Canon SX720 vs XSi
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2016 and January 2008. The SX720 is a fixed lens compact, while the XSi is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and an APS-C (XSi) sensor. The SX720 has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 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 SX720 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? 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 SX720 and the Canon XSi. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the XSi 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 Canon XSi is considerably larger (80 percent) than the Canon SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the XSi are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX720 has a lens built in, whereas the XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|2.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|6.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|7.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|8.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|9.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|10.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|11.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|12.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|14.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|16.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||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 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 SX720 was launched at a lower price than the XSi, 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. 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX720 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon XSi an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the XSi is 1075 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the SX720 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the XSi offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the SX720 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the XSi (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Canon XSi. 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 5.19μm for the XSi). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 8 years) than the XSi, 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 SX720 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX720 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX720 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 Canon XSi are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The SX720 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the SX720 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the XSi has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX720 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX720 and Canon XSi in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
The SX720 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the XSi uses SDHC cards. The SX720 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the XSi 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 SX720 HS and Canon EOS Rebel XSi and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX720 offers wifi support, while the XSi does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX720 and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the SX720 was followed by the Canon SX730. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX720 or the Canon XSi – 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.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.2MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the XSi).
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years of technical progress since the XSi launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX720 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 11 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 SX720 and the Canon XSi 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX720 or the XSi perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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 SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|2.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|6.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|7.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|8.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|9.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|10.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|11.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|12.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|14.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|16.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|17.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Canon XSi
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 SX720||Canon XSi|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2016||January 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Canon XSi|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||22.2 x 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||328.56 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||26.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4272 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||5.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||3.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||DIGIC 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||692|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Canon XSi|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Canon XSi|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX720||Canon XSi|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|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 SX720||Canon XSi|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||524 g (18.5 oz)|
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