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Canon SX50 vs Pentax Q

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2011. The SX50 is a fixed lens compact, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX50
versus
Pentax Q
Canon SX50 Pentax Q
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Pentax Q mount lenses
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-6,400 ISO 125-6,400
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.2 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
315 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Pentax Q? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX50 and the Pentax Q is provided 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX50 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX50 vs Pentax Q
Compare SX50 versus Pentax Q top
Comparison SX50 or Pentax Q rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (48 percent) than the Canon SX50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX50 nor the Pentax Q are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the Pentax Q is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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 SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429 i
2.
 
Pentax Q 98 mm 57 mm 31 mm 180 g 230 n Jun 2011 649 i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549 i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449 i
6.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799 i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499 i
8.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429 i
9.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449 i
10.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499 i
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599 i
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599 i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599 i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599 i
15.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699 i
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499 i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 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 SX50 was launched at a lower price than the Pentax Q, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 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 SX50 and Pentax Q sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX50 and the Pentax Q have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SX50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX50 versus Pentax Q MP

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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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 SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.2179 47
2.
 
Pentax Q 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.1189 47
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.8127 39
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.7230 54
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.9246 56
6.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.8644 60
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.5165 46
8.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p...... ..
9.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.0755 62
10.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.2161 47
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.3216 49
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.2573 55
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.3499 52
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.1487 54
15.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.3536 55
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.7147 50
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.9132 40

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 Pentax Q provides a faster frame rate than the SX50. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX50, the Pentax Q, and comparable 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 SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
2.
 
Pentax Qoptional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
9.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
The SX50 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the Pentax Q does not have a selfie-screen.

The Pentax Q 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 SX50 and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC 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 SX50 HS and Pentax Q 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 SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Pentax QYmonomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

Both the SX50 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, while the SX50 was followed by the Canon SX60. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Pentax websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX50 better than the Pentax Q or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.2 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Pentax Q requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (315 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 2 months after the Pentax Q).

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax Q:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 123x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX50 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 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 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.

SX50 08:05 Pentax Q

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX50 and the Pentax Q 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX50 and the Pentax Q 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 why expert reviews 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], 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 SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429 i
2.
 
Pentax Q3/5....4/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649 i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449 i
6.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799 i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499 i
8.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429 i
9.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449 i
10.
 
Canon G124/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499 i
11.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599 i
12.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599 i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599 i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599 i
15.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699 i
16.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499 i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 SX50:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax Q:
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 SX50 vs Pentax Q

    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 SX50 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Canon SX50 Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS 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 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 6,400 ISO 125 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.3 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 179 189
    Screen Specs Canon SX50 Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX50 Pentax Q
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-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 SX50 Pentax Q
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX50 Pentax Q
    Battery Type NB-10L D-LI68
    Battery Life (CIPA)315 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 595 g (21.0 oz) 180 g (6.3 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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