Canon SX420 vs Sony RX100 III
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and May 2014. Both the SX420 and the RX100 III are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) and an one-inch (RX100 III) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 19.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX420 and the Sony RX100 III is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the RX100 III 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 Sony RX100 III is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Canon SX420. Moreover, the RX100 III is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the SX420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX420 nor the RX100 III are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the SX420 gets 195 shots out of its NB-11LH battery, while the RX100 III can take 320 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 III 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 would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX620||97 mm||57 mm||28 mm||182 g||295||n||May 2016||279||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX610||105 mm||61 mm||27 mm||191 g||270||n||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||302 g||260||n||Jul 2019||1,199||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the RX100 III, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 Sony RX100 III an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 III is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the SX420 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 III offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 20MP, the RX100 III offers a higher resolution than the SX420 (19.9MP), but the RX100 III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 1.19μm for the SX420) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX420 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the RX100 III, 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 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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
In terms of underlying technology, the SX420 is build around a CCD sensor, while the RX100 III uses a BSI-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.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|8.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||227||61|
|12.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||21.8||12.4||418||63|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|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 also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the RX100 III provides a better video resolution than the SX420. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 720/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX100 III has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 Sony RX100 III 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.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX620||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX610||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||Y||1/2000s||90.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
Both the SX420 and the RX100 III have zoom lenses built in. The SX420 has a 24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6 optic and the RX100 III offers a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The RX100 III offers the faster maximum aperture.
The SX420 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX100 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX100 III 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III 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.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX620||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX610||-||- / -||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the SX420 and the RX100 III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The RX100 III was replaced by the Sony RX100 IV, 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX420 and the Sony RX100 III? 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:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 7 months after the RX100 III).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:
- 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 (1080/60p vs 720/25p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k 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 (10 vs 0.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.5).
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 104x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 35g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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.
- 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 May 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX100 III is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Sony RX100 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX420 or the RX100 III. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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 (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.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX620||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX610||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 VII||4.5/5||..||4/5||..||4/5||5/5||Jul 2019||1,199||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 1300D vs Canon SX420
- Canon 1D X vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon 50D vs Sony RX100 III
- Canon M5 vs Canon SX420
- Canon SX420 vs Leica T
- Canon SX420 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Canon SX420 vs Panasonic ZS80
- Canon SX420 vs Samsung NX1
- Fujifilm GFX 100 vs Sony RX100 III
- Leica X1 vs Sony RX100 III
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony RX100 III
- Panasonic FZ1000 vs Sony RX100 III
Specifications: Canon SX420 vs Sony RX100 III
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||Sony RX100 III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2016||May 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX420||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||19.9 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5152 x 3864 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.19 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||70.91 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/25p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||495|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX420||Sony RX100 III|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX420||Sony RX100 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||0.5 shutter flaps/s||10 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 RX100 III|
|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 RX100 III|
|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)
102 x 58 x 41 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.6 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||290 g (10.2 oz)|
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