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Canon SX510 vs T1i

The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i (labelled Canon 500D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and March 2009. The SX510 is a fixed lens compact, while the T1i is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX510) and an APS-C (T1i) sensor. The SX510 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the T1i provides 15.1 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX510 versus Canon T1i
Canon SX510 Canon T1i
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 Canon EF mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/20p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.8 shutter flaps per second 3.4 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 349 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i? 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 SX510 and the Canon T1i 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.

Size Canon SX510 vs Canon T1i
Compare SX510 versus T1i top
Comparison SX510 or T1i rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T1i is considerably larger (74 percent) than the Canon SX510. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX510 nor the T1i are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX510 has a lens built in, whereas the T1i is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the T1i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX510 gets 250 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the T1i can take 400 images on a single charge of its LP-E5 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249 i
2.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799 i
3.
 
Canon SX430 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 323 g 195 n Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299 i
5.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279 i
6.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399 i
7.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349 i
8.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249 i
9.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249 i
10.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549 i
11.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449 i
12.
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329 i
13.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849 i
14.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599 i
15.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699 i
16.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799 i
17.
 
Sony H200 123 mm 83 mm 87 mm 530 g 240 n Jan 2013 249 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 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 SX510 was launched at a lower price than the T1i, 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. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 SX510 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon T1i an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T1i is 1086 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the SX510 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the T1i offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX510 and Canon T1i sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX510 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the Canon T1i. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 4.69μm for the T1i). However, it should be noted that the SX510 is much more recent (by 4 years and 4 months) than the T1i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX510 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T1i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

SX510 versus T1i 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 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 SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p...... ..
2.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.5663 63
3.
 
Canon SX430 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
4.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p...... ..
5.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p...... ..
6.
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
8.
 
Canon SX600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
9.
 
Canon SX400 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p...... ..
10.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.8127 39
11.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.3724 63
12.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p...... ..
13.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2722 62
14.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5793 65
15.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5784 66
16.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.8692 61
17.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p...... ..

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX510 provides a higher frame rate than the T1i. It can shoot video footage at 1080/24p, while the T1i is limited to 1080/20p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T1i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX510 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX510, the Canon T1i, and comparable 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 SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
2.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX430none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX600none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 3.9 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX400none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
11.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
13.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
15.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
16.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
17.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

The SX510 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the T1i uses SDHC 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 SX510 HS and Canon EOS Rebel T1i 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 SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
2.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX430-monomono---2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
6.
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX600-monomono--micro2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX400-stereomono---2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon SX500-stereomono---2.0---
13.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
15.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
16.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the SX510 offers wifi support, while the T1i does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the SX510 and the T1i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T1i was replaced by the Canon T2i, while the SX510 was followed by the Canon SX520. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX510 or the Canon T1i – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/24p versus 1080/20p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.8 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the T1i requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (104x70mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the T1i).
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 4 months of technical progress since the T1i launch.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T1i emerges as the winner of the match-up (12 : 10 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.

SX510 10:12 T1i

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX510 and the Canon T1i 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 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 SX510 or the T1i 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.

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], 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 SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249 i
2.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799 i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299 i
5.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279 i
6.
 
Canon SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399 i
7.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349 i
8.
 
Canon SX600..+..4/54/5 Jan 2014 249 i
9.
 
Canon SX400..+...... Jul 2014 249 i
10.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i
11.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449 i
12.
 
Canon SX500..+ +..4/54/5 Aug 2012 329 i
13.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849 i
14.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599 i
15.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699 i
16.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799 i
17.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX510:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T1i:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX510 vs Canon T1i

    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 SX510 Canon T1i
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2013 March 2009
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon SX510 Canon T1i
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 15.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4752 x 3168 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.69 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 4.53 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/20p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 63
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 663
    Screen Specs Canon SX510 Canon T1i
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX510 Canon T1i
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.8 shutter flaps/s 3.4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX510 Canon T1i
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX510 Canon T1i
    Battery Type NB-6LH LP-E5
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 349 g (12.3 oz) 520 g (18.3 oz)

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