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Canon SX500 vs Sony WX800

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX800 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2012 and October 2018. Both the SX500 and the WX800 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 18 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
Sony WX800
Canon SX500 Sony WX800
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 18 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
720/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 80-1,600 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
0.8 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
195 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 341 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 233 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX800? 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 Sony WX800 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The WX800 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX500 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX500 vs Sony WX800
Compare SX500 versus WX800 top
Comparison SX500 or WX800 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony WX800 is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Canon SX500. Moreover, the WX800 is markedly lighter (32 percent) than the SX500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX500 nor the WX800 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX500 gets 195 shots out of its NB-6L battery, while the WX800 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the WX800 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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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 329 i
2.
 
Sony WX800 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 233 g 370 n Oct 2018 399 i
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
5.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399 i
6.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
7.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279 i
8.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399 i
9.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349 i
10.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249 i
11.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249 i
12.
 
Sony HX99 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 449 i
13.
 
Sony HX95 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 429 i
14.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 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 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 somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the WX800, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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.

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 SX500 and Sony WX800 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the WX800 offers a higher resolution of 18 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the SX500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 6 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the WX800 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.25μm versus 1.33μm for the SX500). However, it should be noted that the WX800 is much more recent (by 6 years and 1 month) 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 Sony WX800 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the WX800 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX800 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.

SX500 versus WX800 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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 SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p...... ..
2.
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
5.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p...... ..
8.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
9.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
10.
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p...... ..
11.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p...... ..
12.
 
Sony HX99 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
13.
 
Sony HX95 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p...... ..
14.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p...... ..
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p...... ..

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 WX800 provides a better video resolution than the SX500. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon 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 WX800 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX500 and Sony WX800 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
1.
 
Canon SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
2.
 
Sony WX800none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX400none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
12.
 
Sony HX99638 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
13.
 
Sony HX95638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The WX800 has a touchscreen, while the SX500 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The WX800 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 WX800 have zoom lenses built in. The SX500 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the WX800 offers a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). The SX500 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the WX800 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX800 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 SX500-stereomono---2.0---
2.
 
Sony WX800-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX400-stereomono---2.0---
11.
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
12.
 
Sony HX99-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
13.
 
Sony HX95-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
14.
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the WX800 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 WX800 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. 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 two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX500 and the Sony WX800? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS:

  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.4 vs f/3.5).
  • 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).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX800:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (18 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p 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.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/2000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 0.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 104x70mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 108g or 32 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 versus 195) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • 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 modern: Reflects 6 years and 1 month of technical progress since the SX500 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the WX800 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 3 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 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.

SX500 03:15 WX800

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX500 and the Sony WX800 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX500 or the WX800 perform in practice. 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 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 SX500..+ +..4/54/5 Aug 2012 329 i
2.
 
Sony WX800.......... Oct 2018 399 i
3.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
5.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399 i
6.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
7.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279 i
8.
 
Canon SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399 i
9.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349 i
10.
 
Canon SX400..+...... Jul 2014 249 i
11.
 
Canon SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249 i
12.
 
Sony HX99......4/54.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i
13.
 
Sony HX95.......... Aug 2018 429 i
14.
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX500:
Check Ebay offers
Sony WX800:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. 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 Sony WX800

    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 Sony WX800
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date August 2012 October 2018
    Launch Price USD 329 USD 399
    Sensor Specs Canon SX500 Sony WX800
    Sensor Technology CCD 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 18 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4896 x 3672 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.25 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 64.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 BIONZ X
    Screen Specs Canon SX500 Sony WX800
    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
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX500 Sony WX800
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 0.8 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX500 Sony WX800
    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 Sony WX800
    Battery Type NB-6L NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)195 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 341 g (12.0 oz) 233 g (8.2 oz)

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