Canon SX400 vs SX50
The Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2014 and September 2012. Both the SX400 and the SX50 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX400 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the SX50 provides 12 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 SX400 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX50 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX400 and the Canon SX50 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 width, height and depth 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 SX50 is considerably larger (49 percent) than the Canon SX400. Moreover, the SX50 is substantially heavier (90 percent) than the SX400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX400 nor the SX50 are weather-sealed.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249|
|2.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|3.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|4.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|5.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|6.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|7.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|9.||Canon SX600||104 mm||61 mm||26 mm||188 g||290||n||Jan 2014||249|
|10.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|11.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249|
|12.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|13.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|14.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|15.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||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 obviously take relative prices into account. 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 SX400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 42 percent) than the SX50, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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 SX50 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the SX400 (DIGIC 4+), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX400 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the SX50. This megapixels advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX400 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the SX400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the SX50, 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 the SX400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX50 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 SX400 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SX50 provides a better video resolution than the SX400. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/24p, while the SX400 is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX400 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX400, the Canon SX50, and comparable cameras.
Both the SX400 and the SX50 have zoom lenses built in. The SX400 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the SX50 offers a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX400 and SX50 provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the SX50 has more tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX400 and the SX50 write their files to 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 SX400 IS and Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the SX50 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX400 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the SX400 and the SX50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX50 was replaced by the Canon SX60, while the SX400 was followed by the Canon SX410. 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 SX400 and the Canon SX50? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 123x87mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 282g or 47 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (42 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the SX50).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 4+).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/24p vs 720/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.2 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (315 versus 190) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX50 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 SX400 and the Canon SX50 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX400 and the SX50 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX400||..||+||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249|
|2.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|3.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|4.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|5.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|6.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|7.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|9.||Canon SX600||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2014||249|
|10.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|11.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249|
|12.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|13.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|14.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|15.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon SX400 vs Canon SX50
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 SX400||Canon SX50|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.4-5.8||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||July 2014||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 249||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX400||Canon SX50|
|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||15.9 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||DIGIC 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||179|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX400||Canon SX50|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX400||Canon SX50|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.8 shutter flaps/s||2.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX400||Canon SX50|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX400||Canon SX50|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||190 shots per charge||315 shots per charge|
104 x 69 x 80 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.1 in)
123 x 87 x 106 mm
(4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
|Camera Weight||313 g (11.0 oz)||595 g (21.0 oz)|
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