Canon SX420 vs Nikon Z50
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Nikon Z50 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and October 2019. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the Z50 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (Z50) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SX420||Nikon Z50|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|720/25p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-1600||ISO 100-51200 (100-204800)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||3.2" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|0.5 shutter flaps per second||11 shutter flaps per second|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|195 shots per battery charge||320 shots per battery charge|
|104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g||127 x 94 x 60 mm, 450 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Nikon Z50? 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 Z50. 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 Z50 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 Nikon Z50 is considerably larger (66 percent) than the Canon SX420. It is noteworthy in this context that the Z50 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX420 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 has a lens built in, whereas the Z50 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the Z50 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|Canon SX420»||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299||Canon SX420|
|Nikon Z50«||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||15.9 oz||320||Y||Oct 2019||859||Nikon Z50|
|Canon SX740« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX620« »||3.8 in||2.2 in||1.1 in||6.4 oz||295||n||May 2016||279||Canon SX620|
|Canon SX720« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379||Canon SX720|
|Canon G5 X« »||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799||Canon G5 X|
|Canon SX410« »||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX610« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||6.7 oz||270||n||Jan 2015||249||Canon SX610|
|Canon SX710« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349||Canon SX710|
|Nikon D5500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic ZS70« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony A6400« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.0 in||14.2 oz||410||n||Jan 2019||899||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.3 in||14.0 oz||420||n||Aug 2019||749||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 Z50, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 Z50 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the Z50 is 1218 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 Z50 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20.7MP, the Z50 offers a higher resolution than the SX420 (19.9MP), but the Z50 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 1.19μm for the SX420) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z50 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 9 months) than the SX420, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 Z50 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z50 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-204800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
|Canon SX420||1/2.3||19.9||5152||3864||720/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX420|
|Nikon Z50||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon Z50|
|Canon SX740||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX620||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX620|
|Canon SX720||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX720|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G5 X|
|Canon SX410||1/2.3||19.9||5152||3864||720/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX610||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX610|
|Canon SX710||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX710|
|Nikon D5500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic ZS70||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||19.1||10.6||106||36||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony A6400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24||13.6||1431||83||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the Z50 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, 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 Z50 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX420 and Nikon Z50 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon SX420||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y||Canon SX420|
|Nikon Z50||2360||n||3.2||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Nikon Z50|
|Canon SX740||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX620||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5||Y||Y||Canon SX620|
|Canon SX720||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX720|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon G5 X|
|Canon SX410||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX610||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5||Y||Y||Canon SX610|
|Canon SX710||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y||Canon SX710|
|Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Z50 has a touchscreen, while the SX420 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The Z50 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 Z50 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 Z50 write their files to SDXC cards. The Z50 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 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 Z50 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon SX420||-||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX420|
|Nikon Z50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z50|
|Canon SX740||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX620||-||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX620|
|Canon SX720||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX720|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G5 X|
|Canon SX410||-||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX610||-||none||none||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX610|
|Canon SX710||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX710|
|Nikon D5500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony A6400||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6400|
|Sony A6100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A6100|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
It is notable that the Z50 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 Z50 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX420 replaced the earlier Canon SX410, while the Z50 does not have a direct predecessor. 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 what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX420 and the Nikon Z50? Which camera is better? 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: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Z50 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm vs 127x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the Z50).
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z50:
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/25p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in 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 (11 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: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 9 months of technical progress since the SX420 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Z50 is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 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 Z50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 Z50 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 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.
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, 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? 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 5D Mark IV vs Canon SX420
- Canon G16 vs Canon SX420
- Canon SX420 vs Fujifilm X100S
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon B500
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon D3X
- Canon SX420 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Canon SX420 vs Sony A6100
- Nikon D90 vs Nikon Z50
- Nikon Z50 vs Panasonic GH4
- Nikon Z50 vs Pentax K-3 II
- Nikon Z50 vs Sony WX800
Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Nikon Z50
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 Z50|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6|
|Launch Date||January 2016||October 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 859|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Z50|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.9 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||4.22 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||5.60 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/25p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-51200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-204800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||EXPEED 6|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Z50|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Z50|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||11 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||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Z50|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro 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|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX420||Nikon Z50|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||320 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
127 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||450 g (15.9 oz)|
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