Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-300
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and September 2004. The SX720 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-300 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 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 Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 Olympus E-300. 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.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the E-300 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 Olympus E-300 is considerably larger (77 percent) than the Canon SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the E-300 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 E-300 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 E-300 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
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.
|1.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|2.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||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 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|11.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|12.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|13.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|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 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 SX720 was launched at a lower price than the E-300, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 SX720 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 8 MP of the Olympus E-300. 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 5.30μm for the E-300). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 11 years and 4 months) than the E-300, 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 Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 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 Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.
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.
|2.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX720 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-300 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 E-300 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX720, the Olympus E-300, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX540||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
The SX720 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX720 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 SX720 HS and Olympus Evolt E-300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX720||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SX540||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX720 offers wifi support, while the E-300 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX720 and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, 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 and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX720 or the Olympus E-300 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 8MP) with a 59% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 134k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the E-300 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 147x85mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-300).
- 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.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 4 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-300:
- 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 (750 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 September 2004).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX720 emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 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 Olympus E-300 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX720 and the E-300 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.
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 SX720||..||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|2.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||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 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|11.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|12.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|13.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|15.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|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 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.
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.
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Olympus E-300
- Canon 760D vs Olympus E-300
- Canon SX720 vs Fujifilm X-A1
- Canon SX720 vs Fujifilm X70
- Canon SX720 vs Nikon D60
- Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-PL1
- Canon SX720 vs Pentax MX-1
- Canon SX720 vs Sigma fp
- Nikon D1H vs Olympus E-300
- Olympus E-300 vs Olympus E-5
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony A5000
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony A6300
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-300
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||Olympus E-300|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2016||September 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Olympus E-300|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||3.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||TruePic|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Olympus E-300|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||1.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||134k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Olympus E-300|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX720||Olympus E-300|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX720||Olympus E-300|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||624 g (22.0 oz)|
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