Canon SX540 vs Nikon B500
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Nikon Coolpix B500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public in January 2016. Both the SX540 and the B500 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SX540||Nikon B500|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||22.5-900mm f/3-6.5|
|20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 80-3200||ISO 80-6400|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 461k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.9 shutter flaps per second||7.4 shutter flaps per second|
|205 shots per battery charge||600 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g||114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Nikon Coolpix B500? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX540 and the Nikon B500 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 B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the SX540 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 B500 is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Canon SX540. However, the B500 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the B500 are weather-sealed.
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.
|Canon SX540»||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399||Canon SX540|
|Nikon B500«||4.5 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||19.1 oz||600||n||Jan 2016||299||Nikon B500|
|Canon SX740« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399||Canon SX730|
|Canon T6« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||500||n||Mar 2016||449||Canon T6|
|Canon SX420« »||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX720« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379||Canon SX720|
|Canon SX410« »||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX530« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||210||n||Jan 2015||429||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX710« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349||Canon SX710|
|Nikon B600« »||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349||Nikon B600|
|Nikon P900« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840« »||4.4 in||3.1 in||3.8 in||19.0 oz||590||n||Feb 2015||299||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic ZS70« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449||Panasonic ZS70|
|Panasonic FZ80« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2017||399||Panasonic FZ80|
|Sony HX80« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349||Sony HX80|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 B500 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the SX540, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around BSI-CMOS sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the B500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX540 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.33μm for the B500). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. 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 Canon SX540 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX540 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inch or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inch or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inch or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon B500 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix B500 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
|Canon SX540||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX540|
|Nikon B500||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon B500|
|Canon SX740||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX730|
|Canon T6||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon T6|
|Canon SX420||1/2.3||19.9||5152||3864||720/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX720||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX720|
|Canon SX410||1/2.3||19.9||5152||3864||720/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX530||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX710||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX710|
|Nikon B600||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon B600|
|Nikon P900||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic ZS70||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||19.1||10.6||106||36||Panasonic ZS70|
|Panasonic FZ80||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Panasonic FZ80|
|Sony HX80||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX540 provides a higher frame rate than the B500. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX540 and the B500 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 SX540 and Nikon B500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon SX540||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX540|
|Nikon B500||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Canon SX740||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Canon T6||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T6|
|Canon SX420||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX720||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX720|
|Canon SX410||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX530||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX710||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y||Canon SX710|
|Nikon B600||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon P900||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS70|
|Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic FZ80|
|Sony HX80||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX80|
Both the SX540 and the B500 have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the B500 offers a 22.5-900mm f/3-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Canon, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The B500 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX540 and the B500 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 B500 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon SX540||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX540|
|Nikon B500||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Canon SX740||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Canon T6||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T6|
|Canon SX420||-||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX720||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX720|
|Canon SX410||-||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX530||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX710||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX710|
|Nikon B600||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon P900||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon P900|
|Nikon L840||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon L840|
|Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic ZS70|
|Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic FZ80|
|Sony HX80||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX80|
The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the B500 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the B500 was succeeded by the Nikon B600. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX540 better than the Nikon B500 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 99g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 461k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3 vs f/3.4).
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the B500 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 and the Nikon B500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing 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 B500 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
- Canon 1D X vs Canon SX540
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon SX540
- Canon M3 vs Canon SX540
- Canon SX540 vs Fujifilm X-T3
- Canon SX540 vs Nikon A1000
- Canon SX540 vs Nikon D300S
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Nikon B500
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Nikon B500
- Leica CL vs Nikon B500
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D60
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D610
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic GH5s
Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Nikon B500
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||Nikon B500|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||22.5-900mm f/3-6.5|
|Launch Date||January 2016||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon B500|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80-3200 ISO||80-6400 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon B500|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon B500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||7.4 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||Nikon B500|
|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||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon B500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||205 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||541 g (19.1 oz)|
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