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Canon SX420 vs Nikon B500

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Nikon Coolpix B500 are two digital cameras that were announced in January 2016. Both the SX420 and the B500 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 Nikon provides 15.9 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 Nikon B500
Canon SX420 Nikon B500
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/25p 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)
0.5 shutter flaps per second 7.4 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 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 SX420 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 SX420 and the Nikon B500 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.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, red).

Size Canon SX420 vs Nikon B500
Compare SX420 versus B500 top
Comparison SX420 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 SX420. Moreover, the B500 is substantially heavier (66 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the B500 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
2.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
6.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
7.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
8.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
9.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
10.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
11.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
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 599i
14.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
15.
 
Panasonic ZS70 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
17.
 
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.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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. 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 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 Nikon B500 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 15.9 MP of the B500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 12 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 1.33μm for the B500). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. 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 Nikon B500 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 SX420 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).

SX420 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 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
1.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
2.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
6.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
7.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
8.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
9.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
10.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p........
11.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
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 ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
17.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........

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 B500 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX420 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX420 and Nikon B500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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 SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
2.
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
8.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 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 ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

Both the SX420 and the B500 have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 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 than the Canon, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The B500 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 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 SX420 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 SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
2.
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
13.
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

Both the SX420 and the B500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX420 was replaced by the Canon SX430, 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Nikon B500 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 15.9MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 114x78mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 216g or 40 percent) and hence easier to carry around.

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Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/25p).
  • 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.0 vs f/3.5).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the B500 is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 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.

SX420 04:08 B500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 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 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 SX420 or the B500. 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 (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 SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
2.
 
Nikon B500..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
6.
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
7.
 
Canon SX720..+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
8.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799i
9.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279i
10.
 
Canon SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249i
11.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
12.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon P900....77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599i
14.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
15.
 
Panasonic ZS70..+ +..4/54/5 Apr 2017 449i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
17.
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 SX420:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon B500:
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon SX420 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 SX420 Nikon B500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
    Launch Date January 2016 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 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 19.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 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 SX420 Nikon B500
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 7.4 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 Nikon B500
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Nikon B500
    Battery Type NB-11LH 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 541 g (19.1 oz)

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