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Canon SX720 vs Sony A5000

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Sony Alpha A5000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and January 2014. The SX720 is a fixed lens compact, while the A5000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and an APS-C (A5000) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX720
versus
Sony A5000
Canon SX720   Sony A5000
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 Sony E mount lenses
20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 100-16,000
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge420 shots per battery charge
110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 g 110 x 63 x 36 mm, 269 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Sony Alpha A5000? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon SX720 and the Sony A5000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the A5000 is available in three color-versions (black, silver, white).

Size Canon SX720 vs Sony A5000
Compare SX720 versus A5000 top
Comparison SX720 or A5000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5000 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Canon SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the A5000 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 A5000 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 A5000 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX720 gets 250 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the A5000 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5000 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX720 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379i
2.
 
Sony A5000 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449i
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699i
6.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299i
7.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i
8.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
9.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279i
10.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349i
11.
 
Panasonic TZ90 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449i
12.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349 i
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999i
14.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429 i
15.
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
16.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
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 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 A5000, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 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 Sony A5000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A5000 is 1175 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 A5000 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon SX720 and Sony A5000 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX720 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 19.8 MP of the Sony A5000. 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 4.25μm for the A5000). However, it should be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 2 years and 1 month) than the A5000, 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 Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

SX720 versus A5000 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX720 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
2.
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p........
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p........
7.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
8.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
9.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
10.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p........
11.
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
12.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
14.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p........
15.
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
16.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX720 provides a higher frame rate than the A5000. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX720 and the A5000 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX720 and Sony A5000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
2.
 
Sony A5000none n3.0 / 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX740none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y
8.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
9.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5 Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
12.
 
Sony HX80638 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n3.0 / 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
14.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony A5100none n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
16.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
The A5000 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 SX720 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

Connectivity comparison

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 Sony Alpha A5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX720-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony A5000-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
3.
 
Canon SX740-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX730-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon SX420-mono / mono---2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon SX540-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
8.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
9.
 
Canon SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
11.
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Sony HX80-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony A5100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---

Both the SX720 and the A5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A5000 was replaced by the Sony A5100, 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 Sony websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX720 better than the Sony A5000 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 461k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A5000 requires a separate lens.
  • 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: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the A5000 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5000:

  • 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 flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in 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.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (420 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2014).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A5000 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 8 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 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.

SX720 08:12 A5000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX720 and the Sony A5000 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX720 or the A5000. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

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 (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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX720..+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2016 379i
2.
 
Sony A50003/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
3.
 
Canon SX740..+3.5/5..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399i
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +..81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699i
6.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299i
7.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399 i
8.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
9.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279i
10.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349i
11.
 
Panasonic TZ90..+ +....4/54/5 Apr 2017 449i
12.
 
Sony HX80............ Mar 2016 349 i
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV4.5/5+ +..85/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999i
14.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429 i
15.
 
Sony A51004.5/5+....4.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
16.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
17.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
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 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.

Canon SX720:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A5000:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Sony A5000

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX720 Sony A5000
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2016 January 2014
    Launch Price USD 379 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SX720 Sony A5000
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 23.2 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 357.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 19.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5456 x 3632 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 4.25 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 5.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 16,000 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1089
    Screen Specs Canon SX720 Sony A5000
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX720 Sony A5000
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/3200s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX720 Sony A5000
    External Flash no Hotshoe no 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
    Body Specs Canon SX720 Sony A5000
    Battery Type NB-13L NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge420 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 110 x 64 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    110 x 63 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 270 g (9.5 oz) 269 g (9.5 oz)

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