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Canon SX720 vs Nikon B500

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Nikon Coolpix B500 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and January 2016. Both the SX720 and the B500 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX720
versus
Nikon B500
Canon SX720   Nikon B500
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 15.9 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-6,400
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 7.4 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 g 114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g
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Check B500 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Nikon Coolpix B500? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon SX720 and the Nikon B500 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, red).

Size Canon SX720 vs Nikon B500
Compare SX720 versus B500 top
Comparison SX720 or B500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon B500 is notably larger (26 percent) than the Canon SX720. Moreover, the B500 is substantially heavier (100 percent) than the SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the B500 are weather-sealed.

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon B500 114 mm 78 mm 95 mm 541 g 600 n Jan 2016 299ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon B600 122 mm 82 mm 99 mm 500 g 280 n Jan 2019 349 amazon.com
11.
 
Nikon P900 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon L840 113 mm 78 mm 96 mm 538 g 590 n Feb 2015 299ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449ebay.com
14.
 
Panasonic FZ82 130 mm 94 mm 119 mm 616 g 330 n Jan 2017 399 amazon.com
15.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349ebay.com
16.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The B500 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 21 percent) than the SX720, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX720 and Nikon B500 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 15.9 MP of the B500. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX720 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 1.33μm for the B500). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the 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 Nikon B500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

SX720 versus B500 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.881748
2.
 
Nikon B500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i20.311.781048
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1105051
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.811.926062
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
7.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.780648
8.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
9.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
10.
 
Nikon B600 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p20.712.2109552
11.
 
Nikon P900 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p20.211.672747
12.
 
Nikon L840 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60i20.211.672147
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
14.
 
Panasonic FZ82 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36724K/30p20.511.990049
15.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.411.882248
16.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.211.673847
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. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX720 provides a higher frame rate than the B500. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX720 and the B500 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX720, the Nikon B500, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
2.
 
Nikon B500none n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Nikon B600none n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 7.4/s Y Y
11.
 
Nikon P900921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 7.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Nikon L840none n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 7.4/s Y Y
13.
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
14.
 
Panasonic FZ821166 n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony HX80638 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

Both the SX720 and the B500 have zoom lenses built in. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 optic and the B500 offers a 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Nikon provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the Canon, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. The B500 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX720 and the B500 write their files to SDXC cards. The SX720 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the B500 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 Nikon Coolpix B500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Nikon B500-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Nikon B600-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
11.
 
Nikon P900-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Nikon L840-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
14.
 
Panasonic FZ82Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
15.
 
Sony HX80-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-

Both the SX720 and the B500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The B500 was replaced by the Nikon B600, while the SX720 was followed by the Canon SX730. Further information on the features and operation of the SX720 and B500 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX720 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon B500 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX720 or the Nikon B500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 114x78mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 271g or 50 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B500:

  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/3.0 vs f/3.3).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (21 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the B500 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 6 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.

SX720 06:08 B500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX720 and the Nikon B500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX720 and the B500 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon B500..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2016 299ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740..+3.5/5..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +..81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon B600..+....3.5/53/5 Jan 2019 349 amazon.com
11.
 
Nikon P900......77/1004/54/5 Mar 2015 599ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon L840..+ +....3.5/54/5 Feb 2015 299ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic TZ90..+ +..4/54/54/5 Apr 2017 449ebay.com
14.
 
Panasonic FZ82..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 399 amazon.com
15.
 
Sony HX80............ Mar 2016 349ebay.com
16.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.

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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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Nikon B500

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX720 Nikon B500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5
    Launch Date February 2016 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 379 USD 299
    Sensor Specs Canon SX720 Nikon B500
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.33 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 56.73 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    Screen Specs Canon SX720 Nikon B500
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX720 Nikon B500
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 7.4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX720 Nikon B500
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX720 Nikon B500
    Battery Type NB-13L 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 110 x 64 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    114 x 78 x 95 mm
    (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
    Camera Weight 270 g (9.5 oz) 541 g (19.1 oz)
    logo
    Check SX720 offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check B500 offers at
    ebay.com

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