Canon SX20 vs Panasonic FZ300
The Canon PowerShot SX20 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 (labelled Panasonic FZ330 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2009 and July 2015. Both the SX20 and the FZ300 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.
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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300? 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 Panasonic FZ300. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic FZ300 is notably larger (12 percent) than the Canon SX20. Moreover, the FZ300 is markedly heavier (15 percent) than the SX20. It is noteworthy in this context that the FZ300 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX20 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic FZ300||132 mm||92 mm||117 mm||691 g||380||Y||Jul 2015||599||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX10||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Sep 2008||399||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 1000D||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX20 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the FZ300, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.
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.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX20 and the FZ300 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the FZ300 is much more recent (by 5 years and 10 months) than the SX20, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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 Canon PowerShot SX20 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the SX20 is build around a CCD sensor, while the FZ300 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|5.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the FZ300 provides a better video resolution than the SX20. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the FZ300 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the SX20 (1440k vs 202k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX20, the Panasonic FZ300, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX20||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic FZ300||1440||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SX30||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.6/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX10||202||n||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||0.7/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX1||202||n||2.8 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon 1000D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic FZ200||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The FZ300 has a touchscreen, while the SX20 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The FZ300 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX20 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the FZ300 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic FZ300 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 FZ300 have zoom lenses built in. The SX20 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the FZ300 offers a 25-600mm f/2.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Panasonic provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Canon. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
The SX20 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the FZ300 uses SDXC cards. The FZ300 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 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.||Panasonic FZ300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon SX30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 1000D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic FZ200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the FZ300 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SX20 does not provide wifi capability.
The FZ300 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. 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 features and operation of the SX20 and FZ300 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX20 Manual (free pdf) or the online Panasonic FZ300 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX20 better than the Panasonic FZ300 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS:
- More compact: Is smaller (123x88mm vs 132x92mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 91g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2009).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (1440k vs 202k dots).
- 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- 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.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the SX20 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the FZ300 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 4 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 Panasonic FZ300 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX20 or the FZ300 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX20||..||+ +||..||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399||ebay.com|
|2.||Panasonic FZ300||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX10||..||+ +||..||..||..||4/5||Sep 2008||399||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||..||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 1000D||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499||ebay.com|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? 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 G5 X vs Canon SX20
- Canon G5 X vs Panasonic FZ300
- Canon G9 X vs Panasonic FZ300
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Canon SX20
- Canon SX20 vs Canon XTi
- Canon SX20 vs Fujifilm X-A7
- Canon SX20 vs Fujifilm X-E2
- Canon SX20 vs Fujifilm X10
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Panasonic FZ300
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic FZ300
- Nikon L840 vs Panasonic FZ300
- Panasonic FZ300 vs Panasonic GH4
Specifications: Canon SX20 vs Panasonic FZ300
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||Panasonic FZ300|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-560mm f/2.8-5.7||25-600mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||August 2009||July 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX20||Panasonic FZ300|
|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||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||42.74 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 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||38|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||19.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||97|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX20||Panasonic FZ300|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX20||Panasonic FZ300|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/3200s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||0.7 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX20||Panasonic FZ300|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||YES HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX20||Panasonic FZ300|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
123 x 88 x 87 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 3.4 in)
132 x 92 x 117 mm
(5.2 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
|Camera Weight||600 g (21.2 oz)||691 g (24.4 oz)|
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