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Canon M10 vs SX540

The Canon EOS M10 and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2015 and January 2016. The M10 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the SX540 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M10) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) sensor. The M10 has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the SX540 provides 20.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon M10 versus Canon SX540
Canon M10 Canon SX540
Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF-M mount lenses 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 80-3,200
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.6 shutter flaps per second 5.9 shutter flaps per second
255 shots per battery charge205 shots per battery charge
108 x 67 x 35 mm, 301 g 120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M10 and the Canon PowerShot SX540 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon M10 and the Canon SX540 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.

The M10 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX540 is only available in black.

Size Canon M10 vs Canon SX540
Compare M10 versus SX540 top
Comparison M10 or SX540 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX540 is notably larger (36 percent) than the Canon M10. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M10 nor the SX540 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX540 has a lens built in, whereas the M10 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the M10 gets 255 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the SX540 can take 205 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
2.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon T6 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449i
6.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
7.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
8.
 
Canon M3 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679i
9.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
10.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
11.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
12.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
13.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
14.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
15.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
16.
 
Sony A5000 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449i
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 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 SX540 was launched at a lower price than the M10, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M10 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX540 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX540 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 M10 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX540 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon M10 and Canon SX540 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the M10. 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 M10). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX540 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The M10 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M10 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

M10 versus SX540 MP

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.

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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
1.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
2.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
5.
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
6.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
7.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
8.
 
Canon M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
9.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
10.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
11.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
12.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
13.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
14.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
15.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
16.
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX540 provides a faster frame rate than the M10. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the M10 is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M10 and the SX540 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M10, the Canon SX540, 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
1.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
2.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
3.
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Canon M3optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
9.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y
12.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
14.
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
15.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
16.
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M10 has a touchscreen, while the SX540 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The M10 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the SX540 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M10 and the SX540 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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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 M10 and Canon PowerShot SX540 HS 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
1.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon M100-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon M3YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon G7 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the M10 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M10 was succeeded by the Canon M100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M10 or the Canon SX540 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M10:

  • 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.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 461k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 120x82mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (255 versus 205) on a single battery charge.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 4.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M10 necessitates an extra lens.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M10 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 6 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.

M10 14:06 SX540

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M10 and the Canon SX540 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 M10 or the SX540. 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 expert reviews 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
2.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+..4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon T64/5o73/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
6.
 
Canon SX720..+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
7.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
8.
 
Canon M34/5o75/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679i
9.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
10.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
11.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
12.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
13.
 
Canon SL14/5+78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
14.
 
Canon M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
15.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
16.
 
Sony A50003/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon M10:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX540:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Canon M10 vs Canon SX540

    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 M10 Canon SX540
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date October 2015 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 399
    Sensor Specs Canon M10 Canon SX540
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    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 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 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 DIGIC 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.2 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 753 ..
    Screen Specs Canon M10 Canon SX540
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M10 Canon SX540
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.6 shutter flaps/s 5.9 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon M10 Canon SX540
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon M10 Canon SX540
    Battery Type LP-E12 NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)255 shots per charge205 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 108 x 67 x 35 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in)
    120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 301 g (10.6 oz) 442 g (15.6 oz)

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