Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GF1
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2016 and September 2009. The SX720 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and a Four Thirds (GF1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon SX720||Panasonic GF1|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 80-3,200||ISO 100-3,200|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots||3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.9 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|250 shots per battery charge||380 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 g||119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? 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 Panasonic GF1 are illustrated 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the GF1 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 Panasonic GF1 is notably larger (20 percent) than the Canon SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the GF1 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 GF1 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 GF1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon SX720||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Panasonic GF1||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
|Canon SX740||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX420||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX540||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon SX410||4.1 in||2.7 in||3.3 in||11.5 oz||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Panasonic ZS70||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.4 oz||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic GX1||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GH1||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic G1||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|Sony HX80||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony HX90V||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||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.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX720 was launched at a lower price than the GF1, 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.
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 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. 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 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 Panasonic GF1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF1 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 12 MP of the Panasonic GF1. 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 4.33μm for the GF1). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 6 years and 5 months) than the GF1, 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 Panasonic GF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SX720 provides a higher video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX720 and the GF1 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. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX720, the Panasonic GF1, and comparable cameras.
|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 GF1 uses SDHC cards. The SX720 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX720 offers wifi support, while the GF1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX720 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, 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 Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX720 or the Panasonic GF1 – 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.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 12MP) with a 30% 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 (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 119x71mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the GF1).
- 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 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- 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.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 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 September 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX720 emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 11 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 Panasonic GF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX720 or the GF1 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Panasonic GF1||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon SX410||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Panasonic ZS70||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|Panasonic GX1||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GH1||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic G1||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony HX90V||+ +||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 650D vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon SX510 vs Panasonic GF1
- Canon SX710 vs Canon SX720
- Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-600
- Canon SX720 vs Olympus E-M10
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GF5
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GX8
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic GF1
- Panasonic G10 vs Panasonic GF1
- Panasonic GF1 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Panasonic GF1 vs Samsung NX30
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony RX10 II
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Panasonic GF1
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||Panasonic GF1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2016||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Panasonic GF1|
|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||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||513|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Panasonic GF1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Panasonic GF1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-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||Panasonic GF1|
|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||Panasonic GF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
110 x 64 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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