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Canon SX500 Comparison Review

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS is a fixed lens compact camera that was revealed to the public in August 2012 and is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 15.9 megapixel.

camera

Is the Canon SX500 a good camera? The SX500 has a Camera Elo of 1170. This rating puts the SX500 below average of all superzoom compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (small sensor cameras), the SX500 also ranks below average. – Well, the Canon SX500 is more than 8 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2012.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX500
Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video
ISO 80 - 1 600
no viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 341 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Canon SX500 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Canon SX500 vs credit card front
SX500 versus credit card top view
SX500 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Canon SX500 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 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 SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329i
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249i
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249i
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
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 listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon SX500 was launched in the US market at a price of $329. 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.

Canon SX500:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Canon SX500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Canon SX500 among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design.

Canon SX500 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p........
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p........
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p........
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The SX500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the SX500 can use is 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX500 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 SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 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 SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX400none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
 
Canon 100Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y

One convenient feature of the SX500 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection 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 SX500 IS 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 SX500-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX400-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon 100DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--

The SX500 has a zoom lens built in (4.3-129mm f/3.4-5.8), which, in full frame equivalent terms, provides a focal length range from 24 to 720mm. The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic that offers similar focal length and aperture specifications.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX500 handle or 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. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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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 SX500+ +..4/5..4/5 Aug 2012 329i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX520+..3.5/5..3.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700+ +..4/5..4/5 Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX400+........ Jul 2014 249i
 
Canon SX510+ +..4.5/5..4/5 Aug 2013 249i
 
Canon 100D+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX500 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the SX500.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the SX500 based on?

The camera is build around a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Canon equipped the SX500 with the DIGIC 4 image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the SX500?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1600.

Does the Canon SX500 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The SX500's flash sync speed is 1/1600 sec.

Which battery does the SX500 use?

The camera gets its power from the NB-6L (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 Summary
    Camera Model Canon SX500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8
    Launch Date August 2012
    Launch Price USD 329
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CCD
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 608 x 3 456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 1 600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/1600s
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type NB-6L power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 341 g (12.0 oz)

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