Canon SX620 vs Sony A850
The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS and the Sony Alpha A850 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2016 and August 2009. The SX620 is a fixed lens compact, while the A850 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX620) and a full frame (A850) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 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 SX620 HS and the Sony Alpha A850? 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 SX620 and the Sony A850 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX620 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, red), while the A850 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 A850 is considerably larger (230 percent) than the Canon SX620. It is noteworthy in this context that the A850 is splash and dust-proof, while the SX620 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX620 has a lens built in, whereas the A850 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Canon SX620||3.8 in||2.2 in||1.1 in||6.4 oz||295||n||May 2016||279|
|Sony A850||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.3 oz||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon SX420||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX540||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon SX720||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G9 X||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon SX410||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX610||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||6.7 oz||270||n||Jan 2015||249|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Canon SX600||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.0 in||6.6 oz||290||n||Jan 2014||249|
|Nikon D750||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Sony A7 II||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A99||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Sony A900||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The SX620 was launched at a lower price than the A850, 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX620 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A850 is 2979 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 SX620 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A850 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24.4MP, the A850 offers a higher resolution than the SX620 (20.2MP), but the A850 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 1.18μm for the SX620) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX620 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 8 months) than the A850, 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 SX620 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A850 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A850 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inches or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX620 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A850 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The SX620 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A850 does not. The highest resolution format that the SX620 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A850 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX620 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 SX620, the Sony A850, and comparable cameras.
|Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX620 has one, while the A850 does not. While the built-in flash of the SX620 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The SX620 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A850 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A850 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX620 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 SX620 HS and Sony Alpha A850 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX620 offers wifi support, while the A850 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A850 (unlike the SX620) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SX620 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the A850 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the A850 from Sony. 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 how do things add up? Is the Canon SX620 better than the Sony A850 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A850 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (97x57mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A850).
- 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 6 years and 8 months of technical progress since the A850 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A850:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- 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.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- 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 (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
- 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.
- 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 August 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A850 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 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 SX620 and the Sony A850 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 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 SX620 or the A850. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX620||..||..||..||..||4/5||May 2016||279|
|Sony A850||..||75/100||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon G9 X||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX610||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2015||249|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Canon SX600||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2014||249|
|Nikon D750||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A99||..||84/100||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Sony A900||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon SX620 vs Sony A850
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 SX620||Sony A850|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||25-625mm f/3.2-6.6||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2016||August 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 279||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX620||Sony A850|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1415|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX620||Sony A850|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX620||Sony A850|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX620||Sony A850|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX620||Sony A850|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
97 x 57 x 28 mm
(3.8 x 2.2 x 1.1 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||182 g (6.4 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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