Canon 5D Mark IV vs SX420
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2016 and January 2016. The 5D Mark IV is a DSLR, while the SX420 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (5D Mark IV) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) sensor. The 5D Mark IV has a resolution of 30.1 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 5D Mark IV 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 5D Mark IV 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 5D Mark IV 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 (59 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark IV. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D Mark IV is splash and dust resistant, while the SX420 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the 5D Mark IV 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 IV 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 IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|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 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 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|7.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|9.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|10.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|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 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|14.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|15.||Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|16.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|17.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|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 5D Mark IV, 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.
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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 5D Mark IV features a full frame sensor and the Canon SX420 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX420 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 IV has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX420 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 5D Mark IV uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6+) than the SX420 (DIGIC 4+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 30.1MP, the 5D Mark IV offers a higher resolution than the SX420 (19.9MP), but the 5D Mark IV nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.36μm versus 1.19μm for the SX420) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 5D Mark IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the SX420, and its sensor might 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 SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 5D Mark IV implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5D Mark IV for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 33.6 x 22.4 inches or 85.3 x 56.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 26.9 x 17.9 inches or 68.3 x 45.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 22.4 x 14.9 inches or 56.9 x 37.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX420 are 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm for good quality, 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm for very good quality, and 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm for excellent quality prints.
The 5D Mark IV has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 32000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|6.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|7.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|8.||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 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|14.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|15.||Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|16.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|17.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
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 5D Mark IV provides a higher video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, 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 5D Mark IV 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 5D Mark IV, the Canon SX420, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|6.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 5D Mark IV, but is missing on the SX420 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 Canon 5D Mark IV has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 5D Mark IV writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the SX420 uses SDXC cards. The 5D Mark IV features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX420 only has one slot. The 5D Mark IV supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX420 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 5D Mark IV and Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 5D Mark IV has a hotshoe, while the SX420 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 IV (unlike the SX420) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the 5D Mark IV has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The 5D Mark IV is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SX420 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX420 was succeeded 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 5D Mark IV 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 5D Mark IV:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (30.1 vs 19.9MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6+ vs DIGIC 4+).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/25p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while 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.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (900 versus 195) 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.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the SX420).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 5D Mark IV requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 151x116mm) 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 IV).
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark IV is the clear winner of the match-up (29 : 8 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 5D Mark IV 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 5D Mark IV or the SX420. 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 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 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|2.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||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 1D X Mark II||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|7.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|9.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|10.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|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 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|14.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|15.||Nikon D850||4.5/5||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|16.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|17.||Nikon D800E||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|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 5D Mark IV 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 5D Mark IV||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||August 2016||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon SX420|
|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||30.1 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6720 x 4480 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.36 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.48 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||720/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 32,000 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6+||DIGIC 4+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||91||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2995||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon SX420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon SX420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||0.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon SX420|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon SX420|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||195 shots per charge|
151 x 116 x 76 mm
(5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||890 g (31.4 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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