Canon 550D vs SX70
The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon T2i in some regions) and the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2010 and September 2018. The 550D is a DSLR, while the SX70 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (550D) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) sensor. The 550D has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the SX70 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 550D and the Canon PowerShot SX70 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 physical size and weight of the Canon 550D and the Canon SX70 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 SX70 is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Canon 550D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 550D nor the SX70 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX70 has a lens built in, whereas the 550D 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 550D 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 would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|2.||Canon SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|3.||Canon 4000D||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|8.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|10.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|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 600D||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|16.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|17.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Note: 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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX70 was launched at a lower price than the 550D, 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 550D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX70 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX70 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 550D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX70 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the SX70 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the 550D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the 550D. 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 4.31μm for the 550D). However, it should be noted that the SX70 is much more recent (by 8 years and 7 months) than the 550D, 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 SX70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon EOS 550D 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 SX70 HS are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|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. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX70 provides a better video resolution than the 550D. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the 550D is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the 550D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 550D and Canon SX70 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 550D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|2.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 4000D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 800D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 750D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 760D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 700D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 650D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 600D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Canon 500D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 550D and the SX70 write their files to SDXC cards. The SX70 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 550D cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 550D and Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 550D||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon 4000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 800D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 750D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon 760D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon 1200D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 700D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 650D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 600D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 500D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D5100||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 550D has a hotshoe, while the SX70 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The SX70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 550D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 550D was succeeded by the Canon 600D. 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? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 550D and the Canon SX70? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 550D:
- 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.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 325) 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 February 2010).
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:
- 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 8 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 550D requires a separate lens.
- 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 wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 550D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX70 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 12 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 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 550D and the Canon SX70 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 550D or the SX70 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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], 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 550D||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|2.||Canon SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|3.||Canon 4000D||..||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|8.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|10.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|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 600D||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|16.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|17.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 550D vs Fujifilm X-T30
- Canon 550D vs Leica M9
- Canon 550D vs Nikon D800E
- Canon 550D vs Nikon L840
- Canon 550D vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon 550D vs Panasonic GX80
- Canon SX70 vs Canon T4i
- Canon SX70 vs Fujifilm X-T100
- Canon SX70 vs Nikon D300S
- Canon SX70 vs Panasonic LX15
- Canon SX70 vs Panasonic ZS200
- Canon SX70 vs Sony RX100 IV
Specifications: Canon 550D vs Canon SX70
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 550D||Canon SX70|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||February 2010||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 550D||Canon SX70|
|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||17.9 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 8|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||784||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 550D||Canon SX70|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 550D||Canon SX70|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 550D||Canon SX70|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 550D||Canon SX70|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||325 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
127 x 91 x 117 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
|Camera Weight||530 g (18.7 oz)||608 g (21.4 oz)|
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