Canon SX60 vs Sony NEX-3N
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and February 2013. The SX60 is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-3N is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX60) and an APS-C (NEX-3N) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 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 Sony Alpha NEX-3N? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX60 and the Sony NEX-3N are illustrated 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.
The NEX-3N can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the SX60 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-3N is considerably smaller (43 percent) than the Canon SX60. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX60 nor the NEX-3N 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 NEX-3N 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 NEX-3N and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|2.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|3.||Canon SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|5.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|8.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|9.||Panasonic FZ300||132 mm||92 mm||117 mm||691 g||380||Y||Jul 2015||599|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|12.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|13.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|14.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
|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. 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. 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 Sony NEX-3N an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-3N is 1204 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 NEX-3N offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16MP, the NEX-3N offers a higher resolution than the SX60 (14.2MP), but the NEX-3N nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 1.40μm for the SX60) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX60 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the NEX-3N, and its sensor might 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 Sony NEX-3N implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-3N for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 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 Sony Alpha NEX-3N are ISO 200 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
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 NEX-3N offers substantially better image quality than the SX60 (overall score 35 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.6 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.1 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.
|4.||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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SX60 provides a higher frame rate than the NEX-3N. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX60 has an electronic viewfinder (922k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NEX-3N relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-3N can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX60 and Sony NEX-3N in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Panasonic FZ300||1440||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
The SX60 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-3N uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Alpha NEX-3N and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Panasonic FZ300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SX60 has a hotshoe, while the NEX-3N does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the SX60 and the NEX-3N have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-3N was replaced by the Sony A5000, 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 Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX60 or the Sony NEX-3N – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of 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 1080/60i).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.4 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-3N requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the NEX-3N).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-3N:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16 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 (35 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.6 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.1 stops ISO advantage).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x62mm vs 128x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (480 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX60 emerges as the winner of the contest (13 : 11 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 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 SX60 and the Sony NEX-3N place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 NEX-3N 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 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.
|1.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|2.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|3.||Canon SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|5.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|8.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|9.||Panasonic FZ300||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||599|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|12.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|13.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|14.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||3/5||+ +||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 77D vs Sony NEX-3N
- Canon 7D vs Sony NEX-3N
- Canon SX60 vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Canon SX60 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon SX60 vs Nikon D5000
- Canon SX60 vs Olympus E-P1
- Canon SX60 vs Sony A68
- Canon SX60 vs Sony A7R II
- Nikon B500 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Nikon D70s vs Sony NEX-3N
- Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony NEX-3N
- Sony A7S II vs Sony NEX-3N
Specifications: Canon SX60 vs Sony NEX-3N
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||Sony NEX-3N|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||21-1365mm f/3.4-6.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX60||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.40 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||50.42 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||39||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.2||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||127||1067|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX60||Sony NEX-3N|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||922k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX60||Sony NEX-3N|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6.4 shutter flaps/s||4 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||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX60||Sony NEX-3N|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro 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||Sony NEX-3N|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||480 shots per charge|
128 x 93 x 114 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 4.5 in)
110 x 62 x 35 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||650 g (22.9 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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