Canon SX540 vs Sony RX10
The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and October 2013. Both the SX540 and the RX10 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) and an one-inch (RX10) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10? 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 Sony RX10. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 Sony RX10 is notably larger (15 percent) than the Canon SX540. Moreover, the RX10 is substantially heavier (84 percent) than the SX540. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX540 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
Concerning battery life, the SX540 gets 205 shots out of its NB-6LH battery, while the RX10 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the RX10 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 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.
|1.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|2.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|3.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|4.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark III||115 mm||78 mm||51 mm||399 g||200||Y||Oct 2017||1,299|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|8.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|9.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|10.||Canon 1300D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|11.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|12.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|13.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|14.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|15.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|16.||Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 markedly lower price (by 69 percent) than the RX10, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 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 Sony RX10 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 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 RX10 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 Sony RX10. 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 RX10). However, it should be noted that the SX540 is much more recent (by 2 years and 2 months) than the RX10, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.
| DXO |
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark III||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|16.||Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. 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).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the RX10 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 RX10, and comparable cameras.
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark III||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the RX10, but is missing on the SX540 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
Both the SX540 and the RX10 have zoom lenses built in. The SX540 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the RX10 offers a 24-200mm f/2.8-2.8 (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 RX10 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The SX540 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX10 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 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.
The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the RX10 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX10 was succeeded by the Sony RX10 II. 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX540 and the Sony RX10? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x82mm vs 129x88mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 371g or 46 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (69 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 2 months of technical progress since the RX10 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 461k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s 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 (420 versus 205) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2013).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 6 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 Sony RX10 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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 RX10 in practical situations. 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|3.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|4.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark III||5/5||+||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2017||1,299|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|8.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|9.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|10.||Canon 1300D||4/5||o||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|11.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|12.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|13.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|14.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|15.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|16.||Sony RX10 III||5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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.
Specifications: Canon SX540 vs Sony RX10
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||Sony RX10|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||24-200mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||January 2016||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX540||Sony RX10|
|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||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||474|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX540||Sony RX10|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX540||Sony RX10|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/3200s|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX540||Sony RX10|
|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|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX540||Sony RX10|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||205 shots per charge||420 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)
129 x 88 x 102 mm
(5.1 x 3.5 x 4.0 in)
|Camera Weight||442 g (15.6 oz)||813 g (28.7 oz)|
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