Canon SX540 vs T2i
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i (labelled Canon 550D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2010. The SX540 is a fixed lens compact, while the T2i is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) and an APS-C (T2i) sensor. The SX540 has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the T2i provides 17.9 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 SX540 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX540 and the Canon T2i. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T2i is notably larger (28 percent) than the Canon SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the T2i are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX540 has a lens built in, whereas the T2i 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 T2i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|2.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|6.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|7.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|8.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|9.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|10.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|11.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|12.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|13.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|16.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|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 SX540 was launched at a lower price than the T2i, 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.
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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX540 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon T2i an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T2i is 1086 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 SX540 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the T2i offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the SX540 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the T2i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the Canon T2i. 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 1.18μm versus 4.31μm for the T2i). However, it should be noted that the SX540 is much more recent (by 5 years and 10 months) than the T2i, 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 SX540 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T2i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
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 SX540 provides a higher frame rate than the T2i. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the T2i is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the T2i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX540 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 SX540, the Canon T2i, and comparable cameras.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX540 and the T2i write their files to SDXC cards. The SX540 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T2i 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 SX540 HS and Canon EOS Rebel T2i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the SX540 offers wifi support, while the T2i does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the T2i has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T2i was succeeded by the Canon T3i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX540 and the Canon T2i? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- 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 6 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the T2i requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the T2i).
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the T2i launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T2i:
- 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 sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 461k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 205) 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 2010).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (13 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 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 SX540 and the Canon T2i 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 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 SX540 and the T2i in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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], 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 SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|2.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon T6||4/5||o||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|6.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|7.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|8.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|9.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|10.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|11.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|12.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|13.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|16.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|17.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Canon T2i
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 SX540||Canon T2i|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||February 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX540||Canon T2i|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||784|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX540||Canon T2i|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX540||Canon T2i|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||3.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX540||Canon T2i|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX540||Canon T2i|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||205 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||530 g (18.7 oz)|
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