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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX400
versus
Canon SX50
Canon SX400 Canon SX50
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 2.2 shutter flaps per second
190 shots per battery charge315 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 80 mm, 313 g 123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Canon SX400 vs Canon SX50
Compare SX400 versus SX50 top
Comparison SX400 or SX50 rear

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.

Concerning battery life, the SX400 gets 190 shots out of its NB-11LH battery, while the SX50 can take 315 images on a single charge of its NB-10L power pack.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249 i
2.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429 i
3.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279 i
5.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429 i
6.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249 i
7.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349 i
8.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349 i
9.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249 i
10.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549 i
11.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249 i
12.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449 i
13.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499 i
14.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429 i
15.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499 i
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.

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Sensor comparison

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.

Canon SX400 and Canon SX50 sensor measures

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).

SX400 versus SX50 MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p...... ..
2.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.2179 47
3.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p...... ..
5.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
6.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
8.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
9.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
10.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.8127 39
11.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p...... ..
12.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.9246 56
13.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.5165 46
14.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p...... ..
15.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i...... ..
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.9132 40

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.

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Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX400none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
2.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX600none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
12.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
13.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
14.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
15.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
The SX50 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 SX400 does not have a selfie-screen.

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.

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Connectivity comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX400-stereomono---2.0---
2.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
5.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX600-monomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
12.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
13.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
15.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

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.

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Review summary

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.

SX400 06:13 SX50

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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX400..+...... Jul 2014 249 i
2.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429 i
3.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279 i
5.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429 i
6.
 
Canon SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249 i
7.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349 i
8.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349 i
9.
 
Canon SX600..+..4/54/5 Jan 2014 249 i
10.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i
11.
 
Canon SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249 i
12.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449 i
13.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499 i
14.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429 i
15.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299 i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499 i
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.

Canon SX400:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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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 Specifications
    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 Technology CCD BSI-CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    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 Magnification
    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 Type NB-11LH NB-10L
    Battery Life (CIPA)190 shots per charge315 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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