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Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

The Nikon D70s and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2005 and September 2012. The D70s is a DSLR, while the SX50 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D70s) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Canon provides 12 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D70s   Canon SX50
Nikon D70s Canon SX50
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Nikon F mount lenses 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
no Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 200-1600 ISO 80-6400
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.0" LCD, 130k dots 3.0" LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.2 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge315 shots per battery charge
140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g 123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g

Body comparison: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D70s and the Canon SX50. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Nikon D70s and Canon SX50
Compare D70s versus SX50 top
Compare D70s or SX50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX50 is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Nikon D70s. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D70s nor the SX50 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the D70s 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 D70s and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D70s gets 500 shots out of its EN-EL3a battery, while the SX50 can take 315 images on a single charge of its NB-10L power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D70s» 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Canon SX50« 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon S120« » 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.1 in 7.7 oz 230 n Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Canon G15« » 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« » 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Panasonic FZ150« » 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX50 was launched at a lower price than the D70s, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D70s features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX50 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX50 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the D70s has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX50 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D70s and Canon SX50 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX50 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D70s. 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 1.53μm versus 7.85μm for the D70s). However, it should be noted that the SX50 is much more recent (by 7 years and 4 months) than the D70s, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The Nikon D70s has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600 The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

D70s versus SX50 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D70s» APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
 
Canon SX50« 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947Canon SX50
 
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon S120« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656Canon S120
 
Canon G15« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546Canon G15
 
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
 
Panasonic FZ150« » 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240Panasonic FZ150

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SX50 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D70s does not. The highest resolution format that the SX50 can use is 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the D70s has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D70s, the Canon SX50, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D70s»optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
 
Canon SX50«202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 2000 2.2 Y Y Canon SX50
 
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
 
Canon S120« »- n 3.0 922 fixed Y 2000 12.1 Y Y Canon S120
 
Canon G15« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.1 Y Y Canon G15
 
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5300« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
 
Panasonic FZ150« »202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 2000 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ150
The SX50 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 D70s does not have a selfie-screen.

The D70s writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SX50 uses SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

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 Nikon D70s and Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D70s»Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
 
Canon SX50«Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon SX50
 
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon S120« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon S120
 
Canon G15« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G15
 
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5500« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5300« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5100« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« »Y-----1.1---Nikon D100
 
Panasonic FZ150« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Panasonic FZ150

Both the D70s and the SX50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, while the SX50 was followed by the Canon SX60. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Nikon and Canon websites.


Review summary: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D70s or the Canon SX50 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70s:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 315) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2005).

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 130k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D70s requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x87mm vs 140x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D70s).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D70s launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX50 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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.

D70s 07:14 SX50

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D70s or the SX50 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.

Expert reviews: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D70s»---o5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
 
Canon SX50«++72/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2012 429- i Canon SX50
 
Canon SX60« »++75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon S120« »++-4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Canon G15« »+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i Canon G15
 
Canon Rebel« »-++-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D5500« »+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D5300« »++79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5100« »++76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D5000« »++75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D40« »81/100++o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
 
Nikon D80« »+++o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D50« »78/100++4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
 
Nikon D70« »-++-o- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
 
Nikon D100« »-++oo- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Panasonic FZ150« »++76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499- i Panasonic FZ150
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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.

Nikon D70s:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Nikon D70s vs Canon SX50

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D70s Canon SX50
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date April 2005 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 899 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Nikon D70s Canon SX50
    Sensor Technology CCD BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 6.17 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 80-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 50 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.4 20.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.3 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 529 179
    Screen Specs Nikon D70s Canon SX50
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.50x ..x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 130k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D70s Canon SX50
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D70s Canon SX50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D70s Canon SX50
    Battery Type EN-EL3a power pack NB-10L power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge315 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 140 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    Camera Weight 679 g (24.0 oz) 595 g (21.0 oz)

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