Canon SX60 vs Nikon D3S
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS and the Nikon D3S are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2014 and October 2009. The SX60 is a fixed lens compact, while the D3S is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX60) and a full frame (D3S) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 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 SX60 HS and the Nikon D3S? 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 SX60 and the Nikon D3S. 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 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 Nikon D3S is considerably larger (111 percent) than the Canon SX60. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3S is splash and dust-proof, while the SX60 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX60 has a lens built in, whereas the D3S is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D3S and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the SX60 gets 340 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D3S can take 4200 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3S has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon SX60||5.0 in||3.7 in||4.5 in||22.9 oz||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|Nikon D3S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Canon SX70||5.0 in||3.6 in||4.6 in||21.4 oz||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||4.6 in||2.9 in||2.6 in||19.5 oz||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon G15||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX50||4.8 in||3.4 in||4.2 in||21.0 oz||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Nikon D5||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon P900||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|Nikon D4||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D3X||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D700||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D3||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Panasonic FZ300||5.2 in||3.6 in||4.6 in||24.4 oz||380||Y||Jul 2015||599|
|Panasonic FZ200||4.9 in||3.4 in||4.3 in||20.7 oz||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic FZ150||4.9 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||18.6 oz||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|Sony HX400V||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.1 in||23.3 oz||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX60 was launched at a lower price than the D3S, despite having a lens built in. 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX60 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D3S a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D3S is 2971 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the SX60 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D3S offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX60 offers a higher resolution of 14.2 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D3S. 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 1.40μm versus 8.43μm for the D3S). However, it should be noted that the SX60 is much more recent (by 4 years and 11 months) than the D3S, 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 SX60 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX60 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX60 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 12.3 inches or 46.8 x 31.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3S are 21.3 x 14.2 inches or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inches or 36 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3S are ISO 200 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-102400.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D3S offers substantially better image quality than the SX60 (overall score 43 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.3 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
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 SX60 provides a higher video resolution than the D3S. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX60 has an electronic viewfinder (922k dots), while the D3S has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX60, the Nikon D3S, and comparable cameras.
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX60 has one, while the D3S does not. While the built-in flash of the SX60 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The SX60 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D3S does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D3S 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.
The SX60 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3S uses Compact Flash cards. The D3S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX60 only has one slot.
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 SX60 HS and Nikon D3S and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX60 has a microphone port, which is missing on the D3S. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3S (unlike the SX60) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the SX60 and the D3S have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3S was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the SX60 was followed by the Canon SX70. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon SX60 better than the Nikon D3S or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (14.2 vs 12.1MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D3S requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (128x93mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D3S).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D3S launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3S:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (43 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (4.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 6.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (4200 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2009).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3S comes out slightly ahead of the SX60 (17 : 16 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX60 and the Nikon D3S place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX60 and the D3S 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 expert reviews are important. 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.
|Canon SX60||+ +||75/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|Nikon D3S||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Canon SX70||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||+||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Nikon D5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon P900||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|Nikon D4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D3X||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D3||..||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Panasonic FZ300||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599|
|Panasonic FZ200||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic FZ150||+ +||76/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Sony HX400V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|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.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon SX60 vs Nikon D3S
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 SX60||Nikon D3S|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||October 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 5,199|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D3S|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||12.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||4256 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.40 μm||8.43 μm|
|Pixel Density||50.42 MP/cm2||1.40 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||39||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.2||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||127||3253|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D3S|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||922k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D3S|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||6.4 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D3S|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D3S|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||4200 shots per charge|
128 x 93 x 114 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 4.5 in)
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
|Camera Weight||650 g (22.9 oz)||1240 g (43.7 oz)|
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