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Canon SX540 vs Sony HX95

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2016 and August 2018. Both the SX540 and the HX95 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 18 MP.

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 HX95
Canon SX540   Sony HX95
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 18 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 6,400)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (638k dots)
3.0" LCD – 461k dots 3.0" LCD – 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
205 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 242 g
Canon SX540:
Check Amazon price
Sony HX95:
Check Amazon price

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-HX95? 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 HX95 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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.

Size Canon SX540 vs Sony HX95
Compare SX540 versus HX95 top
Comparison SX540 or HX95 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX95 is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Canon SX540. Moreover, the HX95 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the SX540. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX540 nor the HX95 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX540 gets 205 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the HX95 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the HX95 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. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
2.
 
Sony HX95 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 429 i
3.
 
Canon 77D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
4.
 
Canon 200D 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark III 115 mm 78 mm 51 mm 399 g 200 Y Oct 2017 1,299 i
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
7.
 
Canon M6 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779i
8.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
9.
 
Canon 1300D 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449i
10.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
11.
 
Canon SX530 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429i
12.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
13.
 
Sony HX99 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 242 g 370 n Aug 2018 449 i
14.
 
Sony WX800 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 233 g 370 n Oct 2018 399 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749i
Note: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX540 was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the HX95 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 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.

Canon SX540 and Sony HX95 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX540 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 18 MP of the HX95. This megapixels advantage translates into a 6 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 1.25μm for the HX95). Moreover, it should be noted that the HX95 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the SX540, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. 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 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony HX95 are 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.

SX540 versus HX95 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.

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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 38881080/60p20.311.780648
2.
 
Sony HX95 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.1105751
3.
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
4.
 
Canon 200D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark III APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.813.2164981
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
7.
 
Canon M6 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.713.1158680
8.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
9.
 
Canon 1300D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.612.9149779
10.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.881748
11.
 
Canon SX530 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.211.671247
12.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
13.
 
Sony HX99 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.1105851
14.
 
Sony WX800 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.612.2107051
15.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.211.673847
16.
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

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, but the HX95 provides a better video resolution than the SX540. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX95 has an electronic viewfinder (638k 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 Sony HX95 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9/s Y Y
2.
 
Sony HX95638 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon 77Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 200Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark III2360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 9.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon M6optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 9.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon 1300Doptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
11.
 
Canon SX530none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6/s Y Y
12.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Sony HX99638 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
14.
 
Sony WX800none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.
The HX95 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.

Both the SX540 and the HX95 have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the HX95 offers a 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The SX540 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX540 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX95 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 HX95 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-HX95 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony HX95-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon 77DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon 200DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
7.
 
Canon M6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
8.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
9.
 
Canon 1300DYmono / mono--mini2.0YY-
10.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Canon SX530-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
12.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony HX99-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
14.
 
Sony WX800-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0YY-

Both the SX540 and the HX95 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX540 replaced the earlier Canon SX530, while the HX95 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX540 and the Sony HX95? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 18MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.4 vs f/3.5).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX95:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 461k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 120x82mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 200g or 45 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the SX540 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX95 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 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 05:12 HX95

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX540 and the Sony HX95 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX540 or the HX95. 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399 i
2.
 
Sony HX95............ Aug 2018 429 i
3.
 
Canon 77D4.5/5..4/582/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
4.
 
Canon 200D4/5+ +4/578/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X Mark III5/5+4/579/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2017 1,299 i
6.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..4/575/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
7.
 
Canon M6......80/1004/54/5 Feb 2017 779i
8.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
9.
 
Canon 1300D4/5o4/573/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
10.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
11.
 
Canon SX530..+ +....4/54/5 Jan 2015 429i
12.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
13.
 
Sony HX99........4/54.5/5 Aug 2018 449 i
14.
 
Sony WX800............ Oct 2018 399 i
15.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
16.
 
Sony RX100 II5/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SX540:
Check Amazon price
Sony HX95:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Sony HX95

    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 HX95
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 24-720mm f/3.5-6.4
    Launch Date January 2016 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 399 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX95
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS 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 18 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4896 x 3672 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.25 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 64.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ X
    Screen Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX95
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 638k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX540 Sony HX95
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-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 HX95
    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 Sony HX95
    Battery Type NB-6LH NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)205 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 442 g (15.6 oz) 242 g (8.5 oz)
    Canon SX540:
    Check Amazon price
    Sony HX95:
    Check Amazon price

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