Canon SX30 vs XSi
The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and January 2008. The SX30 is a fixed lens compact, while the XSi is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX30) and an APS-C (XSi) sensor. The SX30 has a resolution of 14 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 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 SX30 IS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? 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 SX30 and the Canon XSi are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 Canon XSi is notably larger (12 percent) than the Canon SX30. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX30 nor the XSi are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX30 has a lens built in, whereas the XSi is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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 SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|2.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|3.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|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 T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|7.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|8.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|10.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|12.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|15.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|16.||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.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 SX30 was launched at a lower price than the XSi, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX30 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon XSi an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the XSi is 1075 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the SX30 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the XSi offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the SX30 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the XSi (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX30 offers a higher resolution of 14 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Canon XSi. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.41μm versus 5.19μm for the XSi). However, it should be noted that the SX30 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX30 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 XSi are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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.
| DXO |
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The SX30 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the SX30 can use is 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX30 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the XSi has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX30 and Canon XSi in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
The SX30 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the XSi uses SDHC 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 SX30 IS and Canon EOS Rebel XSi and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the SX30 and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, 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 how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX30 and the Canon XSi? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (14 vs 12.2MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/30p movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x92mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 0.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2008).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XSi comes out slightly ahead of the SX30 (12 : 11 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 SX30 and the Canon XSi place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 SX30 or the XSi 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 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 SX30||3/5||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|2.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|3.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|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 T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|7.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|8.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399|
|10.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|12.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|15.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|16.||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 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon SX30 vs Canon XSi
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 SX30||Canon XSi|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-840mm f/2.7-5.8||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||January 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX30||Canon XSi|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||22.2 x 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||328.56 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||26.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4320 x 3240 pixels||4272 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.41 μm||5.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||49.86 MP/cm2||3.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||692|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX30||Canon XSi|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX30||Canon XSi|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.6 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX30||Canon XSi|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||YES HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX30||Canon XSi|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
123 x 92 x 108 mm
(4.8 x 3.6 x 4.3 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||601 g (21.2 oz)||524 g (18.5 oz)|
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