Canon SX20 Comparison Review
The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in August 2009 and is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 12 megapixel.
Is the Canon SX20 a good camera? The SX20 has a Camera Elo of 1109. This rating puts the SX20 below average of all superzoom compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (small sensor cameras), the SX20 also ranks below average. – Well, the Canon SX20 is more than 12 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2009.
|Fixed lens compact camera|
|12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 3 200|
|Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)|
|2.5 LCD, 230k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|0.7 shutter flaps per second|
|123 x 88 x 87 mm, 600 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Canon SX20 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Canon SX20 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|2.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|5.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|6.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|7.||Canon SX10||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Sep 2008||399|
|8.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599|
|9.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|11.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon SX20 was launched in the US market at a price of $399. 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.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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.
The Canon SX20 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Canon SX20 among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design.
For most 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX20 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the SX20 can use is 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX20 and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX20||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7||Y||Y|
|2.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX30||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.6||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX10||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX1||202||n||2.8 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||4.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon XS||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
The LCD screen on the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD is hinged on the side and can be flipped out for odd-angle shots in both portrait and landscape orientation. Also, this fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment is often appreciated by videographers for its flexibility. Moreover, v-loggers like the design because the screen can be turned to be front-facing.
One convenient feature of the SX20 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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 SX20 IS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon XS||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The SX20 has a zoom lens built in (5-100mm f/2.8-5.7), which, in full frame equivalent terms, provides a focal length range from 28 to 560mm. The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic that offers similar focal length and aperture specifications.
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the SX20 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 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]).
|1.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||..||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399|
|2.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|5.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|6.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|7.||Canon SX10||..||+ +||..||..||..||4/5||Sep 2008||399|
|8.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||..||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|9.||Canon XS||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|11.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Canon SX20 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the SX20.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the SX20 based on?
The camera is build around a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Canon equipped the SX20 with the DIGIC 4 image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the SX20?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200.
Does the Canon SX20 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The SX20's flash sync speed is 1/500 sec.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 4000D vs Canon SX20
- Canon 6D vs Canon SX20
- Canon G1 X Mark III vs Canon SX20
- Canon SX20 vs Canon SX620
- Canon SX20 vs Canon SX730
- Canon SX20 vs Fujifilm X10
- Canon SX20 vs Nikon Z6 II
- Canon SX20 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Canon SX20 vs Panasonic FZ300
- Canon SX20 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Canon SX20 vs Pentax K-1 II
- Canon SX20 vs Sony RX10 IV
|Camera Model||Canon SX20|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-560mm f/2.8-5.7|
|Launch Date||August 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 399|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 000 x 3 000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3 200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||No front-flip|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/3200s|
|Continuous Shooting||0.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||YES HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||4xAA power pack|
123 x 88 x 87 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 3.4 in)
|Camera Weight||600 g (21.2 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.