Canon SX420 vs Nikon D5500
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Nikon D5500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and January 2015. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the D5500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (D5500) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 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 SX420 IS and the Nikon D5500? 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 D5500. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, red).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5500 is considerably larger (68 percent) than the Canon SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the D5500 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 D5500 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 D5500 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 SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 D5500, 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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 Nikon D5500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5500 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 SX420 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D5500 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the D5500 offers a higher resolution than the SX420 (19.9MP), but the D5500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.19μm for the SX420) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX420 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the D5500, 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 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 Nikon D5500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5500 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 SX420 are 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm for good quality, 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm for very good quality, and 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 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 D5500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the SX420 is build around a CCD sensor, while the D5500 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|10.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||471||62|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 D5500 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D5500 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX420 and Nikon D5500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon SX620||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon SX610||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5500 has a touchscreen, while the SX420 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The D5500 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.
The Nikon D5500 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 SX420 and the D5500 write their files to SDXC cards. The D5500 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX420 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 SX420 IS and Nikon D5500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX620||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon SX610||-||- / -||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|16.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the D5500 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The SX420 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the SX420 and the D5500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D5500 was replaced by the Nikon D5600, while the SX420 was followed by the Canon SX430. Further information on the features and operation of the SX420 and D5500 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX420 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D5500 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX420 or the Nikon D5500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D5500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 124x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D5500).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the D5500).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 19.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- 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 (1080/60p 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.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 0.5 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 (820 versus 195) 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 January 2015).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D5500 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 7 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 D5500 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX420 or the D5500 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews 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], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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.
- Canon G7 X Mark III vs Canon SX420
- Canon M50 vs Nikon D5500
- Canon SX420 vs Fujifilm GFX 100
- Canon SX420 vs Fujifilm X-E2
- Canon SX420 vs Leica D-LUX 6
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon D500
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon D800
- Canon T6s vs Nikon D5500
- Nikon D5500 vs Panasonic G85
- Nikon D5500 vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon D5500 vs Samsung NX1
- Nikon D5500 vs Sony HX350
Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Nikon D5500
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 D5500|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||January 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon D5500|
|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||19.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||6.55 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 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||84|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1438|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon D5500|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon D5500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon D5500|
|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||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon D5500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||820 shots per charge|
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||470 g (16.6 oz)|
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