Canon SX60 vs Nikon D5100
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS and the Nikon D5100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and April 2011. The SX60 is a fixed lens compact, while the D5100 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX60) and an APS-C (D5100) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.1 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 D5100? 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 D5100. 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 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 D5100 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon SX60. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX60 nor the D5100 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX60 has a lens built in, whereas the D5100 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 D5100 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|2.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|3.||Canon SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon XC10||125 mm||102 mm||122 mm||1040 g||370||n||Apr 2015||2,499|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|7.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|8.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|12.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|13.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|14.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|15.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|16.||Panasonic FZ330||132 mm||92 mm||117 mm||691 g||380||Y||Jul 2015||599|
|17.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Notes: 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 SX60 was launched at a lower price than the D5100, 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.
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. 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX60 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D5100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D5100 is 1225 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX60 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D5100 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the D5100 offers a higher resolution than the SX60 (14.2MP), but the D5100 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 1.40μm for the SX60) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX60 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 5 months) than the D5100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Nikon D5100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX60 are 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 12.3 inches or 46.8 x 31.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 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 D5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D5100 offers substantially better image quality than the SX60 (overall score 41 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.3 bits higher color depth, 2.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX60 provides a higher frame rate than the D5100. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.
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 D5100 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 D5100, and comparable cameras.
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
The Nikon D5100 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX60 and the D5100 write their files to SDXC cards. The D5100 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX60 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 D5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX60 offers wifi support, while the D5100 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX60 and the D5100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5100 was replaced by the Nikon D5200, 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX60 or the Nikon D5100 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.4 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D5100 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D5100 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 14.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 7%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (41 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 (2.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (660 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5100 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX60 and the Nikon D5100 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX60 or the D5100. 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.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|2.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|3.||Canon SX70||..||+ +||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon XC10||..||..||80/100||..||..||Apr 2015||2,499|
|6.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|7.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|8.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|12.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|13.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|14.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|15.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|16.||Panasonic FZ330||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599|
|17.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. 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 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 D5100
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 D5100|
|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||April 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D5100|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||370.52 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.40 μm||4.80 μm|
|Pixel Density||50.42 MP/cm2||4.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||EXPEED 2|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||39||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.2||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||127||1183|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D5100|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||922k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D5100|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||6.4 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D5100|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX60||Nikon D5100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||660 shots per charge|
128 x 93 x 114 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 4.5 in)
128 x 97 x 79 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||650 g (22.9 oz)||560 g (19.8 oz)|
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