Pentax 645Z vs Canon SX50
The Pentax 645Z and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2014 and September 2012. The 645Z is a DSLR, while the SX50 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a medium format (645Z) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 51.1 megapixels, whereas the Canon provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Pentax 645 mount lenses||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5|
|51.1 MP, Medium Format Sensor||12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO 100-204,800||ISO 80-6,400|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)|
|3.2 LCD, 1037k dots||3.0 LCD, 461k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||2.2 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|650 shots per battery charge||315 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 117 x 123 mm, 1550 g||123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Pentax 645Z and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS? 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 Pentax 645Z and the Canon SX50 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
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 (41 percent) than the Pentax 645Z. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 645Z is splash and dust resistant, while the SX50 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the 645Z is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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.
|Pentax 645Z||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.8 in||54.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Canon SX50||4.8 in||3.4 in||4.2 in||21.0 oz||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon SX60||5.0 in||3.7 in||4.5 in||22.9 oz||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|Canon S120||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.1 in||7.7 oz||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon G15||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX40||4.8 in||3.6 in||4.3 in||21.2 oz||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|Hasselblad X1D||5.9 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||25.6 oz||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica SL||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon D850||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D5||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D7200||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D4S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Panasonic FZ150||4.9 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||18.6 oz||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|Pentax 645D||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.7 in||52.2 oz||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 645Z, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax 645Z features a medium format sensor and the Canon SX50 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX50 is 98 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.79 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a higher resolution than the SX50 (12MP), but the 645Z nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 645Z is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the SX50, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645Z has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645Z implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645Z for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 31 inches or 104.9 x 78.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 24.8 inches or 83.9 x 62.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 20.6 inches or 69.9 x 52.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX50 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Pentax 645Z has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the 645Z provides substantially higher image quality than the SX50, with an overall score that is 54 points higher. This advantage is based on 5.7 bits higher color depth, 3.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
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, but the 645Z provides a higher frame rate than the SX50. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the 645Z 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 Pentax 645Z, the Canon SX50, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 645Z, but is missing on the SX50 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.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 645Z does not have a selfie-screen.
The Pentax 645Z 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 645Z and the SX50 write their files to SDXC cards. The 645Z features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SX50 only has one slot. The 645Z supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the SX50 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 Pentax 645Z and Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 645Z has a microphone port, which is missing on the SX50. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645Z (unlike the SX50) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The 645Z is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. In contrast, the SX50 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SX50 was succeeded by the Canon SX60. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Pentax and Canon websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Pentax 645Z better than the Canon SX50 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax 645Z:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (51.1 vs 12MP) with a 106% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (54 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (5.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (3.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (4.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 461k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 315) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the SX50).
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a 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 645Z requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x87mm vs 156x117mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 645Z).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 645Z is the clear winner of the match-up (23 : 11 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 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 Pentax 645Z and the Canon SX50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 645Z or the SX50. 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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Pentax 645Z||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon SX60||+ +||75/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|Canon S120||+ +||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon SX40||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|Hasselblad X1D||o||81/100||..||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|Leica SL||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D7200||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D4S||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Panasonic FZ150||+ +||76/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Pentax 645D||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon SX50
- Canon 2000D vs Canon SX50
- Canon G7 X Mark II vs Canon SX50
- Canon G9 X Mark II vs Canon SX50
- Canon SX50 vs Fujifilm X-A7
- Canon SX50 vs Fujifilm X-E1
- Canon SX50 vs Sony A7 III
- Canon SX50 vs Sony A9
- Leica D-LUX 6 vs Pentax 645Z
- Panasonic G90 vs Pentax 645Z
- Panasonic ZS200 vs Pentax 645Z
- Pentax 645Z vs YI M1
Specifications: Pentax 645Z vs Canon SX50
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||Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Pentax 645 mount lenses||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||April 2014||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 8,499||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||43.8 x 32.8 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||1436.64 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||54.7 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8256 x 6192 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.56 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 204,800 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||PRIME III||DIGIC 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||101||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||26.0||20.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.7||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||4505||179|
|Screen Specs||Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||2.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Pentax 645Z||Canon SX50|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||650 shots per charge||315 shots per charge|
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
123 x 87 x 106 mm
(4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
|Camera Weight||1550 g (54.7 oz)||595 g (21.0 oz)|
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