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Canon SX540 vs Sony HX400V

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2014. Both the SX540 and the HX400V are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20.2 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX540 versus Sony HX400V
Canon SX540 Sony HX400V
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
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 10 shutter flaps per second
205 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 130 x 93 x 103 mm, 660 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-HX400V? 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

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX540 and the Sony HX400V. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX540 vs Sony HX400V
Compare SX540 versus HX400V top
Comparison SX540 or HX400V rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is notably larger (23 percent) than the Canon SX540. Moreover, the HX400V is substantially heavier (49 percent) than the SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX540 gets 205 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the HX400V can take 300 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX540 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
2.
 
Sony HX400V 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.3 oz 300 n Feb 2014 499 i
3.
 
Canon SX740 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.5 oz 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.6 in 10.6 oz 250 n Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon T6 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449i
6.
 
Canon SX420 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 195 n Jan 2016 299i
7.
 
Canon SX720 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 250 n Feb 2016 379i
8.
 
Canon SX410 4.1 in 2.7 in 3.3 in 11.5 oz 185 n Feb 2015 279i
9.
 
Canon SX530 4.7 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 15.6 oz 210 n Jan 2015 429i
10.
 
Canon SX710 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 230 n Jan 2015 349i
11.
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
12.
 
Panasonic ZS70 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.4 oz 380 n Apr 2017 449i
13.
 
Panasonic FZ80 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.7 in 21.7 oz 330 n Jan 2017 399 i
14.
 
Sony HX350 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.1 in 23.0 oz 300 n Dec 2016 449 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.6 oz 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H400 5.1 in 3.7 in 4.8 in 22.2 oz 300 n Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.6 in 20.8 oz 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the HX400V, 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon SX540 and Sony HX400V sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20.2 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX540 and the HX400V have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SX540 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the HX400V, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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 corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

SX540 versus HX400V MP

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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
2.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
5.
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
7.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
8.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
9.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
10.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
11.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
12.
 
Panasonic ZS70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
13.
 
Panasonic FZ80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p........
14.
 
Sony HX350 1/2.3 19.9 5152 38641080/60p........
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
16.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
17.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the HX400V 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX540, the Sony HX400V, and comparable cameras.

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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
1.
 
Canon SX540none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
2.
 
Sony HX400V210 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon SX420none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX720none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX410none n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX530none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX710none n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic ZS701166 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
13.
 
Panasonic FZ801166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony HX350202 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony H400210 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7 Y Y
17.
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y

Both the SX540 and the HX400V have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the HX400V offers a 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). The HX400V offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX540 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX400V 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 HX400V cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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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-HX400V and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX540-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony HX400VYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX420-monomono---2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX720-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX410-stereomono---2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX530-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX710-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
12.
 
Panasonic ZS70-stereomono--micro2.0Y--
13.
 
Panasonic FZ80Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--
14.
 
Sony HX350-stereomono--micro2.0---
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony H400-monomono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the HX400V has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX540 does not feature such an accessory-socket.

Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.

Both the SX540 and the HX400V are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX540 replaced the earlier Canon SX530, while the HX400V does not have a direct predecessor. 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.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX540 and the Sony HX400V? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:

  • More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 130x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 218g or 33 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the HX400V).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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 (10 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.4).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX400V is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

SX540 05:10 HX400V

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 and the Sony HX400V 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 HX400V. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

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 (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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX540.......... Jan 2016 399 i
2.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +..4/54/5 Feb 2014 499 i
3.
 
Canon SX740..+..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+..4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon T64/5o73/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
6.
 
Canon SX420........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
7.
 
Canon SX720..+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
8.
 
Canon SX410..o...... Feb 2015 279i
9.
 
Canon SX530..+ +..4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
10.
 
Canon SX710..+..4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
11.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
12.
 
Panasonic ZS70..+ +..4/54/5 Apr 2017 449i
13.
 
Panasonic FZ80..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 i
14.
 
Sony HX350........4/5 Dec 2016 449 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +..4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony H400..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319 i
17.
 
Sony H300..+..4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 HX400V:
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Sony HX400V

    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 HX400V
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
    Launch Date January 2016 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX400V
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    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 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ X
    Screen Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX400V
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX400V
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 10 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 HX400V
    External Flash no Hotshoe 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
    Geotagging no internal GPS GPS built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX400V
    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 93 x 103 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 660 g (23.3 oz)

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