Canon PowerShot SX50 HS vs. Nikon Coolpix P520

Comparison

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PowerShot SX50 HS image
vs
Coolpix P520 image
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Nikon Coolpix P520
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Megapixels
12.10
18.10
Max. image resolution
4000 x 3000
4896 x 3672

Sensor

Sensor type
CMOS
CMOS
Sensor size
1/2.3" (~ 6.16 x 4.62 mm)
1/2.3" (~ 6.16 x 4.62 mm)
Sensor resolution
4011 x 3016
4906 x 3689
Diagonal
7.70 mm
7.70 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1
(ratio)
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Nikon Coolpix P520
Surface area:
28.46 mm² vs 28.46 mm²
Difference: 0 mm² (0%)
SX50 HS and P520 sensors are the same size.
Pixel pitch
1.54 µm
1.26 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 0.28 µm (22%)
Pixel pitch of SX50 HS is approx. 22% higher than pixel pitch of P520.
Pixel area
2.37 µm²
1.59 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 0.78 µm² (49%)
A pixel on Canon SX50 HS sensor is approx. 49% bigger than a pixel on Nikon P520.
Pixel density
42.4 MP/cm²
63.43 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 21.03 µm (50%)
Nikon P520 has approx. 50% higher pixel density than Canon SX50 HS.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.

Specs

Canon SX50 HS
Nikon P520
Crop factor
5.62
5.62
Total megapixels
12.80
18.91
Effective megapixels
12.10
18.10
Optical zoom
50x
42x
Digital zoom
Yes
Yes
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 80 - 6400
Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 2000, 3200
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
5 cm
50 cm
Macro focus range
1 cm
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
24 - 1200 mm
24 - 1000 mm
Aperture priority
Yes
Yes
Max. aperture
f3.4 - f6.5
f3 - f5.9
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
f19.1 - f36.5
f16.9 - f33.2
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Matrix, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±3 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes
Yes
Min. shutter speed
15 sec
8 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/2000 sec
1/4000 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Electronic
Electronic
White balance presets
7
6
Screen size
2.8"
3.2"
Screen resolution
461,000 dots
921,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
1920x1080 (24p)
1920x1080 (60i/50i/30p/25p)
Storage types
SD/SDHC/SDXC
SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
Lithium-Ion NB-10L rechargeable battery
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL5
Weight
595 g
550 g
Dimensions
122.5 x 87.3 x 105.5 mm
125.2 x 84.1 x 101.6 mm
Year
2012
2013



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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Canon SX50 HS diagonal

The diagonal of SX50 HS sensor is not 1/2.3 or 0.43" (11 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 7.7 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 6.16 mm
h = 4.62 mm
Diagonal =  6.16² + 4.62²   = 7.70 mm

Nikon P520 diagonal

The diagonal of P520 sensor is not 1/2.3 or 0.43" (11 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 7.7 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 6.16 mm
h = 4.62 mm
Diagonal =  6.16² + 4.62²   = 7.70 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

SX50 HS sensor area

Width = 6.16 mm
Height = 4.62 mm

Surface area = 6.16 × 4.62 = 28.46 mm²

P520 sensor area

Width = 6.16 mm
Height = 4.62 mm

Surface area = 6.16 × 4.62 = 28.46 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

SX50 HS pixel pitch

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4011 pixels
Pixel pitch =   6.16  × 1000  = 1.54 µm
4011

P520 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4906 pixels
Pixel pitch =   6.16  × 1000  = 1.26 µm
4906


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

SX50 HS pixel area

Pixel pitch = 1.54 µm

Pixel area = 1.54² = 2.37 µm²

P520 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 1.26 µm

Pixel area = 1.26² = 1.59 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

SX50 HS pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4011 pixels
Sensor width = 0.616 cm

Pixel density = (4011 / 0.616)² / 1000000 = 42.4 MP/cm²

P520 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4906 pixels
Sensor width = 0.616 cm

Pixel density = (4906 / 0.616)² / 1000000 = 63.43 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

SX50 HS sensor resolution

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor height = 4.62 mm
Effective megapixels = 12.10
r = 6.16/4.62 = 1.33
X =  12.10 × 1000000  = 3016
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3016 × 1.33 = 4011
Resolution vertical: X = 3016

Sensor resolution = 4011 x 3016

P520 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor height = 4.62 mm
Effective megapixels = 18.10
r = 6.16/4.62 = 1.33
X =  18.10 × 1000000  = 3689
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3689 × 1.33 = 4906
Resolution vertical: X = 3689

Sensor resolution = 4906 x 3689


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


SX50 HS crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 7.70 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 5.62
7.70

P520 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 7.70 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 5.62
7.70

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

SX50 HS equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 5.62
Aperture = f3.4 - f6.5

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f3.4 - f6.5) × 5.62 = f19.1 - f36.5

P520 equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 5.62
Aperture = f3 - f5.9

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f3 - f5.9) × 5.62 = f16.9 - f33.2

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