Canon SX520 Comparison Review
The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS is a fixed lens compact camera that was announced in July 2014 and is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. It offers a resolution of 15.9 megapixel.
Is the Canon SX520 a good camera? The SX520 has a Camera Elo of 1100. This rating puts the SX520 below average of all superzoom compact cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (small sensor cameras), the SX520 also ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 2.5-star performance rating. – Well, the Canon SX520 is more than 9 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2014.
|Fixed lens compact camera|
|15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 3 200|
|no viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 461k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|1.6 shutter flaps per second|
|210 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 82 x 92 mm, 441 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Canon SX520 vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Canon SX520 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 4000D||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 1300D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon SX520 was launched in the US market at a price of $399. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Canon SX520 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Canon SX520 among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 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 can also record movies. The SX520 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the SX520 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Canon SX520 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Canon 4000D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 1300D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon SX540||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX530||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX510||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/1600s||3.8/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One convenient feature of the SX520 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
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 SX520 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 4000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon 1300D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX540||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX530||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon 1200D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon SX510||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
The SX520 has a zoom lens built in (4.3-180.6mm f/3.4-6), which, in full frame equivalent terms, provides a focal length range from 24 to 1008mm. The camera is, hence, ready to shoot, while remaining more compact in size than an interchangeable lens camera with an optic that offers similar focal length and aperture specifications.
While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX520. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 4000D||2.5/5||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 1300D||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Canon SX520 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the SX520.
What type of imaging sensor is used in the Canon SX520?
The camera has a BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used in the Canon SX520 to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Canon equipped the SX520 with the DIGIC 4+ image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the Canon SX520?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200.
Does the Canon SX520 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review with another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon SX520
- Canon SX400 vs Canon SX520
- Canon SX520 vs Canon SX720
- Canon SX520 vs Fujifilm X-E2
- Canon SX520 vs Fujifilm XP140
- Canon SX520 vs Leica Q Typ 116
- Canon SX520 vs Leica Q2
- Canon SX520 vs Nikon 1 J5
- Canon SX520 vs Nikon D1H
- Canon SX520 vs Nikon D5200
- Canon SX520 vs Panasonic GX1
- Canon SX520 vs Samsung NX500
|Camera Model||Canon SX520|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.4-6|
|Launch Date||July 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 399|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 608 x 3 456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3 200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||1.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||NB-6LH power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||441 g (15.6 oz)|
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