Canon SX720 vs Sony RX1
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2016 and September 2012. Both the SX720 and the RX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX720) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? 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 Sony RX1 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SX720 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the RX1 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 Sony RX1 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon SX720. Moreover, the RX1 is substantially heavier (79 percent) than the SX720. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX720 nor the RX1 are weather-sealed.
Concerning battery life, the SX720 gets 250 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the RX1 can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|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 D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|12.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|13.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|14.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|15.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: 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 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 markedly lower price (by 86 percent) than the RX1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. 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 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 Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 2943 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the SX720 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the SX720 (20.2MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 1.18μm for the SX720) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX720 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 5 months) than the RX1, and its sensor will 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 the SX720 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 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-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|13.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SX720 and the RX1 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 RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX720 and Sony RX1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|13.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
The SX720 is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1 comes with a built-in prime. The SX720 has a 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 optic and the RX1 offers a 35mm f/2.0 (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 Sony. The RX1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The SX720 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1 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 RX1 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|13.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the SX720 offers wifi support, while the RX1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the SX720 and the RX1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The RX1 was replaced by the Sony RX1R, 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.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX720 or the Sony RX1 – 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.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 212g or 44 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- 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 into a lower priced category (86 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the RX1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- 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.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/3.3).
- 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 September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 10 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Sony RX1 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX720 or the RX1. 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], 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.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|3.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||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 D5300||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|11.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|12.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|13.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|14.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|15.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon SX720 vs Sony RX1
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||Sony RX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-960mm f/3.3-6.9||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||February 2016||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 379||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX720||Sony RX1|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.18 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||71.80 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||93|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2534|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX720||Sony RX1|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX720||Sony RX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/3200s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-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 RX1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon SX720||Sony RX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||270 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)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||270 g (9.5 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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