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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon 500D versus Canon SX420
Canon 500D Canon SX420
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6
15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/20p Video 720/25p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.4 shutter flaps per second 0.5 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge195 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g 104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Canon 500D vs Canon SX420
Compare 500D versus SX420 top
Comparison 500D or SX420 rear

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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon 750D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon 760D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon 1200D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon 700D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
 
Canon 600D 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Canon 500D and Canon SX420 sensor measures

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).

500D versus SX420 MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon 1200D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
 
Canon 600D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 760Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon 1200Doptical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2 Y Y
 
Canon 700Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
 
Canon 600Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon 550Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n

The 500D writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX420 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 760DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon 1200DYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 700DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 600DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 550DYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---

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.

The SX420 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 500D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 500D was succeeded by the Canon 550D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

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.

500D 13:11 SX420

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.

Expert reviews

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 500D+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon 750D..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon 760D+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon 1200D+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon G1 X Mark II+77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
 
Canon 700D..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon 650D+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon G1 X+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
 
Canon 600Do77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon 550D+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon 450D+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
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.

Canon 500D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX420:
Check Amazon price

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 Specifications
    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 Technology CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 5.6x
    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%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    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 Build-in Flash Build-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 Type LP-E5 NB-11LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge195 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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