Canon 5D Mark II vs SX720
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2008 and February 2016. The 5D Mark II is a DSLR, while the SX720 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (5D Mark II) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) sensor. The 5D Mark II has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the SX720 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 5D Mark II and the Canon PowerShot SX720 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 5D Mark II and the Canon SX720 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the 5D Mark II 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 SX720 is considerably smaller (59 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the SX720 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX720 has a lens built in, whereas the 5D Mark II 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 5D Mark II 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 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|2.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|7.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|8.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|9.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|11.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|13.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|14.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|16.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX720 was launched at a lower price than the 5D Mark II, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 5D Mark II features a full frame sensor and the Canon SX720 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX720 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the 5D Mark II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX720 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the SX720 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 5D Mark II (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 21MP, the 5D Mark II offers a slightly higher resolution than the SX720 (20.2MP), but the 5D Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 1.18μm for the SX720) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX720 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 5 months) than the 5D Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX720 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX720 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 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|8.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|13.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|16.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
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 SX720 provides a faster frame rate than the 5D Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the 5D Mark II is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 5D Mark II has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX720 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon SX720 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|2.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|7.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|11.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n|
|14.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|16.||Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 5D Mark II, but is missing on the SX720 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 5D Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SX720 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 5D Mark II and Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 5D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the 5D Mark II has a hotshoe, while the SX720 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 5D Mark II (unlike the SX720) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 5D Mark II and the SX720 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark III, while the SX720 was followed by the Canon SX730. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon 5D Mark II better than the Canon SX720 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:
- 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 sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- 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 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (850 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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 September 2008).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX720 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 6 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 5D Mark II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 152x114mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 5D Mark II).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- 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 7 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 5D Mark II launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 5D Mark II emerges as the winner of the contest (15 : 13 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 5D Mark II and the Canon SX720 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 5D Mark II or the SX720. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|2.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||4/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|7.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|8.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|9.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|11.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|13.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|14.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|16.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Fujifilm X-T3
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Fujifilm X10
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Nikon D2Xs
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Panasonic GH3
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Panasonic TZ100
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon SX720 vs Hasselblad X1D
- Canon SX720 vs Leica D-LUX 7
- Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-PL2
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GX8
- Canon SX720 vs Sony A7R
- Canon SX720 vs Sony A9 II
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon SX720
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 5D Mark II||Canon SX720|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9|
|Launch Date||September 2008||February 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon SX720|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||21 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5616 x 3744 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||79||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.7||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.9||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1815||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon SX720|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon SX720|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.9 shutter flaps/s||5.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon SX720|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D Mark II||Canon SX720|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||850 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
152 x 114 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 in)
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||270 g (9.5 oz)|
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