Canon SX20 vs SX740
The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2009 and July 2018. Both the SX20 and the SX740 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 SX740 provides 20.2 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 SX740 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX20 and the Canon SX740. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX740 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX20 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 SX740 is considerably smaller (35 percent) than the Canon SX20. Moreover, the SX740 is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the SX20. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX20 nor the SX740 are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the SX740 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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 SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|2.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|7.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|8.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|9.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|10.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|11.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|12.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|13.||Canon SX10||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Sep 2008||399|
|14.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599|
|15.||Canon 1000D||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|16.||Panasonic TZ95||112 mm||69 mm||42 mm||327 g||380||n||Feb 2019||449|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.
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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.
Technology-wise, the SX740 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the SX20 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX740 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the SX20. This megapixels advantage translates into a 30 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX740 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.53μm for the SX20). However, it should be noted that the SX740 is much more recent (by 8 years and 11 months) than the SX20, 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 SX740 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX740 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 Canon PowerShot SX740 HS offers exactly the same ISO settings.
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|8.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX740 provides a better video resolution than the SX20. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the SX20 is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX20 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX740 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX20 and Canon SX740 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
The Canon SX740 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Both the SX20 and the SX740 have zoom lenses built in. The SX20 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the SX740 offers a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX740 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 SX20 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The SX20 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX740 uses SDXC cards. The SX740 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX20 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 PowerShot SX20 IS and Canon PowerShot SX740 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SX20 has a hotshoe, while the SX740 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The SX740 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SX20 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX20 was succeeded by the Canon SX30. 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 SX20 and the Canon SX740? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS:
- 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.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.3).
- 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 August 2009).
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- 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 (110x64mm vs 123x88mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 301g or 50 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- 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 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the SX20 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX740 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX20 and the Canon SX740 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX20 or the SX740 perform in practice. 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 (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 SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|7.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|8.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|9.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|10.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|11.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|12.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|13.||Canon SX10||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||Sep 2008||399|
|14.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|15.||Canon 1000D||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|16.||Panasonic TZ95||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||Feb 2019||449|
|17.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 SX740
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 SX740|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-560mm f/2.8-5.7||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9|
|Launch Date||August 2009||July 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX740|
|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||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 8|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX740|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX740|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.7 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX740|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||YES HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX20||Canon SX740|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
123 x 88 x 87 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 3.4 in)
110 x 64 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||600 g (21.2 oz)||299 g (10.5 oz)|
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