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Canon SX400 vs SX510

The Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2014 and August 2013. Both the SX400 and the SX510 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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 SX510
Canon SX400 Canon SX510
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-3,200
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 3.8 shutter flaps per second
190 shots per battery charge250 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 80 mm, 313 g 104 x 70 x 80 mm, 349 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX510 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX400 and the Canon SX510 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX400 vs Canon SX510
Compare SX400 versus SX510 top
Comparison SX400 or SX510 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX510 is somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Canon SX400. Moreover, the SX510 is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the SX400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX400 nor the SX510 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX400 gets 190 shots out of its NB-11LH battery, while the SX510 can take 250 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack.

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.

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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 SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249 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 SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399 i
9.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349 i
10.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249 i
11.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549 i
12.
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329 i
13.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299 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 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

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. 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.

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.

In terms of chip-set technology, the SX400 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the SX510 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX400 and Canon SX510 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX400 and the SX510 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SX400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the SX510, and its sensor might 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 SX400 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

SX400 versus SX510 MP

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.

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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 SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p...... ..
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 SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
9.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
10.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
11.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.8127 39
12.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p...... ..
13.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i...... ..

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX510 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

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX400 and the SX510 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX400, the Canon SX510, 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 SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 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 SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX600none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y

Both the SX400 and the SX510 have zoom lenses built in. Both optics have identical focal length range and aperture specifications (4.3-129mm f/3.4-5.8). Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX400 and the SX510 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 SX510 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 SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
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 SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX600-monomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX500-stereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX510 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SX400 does not provide wifi capability.

Both the SX400 and the SX510 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX510 was replaced by the Canon SX520, 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 the Canon SX400 better than the Canon SX510 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 4).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 36g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the SX510).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/24p vs 720/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.8 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (250 versus 190) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2013).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX510 emerges as the winner of the match-up (6 : 3 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 03:06 SX510

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX400 and the Canon SX510 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX400 and the SX510 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews 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], 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 SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249 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 SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399 i
9.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349 i
10.
 
Canon SX600..+..4/54/5 Jan 2014 249 i
11.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i
12.
 
Canon SX500..+ +..4/54/5 Aug 2012 329 i
13.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX400:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX510:
Check Ebay offers

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SX400 vs Canon SX510

    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 SX510
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8
    Launch Date July 2014 August 2013
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 249
    Sensor Specs Canon SX400 Canon SX510
    Sensor Technology CCD 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 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ DIGIC 4
    Screen Specs Canon SX400 Canon SX510
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX400 Canon SX510
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 3.8 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 SX510
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX400 Canon SX510
    Battery Type NB-11LH NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)190 shots per charge250 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.1 in)
    104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 313 g (11.0 oz) 349 g (12.3 oz)

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