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Canon SX400 vs Nikon B500

The Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Nikon Coolpix B500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2014 and January 2016. Both the SX400 and the B500 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
Nikon B500
Canon SX400 Nikon B500
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 7.4 shutter flaps per second
190 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 80 mm, 313 g 114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Nikon Coolpix B500? 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 Nikon B500 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.

The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the SX400 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX400 vs Nikon B500
Compare SX400 versus B500 top
Comparison SX400 or B500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon B500 is notably larger (24 percent) than the Canon SX400. Moreover, the B500 is substantially heavier (73 percent) than the SX400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX400 nor the B500 are weather-sealed.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299 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.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599 i
14.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299 i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
16.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the B500, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.

Canon SX400 and Nikon B500 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 B500 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the B500 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the SX400, 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX400 versus B500 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 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.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i...... ..
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.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
13.
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
14.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i...... ..
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
16.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p...... ..

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the B500 provides a better video resolution than the SX400. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon 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. The SX400 and the B500 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 Nikon B500, 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.
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 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.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
14.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

Both the SX400 and the B500 have zoom lenses built in. The SX400 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the B500 offers a 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Canon. The B500 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX400 and the B500 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 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.
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
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.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
13.
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
16.
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the B500 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 B500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX400 was replaced by the Canon SX410, while the B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX400 better than the Nikon B500 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS:

  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 114x78mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 228g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2014).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.0 vs f/3.4).
  • 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.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 190) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the B500 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 4 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 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.

SX400 04:13 B500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX400 and the Nikon B500 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX400 or the B500. 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 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], 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.
 
Nikon B500..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299 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.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon P900....77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599 i
14.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299 i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
16.
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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
Nikon B500:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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 Nikon B500

    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 Nikon B500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
    Launch Date July 2014 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX400 Nikon B500
    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 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 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX400 Nikon B500
    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 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX400 Nikon B500
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 7.4 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 Nikon B500
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX400 Nikon B500
    Battery Type NB-11LH 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)190 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.1 in)
    114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 313 g (11.0 oz) 541 g (19.1 oz)

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