Canon SX720 vs Nikon P950
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Nikon Coolpix P950 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2016 and January 2020. Both the SX720 and the P950 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.
|Canon SX720||Nikon P950|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5|
|20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 80-3200||ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.2" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.9 shutter flaps per second||7 shutter flaps per second|
|250 shots per battery charge||290 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 g||140 x 110 x 150 mm, 1005 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Nikon Coolpix P950? 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 SX720 and the Nikon P950 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the P950 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 Nikon P950 is considerably larger (119 percent) than the Canon SX720. Moreover, the P950 is substantially heavier (272 percent) than the SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the P950 are weather-sealed.
The power pack in the P950 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon SX720»||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379||Canon SX720|
|Nikon P950«||5.5 in||4.3 in||5.9 in||35.5 oz||290||n||Jan 2020||799||Nikon P950|
|Canon SX740« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX420« »||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX540« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399||Canon SX540|
|Canon SX410« »||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX710« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349||Canon SX710|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||4.9 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||18.3 oz||410||n||Sep 2010||849||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Nikon B600« »||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000« »||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.6 in||11.6 oz||250||n||Jan 2019||429||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000« »||5.7 in||4.7 in||7.1 in||49.9 oz||250||n||Jul 2018||999||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon P900« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599||Nikon P900|
|Panasonic ZS70« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony HX80« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349||Sony HX80|
|Sony HX90V« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||360||n||Apr 2015||429||Sony HX90V|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the P950, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. 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.
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.
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 P950. 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 P950). Moreover, it should be noted that the P950 is much more recent (by 3 years and 10 months) than the SX720, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. 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 inch or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inch or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inch or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon P950 are 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inch 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 P950 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
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.
|Canon SX720||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX720|
|Nikon P950||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P950|
|Canon SX740||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX420||1/2.3||19.9||5152||3864||720/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX540||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX540|
|Canon SX410||1/2.3||19.9||5152||3864||720/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX710||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX710|
|Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Nikon B600||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon P900||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P900|
|Panasonic ZS70||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||19.1||10.6||106||36||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony HX80||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX80|
|Sony HX90V||1/2.3||18.0||4896||3672||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Sony HX90V|
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 P950 provides a better video resolution than the SX720. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P950 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX720 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 SX720, the Nikon P950, and comparable cameras.
|Canon SX720||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX720|
|Nikon P950||2359||n||3.2||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P950|
|Canon SX740||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX420||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX540||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y||Canon SX540|
|Canon SX410||none||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX710||none||n||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y||Canon SX710|
|Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Nikon B600||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon P900||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P900|
|Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony HX80||638||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX80|
|Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony HX90V|
The Nikon P950 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.
Both the SX720 and the P950 have zoom lenses built in. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 optic and the P950 offers a 24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Nikon provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Nikon has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The P950 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX720 and the P950 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 P950 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 Nikon Coolpix P950 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon SX720||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX720|
|Nikon P950||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon P950|
|Canon SX740||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX740|
|Canon SX730||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SX730|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon SX420||-||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX420|
|Canon SX540||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX540|
|Canon SX410||-||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SX410|
|Canon SX710||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX710|
|Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Nikon B600||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon A1000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon A1000|
|Nikon P1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon P900||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon P900|
|Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic ZS70|
|Sony HX80||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX80|
|Sony HX90V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony HX90V|
It is notable that the P950 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The SX720 does not feature such a mic input.
The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the SX720 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX720 was succeeded 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 and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX720 and the Nikon P950? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 15.9MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 140x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 735g or 73 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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 into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2016).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.3).
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 10 months of technical progress since the SX720 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the P950 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 7 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 SX720 and the Nikon P950 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX720 or the P950 perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1000D vs Canon SX720
- Canon 1D X Mark III vs Nikon P950
- Canon 450D vs Canon SX720
- Canon 750D vs Canon SX720
- Canon SX720 vs Leica Q Typ 116
- Canon SX720 vs Leica X Vario
- Canon SX720 vs Nikon D3400
- Canon SX720 vs Nikon D5200
- Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Canon SX720 vs Sony A7S
- Canon SX720 vs Sony RX100 VI
- Nikon P950 vs Nikon Z50
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Nikon P950
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||Nikon P950|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5|
|Launch Date||February 2016||January 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Nikon P950|
|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|
|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||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80-3200 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-12800 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Nikon P950|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||90%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Nikon P950|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/3200/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX720||Nikon P950|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon SX720||Nikon P950|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||290 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
140 x 110 x 150 mm
(5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||1005 g (35.5 oz)|
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