Canon M50 vs SX520
The Canon EOS M50 and the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2018 and July 2014. The M50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the SX520 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M50) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX520) sensor. The M50 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the SX520 provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon M50||Canon SX520|
|Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Canon EF-M mount lenses||24-1008mm f/3.4-6|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|4K/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 100-3200|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 461k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||1.6 shutter flaps per second|
|235 shots per battery charge||210 shots per battery charge|
|116 x 88 x 59 mm, 390 g||120 x 82 x 92 mm, 441 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M50 and the Canon PowerShot SX520 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 M50 and the Canon SX520 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M50 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX520 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 SX520 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Canon M50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M50 nor the SX520 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX520 has a lens built in, whereas the M50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon M50»||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon SX520«||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399||Canon SX520|
|Canon G5 X Mark II« »||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M6 Mark II« »||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon 77D« »||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon 1300D« »||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449||Canon 1300D|
|Canon M5« »||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon G5 X« »||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3« »||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||Canon M3|
|Canon SX530« »||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX700« »||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349||Canon SX700|
|Canon 1200D« »||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||Canon 1200D|
|Canon SX510« »||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249||Canon SX510|
|Fujifilm X-E3« »||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20« »||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899||Fujifilm X-T20|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 SX520 was launched at a lower price than the M50, 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. 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 M50 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX520 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX520 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 M50 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX520 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the M50 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the SX520 (DIGIC 4+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 24MP, the M50 offers a higher resolution than the SX520 (15.9MP), but the M50 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 1.33μm for the SX520) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M50 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 7 months) than the SX520, 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 SX520 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M50 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M50 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX520 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon SX520||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX520|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon 77D||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon M6|
|Canon M100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon 1300D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1300D|
|Canon M5||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Canon SX530||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX700||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX700|
|Canon 1200D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon 1200D|
|Canon SX510||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX510|
|Fujifilm X-E3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T20|
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, but the M50 provides a higher video resolution than the SX520. It can shoot video footage at 4K/24p, while the SX520 is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M50 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX520 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 M50, the Canon SX520, and comparable cameras.
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon SX520||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y||Canon SX520|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M6|
|Canon M100||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon 1300D||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1300D|
|Canon M5||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Canon SX530||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX700||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5||Y||Y||Canon SX700|
|Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1200D|
|Canon SX510||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/1600s||3.8||Y||Y||Canon SX510|
|Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T20|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M50 has a touchscreen, while the SX520 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M50 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 SX520 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M50 and the SX520 write their files to SDXC cards. The M50 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX520 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 M50 and Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon SX520||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SX520|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Canon 77D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M6|
|Canon M100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon 1300D||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 1300D|
|Canon M5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G5 X|
|Canon M3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Canon SX530||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX700||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX700|
|Canon 1200D||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon SX510||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon SX510|
|Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-E3|
|Fujifilm X-T20||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T20|
It is notable that the M50 has a hotshoe, while the SX520 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The M50 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SX520 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX520 was succeeded by the Canon SX530. 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 there a clear favorite between the Canon M50 and the Canon SX520? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M50:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP) 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 8 vs DIGIC 4+).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/24p vs 1080/30p).
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 461k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (235 versus 210) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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.
- 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 modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the SX520 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M50 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M50 is the clear winner of the match-up (25 : 5 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 M50 and the Canon SX520 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 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 M50 or the SX520. 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.
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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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 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 M50 vs Leica X2
- Canon M50 vs Nikon D3500
- Canon M50 vs Nikon D7000
- Canon M50 vs Olympus PEN-F
- Canon M50 vs Panasonic G80
- Canon M50 vs Panasonic LX100
- Canon M50 vs Sony A99 II
- Canon SX520 vs Fujifilm X-E1
- Canon SX520 vs Nikon D1H
- Canon SX520 vs Panasonic FZ80
- Canon SX520 vs Sony A6400
- Canon SX520 vs Sony A99 II
Specifications: Canon M50 vs Canon SX520
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 M50||Canon SX520|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||24-1008mm f/3.4-6|
|Launch Date||February 2018||July 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M50||Canon SX520|
|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||24 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 4+|
|Screen Specs||Canon M50||Canon SX520|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M50||Canon SX520|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||1.6 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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M50||Canon SX520|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M50||Canon SX520|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||235 shots per charge||210 shots per charge|
116 x 88 x 59 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in)
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||441 g (15.6 oz)|
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