Canon SX420 vs Nikon Coolpix A
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Nikon Coolpix A are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and March 2013. Both the SX420 and the Coolpix A are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (Coolpix A) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SX420||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||28mm f/2.8|
|19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|720/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-1,600||ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|0.5 shutter flaps per second||4 shutter flaps per second|
|195 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g||111 x 64 x 40 mm, 299 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Nikon Coolpix A? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 and the Nikon Coolpix A. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the Coolpix A is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Coolpix A is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Canon SX420. Moreover, the Coolpix A is markedly lighter (8 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the Coolpix A are weather-sealed.
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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon SX420||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Nikon Coolpix A||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099|
|Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX620||3.8 in||2.2 in||1.1 in||6.4 oz||295||n||May 2016||279|
|Canon SX720||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G5 X||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon SX410||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX610||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||6.7 oz||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Fujifilm X100T||5.0 in||2.9 in||2.0 in||15.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2014||1,299|
|Fujifilm X100S||5.0 in||2.9 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299|
|Fujifilm X-E2||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|Panasonic ZS70||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Ricoh GR||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||290||n||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony NEX-6||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||12.2 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
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.
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 SX420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 73 percent) than the Coolpix A, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX420 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon Coolpix A an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the Coolpix A is 1214 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 SX420 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the Coolpix A offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Nikon Coolpix A. 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 4.78μm for the Coolpix A). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the Coolpix A, 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 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 Coolpix A are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 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 A are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the Coolpix A provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX420 and the Coolpix A 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. That said, the Coolpix A can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DF-CP1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX420 and Nikon Coolpix A in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
The Nikon Coolpix A 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.
The SX420 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the Coolpix A comes with a built-in prime. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the Coolpix A offers a 28mm f/2.8 (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 Nikon. The Coolpix A offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the Coolpix A 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 Nikon Coolpix A and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the Coolpix A 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 Coolpix A has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the Coolpix A from Nikon. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Nikon Coolpix A or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 16.1MP) with a 9% 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.
- 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 into a lower priced category (73 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the Coolpix A launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix A:
- 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).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.5).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (230 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 March 2013).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Coolpix A is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 SX420 and the Nikon Coolpix A place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 SX420 or the Coolpix A. 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 (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.
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Nikon Coolpix A||+||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX610||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Fujifilm X100T||+||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,299|
|Fujifilm X100S||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||Jan 2013||1,299|
|Fujifilm X-E2||..||80/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Ricoh GR||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799|
|Sony NEX-6||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|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. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 50D vs Canon SX420
- Canon 90D vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Canon S120 vs Canon SX420
- Canon SX420 vs Fujifilm X70
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon D5200
- Canon SX420 vs Sony A6100
- Canon SX420 vs Sony NEX-5
- Leica M9 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Nikon 1 V1 vs Nikon Coolpix A
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Nikon D70
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Olympus E-PM1
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Panasonic GF6
Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Nikon Coolpix A
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||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2016||March 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 1,099|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.6 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||368.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.9 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||4.37 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/25p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1164|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||4 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||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Coolpix A|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
111 x 64 x 40 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||299 g (10.5 oz)|
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