Canon SL1 vs SX420
The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (called Canon 100D in some regions) and the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2013 and January 2016. The SL1 is a DSLR, while the SX420 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (SL1) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) sensor. The SL1 has a resolution of 17.9 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 Rebel SL1 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 SL1 and the Canon SX420 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SL1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX420 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, red).
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 (33 percent) than the Canon SL1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL1 nor the SX420 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the SL1 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 SL1 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. 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 SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|2.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|7.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|8.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|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 T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|13.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|14.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|15.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|16.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|17.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|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 SX420 was launched at a lower price than the SL1, 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. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 SL1 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX420 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX420 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 SL1 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 SL1 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the SX420 (DIGIC 4+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the SL1. 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 1.19μm versus 4.31μm for the SL1). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 9 months) than the SL1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 SL1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 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 SX420 IS are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
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 SL1 provides a higher video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the SX420 is limited to 720/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SL1 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SL1 and Canon SX420 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|2.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon T100||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon T6||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX610||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|14.||Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n|
|16.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|17.||Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The SL1 has a touchscreen, while the SX420 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SL1 and the SX420 write their files to SDXC cards. The SL1 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 Rebel SL1 and Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon T100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon T6||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX610||-||- / -||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Canon T5i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Canon T3i||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SL1 has a hotshoe, while the SX420 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the SL1 and the SX420 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SL1 was replaced by the Canon SL2, while the SX420 was followed 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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL1 or the Canon SX420 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:
- 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 jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 4+).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p 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.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.9 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (380 versus 195) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2013).
Reasons to prefer 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 SL1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 117x91mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the SL1).
- 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: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the SL1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL1 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 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 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 SL1 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SL1 and the SX420 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|2.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon T100||..||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|7.||Canon T6||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|8.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|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 T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|13.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|14.||Canon T5i||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|15.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|16.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|17.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|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. 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. 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 20D vs Canon SX420
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Canon SL1
- Canon SL1 vs Leica TL
- Canon SL1 vs Leica TL2
- Canon SL1 vs Nikon D2X
- Canon SL1 vs Olympus E-M1X
- Canon SL1 vs Olympus TG-5
- Canon SX1 vs Canon SX420
- Canon SX420 vs Canon T7i
- Canon SX420 vs Fujifilm X70
- Canon SX420 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon SX420 vs Olympus E-M10 III
Specifications: Canon SL1 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 SL1||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||March 2013||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL1||Canon SX420|
|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||17.9 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5||DIGIC 4+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||843||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL1||Canon SX420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SL1||Canon SX420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4.9 shutter flaps/s||0.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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 SL1||Canon SX420|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no 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 SL1||Canon SX420|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||195 shots per charge|
117 x 91 x 69 mm
(4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||407 g (14.4 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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