Canon SX510 vs Sony A5000
The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and the Sony Alpha A5000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2013 and January 2014. The SX510 is a fixed lens compact, while the A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX510) and an APS-C (A5000) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 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 Sony Alpha A5000? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX510 and the Sony A5000 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the SX510 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5000 is somewhat smaller (5 percent) than the Canon SX510. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX510 nor the A5000 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 A5000 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 A5000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the SX510 gets 250 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the A5000 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|1.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249|
|2.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|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 M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|7.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|8.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|9.||Canon SX600||104 mm||61 mm||26 mm||188 g||290||n||Jan 2014||249|
|10.||Canon SX400||104 mm||69 mm||80 mm||313 g||190||n||Jul 2014||249|
|11.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|12.||Canon SX500||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||341 g||195||n||Aug 2012||329|
|13.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|15.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|17.||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.|
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 A5000, 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.
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 Sony A5000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A5000 is 1175 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX510 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A5000 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 19.8MP, the A5000 offers a higher resolution than the SX510 (15.9MP), but the A5000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.25μm versus 1.33μm for the SX510) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A5000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the SX510, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Sony A5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX510 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 SX510 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
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.
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A5000 provides a faster frame rate than the SX510. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX510 and the A5000 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 Sony A5000, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX510||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||3.8||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n|
|6.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX600||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.9||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX400||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon SX500||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||0.8||Y||Y|
|13.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony H200||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8||Y||Y|
The SX510 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A5000 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX510 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Sony Alpha A5000 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.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX600||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon SX400||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Canon SX500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the SX510 and the A5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX510 was replaced by the Canon SX520, while the A5000 was followed by the Sony A5100. 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.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX510 or the Sony A5000 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A5000 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2013).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- 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).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/1600s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A5000 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 5 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 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 Sony A5000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX510 or the A5000. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|5.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|7.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|8.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|9.||Canon SX600||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2014||249|
|10.||Canon SX400||..||+||..||..||..||..||Jul 2014||249|
|11.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|12.||Canon SX500||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2012||329|
|13.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|14.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|15.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|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 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon SX510
- Canon G1 X vs Canon SX510
- Canon SX510 vs Canon T2i
- Canon SX510 vs Olympus E-600
- Canon SX510 vs Panasonic G6
- Canon SX510 vs Ricoh GR III
- Canon SX70 vs Sony A5000
- Fujifilm X100S vs Sony A5000
- Nikon D3000 vs Sony A5000
- Nikon D850 vs Sony A5000
- Pentax K-70 vs Sony A5000
- Sony A5000 vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Canon SX510 vs Sony A5000
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||Sony A5000|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-720mm f/3.4-5.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||January 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 249||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX510||Sony A5000|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||4.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||5.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1089|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX510||Sony A5000|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX510||Sony A5000|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/1600s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.8 shutter flaps/s||3.5 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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX510||Sony A5000|
|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|
|Body Specs||Canon SX510||Sony A5000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||420 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)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||349 g (12.3 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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