Canon SX400 vs Nikon D5200
The Canon PowerShot SX400 IS and the Nikon D5200 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2014 and November 2012. The SX400 is a fixed lens compact, while the D5200 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX400) and an APS-C (D5200) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 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 Nikon D5200? 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 Nikon D5200 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D5200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the SX400 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5200 is considerably larger (76 percent) than the Canon SX400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX400 nor the D5200 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX400 has a lens built in, whereas the D5200 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 D5200 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249|
|2.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|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.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|13.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|14.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|15.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|16.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|17.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|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 lower price than the D5200, 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX400 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D5200 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5200 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX400 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D5200 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the D5200 offers a higher resolution than the SX400 (15.9MP), but the D5200 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.33μm for the SX400) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the D5200, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Nikon D5200 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5200 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX400 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 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 Nikon D5200 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D5200 provides a better video resolution than the SX400. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D5200 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful 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 Nikon D5200, and comparable cameras.
The Nikon D5200 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX400 and the D5200 write their files to SDXC cards. The D5200 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX400 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Nikon D5200 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the D5200 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The SX400 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the SX400 and the D5200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5200 was replaced by the Nikon D5300, 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 and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX400 and the Nikon D5200? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX400 IS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D5200 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D5200).
- 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the D5200).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5200:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- 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.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k 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 (1/4000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 190) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5200 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 7 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX400 and the Nikon D5200 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX400 or the D5200. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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 SX400||..||+||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249|
|2.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|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.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|13.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|14.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|15.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|16.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|17.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
Specifications: Canon SX400 vs Nikon D5200
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||Nikon D5200|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.4-5.8||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2014||November 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 249||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX400||Nikon D5200|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||84|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1284|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX400||Nikon D5200|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX400||Nikon D5200|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.8 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX400||Nikon D5200|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX400||Nikon D5200|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||190 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
104 x 69 x 80 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.1 in)
129 x 98 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||313 g (11.0 oz)||555 g (19.6 oz)|
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