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Canon SX720 vs Sony HX400V

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2016 and February 2014. Both the SX720 and the HX400V are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 20.2 megapixels.

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 HX400V
Canon SX720   Sony HX400V
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 20.2 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 80-3,200 ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Electronic viewfinder (210k dots)
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
5.9 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
250 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
110 x 64 x 36 mm, 270 g 130 x 93 x 103 mm, 660 g
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Check HX400V offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V? 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 HX400V 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the HX400V is only available in black.

Size Canon SX720 vs Sony HX400V
Compare SX720 versus HX400V top
Comparison SX720 or HX400V rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony HX400V is considerably larger (72 percent) than the Canon SX720. Moreover, the HX400V is substantially heavier (144 percent) than the SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the HX400V are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the SX720 gets 250 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the HX400V can take 300 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras 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 379ebay.com
2.
 
Sony HX400V 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 660 g 300 n Feb 2014 499ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 265 n Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 106 mm 61 mm 42 mm 319 g 265 n Feb 2016 699ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 195 n Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX540 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX410 104 mm 69 mm 85 mm 325 g 185 n Feb 2015 279ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX710 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic TZ90 112 mm 67 mm 41 mm 322 g 380 n Apr 2017 449ebay.com
11.
 
Sony HX80 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 390 n Mar 2016 349ebay.com
12.
 
Sony HX350 130 mm 93 mm 103 mm 652 g 300 n Dec 2016 449ebay.com
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999ebay.com
14.
 
Sony HX90V 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 245 g 360 n Apr 2015 429ebay.com
15.
 
Sony H400 130 mm 95 mm 122 mm 628 g 300 n Feb 2014 319ebay.com
16.
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219ebay.com
Note: 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 somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the HX400V, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX720 and Sony HX400V sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 20.2 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX720 and the HX400V have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SX720 is much more recent (by 2 years) than the HX400V, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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 Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

SX720 versus HX400V 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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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 38881080/60p20.311.881748
2.
 
Sony HX400V 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.111.462945
3.
 
Canon SX740 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1105051
4.
 
Canon SX730 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.511.992450
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.811.926062
6.
 
Canon SX420 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/25p20.311.780648
7.
 
Canon SX540 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.311.780648
8.
 
Canon SX410 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.211.672047
9.
 
Canon SX710 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p20.211.671247
10.
 
Panasonic TZ90 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p19.110.610636
11.
 
Sony HX80 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.411.882248
12.
 
Sony HX350 1/2.3 19.9 5152 38641080/60p20.511.989649
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
14.
 
Sony HX90V 1/2.3 18.0 4896 36721080/60p20.211.673847
15.
 
Sony H400 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
16.
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p20.111.463045
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 also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the HX400V has an electronic viewfinder (210k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX720 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX720 and Sony HX400V in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX720none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
2.
 
Sony HX400V210 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX740none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX730none n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark IInone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 8.0/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX420none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon SX540none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX410none n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 0.5/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX710none n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Panasonic TZ901166 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Sony HX80638 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Sony HX350202 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n3.0 / 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0/s Y Y
14.
 
Sony HX90V638 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Sony H400210 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/2000s 0.7/s Y Y
16.
 
Sony H300none n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

Both the SX720 and the HX400V have zoom lenses built in. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 optic and the HX400V offers a 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon and Sony provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the Sony has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The HX400V offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX720 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the HX400V uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The SX720 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the HX400V cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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 Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V 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 HX400VYstereo / 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 SX410-stereo / mono---2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX710-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
10.
 
Panasonic TZ90-stereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
11.
 
Sony HX80-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
12.
 
Sony HX350-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
14.
 
Sony HX90V-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony H400-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--
16.
 
Sony H300-mono / mono--micro2.0Y--

It is notable that the HX400V 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.

Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the HX400V has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.

Both the SX720 and the HX400V have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The SX720 was replaced by the Canon SX730, while the HX400V does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the SX720 and HX400V can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX720 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony HX400V Manual.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX720 better than the Sony HX400V or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:

  • More compact: Is smaller (110x64mm vs 130x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 390g or 59 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the HX400V launch.

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.3).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 250) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2014).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the HX400V is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 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 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.

SX720 05:10 HX400V

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX720 and the Sony HX400V place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX720 or the HX400V. 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.

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 379ebay.com
2.
 
Sony HX400V4/5+ +....4/54/5 Feb 2014 499ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX740..+3.5/5..4/54/5 Jul 2018 399 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX730..+....4/54/5 Apr 2017 399ebay.com
5.
 
Canon G7 X Mark II4.5/5+ +..81/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699ebay.com
6.
 
Canon SX420..........3/5 Jan 2016 299ebay.com
7.
 
Canon SX540............ Jan 2016 399ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX410..o........ Feb 2015 279ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX710..+....4/53.5/5 Jan 2015 349ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic TZ90..+ +..4/54/54/5 Apr 2017 449ebay.com
11.
 
Sony HX80............ Mar 2016 349ebay.com
12.
 
Sony HX350..........4/5 Dec 2016 449ebay.com
13.
 
Sony RX100 IV4.5/5+ +..85/1004/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999ebay.com
14.
 
Sony HX90V4/5+ +....4/54.5/5 Apr 2015 429ebay.com
15.
 
Sony H400..o....3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2014 319ebay.com
16.
 
Sony H300..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2014 219ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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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.

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    Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Sony HX400V

    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 HX400V
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 24-1200mm f/2.8-6.3
    Launch Date February 2016 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 379 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon SX720 Sony HX400V
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.18 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 71.80 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 80 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 BIONZ X
    Screen Specs Canon SX720 Sony HX400V
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 210k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX720 Sony HX400V
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5.9 shutter flaps/s 10 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 no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX720 Sony HX400V
    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
    Geotagging no internal GPS GPS built-in
    Body Specs Canon SX720 Sony HX400V
    Battery Type NB-13L NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)250 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 110 x 64 x 36 mm
    (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
    130 x 93 x 103 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 4.1 in)
    Camera Weight 270 g (9.5 oz) 660 g (23.3 oz)
    logo
    Check SX720 offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check HX400V offers at
    ebay.com

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