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Canon SX540 vs Sony H400

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2014. Both the SX540 and the H400 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 Sony provides 19.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX540   Sony H400
Canon SX540 Sony H400
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 19.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/60p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 80-3200 ISO 80-3200
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
3.0" LCD, 461k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 0.7 shutter flaps per second
205 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 130 x 95 x 122 mm, 628 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX540 and the Sony H400 is provided 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX540 vs Sony H400
Compare SX540 versus H400 top
Comparison SX540 or H400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony H400 is notably larger (26 percent) than the Canon SX540. Moreover, the H400 is substantially heavier (42 percent) than the SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the H400 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX540» 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i i Canon SX540
 
Sony H400« 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.8 in 22.2 oz 300 n Feb 2014 319 i i Sony H400
 
Canon SX740« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i i Canon SX740
 
Canon SX730« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
 
Canon T6« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
 
Canon SX420« » 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299 i i Canon SX420
 
Canon SX720« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379- i Canon SX720
 
Canon SX410« » 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279- i Canon SX410
 
Canon SX530« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jan 2015 429- i Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349- i Canon SX710
 
Panasonic ZS70« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449- i Panasonic ZS70
 
Panasonic FZ80« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.7 in 21.7 oz 330 n Jan 2017 399 i i Panasonic FZ80
 
Sony HX400V« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.3 oz 300 n Feb 2014 499 i i Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.6 in 20.8 oz 350 n Feb 2014 219 i i Sony H300
 
Sony H200« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 3.4 in 18.7 oz 240 n Jan 2013 249 i i Sony H200
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The H400 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 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.

 

Sensor comparison

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.

Canon SX540 and Sony H400 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX540 offers a slightly higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 19.9 MP of the H400. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.59999999999999 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 1.19μm for the H400). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the SX540 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the H400, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. 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 Canon PowerShot SX540 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

SX540 versus H400 MP

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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX540» 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX540
 
Sony H400« 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p----Sony H400
 
Canon SX740« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Canon SX740
 
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX730
 
Canon T6« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p----Canon T6
 
Canon SX420« » 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p----Canon SX420
 
Canon SX720« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX720
 
Canon SX410« » 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p----Canon SX410
 
Canon SX530« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX710
 
Panasonic ZS70« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636Panasonic ZS70
 
Panasonic FZ80« » 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p----Panasonic FZ80
 
Sony HX400V« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300« » 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p----Sony H300
 
Sony H200« » 1/2.3 15.2 5184 2930720/30p----Sony H200

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX540 provides a higher video resolution than the H400. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Sony is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the H400 has an electronic viewfinder (210k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX540 and Sony H400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX540»- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX540
 
Sony H400«210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y Sony H400
 
Canon SX740« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y Canon SX740
 
Canon SX730« »- 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« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y Canon SX420
 
Canon SX720« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX720
 
Canon SX410« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y Canon SX410
 
Canon SX530« »- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y Canon SX710
 
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 Y Y Panasonic FZ80
 
Sony HX400V« »210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H300
 
Sony H200« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y Sony H200

Both the SX540 and the H400 have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the H400 offers a 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Sony, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

The SX540 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the H400 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The SX540 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the H400 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 SX540 HS and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX540»-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX540
 
Sony H400«-monomono--micro2.0Y--Sony H400
 
Canon SX740« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX740
 
Canon SX730« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
 
Canon T6« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T6
 
Canon SX420« »-monomono---2.0YY-Canon SX420
 
Canon SX720« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX720
 
Canon SX410« »-stereomono---2.0---Canon SX410
 
Canon SX530« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX710
 
Panasonic ZS70« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic ZS70
 
Panasonic FZ80« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Panasonic FZ80
 
Sony HX400V« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300« »-monomono--micro2.0Y--Sony H300
 
Sony H200« »-monomono---2.0---Sony H200

Both the SX540 and the H400 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The H400 replaced the earlier Sony H200, while the SX540 followed on from the Canon SX530. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX540 or the Sony H400 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 0.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 130x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 186g or 30 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the H400).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX540 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 5 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.

SX540 08:05 H400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 and the Sony H400 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX540 or the H400. 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon SX540»----- Jan 2016 399 i i Canon SX540
 
Sony H400«o-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i i Sony H400
 
Canon SX740« »+-4/5-4/5 Jul 2018 399 i i Canon SX740
 
Canon SX730« »+-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
 
Canon T6« »o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
 
Canon SX420« »----- Jan 2016 299 i i Canon SX420
 
Canon SX720« »+-4/5-4.5/5 Feb 2016 379- i Canon SX720
 
Canon SX410« »o---- Feb 2015 279- i Canon SX410
 
Canon SX530« »+ +-4/5-4/5 Jan 2015 429- i Canon SX530
 
Canon SX710« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Jan 2015 349- i Canon SX710
 
Panasonic ZS70« »+ +-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 449- i Panasonic ZS70
 
Panasonic FZ80« »+ +-4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i i Panasonic FZ80
 
Sony HX400V« »+ +-4/5-4/5 Feb 2014 499 i i Sony HX400V
 
Sony H300« »+-4.5/5-4/5 Feb 2014 219 i i Sony H300
 
Sony H200« »--3.5/5-3.5/5 Jan 2013 249 i i Sony H200
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX540:
Check Amazon price
Sony H400:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Sony H400

    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 SX540 Sony H400
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 24.5-1550mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date January 2016 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 319
    Sensor Specs Canon SX540 Sony H400
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CCD
    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
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 19.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5152 x 3864 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.19 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 70.91 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80-3200 ISO 80-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ
    Screen Specs Canon SX540 Sony H400
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX540 Sony H400
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 0.7 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 UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX540 Sony H400
    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 no NFC
    Body Specs Canon SX540 Sony H400
    Battery Type NB-6LH NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)205 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    130 x 95 x 122 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.8 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 628 g (22.2 oz)

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