Canon SX540 vs Nikon D5600
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Nikon D5600 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and November 2016. The SX540 is a fixed lens compact, while the D5600 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) and an APS-C (D5600) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 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 Nikon D5600? 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 Nikon D5600. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D5600 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 D5600 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Canon SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the D5600 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 D5600 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 D5600 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon SX540||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|Nikon D5600||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon T6||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|Canon SX420||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX720||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon SX410||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX530||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Nikon D3400||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|Nikon D5500||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D5300||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|Nikon D3200||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|Nikon D5200||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|Panasonic ZS70||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic FZ80||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 SX540 was launched at a lower price than the D5600, 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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX540 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D5600 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5600 is 1211 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 SX540 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D5600 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the D5600 offers a higher resolution than the SX540 (20.2MP), but the D5600 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 1.18μm for the SX540) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D5600 is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the SX540, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further 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 D5600 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5600 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX540 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 D5600 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D5600 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX540 and Nikon D5600 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5600 has a touchscreen, while the SX540 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The D5600 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 SX540 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D5600 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX540 and the D5600 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 D5600 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the D5600 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The SX540 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the SX540 and the D5600 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX540 replaced the earlier Canon SX530, while the D5600 followed on from the Nikon D5500. 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 SX540 better than the Nikon D5600 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D5600 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 124x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D5600).
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5600:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- 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.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 461k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- 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.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (970 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (10 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5600 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 7 points). 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 and the Nikon D5600 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 D5600 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 expert reviews are important. 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.
|Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|Nikon D5600||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon T6||o||73/100||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX530||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Nikon D3400||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|Nikon D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D5300||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|Nikon D3200||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|Nikon D5200||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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.
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.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon SX540
- Canon 760D vs Nikon D5600
- Canon SX540 vs Kodak S-1
- Canon SX540 vs Nikon D7500
- Canon SX540 vs Nikon D90
- Canon SX540 vs Nikon Z7
- Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FZ300
- Fujifilm X-A7 vs Nikon D5600
- Leica CL vs Nikon D5600
- Nikon D5600 vs Panasonic G1
- Nikon D5600 vs Panasonic G6
- Nikon D5600 vs Sony RX100
Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Nikon D5600
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 D5600|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||November 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon D5600|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||84|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1306|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon D5600|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon D5600|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon D5600|
|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||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX540||Nikon D5600|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||205 shots per charge||970 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||465 g (16.4 oz)|
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