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Canon SX530 vs Sony NEX-3N

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2015 and February 2013. The SX530 is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-3N is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX530) and an APS-C (NEX-3N) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX530 versus Sony NEX-3N
Canon SX530 Sony NEX-3N
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Sony E mount lenses
15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 16 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 200-16,000
No viewfinder, LCD framing Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.6 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
210 shots per battery charge480 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 110 x 62 x 35 mm, 269 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX530 and the Sony NEX-3N are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.

The NEX-3N can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX530 is only available in black.

Size Canon SX530 vs Sony NEX-3N
Compare SX530 versus NEX-3N top
Comparison SX530 or NEX-3N rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-3N is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Canon SX530. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX530 nor the NEX-3N 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 NEX-3N 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 NEX-3N and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX530 gets 210 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the NEX-3N can take 480 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX530 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jan 2015 429i
 
Sony NEX-3N 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499i
 
Canon T6 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX520 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon T5 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Nikon L840 4.4 in 3.1 in 3.8 in 19.0 oz 590 n Feb 2015 299i
 
Panasonic FZ100 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 19.0 oz 410 n Jul 2010 499i
 
Sony HX90V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
 
Sony A5000 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A5100 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony NEX-F3 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.1 oz 470 n May 2012 599i
 
Sony NEX-3 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599i
 
Sony NEX-5 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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 SX530 was launched at a lower price than the NEX-3N, 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX530 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony NEX-3N an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-3N is 1204 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 SX530 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-3N offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX530 and Sony NEX-3N sensor measures

With 16MP, the NEX-3N offers a higher resolution than the SX530 (15.9MP), but the NEX-3N nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 1.33μm for the SX530) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX530 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the NEX-3N, 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 the SX530 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-3N are ISO 200 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

SX530 versus NEX-3N MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.

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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
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
 
Canon SX520 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
 
Canon SX700 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i........
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669

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 NEX-3N provides a faster frame rate than the SX530. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX530 and the NEX-3N 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. That said, the NEX-3N can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX530 and Sony NEX-3N in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
 
Canon SX520none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
 
Canon SX700none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 8.5 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon L840none n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-5optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
The NEX-3N has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX530 does not have a selfie-screen.

The SX530 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-3N uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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 SX530 HS and Sony Alpha NEX-3N 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
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX520-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX700-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon L840-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the SX530 offers wifi support, while the NEX-3N does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the SX530 and the NEX-3N have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-3N was replaced by the Sony A5000, 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 Sony websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX530 and the Sony NEX-3N? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX530 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 NEX-3N requires a separate lens.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • 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 1 year and 10 months after the NEX-3N).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-3N:

  • 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 1080/30p).
  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • 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 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x62mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (480 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-3N is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 7 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX530 07:15 NEX-3N

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX530 and the Sony NEX-3N 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 SX530 or the NEX-3N. 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 (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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX530+ +..4/5..4/5 Jan 2015 429i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
 
Canon T6o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
 
Canon SX720+..4/5..4.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
 
Canon SX520+..3.5/5..3.5/5 Jul 2014 399i
 
Canon SX700+ +..4/5..4/5 Feb 2014 349i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Nikon L840+ +..3.5/5..4/5 Feb 2015 299i
 
Panasonic FZ100+..4.5/5..4.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
 
Sony HX90V+ +..4/5..4.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
 
Sony A5000+..4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony NEX-F3..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599i
 
Sony NEX-5+ +71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX530:
Check Ebay offers
Sony NEX-3N:
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 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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX530 vs Sony NEX-3N

    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 SX530 Sony NEX-3N
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2015 February 2013
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX530 Sony NEX-3N
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.33 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 56.73 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 16,000 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4+ BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 74
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1067
    Screen Specs Canon SX530 Sony NEX-3N
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX530 Sony NEX-3N
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 1.6 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX530 Sony NEX-3N
    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 no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX530 Sony NEX-3N
    Battery Type NB-6LH NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)210 shots per charge480 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    110 x 62 x 35 mm
    (4.3 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 269 g (9.5 oz)

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