Canon 7D II vs SX720
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and February 2016. The 7D Mark II is a DSLR, while the SX720 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (7D Mark II) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) sensor. The 7D Mark II has a resolution of 20 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 7D 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 7D II and the Canon SX720 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the 7D 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 (58 percent) than the Canon 7D II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 7D 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 7D 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 7D Mark II and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|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 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|8.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|9.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|10.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|11.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|12.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|13.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|14.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|15.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|16.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 7D 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 7D II features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX720 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX720 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 7D Mark II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX720 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX720 offers a slightly higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the 7D Mark II. 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 4.10μm for the 7D Mark II). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the 7D Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 7D Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 16000, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|11.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 7D 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 7D II and Canon SX720 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 7D 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 Canon 7D II 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 7D Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the SX720 uses SDXC cards. The 7D Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX720 only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 7D Mark II and Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the 7D 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 7D II (unlike the SX720) 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 7D Mark II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The 7D Mark II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SX720 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX720 was succeeded 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 7D II better than the Canon SX720 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D 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 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.9 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 (670 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.
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2014).
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- 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 7D Mark II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 149x112mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 7D Mark II).
- 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: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (23 : 9 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 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 7D 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 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 7D Mark II or the SX720 perform in practice. 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], 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 7D II||4.5/5||+||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|2.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|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 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|8.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|9.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|10.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|11.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|12.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|13.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|14.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|15.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|16.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 7D 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 7D 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 2014||February 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,799||USD 379|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 7D II||Canon SX720|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.4 x 15.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||336 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.10 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.94 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 16,000 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6 (Dual)||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||70||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.4||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1082||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 7D II||Canon SX720|
|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||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 7D II||Canon SX720|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in 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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 7D II||Canon SX720|
|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||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Canon 7D II||Canon SX720|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||670 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
149 x 112 x 78 mm
(5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||910 g (32.1 oz)||270 g (9.5 oz)|
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