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Canon SX500 vs SX730

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2012 and April 2017. Both the SX500 and the SX730 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX500 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the SX730 provides 20.2 MP.

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 SX730
Canon SX500 Canon SX730
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 80-1,600 ISO 80-3,200
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
0.8 shutter flaps per second 5.9 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge250 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 341 g 110 x 64 x 40 mm, 300 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX730 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX500 and the Canon SX730 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 SX730 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX500 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX500 vs Canon SX730
Compare SX500 versus SX730 top
Comparison SX500 or SX730 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX730 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon SX500. Moreover, the SX730 is markedly lighter (12 percent) than the SX500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX500 nor the SX730 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX500 gets 195 shots out of its NB-6L battery, while the SX730 can take 250 images on a single charge of its NB-13L 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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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 4.1 in 2.8 in 3.1 in 12.0 oz 195 n Aug 2012 329i
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
 
Canon SX520 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX400 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.1 in 11.0 oz 190 n Jul 2014 249i
 
Canon SX510 4.1 in 2.8 in 3.1 in 12.3 oz 250 n Aug 2013 249i
 
Nikon B600 4.8 in 3.2 in 3.9 in 17.6 oz 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
 
Sony WX800 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.2 oz 370 n Oct 2018 399 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.

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 SX500 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the SX730, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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.

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 SX730 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the SX500 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX500 and Canon SX730 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX730 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the SX500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX730 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.33μm for the SX500). However, it should be noted that the SX730 is much more recent (by 4 years and 7 months) than the SX500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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 resolution advantage of the Canon SX730 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX730 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

SX500 versus SX730 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p........
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
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........
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........

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 SX730 provides a better video resolution than the SX500. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the SX500 is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX500 and the SX730 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX500 and Canon SX730 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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 SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 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
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
 
Sony WX800none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
The SX730 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 SX500 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the SX500 and the SX730 have zoom lenses built in. The SX500 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the SX730 offers a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX500 and SX730 provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the SX730 has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The SX730 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX500 and the SX730 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 SX500 IS and Canon PowerShot SX730 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon SX500-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX400-stereomono---2.0---
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Sony WX800-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the SX730 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 SX730 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX500 was replaced by the Canon SX510, while the SX730 was followed by the Canon SX730 HS. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX500 and the Canon SX730? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2012).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC 4).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 461k 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.3 vs f/3.4).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 41g or 12 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (250 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.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the SX500 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX730 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 2 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 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 02:16 SX730

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX500 and the Canon SX730 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX500 or the SX730. 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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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 SX730+..4/5..4/5 Apr 2017 399i
 
Canon SX740+..4/5..4/5 Jul 2018 399 i
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX410o........ Feb 2015 279i
 
Canon SX710+..4/5..3.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
 
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
 
Nikon B600+..3.5/5..3/5 Jan 2019 349 i
 
Sony WX800.......... Oct 2018 399 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.

Canon SX500:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX730:
Check Ebay offers

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 SX730

    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 SX730
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9
    Launch Date August 2012 April 2017
    Launch Price USD 329 USD 399
    Sensor Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX730
    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 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 6
    Screen Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX730
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX730
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 5.9 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-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 SX500 Canon SX730
    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
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX500 Canon SX730
    Battery Type NB-6L NB-13L
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge250 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    110 x 64 x 40 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.6 in)
    Camera Weight 341 g (12.0 oz) 300 g (10.6 oz)

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