Canon SX720 vs Samsung NX500
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Samsung NX500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2016 and February 2015. The SX720 is a fixed lens compact, while the NX500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and an APS-C (NX500) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Samsung provides 28 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 Samsung NX500? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX720 and the Samsung NX500 is provided 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 NX500 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 Samsung NX500 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Canon SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the NX500 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 NX500 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the NX500 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.||Samsung NX500||120 mm||64 mm||43 mm||287 g||370||n||Feb 2015||799|
|3.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|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.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|11.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|12.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|14.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|15.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|17.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: 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 SX720 was launched at a lower price than the NX500, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 Samsung NX500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NX500 is 1218 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 NX500 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 28MP, the NX500 offers a higher resolution than the SX720 (20.2MP), but the NX500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.63μm versus 1.18μm for the SX720) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX720 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the NX500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 Samsung NX500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NX500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 32.4 x 21.6 inches or 82.3 x 54.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 21.6 x 14.4 inches or 54.9 x 36.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX720 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The NX500 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Samsung NX500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|13.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
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 NX500 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. The SX720 and the NX500 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 Samsung NX500, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SX720||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|2.||Samsung NX500||none||n||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/6000s||9.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX740||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||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.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The NX500 has a touchscreen, while the SX720 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The NX500 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX720 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Samsung NX500 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX720 and the NX500 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 Samsung NX500 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.||Samsung NX500||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|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 D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic ZS70||-||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 A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the NX500 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX720 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the SX720 and the NX500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX720 was replaced by the Canon SX730, while the NX500 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Samsung websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX720 or the Samsung NX500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NX500 requires a separate lens.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the NX500).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the NX500).
Reasons to prefer the Samsung NX500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (28 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 20%.
- 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.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (370 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 heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NX500 is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 5 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 Samsung NX500 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 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 NX500 in practical situations. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.||Samsung NX500||4.5/5||..||..||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||799|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||3.5/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|4.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|5.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|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.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|11.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|12.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|13.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|14.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|15.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|16.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|17.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon SX720
- Canon 400D vs Samsung NX500
- Canon SX720 vs Leica V-LUX 5
- Canon SX720 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Canon SX720 vs Panasonic TZ95
- Canon SX720 vs Sony NEX-7
- Canon SX720 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Canon XTi vs Samsung NX500
- Fujifilm X10 vs Samsung NX500
- Fujifilm XP120 vs Samsung NX500
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Samsung NX500
- Panasonic TS7 vs Samsung NX500
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Samsung NX500
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||Samsung NX500|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||Samsung NX mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2016||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Samsung NX500|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||28 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||6480 x 4320 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||3.63 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||7.59 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||DRIMe Vs|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||87|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1379|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Samsung NX500|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1036k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Samsung NX500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/3200s||1/6000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||9 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|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX720||Samsung NX500|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||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||Samsung NX500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||370 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)
120 x 64 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||287 g (10.1 oz)|
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