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Canon SX420 vs Panasonic GF2

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and November 2010. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and a Four Thirds (GF2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic 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 Panasonic GF2
Canon SX420 Panasonic GF2
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Micro Four Thirds lenses
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
720/25p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
0.5 shutter flaps per second 2.6 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 113 x 68 x 33 mm, 310 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 and the Panasonic GF2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the GF2 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, red, white).

Size Canon SX420 vs Panasonic GF2
Compare SX420 versus GF2 top
Comparison SX420 or GF2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF2 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Canon SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the GF2 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 GF2 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 GF2 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

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.

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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 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
 
Canon M6 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549i
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF1 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749i
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX420 was launched at a lower price than the GF2, 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.

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. 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Panasonic GF2 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF2 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX420 and Panasonic GF2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Panasonic GF2. 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 4.33μm for the GF2). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 5 years and 2 months) than the GF2, 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 the SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 Panasonic GF2 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX420 versus GF2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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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........
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
 
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........
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic GF1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GF2 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX420 and the GF2 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 GF2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX420 and Panasonic GF2 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
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Canon M6optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y n
 
Canon M100none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n
 
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
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF3none n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic GF1optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF2 has a touchscreen, while the SX420 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the GF2 write their files to SDXC cards.

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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 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-
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon M6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon M100-stereomono--mini2.0YYY
 
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-
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF3-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF1Ymonomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the SX420 offers wifi support, while the GF2 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 GF2 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF2 was succeeded by the Panasonic GF3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Panasonic GF2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (19.9 vs 12MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF2 requires a separate lens.
  • 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 at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 2 months of technical progress since the GF2 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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 (1080/60i vs 720/25p).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.6 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 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 November 2010).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GF2 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX420 08:14 GF2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Panasonic GF2 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX420 or the GF2 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

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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
 
Panasonic GF282/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
 
Canon M6..80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
 
Canon M100+..4/5..3.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
 
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
 
Panasonic G3+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
 
Panasonic GF382/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF185/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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
Panasonic GF2:
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 use the search menu below. 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 Panasonic GF2

    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 Panasonic GF2
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 November 2010
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic GF2
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 19.9 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ Venus FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 54
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 506
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic GF2
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic GF2
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 2.6 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 Panasonic GF2
    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 Panasonic GF2
    Battery Type NB-11LH DMW-BLD10
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    113 x 68 x 33 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 310 g (10.9 oz)

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