Canon 500D vs SX420
The Canon EOS 500D (called Canon T1i in some regions) and the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2009 and January 2016. The 500D is a DSLR, while the SX420 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (500D) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) sensor. The 500D has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the SX420 provides 19.9 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 500D and the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon 500D and the Canon SX420 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the 500D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX420 is considerably smaller (43 percent) than the Canon 500D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 500D nor the SX420 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the 500D 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 500D 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 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|2.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|6.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|7.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|8.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|9.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|10.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|11.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|12.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|13.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|15.||Canon 600D||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|16.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|17.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX420 was launched at a lower price than the 500D, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 500D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX420 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX420 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 500D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX420 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the SX420 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the 500D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the 500D. 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 1.19μm versus 4.69μm for the 500D). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 6 years and 9 months) than the 500D, 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 SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 500D are 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 500D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|11.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|14.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 500D provides a higher video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot video footage at 1080/20p, while the SX420 is limited to 720/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 500D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX420 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 500D, the Canon SX420, and comparable cameras.
|11.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|14.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
The 500D writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX420 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 500D and Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|11.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 500D has a hotshoe, while the SX420 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the 500D and the SX420 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 500D was replaced by the Canon 550D, while the SX420 was followed by the Canon SX430. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 500D and the Canon SX420? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 500D:
- 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.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/20p vs 720/25p).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.4 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 195) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
- 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 4+ vs DIGIC 4).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 500D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 500D).
- 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 6 years and 9 months of technical progress since the 500D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 500D emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 500D and the Canon SX420 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 500D or the SX420. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 500D||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|2.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|6.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|7.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|8.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|9.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|10.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|11.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|12.||Canon 700D||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|13.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|15.||Canon 600D||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|16.||Canon 550D||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|17.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 500D vs Canon SX420
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 500D||Canon SX420|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6|
|Launch Date||March 2009||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 500D||Canon SX420|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/20p Video||720/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 4+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.7||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||663||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 500D||Canon SX420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 500D||Canon SX420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.4 shutter flaps/s||0.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 500D||Canon SX420|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 500D||Canon SX420|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||195 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||520 g (18.3 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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