Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2019. Both the SX540 and the FZ1000 II are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) and an one-inch (FZ1000 II) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 20 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II? 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 Panasonic FZ1000 II are illustrated 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 width, height and depth dimensions 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 Panasonic FZ1000 II is notably larger (34 percent) than the Canon SX540. Moreover, the FZ1000 II is substantially heavier (83 percent) than the SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the FZ1000 II are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the SX540 gets 205 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the FZ1000 II can take 350 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack. The power pack in the FZ1000 II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899|
|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 SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|9.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|10.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|11.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|12.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|13.||Panasonic ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|16.||Panasonic FZ2500||138 mm||102 mm||135 mm||915 g||350||n||Sep 2016||1,199|
|17.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 SX540 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 56 percent) than the FZ1000 II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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 Panasonic FZ1000 II an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the FZ1000 II 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 SX540 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the FZ1000 II offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around BSI-CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the Panasonic FZ1000 II. 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 2.41μm for the FZ1000 II). Moreover, it should be noted that the FZ1000 II is much more recent (by 3 years and 1 month) than the SX540, and its sensor will 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 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
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 FZ1000 II provides a better video resolution than the SX540. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the FZ1000 II has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX540 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX540 and Panasonic FZ1000 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0||1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The FZ1000 II has a touchscreen, while the SX540 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The FZ1000 II 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 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 FZ1000 II 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 Panasonic FZ1000 II 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.
Both the SX540 and the FZ1000 II have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the FZ1000 II offers a 25-400mm f/2.8-4.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Panasonic. The FZ1000 II offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX540 and the FZ1000 II 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 Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|12.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the FZ1000 II 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 FZ1000 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX540 replaced the earlier Canon SX530, while the FZ1000 II followed on from the Panasonic FZ1000. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX540 better than the Panasonic FZ1000 II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 136x97mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 368g or 45 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (56 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1240k 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.4).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the SX540 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the FZ1000 II is the clear winner of the contest (22 : 8 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 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 Panasonic FZ1000 II 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX540 or the FZ1000 II perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899|
|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 SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|9.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|10.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|11.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|12.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|13.||Panasonic ZS200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|14.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|16.||Panasonic FZ2500||..||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2016||1,199|
|17.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
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||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||25-400mm f/2.8-4.0|
|Launch Date||January 2016||February 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX540||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|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||20.2 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Venus|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX540||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1240k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX540||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|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||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX540||Panasonic FZ1000 II|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||205 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
136 x 97 x 131 mm
(5.4 x 3.8 x 5.2 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||810 g (28.6 oz)|
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