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Canon SX1 vs SX420

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2008 and January 2016. Both the SX1 and the SX420 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX1 has a resolution of 10 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX1 versus Canon SX420
Canon SX1 Canon SX420
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6
10 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 720/25p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
2.8 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 0.5 shutter flaps per second
128 x 88 x 88 mm, 615 g 104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon SX1 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side 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 SX1 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX1 vs Canon SX420
Compare SX1 versus SX420 top
Comparison SX1 or SX420 rear

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 (36 percent) than the Canon SX1. Moreover, the SX420 is substantially lighter (47 percent) than the SX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX1 nor the SX420 are weather-sealed.

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX1 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.5 in 21.7 oz .. n Sep 2008 599i
 
Canon SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX70 5.0 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 21.4 oz 325 n Sep 2018 549 i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX620 3.8 in 2.2 in 1.1 in 6.4 oz 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.7 oz 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon SX40 4.8 in 3.6 in 4.3 in 21.2 oz 380 n Sep 2011 429i
 
Canon SX20 4.8 in 3.5 in 3.4 in 21.2 oz .. n Aug 2009 399i
 
Canon SX10 4.8 in 3.5 in 3.4 in 21.2 oz .. n Sep 2008 399i
 
Panasonic FZ300 5.2 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 24.4 oz 380 Y Jul 2015 599 i
 
Panasonic FZ200 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic FZ150 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the SX1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX1 and Canon SX420 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the SX1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 41 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX420 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 1.67μm for the SX1). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 7 years and 3 months) than the SX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX1 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

SX1 versus SX420 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p........
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
 
Canon SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p........
 
Canon SX10 1/2.3 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
 
Panasonic FZ300 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p19.311.09738
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX1 provides a higher video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the SX420 is limited to 720/25p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX1 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful 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 SX1 and Canon SX420 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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
 
Canon SX1202 n 2.8 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX702360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
 
Canon SX20202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
 
Canon SX10202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ3001440 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y

Both the SX1 and the SX420 have zoom lenses built in. The SX1 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the SX420 offers a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX420 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the SX1. The SX1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX420 uses SDXC cards.

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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 PowerShot SX1 IS and Canon PowerShot SX420 IS 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
 
Canon SX1Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX70-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX10Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

It is notable that the SX1 has a hotshoe, while the SX420 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

The SX420 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SX1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the SX1 from Canon. 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 SX1 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.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 128x88mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 290g or 47 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • 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 into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 3 months of technical progress since the SX1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX420 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 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.

SX1 07:11 SX420

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX420 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX1 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX1+ ++..o3.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX70+ +..3.5/5..3.5/5 Sep 2018 549 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610....4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon SX40+..4.5/55/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
 
Canon SX20+ +73/100..4/54/5 Aug 2009 399i
 
Canon SX10+ +....4.5/54/5 Sep 2008 399i
 
Panasonic FZ300+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 599 i
 
Panasonic FZ200+ +80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic FZ150+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX1:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX420:
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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX1 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX1 Canon SX420
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6
    Launch Date September 2008 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX420
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.67 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 35.55 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/25p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX420
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX420
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 0.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX420
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port YES HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX420
    Battery Type 4xAA NB-11LH
    Body Dimensions 128 x 88 x 88 mm
    (5.0 x 3.5 x 3.5 in)
    104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 615 g (21.7 oz) 325 g (11.5 oz)

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