Canon SX530 vs Nikon 1 J4
The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2015 and April 2014. The SX530 is a fixed lens compact, while the J4 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX530) and an one-inch (J4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 18.2 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 SX530 HS and the Nikon 1 J4? 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 SX530 and the Nikon 1 J4 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J4 can be obtained in four different colors (black, silver, orange, white), while the SX530 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 Nikon 1 J4 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Canon SX530. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX530 nor the J4 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX530 has a lens built in, whereas the J4 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|4.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|5.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|6.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|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 SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|10.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|11.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|12.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|13.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|15.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 SX530 was launched at a lower price than the J4, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 SX530 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon 1 J4 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the J4 is 314 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.7. The sensor in the SX530 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the J4 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 18.2MP, the J4 offers a higher resolution than the SX530 (15.9MP), but the J4 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 2.52μm versus 1.33μm for the SX530) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX530 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the J4, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 J4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX530 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 J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|6.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|12.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|15.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|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 two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the J4 provides a faster frame rate than the SX530. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX530 and the J4 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX530 and Nikon 1 J4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX530||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon T6||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 SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX700||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||8.5/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J4 has a touchscreen, while the SX530 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J4 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The SX530 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the J4 uses micro SDXC cards. The J4 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX530 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 SX530 HS and Nikon 1 J4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX530||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon T6||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX540||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the SX530 and the J4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The J4 was replaced by the Nikon 1 J5, while the SX530 was followed by the Canon SX540. 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.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX530 better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS:
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the J4 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 8 months after the J4).
Advantages of the Nikon 1 J4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (18.2 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
- 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 (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 461k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x60mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J4 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX530 and the Nikon 1 J4 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX530 and the J4 in practical situations. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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 SX530||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon T6||4/5||o||4/5||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|4.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|5.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|6.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|7.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|8.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|9.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|10.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|11.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|12.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|13.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|15.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|16.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|17.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? 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.
Specifications: Canon SX530 vs Nikon 1 J4
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 SX530||Nikon 1 J4|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2015||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon 1 J4|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||18.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5232 x 3488 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||2.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||15.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||426|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon 1 J4|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon 1 J4|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||1.6 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||micro or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon 1 J4|
|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||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX530||Nikon 1 J4|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||232 g (8.2 oz)|
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