Canon SX510 vs XSi
The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2013 and January 2008. The SX510 is a fixed lens compact, while the XSi is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX510) and an APS-C (XSi) sensor. The SX510 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 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 SX510 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX510 and the Canon XSi. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi is considerably larger (74 percent) than the Canon SX510. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX510 nor the XSi 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 XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249|
|2.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|5.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|6.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|7.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|8.||Canon SX600||104 mm||61 mm||26 mm||188 g||290||n||Jan 2014||249|
|9.||Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249|
|10.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|11.||Canon SX500||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||341 g||195||n||Aug 2012||329|
|12.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|13.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|14.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|15.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|16.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX510 was launched at a lower price than the XSi, despite having a lens built in. 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.
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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX510 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon XSi an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the XSi is 1075 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 XSi offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the SX510 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the XSi (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX510 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Canon XSi. 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 5.19μm for the XSi). However, it should be noted that the SX510 is much more recent (by 5 years and 6 months) than the XSi, 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 resolution advantage of the Canon SX510 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX510 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XSi are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|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 also of capturing video footage. The SX510 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the SX510 can use is 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the XSi 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX510 and Canon XSi along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon SX510||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||3.8/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX600||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.9/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX400||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX500||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4/s||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony H200||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The SX510 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the XSi uses SDHC 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 SX510 HS and Canon EOS Rebel XSi and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX510||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon SX600||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX400||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon SX500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SX510 offers wifi support, while the XSi does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX510 and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX510 better than the Canon XSi or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP) with a 12% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the XSi 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 XSi).
- 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 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- 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.
- 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 (500 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 January 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX510 comes out slightly ahead of the XSi (12 : 11 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX510 and the Canon XSi 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 XSi 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
|1.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249|
|2.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|5.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|6.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|7.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|8.||Canon SX600||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2014||249|
|9.||Canon SX400||..||+||..||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249|
|10.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|11.||Canon SX500||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2012||329|
|12.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|13.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|14.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|15.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|16.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon XSi
- Canon S120 vs Canon SX510
- Canon SX510 vs Leica D-LUX Typ 109
- Canon SX510 vs Nikon D3300
- Canon SX510 vs Nikon D800
- Canon SX510 vs Sony A7R IV
- Canon SX510 vs Sony H200
- Canon T1i vs Canon XSi
- Canon XSi vs Nikon D3
- Canon XSi vs Nikon D5300
- Canon XSi vs Nikon L840
- Canon XSi vs Ricoh GR II
Specifications: Canon SX510 vs Canon XSi
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 SX510||Canon XSi|
|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||January 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 249||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX510||Canon XSi|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||22.2 x 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||328.56 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||26.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4272 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||5.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||3.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||692|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX510||Canon XSi|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX510||Canon XSi|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.8 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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 XSi|
|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 XSi|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
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)||524 g (18.5 oz)|
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