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Canon SX420 vs Sony A5000

The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Sony Alpha A5000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and January 2014. The SX420 is a fixed lens compact, while the A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an APS-C (A5000) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 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
Sony A5000
Canon SX420   Sony A5000
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Sony E mount lenses
19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/25p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-16,000
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.5 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge420 shots per battery charge
104 x 69 x 85 mm, 325 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 269 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Sony Alpha A5000? 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 Sony A5000. 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 A5000 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).

Size Canon SX420 vs Sony A5000
Compare SX420 versus A5000 top
Comparison SX420 or A5000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5000 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the A5000 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 A5000 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 A5000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX420 gets 195 shots out of its NB-11LH battery, while the A5000 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
2.
 
Sony A5000 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449 i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399 i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699 i
6.
 
Canon SX620 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i
7.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799 i
9.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499 i
10.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279 i
11.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249 i
12.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349 i
13.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499 i
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449 i
15.
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999 i
16.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499 i
Notes: 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 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 lower price than the A5000, 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 Sony A5000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A5000 is 1175 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 A5000 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX420 and Sony A5000 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 19.8 MP of the Sony A5000. 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 4.25μm for the A5000). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the A5000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 Canon PowerShot SX420 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

SX420 versus A5000 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
1.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
2.
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.01089 79
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p...... ..
6.
 
Canon SX620 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
8.
 
Canon G5 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p...... ..
9.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.4753 65
10.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p...... ..
11.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p...... ..
12.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
13.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.81385 82
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.6106 36
15.
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.6591 70
16.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.71347 80
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.51067 74

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 A5000 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 A5000 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. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX420 and Sony A5000 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
1.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
2.
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX620none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
8.
 
Canon G5 X2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
10.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX610none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
The A5000 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 SX420 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A5000 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.

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 Sony Alpha A5000 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
1.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX620-monomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon G5 XYstereomono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX610-----micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
15.
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---

Both the SX420 and the A5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A5000 was replaced by the Sony A5100, while the SX420 was followed by the Canon SX430. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX420 better than the Sony A5000 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:

  • 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 A5000 requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the A5000).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5000:

  • 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 detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 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 (420 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • 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 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5000 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 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 05:15 A5000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX420 and the Sony A5000 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 A5000 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
2.
 
Sony A50003/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 449 i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399 i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i
6.
 
Canon SX620........4/5 May 2016 279 i
7.
 
Canon SX720..+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379 i
8.
 
Canon G5 X5/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i
9.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499 i
10.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279 i
11.
 
Canon SX610......4/54/5 Jan 2015 249 i
12.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349 i
13.
 
Nikon D33003/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499 i
14.
 
Panasonic ZS70..+ +..4/54/5 Apr 2017 449 i
15.
 
Sony RX100 IV4.5/5+ +85/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999 i
16.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+..4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5....4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499 i
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 Ebay offers
Sony A5000:
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 Sony A5000

    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 Sony A5000
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2016 January 2014
    Launch Price USD 299 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SX420 Sony A5000
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.2 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 357.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 19.9 Megapixels 19.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5152 x 3864 pixels 5456 x 3632 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.19 μm 4.25 μm
    Pixel Density 70.91 MP/cm2 5.55 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 - 16,000 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1089
    Screen Specs Canon SX420 Sony A5000
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX420 Sony A5000
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 0.5 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX420 Sony A5000
    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 NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX420 Sony A5000
    Battery Type NB-11LH NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge420 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)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 325 g (11.5 oz) 269 g (9.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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