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Canon SX520 vs T3

The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel T3 (labelled Canon 1100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2014 and February 2011. The SX520 is a fixed lens compact, while the T3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX520) and an APS-C (T3) sensor. The SX520 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the T3 provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX520
versus
Canon T3
Canon SX520 Canon T3
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-1008mm f/3.4-6 Canon EF mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge700 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 441 g 130 x 100 x 78 mm, 495 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel T3? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX520 and the Canon T3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX520 vs Canon T3
Compare SX520 versus T3 top
Comparison SX520 or T3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T3 is notably larger (32 percent) than the Canon SX520. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX520 nor the T3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX520 has a lens built in, whereas the T3 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 T3 and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX520 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the T3 can take 700 images on a single charge of its LP-E10 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 SX520 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 441 g 210 n Jul 2014 399 i
2.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449 i
3.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
5.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429 i
6.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349 i
7.
 
Canon SX700 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 250 n Feb 2014 349 i
8.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549 i
9.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449 i
10.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249 i
11.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799 i
12.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849 i
13.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449 i
14.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX520 was launched at a lower price than the T3, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX520 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon T3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T3 is 1054 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 SX520 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the T3 offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of chip-set technology, the SX520 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the T3 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX520 and Canon T3 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX520 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Canon T3. 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 5.15μm for the T3). However, it should be noted that the SX520 is much more recent (by 3 years and 5 months) than the T3, 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 SX520 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX520 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX520 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 T3 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 SX520 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T3 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX520 versus T3 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
2.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.0755 62
3.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.4695 63
4.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
5.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
6.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p...... ..
7.
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p...... ..
8.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.8127 39
9.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.3724 63
10.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p...... ..
11.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.8644 60
12.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2722 62
13.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none...... ..
14.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p...... ..
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p...... ..
16.
 
Sony H200 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p...... ..

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SX520 provides a higher video resolution than the T3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the T3 is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX520 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX520, the Canon T3, 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 SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
2.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
9.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
11.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
12.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Nikon B600none n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony H200none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX520 and the T3 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 SX520 HS and Canon EOS Rebel T3 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 SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
11.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon B600-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H200-monomono---2.0---

It is notable that the T3 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX520 does not feature such an accessory-socket.

Both the SX520 and the T3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3 was replaced by the Canon T5, while the SX520 was followed by the Canon SX530. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX520 or the Canon T3 – 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.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX520 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 4).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the T3 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 130x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the T3).
  • 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 modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the T3 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3:

  • 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 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (700 versus 210) 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 February 2011).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (12 points each). 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX520 12:12 T3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX520 and the Canon T3 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 SX520 or the T3 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX520..+..3.5/53.5/5 Jul 2014 399 i
2.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449 i
3.
 
Canon T100..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
5.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429 i
6.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349 i
7.
 
Canon SX700..+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 349 i
8.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i
9.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449 i
10.
 
Canon SX510..+ +..4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249 i
11.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799 i
12.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849 i
13.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449 i
14.
 
Nikon B600..+..3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H200......3.5/53.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX520:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T3:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SX520 vs Canon T3

    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 SX520 Canon T3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-1008mm f/3.4-6 Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2014 February 2011
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SX520 Canon T3
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 22.0 x 14.7 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 323.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 26.5 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4272 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 5.15 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 3.76 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 755
    Screen Specs Canon SX520 Canon T3
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX520 Canon T3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-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 SX520 Canon T3
    External Flash no Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX520 Canon T3
    Battery Type NB-6LH LP-E10
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge700 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    130 x 100 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 441 g (15.6 oz) 495 g (17.5 oz)

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