Canon SX70 vs Nikon D4
The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and the Nikon D4 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2018 and January 2012. The SX70 is a fixed lens compact, while the D4 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX70) and a full frame (D4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 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 D4? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX70 and the Nikon D4 is provided 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 D4 is considerably larger (117 percent) than the Canon SX70. It is noteworthy in this context that the D4 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 D4 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 D4 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the SX70 gets 325 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the D4 can take 2600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL18 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D4 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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 SX70||127 mm||91 mm||117 mm||608 g||325||n||Sep 2018||549|
|2.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|8.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|10.||Fujifilm XF10||113 mm||64 mm||41 mm||279 g||330||n||Jul 2018||499|
|11.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|12.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|13.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|15.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|16.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|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 SX70 was launched at a lower price than the D4, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. 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 SX70 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Nikon D4 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D4 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 D4 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX70 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 16.2 MP of the Nikon D4. 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 7.29μm for the D4). However, it should be noted that the SX70 is much more recent (by 6 years and 8 months) than the D4, 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 D4 are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 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 D4 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
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"). 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 D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|11.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|12.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|13.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|14.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|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 are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX70 provides a higher video resolution than the D4. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, 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 SX70 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D4 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 D4 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 D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 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 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 800D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|10.||Fujifilm XF10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|13.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n|
|14.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|15.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|16.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SX70 has one, while the D4 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 D4 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D4 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 D4 uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D4 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 D4 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 D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 800D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Fujifilm XF10||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D4S||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the SX70 offers wifi support, while the D4 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D4 (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 D4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D4 was succeeded by the Nikon D4S. 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? Is the Canon SX70 better than the Nikon D4 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 16.2MP) with a 9% 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 1080/30p).
- 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 D4 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 D4).
- 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 6 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D4 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D4:
- 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.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- 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 (2600 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 January 2012).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 15 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 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 SX70 and the Nikon D4 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX70 or the D4 perform in practice. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|7.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|8.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|10.||Fujifilm XF10||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2018||499|
|11.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|12.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|13.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|15.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|16.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|17.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon SX70 vs Nikon D4
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 D4|
|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||January 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D4|
|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||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2965|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D4|
|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||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D4|
|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 or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D4|
|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||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SX70||Nikon D4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||325 shots per charge||2600 shots per charge|
127 x 91 x 117 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 4.6 in)
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||608 g (21.4 oz)||1340 g (47.3 oz)|
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