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Canon SX510 vs Nikon B500

The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Nikon Coolpix B500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and January 2016. Both the SX510 and the B500 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX510 versus Nikon B500
Canon SX510 Nikon B500
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.8 shutter flaps per second 7.4 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
104 x 70 x 80 mm, 349 g 114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Nikon Coolpix B500? 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

The physical size and weight of the Canon SX510 and the Nikon B500 are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the SX510 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX510 vs Nikon B500
Compare SX510 versus B500 top
Comparison SX510 or B500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon B500 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Canon SX510. Moreover, the B500 is substantially heavier (55 percent) than the SX510. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX510 nor the B500 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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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 249i
2.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299i
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 299i
5.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
6.
 
Canon SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399i
7.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349i
8.
 
Canon SX600 104 mm 61 mm 26 mm 188 g 290 n Jan 2014 249i
9.
 
Canon SX400 104 mm 69 mm 80 mm 313 g 190 n Jul 2014 249i
10.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
11.
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329i
12.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599i
14.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
16.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 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.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the B500, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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.

Canon SX510 and Nikon B500 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX510 and the B500 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the B500 is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the SX510, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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 Canon PowerShot SX510 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix B500 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX510 versus B500 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). 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
1.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p........
2.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
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 30721080/60p19.210.812739
11.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p........
12.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
13.
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
14.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
16.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
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 B500 provides a faster frame rate than the SX510. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX510 and the B500 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX510, the Nikon B500, 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.
 
Nikon B500none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
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 SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
12.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
13.
 
Nikon P900921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0 Y Y
14.
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony HX80638 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

Both the SX510 and the B500 have zoom lenses built in. The SX510 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the B500 offers a 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Canon. The B500 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX510 and the B500 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 SX510 HS and Nikon Coolpix B500 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.
 
Nikon B500-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
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 SX500-stereomono---2.0---
12.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
13.
 
Nikon P900-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
16.
 
Sony HX80-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

Both the SX510 and the B500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX510 was replaced by the Canon SX520, while the B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX510 better than the Nikon B500 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS:

  • More compact: Is smaller (104x70mm vs 114x78mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 192g or 35 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2013).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 461k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 3.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.0 vs f/3.4).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the SX510 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the B500 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 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.

SX510 04:12 B500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX510 and the Nikon B500 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX510 or the B500 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 249i
2.
 
Nikon B500..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299i
3.
 
Canon SX430......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2017 299 i
4.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
5.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279i
6.
 
Canon SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
7.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349i
8.
 
Canon SX600..+..4/54/5 Jan 2014 249i
9.
 
Canon SX400..+...... Jul 2014 249i
10.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
11.
 
Canon SX500..+ +..4/54/5 Aug 2012 329i
12.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
13.
 
Nikon P900....77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599i
14.
 
Nikon L840..+ +..3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299i
15.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
16.
 
Sony HX80.......... Mar 2016 349 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 ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. 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
Nikon B500:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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 SX510 vs Nikon B500

    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 Nikon B500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
    Launch Date August 2013 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 249 USD 299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX510 Nikon B500
    Sensor Technology CMOS 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 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX510 Nikon B500
    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 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX510 Nikon B500
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.8 shutter flaps/s 7.4 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 SX510 Nikon B500
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX510 Nikon B500
    Battery Type NB-6LH 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 104 x 70 x 80 mm
    (4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
    114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 349 g (12.3 oz) 541 g (19.1 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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