Canon SX70 vs Nikon D3S
The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Nikon D3S are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2018 and October 2009. The SX70 is a fixed lens compact, while the D3S is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) and a full frame (D3S) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 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 SX70 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX70 and the Nikon D3S 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 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 Nikon D3S is considerably larger (117 percent) than the Canon SX70. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3S is splash and dust-proof, while the SX70 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX70 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 SX70 gets 325 shots out of its LP-E12 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 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 SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon SX1||128 mm||88 mm||88 mm||615 g||..||n||Sep 2008||599|
|10.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|11.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|12.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|13.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|14.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|17.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||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.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 SX70 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 SX70 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 SX70 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 SX70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 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 1.18μm versus 8.43μm for the D3S). However, it should be noted that the SX70 is much more recent (by 8 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 SX70 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX70 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX70 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 SX70 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. 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 is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|10.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|12.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|13.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|14.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|15.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX70 provides a higher video resolution than the D3S. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX70 and Nikon D3S in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX70||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX1||202||n||2.8 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||4.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|11.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|13.||Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|14.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX70 has one, while the D3S does not. While the built-in flash of the SX70 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The SX70 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 SX70 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 SX70 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 SX70 HS and Nikon D3S and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX70||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3X||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX70 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 SX70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The SX70 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D3S has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3S was succeeded by the Nikon D4. 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 SX70 or the Nikon D3S – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.1MP) with a 27% 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 (4K/30p 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 (127x91mm 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 wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D3S launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D3S:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 325) 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 October 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3S comes out slightly ahead of the SX70 (17 : 16 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 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 SX70 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 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 SX70 or the D3S. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 SX70||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|7.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|8.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|9.||Canon SX1||..||+ +||..||+||..||3.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|10.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|11.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|12.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|13.||Nikon D3X||..||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|14.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|16.||Panasonic FZ80||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|17.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 SX70 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 SX70||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 2018||October 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 5,199|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX70||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||20.2 Megapixels||12.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4256 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||8.43 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||1.40 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3253|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D3S|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k 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 SX70||Nikon D3S|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D3S|
|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|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D3S|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||325 shots per charge||4200 shots per charge|
127 x 91 x 117 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
|Camera Weight||608 g (21.4 oz)||1240 g (43.7 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.