Canon SX500 vs Pentax K-70
The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Pentax K-70 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2012 and June 2016. The SX500 is a fixed lens compact, while the K-70 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX500) and an APS-C (K-70) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24 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 SX500 IS and the Pentax K-70? 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 SX500 and the Pentax K-70 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The K-70 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX500 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 Pentax K-70 is considerably larger (61 percent) than the Canon SX500. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-70 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX500 has a lens built in, whereas the K-70 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 SX500||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||341 g||195||n||Aug 2012||329||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-70||126 mm||93 mm||74 mm||688 g||410||Y||Jun 2016||649||amazon.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||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249||ebay.com|
|12.||Pentax K-3 III||135 mm||104 mm||74 mm||820 g||800||Y||Mar 2021||1,999||amazon.com|
|13.||Pentax KP||132 mm||101 mm||76 mm||703 g||390||Y||Jan 2017||1,099||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||123 mm||91 mm||73 mm||678 g||410||Y||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||131 mm||100 mm||77 mm||800 g||720||Y||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-50||130 mm||97 mm||71 mm||650 g||410||Y||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399||ebay.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 obviously take relative prices into account. 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 SX500 was launched at a lower price than the K-70, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax K-70 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-70 is 1211 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX500 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-70 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the K-70 offers a higher resolution than the SX500 (15.9MP), but the K-70 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.33μm for the SX500) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the K-70 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 9 months) than the SX500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Pentax K-70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-70 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 K-70 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
Unlike the SX500, the K-70 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-70 are ISO 100 to ISO 102400 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the SX500 is build around a CCD sensor, while the K-70 uses a 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.
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|12.||Pentax K-3 III||APS-C||25.6||6192||4128||4K/30p||24.2||13.7||2083||85|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.6||13.6||1106||80|
|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. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the K-70 provides a better video resolution than the SX500. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-70 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX500 and Pentax K-70 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon SX500||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Pentax K-70||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX400||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX510||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||3.8/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Pentax K-3 III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Pentax KP||optical||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/6000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/6000s||5.4/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||Y|
|16.||Pentax K-50||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/6000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony WX800||none||n||3.0 / 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.|
The Pentax K-70 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 SX500 and the K-70 write their files to SDXC cards. The K-70 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX500 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 SX500 IS and Pentax K-70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Pentax K-70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon SX400||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SX510||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Pentax K-3 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Pentax KP||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||-||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Pentax K-50||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony WX800||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the K-70 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.
The K-70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the SX500 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX500 was succeeded by the Canon SX510. Further information on the features and operation of the SX500 and K-70 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Pentax K-70 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX500 or the Pentax K-70 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the K-70 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x70mm vs 126x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the K-70).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2012).
Arguments in favor of the Pentax K-70:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 461k dots).
- 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 9 months of technical progress since the SX500 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-70 is the clear winner of the contest (23 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 SX500 and the Pentax K-70 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 K-70. 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 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], 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 SX500||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2012||329||ebay.com|
|2.||Pentax K-70||4.5/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2016||649||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX400||..||+||..||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249||ebay.com|
|12.||Pentax K-3 III||4/5||..||3/5||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2021||1,999||amazon.com|
|13.||Pentax KP||4/5||..||3/5||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,099||ebay.com|
|14.||Pentax K-S2||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|15.||Pentax K-3 II||4.5/5||..||..||..||5/5||5/5||Apr 2015||1,099||ebay.com|
|16.||Pentax K-50||5/5||..||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Pentax K-70
- Canon 850D vs Canon SX500
- Canon G1 X vs Pentax K-70
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Canon SX500
- Canon SX410 vs Canon SX500
- Canon SX500 vs Canon SX510
- Canon SX500 vs Canon SX740
- Canon SX500 vs Panasonic FZ82
- Canon T7 vs Pentax K-70
- Fujifilm X-E2S vs Pentax K-70
- Nikon D70s vs Pentax K-70
- Olympus E-P1 vs Pentax K-70
Specifications: Canon SX500 vs Pentax K-70
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 SX500||Pentax K-70|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.4-5.8||Pentax K mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2012||June 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 329||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-70|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||PRIME MII|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-70|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-70|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/1600s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||0.8 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-70|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX500||Pentax K-70|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||195 shots per charge||410 shots per charge|
104 x 70 x 80 mm
(4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
126 x 93 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||341 g (12.0 oz)||688 g (24.3 oz)|
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