Canon SX420 vs T3i
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (labelled Canon 600D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2011. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the T3i is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (T3i) sensor. The SX420 has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the T3i provides 17.9 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 SX420 IS and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i? 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 SX420 and the Canon T3i 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the T3i 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 Canon T3i is considerably larger (85 percent) than the Canon SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the T3i are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the T3i 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 T3i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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 SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|2.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|6.||Canon SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279|
|7.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|8.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|9.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|10.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|11.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|12.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|13.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|14.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|16.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|17.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX420 was launched at a lower price than the T3i, 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 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX420 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon T3i an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T3i is 1086 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the SX420 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the T3i offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the SX420 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the T3i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the Canon T3i. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 4.31μm for the T3i). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 4 years and 10 months) than the T3i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 |
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
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 T3i provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the SX420 is limited to 720/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX420 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX420 and Canon T3i along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the T3i 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 SX420 IS and Canon EOS Rebel T3i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the T3i does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX420 and the T3i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the SX420 was followed by the Canon SX430. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Canon T3i or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 4).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 133x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the T3i).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the T3i launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- 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 (1080/30p vs 720/25p).
- 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 (1040k 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 195) 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 around for much longer (launched in February 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T3i is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 SX420 and the Canon T3i 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX420 or the T3i perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews 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 SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|2.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|6.||Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279|
|7.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|8.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|9.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|10.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|11.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|12.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|13.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|14.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|16.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|17.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 SX420 vs Canon T3i
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 SX420||Canon T3i|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||February 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Canon T3i|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.9 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||793|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Canon T3i|
|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||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Canon T3i|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||3.7 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 SX420||Canon T3i|
|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||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX420||Canon T3i|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||570 g (20.1 oz)|
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