Canon SX720 vs Ricoh GR
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Ricoh GR are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2016 and April 2013. Both the SX720 and the GR are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and an APS-C (GR) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 16.1 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 Ricoh GR? 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 Ricoh GR. 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 GR 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 Ricoh GR is somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Canon SX720. However, the GR is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the GR are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the SX720 gets 250 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the GR can take 290 images on a single charge of its DB65 power pack. The power pack in the GR can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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||ebay.com|
|2.||Ricoh GR||117 mm||61 mm||35 mm||245 g||290||n||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon Coolpix A||111 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||99 mm||55 mm||30 mm||204 g||230||n||Oct 2013||749||ebay.com|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 GR, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 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 Ricoh GR an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the GR is 1221 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the SX720 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the GR offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the Ricoh GR. 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 4.79μm for the GR). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the GR, 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 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 Ricoh GR are 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 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 Ricoh GR are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the SX720 is build around a BSI-CMOS sensor, while the GR uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
|10.||Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX720 provides a higher frame rate than the GR. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Ricoh is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX720 and the GR 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 GR can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the GV-1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX720 and Ricoh GR along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Ricoh GR||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX540||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||none||n||3.0 / 1036||fixed||Y||1/500s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The Ricoh GR 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.
The SX720 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the GR comes with a built-in prime. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 optic and the GR offers a 28mm f/2.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Ricoh. The GR offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX720 and the GR write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Ricoh GR 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.||Ricoh GR||Y||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX740||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||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.||Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the SX720 offers wifi support, while the GR does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX720 and the GR have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GR was replaced by the Ricoh GR II, while the SX720 was followed by the Canon SX730. Further information on the features and operation of the SX720 and GR can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX720 Manual (free pdf) or the online Ricoh GR Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX720 better than the Ricoh GR or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.2 vs 16.1MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- 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 into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the GR launch.
Arguments in favor of the Ricoh GR:
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- 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).
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2013).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GR is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 9 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 Ricoh GR place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 GR 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Ricoh GR||5/5||..||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon Coolpix A||4/5||+||..||75/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||1,099||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic GM1||3/5||+||..||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749||ebay.com|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749||ebay.com|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Ricoh GR
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||Ricoh GR|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||28mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||February 2016||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Ricoh GR|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||972|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Ricoh GR|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Ricoh GR|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX720||Ricoh GR|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX720||Ricoh GR|
|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)
117 x 61 x 35 mm
(4.6 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||245 g (8.6 oz)|
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