Canon SX510 vs Panasonic LF1
The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2013 and April 2013. Both the SX510 and the LF1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX510) and a 1/1.7-inch (LF1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1? 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 Panasonic LF1. 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 Panasonic LF1 is notably smaller (12 percent) than the Canon SX510. Moreover, the LF1 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the SX510. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX510 nor the LF1 are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the LF1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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.
|Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249|
|Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|Canon SX600||104 mm||61 mm||26 mm||188 g||290||n||Jan 2014||249|
|Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249|
|Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon SX500||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||341 g||195||n||Aug 2012||329|
|Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX510 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the LF1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 Panasonic LF1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LF1 is 54 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX510 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Panasonic LF1. 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 1.89μm for the LF1). However, it should be noted that the SX510 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the LF1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. 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 Panasonic LF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the LF1 provides a faster frame rate than the SX510. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the LF1 has an electronic viewfinder (200k dots), which can be very helpful 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 Panasonic LF1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
Both the SX510 and the LF1 have zoom lenses built in. The SX510 has a 24-720mm f/3.4-5.8 optic and the LF1 offers a 28-200mm f/2.0-5.9 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Panasonic. The LF1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX510 and the LF1 write their files to SDXC 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
The LF1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the SX510 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX510 was succeeded 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 and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX510 better than the Panasonic LF1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the LF1).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1:
- 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.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/3.4).
- More compact: Is smaller (103x62mm vs 104x70mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 157g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2013).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the LF1 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX510 and the Panasonic LF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX510 and the LF1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon SX510||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2013||249|
|Panasonic LF1||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX520||+||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|Canon SX700||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|Canon SX600||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2014||249|
|Canon SX400||+||..||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon S120||+ +||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon SX500||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Aug 2012||329|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Leica X2||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|Panasonic FZ200||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|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 ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon SX510 vs Panasonic LF1
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||Panasonic LF1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.4-5.8||28-200mm f/2.0-5.9|
|Launch Date||August 2013||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 249||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX510||Panasonic LF1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||211|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX510||Panasonic LF1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||200k dots|
|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||Panasonic LF1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.8 shutter flaps/s||10 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||Panasonic LF1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX510||Panasonic LF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
104 x 70 x 80 mm
(4.1 x 2.8 x 3.1 in)
103 x 62 x 28 mm
(4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||349 g (12.3 oz)||192 g (6.8 oz)|
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