30D||Canon SX540|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||February 2006||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,399||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 30D||Canon SX540|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 2||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||59||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||736||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 30D||Canon SX540|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 30D||Canon SX540|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 30D||Canon SX540|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 30D||Canon SX540|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||205 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||785 g (27.7 oz)||442 g (15.6 oz)|
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