Canon SX20 vs SX30
The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2009 and September 2010. Both the SX20 and the SX30 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX20 has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the SX30 provides 14 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 PowerShot SX20 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX30 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 SX20 and the Canon SX30 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX30 is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Canon SX20. Moreover, the SX30 is slightly heavier (0 percent) than the SX20. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX20 nor the SX30 are weather-sealed.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|2.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|5.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|6.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||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 FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|12.||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 price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX20 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the SX30 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.
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. 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.
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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX30 offers a higher resolution of 14 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the SX20. This megapixels advantage translates into a 8 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX30 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.41μm versus 1.53μm for the SX20). However, it should be noted that the SX30 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the SX20, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly 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 SX30 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX30 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.6 x 16.2 inches or 54.9 x 41.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.4 x 10.8 inches or 36.6 x 27.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX20 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (720/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX20 and the SX30 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 202k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX20 and Canon SX30 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
Both the SX20 and the SX30 have zoom lenses built in. The SX20 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the SX30 offers a 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX30 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the SX20. The SX30 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The SX20 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX30 uses SDXC 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 PowerShot SX20 IS and Canon PowerShot SX30 IS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|10.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the SX20 and the SX30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX20 was replaced by the Canon SX30, while the SX30 was followed by the Canon SX40. 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 the Canon SX20 better than the Canon SX30 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (0.7 vs 0.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (14 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.7 vs f/2.8).
- 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 modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX30 is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 2 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 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 SX20 and the Canon SX30 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX20 and the SX30 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
|1.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399|
|2.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|5.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|6.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||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 FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|12.||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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon SX20 vs Canon SX30
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 SX20||Canon SX30|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-560mm f/2.8-5.7||24-840mm f/2.7-5.8|
|Launch Date||August 2009||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX30|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||14 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4320 x 3240 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||49.86 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 4|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX30|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX30|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.7 shutter flaps/s||0.6 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 SX20||Canon SX30|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||YES HDMI||YES HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX30|
123 x 88 x 87 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 3.4 in)
123 x 92 x 108 mm
(4.8 x 3.6 x 4.3 in)
|Camera Weight||600 g (21.2 oz)||601 g (21.2 oz)|
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