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Canon SX500 vs SX600

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX600 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2012 and January 2014. Both the SX500 and the SX600 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX500
versus
Canon SX600
Canon SX500   Canon SX600
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9
15.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 15.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
720/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-1,600 ISO 100-3,200
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD – 461k dots 3.0" LCD – 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 3.9 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge290 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 341 g 104 x 61 x 26 mm, 188 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX600 HS? 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 SX500 and the Canon SX600. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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.

The SX600 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the SX500 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX500 vs Canon SX600
Compare SX500 versus SX600 top
Comparison SX500 or SX600 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX600 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Canon SX500. Moreover, the SX600 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the SX500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX500 nor the SX600 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX500 gets 195 shots out of its NB-6L battery, while the SX600 can take 290 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack.

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

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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 SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329ebay.com
2.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 amazon.com
5.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX610 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399ebay.com
11.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349ebay.com
12.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249ebay.com
13.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549ebay.com
14.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249ebay.com
15.
 
Sony WX800 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 233 g 370 n Oct 2018 399ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 SX600 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the SX500, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 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.

Technology-wise, the SX600 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the SX500 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX500 and Canon SX600 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX500 and the SX600 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SX600 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the SX500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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 SX500 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX600 HS are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the SX500 is build around a CCD sensor, while the SX600 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.

SX500 versus SX600 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 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
1.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p19.811.149443
2.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.011.462045
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1105051
4.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.511.990049
5.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
7.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
8.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.211.671247
9.
 
Canon SX610 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p20.211.671247
10.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.111.567246
11.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p20.111.462945
12.
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p20.111.567246
13.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
14.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p20.011.358645
15.
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.2107051
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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX600 provides a better video resolution than the SX500. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the SX500 is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX500 and the SX600 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX500, the Canon SX600, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX500none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8/s Y Y
2.
 
Canon SX600none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX430none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX530none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX610none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX520none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6/s Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX700none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5/s Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX400none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8/s Y Y
13.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4/s Y Y
14.
 
Canon SX510none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony WX800none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

Both the SX500 and the SX600 have zoom lenses built in. The SX500 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the SX600 offers a 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX500 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the SX600. The SX500 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX500 and the SX600 write their files to SDXC 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 SX500 IS and Canon PowerShot SX600 HS 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX500-stereo / mono---2.0---
2.
 
Canon SX600-mono / mono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX430-mono / mono---2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX530-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX610-- / ---micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX520-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX700-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX400-stereo / mono---2.0---
13.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
14.
 
Canon SX510-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
15.
 
Sony WX800-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX600 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SX500 does not provide wifi capability.

Both the SX500 and the SX600 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The SX500 was replaced by the Canon SX510, while the SX600 was followed by the Canon SX610. Further information on the features and operation of the SX500 and SX600 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon SX600 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX500 better than the Canon SX600 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS:

  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.4 vs f/3.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2012).


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX600 HS:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 4).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.9 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x61mm vs 104x70mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 153g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX600 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 4 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX500 04:11 SX600

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX500 and the Canon SX600 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 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 SX500 and the SX600 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews 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], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX500..+ +....4/54/5 Aug 2012 329ebay.com
2.
 
Canon SX600..+....4/54/5 Jan 2014 249ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740..+3.5/5..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX430........3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 amazon.com
5.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX530..+ +....4/54/5 Jan 2015 429ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX610........4/54/5 Jan 2015 249ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX520..+....3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399ebay.com
11.
 
Canon SX700..+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 349ebay.com
12.
 
Canon SX400..+........ Jul 2014 249ebay.com
13.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549ebay.com
14.
 
Canon SX510..+ +....4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249ebay.com
15.
 
Sony WX800............ Oct 2018 399ebay.com
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 SX500 vs Canon SX600

    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 SX500 Canon SX600
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 25-450mm f/3.8-6.9
    Launch Date August 2012 January 2014
    Launch Price USD 329 USD 249
    Sensor Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX600
    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 15.9 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 4+
    Screen Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX600
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX600
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 3.9 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX600
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX600
    Battery Type NB-6L NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge290 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    104 x 61 x 26 mm
    (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.0 in)
    Camera Weight 341 g (12.0 oz) 188 g (6.6 oz)
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    Check SX500 offers at
    ebay.com
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    Check SX600 offers at
    ebay.com

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