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Canon SX420 vs Leica V-LUX 3

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Leica V-LUX 3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and December 2011. Both the SX420 and the V-LUX 3 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Leica 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 SX420 versus Leica V-LUX 3
Canon SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/25p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-3,200 (100 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.5 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 124 x 81 x 95 mm, 540 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Leica V-LUX 3? 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 SX420 and the Leica V-LUX 3 is provided 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 SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the V-LUX 3 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX420 vs Leica V-LUX 3
Compare SX420 versus V-LUX 3 top
Comparison SX420 or V-LUX 3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica V-LUX 3 is notably larger (40 percent) than the Canon SX420. Moreover, the V-LUX 3 is substantially heavier (66 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the V-LUX 3 are weather-sealed.

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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Leica V-LUX 3 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.7 in 19.0 oz 410 n Dec 2011 949i
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620 3.8 in 2.2 in 1.1 in 6.4 oz 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.7 oz 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon G1 X 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799i
 
Leica V-LUX 4 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Sep 2012 949i
 
Leica V-LUX 2 4.9 in 3.1 in 3.7 in 18.3 oz 410 n Sep 2010 849i
 
Panasonic ZS70 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449i
 
Panasonic FZ200 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic FZ100 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 19.0 oz 410 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 markedly lower price (by 68 percent) than the V-LUX 3, 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tend to be more expensive and 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.

Canon SX420 and Leica V-LUX 3 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the V-LUX 3. This megapixels advantage translates into a 29 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX420 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 1.53μm for the V-LUX 3). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the SX420 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the V-LUX 3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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 resolution advantage of the Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica V-LUX 3 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 SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica V-LUX 3 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

SX420 versus V-LUX 3 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Leica V-LUX 3 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
 
Leica V-LUX 4 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
 
Leica V-LUX 2 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the V-LUX 3 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the V-LUX 3 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX420 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 SX420, the Leica V-LUX 3, 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
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 3202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 41312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Leica V-LUX 2202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
The V-LUX 3 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 SX420 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the SX420 and the V-LUX 3 have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the V-LUX 3 offers a 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Leica. The V-LUX 3 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the V-LUX 3 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 SX420 IS and Leica V-LUX 3 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
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Leica V-LUX 3Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 4YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Leica V-LUX 2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the V-LUX 3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The SX420 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the V-LUX 3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the V-LUX 3 was succeeded by the Leica V-LUX 4. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Leica V-LUX 3 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 SX420 IS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 12MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 124x81mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 215g or 40 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • 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 into a lower priced category (68 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the V-LUX 3 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica V-LUX 3:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/25p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k 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 (12 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in December 2011).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V-LUX 3 comes out slightly ahead of the SX420 (11 : 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 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.

SX420 10:11 V-LUX 3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Leica V-LUX 3 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX420 and the V-LUX 3 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 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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Leica V-LUX 3.......... Dec 2011 949i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II+ +81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610....4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon G1 X+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
 
Leica V-LUX 4.......... Sep 2012 949i
 
Leica V-LUX 2.......... Sep 2010 849i
 
Panasonic ZS70+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449i
 
Panasonic FZ200+ +80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic FZ100+..4.5/5..4.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX420:
Check Amazon price
Leica V-LUX 3:
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 SX420 vs Leica V-LUX 3

    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 SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 25-600mm f/2.8-5.2
    Launch Date January 2016 December 2011
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 949
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
    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 19.9 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
    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 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    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 no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Leica V-LUX 3
    Battery Type NB-11LH BP-DC9
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    124 x 81 x 95 mm
    (4.9 x 3.2 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 540 g (19.0 oz)

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