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Canon SX420 vs Panasonic ZS80

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 (labelled Panasonic TZ95 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2019. Both the SX420 and the ZS80 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 Panasonic provides 20.2 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 ZS80
Canon SX420 Panasonic ZS80
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/25p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (2330k dots)
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
0.5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 112 x 69 x 42 mm, 327 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80? 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 Panasonic ZS80 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the ZS80 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).

Size Canon SX420 vs Panasonic ZS80
Compare SX420 versus ZS80 top
Comparison SX420 or ZS80 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic ZS80 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Canon SX420. Moreover, the ZS80 is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the ZS80 are weather-sealed.

The power pack in the ZS80 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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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 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Panasonic ZS80 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 11.5 oz 380 n Feb 2019 449 i
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699i
 
Canon SX620 3.8 in 2.2 in 1.1 in 6.4 oz 295 n May 2016 279 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon G5 X 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX610 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.1 in 6.7 oz 270 n Jan 2015 249i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Fujifilm XF10 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 9.8 oz 330 n Jul 2018 499 i
 
Panasonic TS7 4.6 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 11.3 oz 300 Y May 2018 449 i
 
Panasonic ZS70 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449i
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 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 markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the ZS80, 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.

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Sensor comparison

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 Panasonic ZS80 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the ZS80 offers a slightly higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 19.9 MP of the SX420. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.59999999999999 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the ZS80 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.19μm for the SX420). However, it should be noted that the ZS80 is much more recent (by 3 years and 1 month) than the SX420, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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 Canon PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.

alt="SX420 versus ZS80 MP">

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 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 ZS80 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
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........
 
Fujifilm XF10 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p........
 
Panasonic TS7 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636

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 ZS80 provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, 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. For example, the ZS80 has an electronic viewfinder (2330k 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX420 and Panasonic ZS80 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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 ZS802330 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
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
 
Fujifilm XF10none n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Panasonic TS71170 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/1300s 10.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The ZS80 has a touchscreen, while the SX420 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The ZS80 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 reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the ZS80 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

Both the SX420 and the ZS80 have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the ZS80 offers a 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Panasonic provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Panasonic has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The ZS80 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX420 and the ZS80 write their files to SDXC cards. The ZS80 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.

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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 Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80 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 ZS80-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
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-
 
Fujifilm XF10-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Panasonic TS7-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--

Both the SX420 and the ZS80 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX420 replaced the earlier Canon SX410, while the ZS80 followed on from the Panasonic ZS70. 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX420 and the Panasonic ZS80? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS80:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/25p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition 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 (10 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.3 vs f/3.5).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the SX420 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the ZS80 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 5 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 05:14 ZS80

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Panasonic ZS80 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX420 and the ZS80 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.

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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 ZS80+ +..4.5/5.... Feb 2019 449 i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
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
 
Fujifilm XF10..75/1004/5..4.5/5 Jul 2018 499 i
 
Panasonic TS7+......3.5/5 May 2018 449 i
 
Panasonic ZS70+ +..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 449i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX420:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic ZS80:
Check Amazon price

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 use the search menu 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 Panasonic ZS80

    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 ZS80
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4
    Launch Date January 2016 February 2019
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic ZS80
    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 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/25p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ Venus
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic ZS80
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2330k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic ZS80
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/16000s
    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-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic ZS80
    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 no NFC
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Panasonic ZS80
    Battery Type NB-11LH DMW-BLG10
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 104 x 69 x 85 mm
    (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
    112 x 69 x 42 mm
    (4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 327 g (11.5 oz)

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