Canon SX510 HS vs Nikon L830 vs Nikon P530

July 21, 2014

Sea lions at the beach and three superzoom cameras

In this article I’ll compare three popular superzoom cameras, the Nikon Coolpix L830, Canon PowerShot SX510 HS and Nikon Coolpix P530 that has the biggest zoom among the three. I think that in order to make a smart buying decision, you should understand the key features of each camera, rather than go with the camera with the biggest zoom.

Price & Popularity

Before we go digging into each camera features and learning about each camera cons and pros, let’s first see if each camera falls into your planned budget and how popular each camera is.

  • Nikon Coolpix L830: ~$200 / 3rd in point-and-shoot digital cameras best sellers on
  • Nikon Coolpix P530: ~$350 / not positioned at the top 100
  • Canon PowerShot SX510 HS: ~$200 / 1st in point-and-shoot digital cameras best sellers on

* rounded up prices from as of the time of writing (7.17.2014). Positions as of

You can see that the Nikon Coolpix P530 which is the most expensive camera among the three, is much less popular than the other two cameras, and I assume that it’s mainly for its higher price tag — but we’ll know that better at the end of this comparison. The SX510 is the most popular point-and-shoot camera on as of the time of writing, whether the L830 is a bit less popular, but still a very popular camera as well.

This information is just to get you a good start point in understand what the majority of consumers liked and whether one camera might fall outside your planned budget for a new camera. OK, now let’s continue talking about each camera and later we’ll compare the three cameras to fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of each camera versus the other. We’ll start with the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS.

Canon PowerShot SX510 HS

Canon SX510 HSThe Canon SX510 HS was announced on August 22, 2013. A very popular compact superzoom point-and-shoot camera that features a 30x optical zoom. Canon even refers this camera a mini-bridge camera. The SX510 HS is the smallest camera among the three, and relatively very small compared to other superzooms. It has a rounded modern-stylish design, a good looking camera I have to say.

At the heart of the camera is a 1/2.3″ (6.17×4.55mm) 12.1MP BSI CMOS sensor and Canon’s Digic 4 image processor. The ‘HS’ letters after the SX510 model name refers  to Canon’s HS system and is a short for ‘High-Sensitivity’, which is used in Canon’s advanced P&S camera that appreciate and demand higher image quality.  For Canon it means bringing the best image quality for a compact point-and-shoot camera and improved low-light performance. This is done using slightly larger sensors with less pixels which leads to larger photodiodes that capture more photons of light. Second, those cameras utilizes back-illuminated CMOS sensor that helps improve the sensor’s sensitivity to light, up to two times compared to front-illuminated sensors with other same specs. And last, is the adoption of Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor (can be a new version depends on the model) that helps to significantly combat image noise at both low-ISO and high ISO.

We can see that Canon has deliberately chosen to go with 12.1 megapixels instead of a higher resolution. Don’t be among those who go blindly with the camera with the highest resolution, unless that’s what you need. 12 megapixels is a very high resolution and cover most needs, and I’m sure that you’ll appreciate having better looking images and the ability to shoot low-light images with less noise. I will talk about the high ISO performance later on in the comparison section, to see if the SX510 HS does stands for its great low-light performance as Canon claims (“Great low-light shots”).

One of the most interesting parts of any superzoom is obviously the lens. The Canon SX510 HS features a 24-720mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.4-5.8 30x optical zoom lens with Canon”s Image stabilization mechanism. The camera also features a 60x ZoomPlus, which is the digital zoom range where the image still looks less grainy, and the Digital Zoom range is where the image stars to look much more grainy.

24mm means that you get a wide field of view which is excellent for landscape shots, interiors, group shots, etc. The 720mm equivalent focal length at the tele-end is very useful to get very close to subjects that are far away from the camera, not as close as 1200mm, but very useful for most uses. In fact, a smaller optical zoom lens should perform better optically in most part. It depends on the complexity and lens elements used, but some people prefer going with a smaller zoom in order to enjoy better optical performance. This is why a 3x optical zoom lens will outperform a superzoom in almost all cases and all across the focal length range. When you buy a superzoom camera you actually make some kind of compromise in order to enjoy better versatility at the price of optical performance. Again, it varies from one camera to another.

So what 30x optical zoom looks like on the SX510 HS, let’s take a look.. (also inc. the digital zoom)

Wow! — impressive zooming capability. You can clearly see that this zoom range is more than enough for most situations.

the Sx510 also feature Canon’s Zoom Framing Assist function, that has a dedicated button at the left side of the lens.  In the video below demonstrated hot the Zoom Framing Assist works. It lets you find the subject again after zooming out, so you won’t lose it while zooming in.

The Canon SX510 HS features a built-in WiFi, which you can use to share your photos and geo-tag your shots using a smartphone with WiFi capabilities. The SX510 doesn’t have a built-in GPS.

Among the SX510 HS other features are: full manual control over the exposure with aperture and shutter speed control, creative filters, 32 scene modes in Smart Auto, a 3.0 461K-dots rear LCD display, 3.8 fps continuous shooting speed (10.5 fps in 3MP, 1.0 fps with AF), built-in Flasha nd 180p24 Full HD video recording and 480p120 and 240p240 slow motion video recording.

Let’s continue with a review video by CNET. You can really comprehend how compact this camera is, one of the reasons for its high popularity.

The camera is aimed to everyone looking for a compact and lightweight superzoom camera with high image quality and wireless connectivity, whether for general use or/and as a travel camera. A really splendid compact shooter for its price.

OK, lets move on..

Nikon Coolpix L830

Nikon L830 superzoom cameraThe Nikon L830 was announced on January 7, 2014 — a 34x optical zoom compact stylish superzoom camera, available in three colors: red, black and plum.  The L830 features a 1/2.3″ 16.0 MP (effective) BSI CMOS sensor and EXPEED C2 image processor. The most interesting part of course is its lens. The camera boats a 22.5-765mm (equivalent) f/3-5.9 34x optical zoom lens with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction lens-shift image stabilization and 5-axis Hybrid VF for steady video recording.

What 34x optical zoom looks like.. (video by ephotozine)

22.5mm ultra-wide angle is wider than what the SX510 HS offers, allowing more parts of the scene to appear in the final image and also gives a slight unique perspective angle when shooting up close. This ultra-wide angle is great for a travel camera because it allows you to shoot gorgeous landscape shots and perfect for interiors and architectural photos. At the side of the lens you’ll find a zoom lever that gives an easy access and control over the zoom while shooting stills and videos.

At the back of the camera you have a 3.0-inch 921K-dot high-resolution tilting LCD that allows you to easily compose your shots above your head and below the waistline.  Among its other features are 1080i60 and 1080p30 full HD video recording with stereo sound, Target Finding AF (auto subject detection and continuous focusing, aka AF tracking), pop-up flash, 18 different scene modes to choose from, smart portrait system using Smile timer and Glamour Retouch to perfect your portrait shots. The L830 works with four AA size batteries,

All in all, a great little stylish superzoom camera. What I liked most is its ultra-wide angle, tilting high-res display, good prominent grip and of course its big zoom range, oh — and I like the fact that is works with AA batteries, easy to get them everywhere.

Nikon Coolpix P530

Nikon Coolpix P530 superzoom cameraAnnounced on February 7, 2014, the P530 has the biggest zoom of 41.7x and the most expensive camera among the three. The Nikon also has the P600 which is even more expensive and has 60x optical zoom, so the P530 sits just underneath it in the Coolpix P series lineup.

The camera is equipped with a 1/2.3″ (5.17×4.55 mm) 16.1MP BSI CMOS sensor, therefore having smaller pixels than the SX510 considering the same sensor size. I assume that Nikon has reached the decision that this is the optimal resolution and what people are looking for, however, we can see that Canon has chosen to go with a different approach with the SX510 HS and SX50 HS, and I personally prefer having better low light performance than those extra resolution.

The P530 has a humongous 41.7x optical zoom lens, and to be more precise, a 24-1000mm f/3.0-5.9 VR lens, the same aperture range as the L830, but obviously the focal length range is different and the L830 features a slightly wider lens as well. F5.9 maximum aperture means that the lens is slow at the tele-end. BY saying ‘slow’ I mean that you need to shoot in slower shutter speed or bump up the ISO in order to get a well exposed subject in low light, because the aperture (the whole in which the light passes through) is relatively small. The problem is that in order to get a sharp image at 1000mm and according to the shutter speed rule of thumb, you should be shooting at 1/1000 sec shutter speed at least. Luckily Nikon VR optical image stabilization will help you get a well exposed shot with a shutter speed that is up to 3.5 stops slower than the recommended shutter speed, which is 1/125 sec( the shutter speed stops: 1/000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60).  Keep in mind that the VR wasn’t designed to freeze motion blue, that’s the job of the shutter speed. So shooting at the tele-end indoors isn’t suitable for freezing motion blur, unless you have a strong light source that allows shooting with faster shutter speeds. What I said above is true for all the three cameras and most the superzooms that have a slow maximum aperture at the tele-end.

What 42x optical zoom looks like, take a look at the P530 zoom test video by technoSD YouTube user.

Wow – Amazing!

The P530 also allows you to get even closer to your subject with the Dynamic Fine Zoom, which is a 2x enhanced digital zoom which gives you a total of 84x zoom when combined with the maximum optical zoom that the lens offers. I assume that the Dynamic Fine Zoom works by enhancing the image with extra sharpening and other algorithms that suppose to give the image a sharp and cleaner look. Keep in mind that this is still a digital zoom, which means that the image is cropped and enlarge to match the image resolution that you’ve chosen, so there will be a reduction in image quality, but it will look better compared to a non-processed image. For example, it’s great at times when you don’t care about a perfect look and intend to share a photo online in reduces resolution, or when making small prints. Worth mentioning that the P530 also has a 4x regular digital zoom, which gives you a field of view which is equivalent to 4000 mm (in 35m terms) lens.

Nikon WU-1a WiFi wireless adapterUnfortunately, the Nikon Coolpix P530 doesn’t have a built-in Wi-Fi. The only option to easily share the images via your mobile phone is to buy the optional Nikon WU-1a mobile adapter which enables Wi-Fi wireless connectivity on the the camera and allows you to transfer image to the web, email, social networks and even remote control your camera using your smartphone or tablet device (Android or iOS).

The camera a top rotating dial which allows you to choose the appropriate shooting mode. You can even go fully manual (M), which gives you full manual control over the ISO, shutter speed and aperture values, so you can set them as you pleased and get different results compared to what you get in Auto mode or A, S or P modes (semi-auto). The effects and Scene modes are also easily accessible using a dedicated mode via the mode dial.

At the back of the camera you’ll find a 3.0 921K-dots tilting display (not a touchscreen display) and a  0.2-inch 201K-dots electronic viewfinder. This is the only camera among the three to have this feature, and one reason that the L830 belongs to a higher segment of more advanced superzooms. My issue with it is that this EVF is very small and has very low resolution. In that case I wouldn’t give the EVF such a huge weight, but at the same time I understand that there are times that it’s really hard to compose your shot via the rear LCD (e.g. against strong backlight), and the EVF can help with this.  The good news of course is that the rear LCD has very high resolution and it also tilts, so it’s easier to compose low and high angle shots.

Among its other features are: 1/4000 sec maximum shutter speed (Fastest among the three), pop-up flash, 7 fps burst, 1080p30, 1080i60 Full HD video recording with stereo sound, fast subject tracking and more.

The P530 certainly presents some advanced features which expected for a camera in this price range, including a 1/4000 sec shutter speed, high-res tilting display, EVF and huge zoom among others. The P530 will appeal to those of you who are looking for a superzoom with a big optical zoom and want a camera that also has strong performance and speed for shooting fast moving subjects. So although it’s slow at the tele-end, it has a back-illuminated sensor, fast 7fps burst and 1/4000 sec. to help you to better freeze motion of fast-moving subjects (e.g. flying birds, football game, running kids, etc.).

There is relatively big price difference (~$150) compared to the other models, and it’s important to understand the differences between the P530 and the other two cameras before finalizing your buying decision, and of course I am here to help you out with it. So without further ado, let’s jump to the comparison section!

L830 vs P530 vs SX510 HS

So there you have it, three very popular superzoom cameras, each one with its own cons and pros and unique features. When choosing a new superzoom, you should focus on the features that matters for you the most. Some people prefer to pick up the camera with the biggest zoom, others searching for the superzoom with the best image quality and low-light performance, others might prefer the the most advanced camera and won’t give up on an eye-level viewfinder or a tilting display when shooting videos.

In this section I’ll compare the three cameras one versus the other. You’ll get to fully understand the cons and pros of each camera versus the others, and get to understand from which camera you can benefit the most.

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Let’s take a look at some sample videos..

Nikon Coolpix L830 sample video

Image quality is very good, but you can see the barrel distortion at the wide angle, but overall it capture nice videos that you can share with your friends.

Nikon Coolpix P530

Nice natural colors and smooth zoom operation. The light metering exposure works well, but as with the L830, the rolling shutter distortion is very evident as you move the camera from side to side, so keep the movement slow and steady as possible.

Canon PowerShot SX510 HS test video

Very nice colors, more saturated than the Nikon’s but still looks good and natural.  The rolling shutter distortion is also evident here. I personally prefer the SX510 HS image quality over the Nikons, but that’s my personal preference, mostly for its natural yes saturated colors, less noise and very sharp image. By the way, the stills render the same to what the video looks like, very sharp and with very pleasant saturated colors.


So which camera should you buy, the Nikon Coolpix L830, P530 or go with the Canon SX510 HS.  The Canon SX510 HS is the smallest camera among the three, and I really liked it stylish design and ergonomics, Canon didn’t skip it on this one. It’s camera that you can easily put in your bag as it takes less space than the other two cameras, especially compared to the P530.  The SX510 HS wins when it comes to image quality and high ISO performance in both stills and video IMHO. I think that this is one of the key selling points for this camera for those who understand and appreciate image quality.

The SX510 has the smallest optical zoom, but in my opinion it’s optically better than the Nikon’s. You give up 22.5mm of the L830 and the 1000mm of the P530 and the SX510 has the worse display among the three (fixed and low-res) and has the slowest burst. On the positive side, it has 0cm macro, 24p Full HD video recording (the only camera that has 24p), miniature effect for videos, full manual control over the exposure and let’s not forget that it’s the only camera among the three that comes with a built-in WiFi, a very important feature nowadays. If you are searching for a compact superzoom with relatively high image quality and high ISO performance, the SX510 HS it the camera to get. The DX510 is number 1 position in best sellers in Digital Point and Shoot cameras as of the time of writing. I think that the combination of very good image quality, versatile zoom, compact size, the Zoom framing assist with seek function, WiFi and plenty of built-in special effects and scene modes made this camera an excellent choice for hobbyist photographers and excellent travel camera as well.

The L830 costs about the same and on the negative side, it has inferior high ISO performance and noise is evident even in base ISO, no 24p, no built-in WiFi, no full manual control over the exposure (that’s a point-and-shoot by definition) and its significantly larger — but there are plenty of advantages compared to the SX510, including higher resolution sensor (we’ve seen that this has an impact on image quality), 22.5 mm wide angle, slightly faster lens and bigger zoom, the best LCD among the three (better visibility, high-res and tilting), better AF system for subject tracking, stronger built-in flash, two frame rate recording options at Full HD, best battery life among the three and fast burst.  So if you don’t mind the slightly inferior image quality, I’m sure you’ll enjoy shooting with it. The L830 is at the 3rd position on P&S best sellers, two positions below the SX510 HS. I think that the fact that it’s also relatively compact helped this camera to become more popular, as people don’t want to carry large and heavy lenses, and prefer to always travel as light as possible. It’s a great camera and the user rating and opinions tells that. Oh, I almost forgot, it’s also the only camera among the three that works on AA batteries, so you never find yourself with a dead battery while shooting, as you can always carry extra AA batteries in your bag or pocket. Even so, the L830 has the best battery life among the three, by quite a large margin (390 shots), so I am not sure that you even need to carry replacement batteries, but you do have this option.

The Nikon P530 is the most expensive among the three and the least popular, most probably due to its higher price tag. It’s larger and heavier than the other two, and the fact that it has an EVF doesn’t make it better, because it’s small and has very low resolution.  On the other hand, is has the highest ISO range, has the biggest zoom among the three including 24mm ultra wide-angle with Nikon’s favorite Vibration reduction mechanism and Hybrid VR which works great for video recording. It lacks a tilting display like the L830, but it’s still a 921K high-res display which is higher than the 461K-dots of the Canon. You get 1/4000 sec shutter speed, slow-mo video recording, 7 fps burst, full manual control over the exposure, top mode dial button and rear wheel for quickly changing the camera settings. I think that overall the features that you get for that higher price no really worth it. The only reason that I would pay more for the P530 is if I would have taken advantage of the huge zoom.

I think that when buying a camera superzoom, you need to look at the camera as a whole and not lock yourself to the camera with the biggest zoom. A good superzoom and a good travel camera is the one that can give you the most enjoyment and versatile enough to fit your shooting style. If you want my opinion, I would give my top score to the Canon SX510 HS and Nikon L830, and I think that the sells and user opinions reflect the same conclusion. I think you’ll love the SX510 HS compact size, great image quality and features and I personally won’t be missing the 1000mm focal length, and I think that ~700mm equivalent focal length is more than enough for most people.  The L830 does have its advantages over the SX510 HS, but if built-in Wi-Fi, image quality, size and 24p videos — go with the Canon.

So there you have it. You have the information in front of you, now it’s time to make a decision. I think that the decision shouldn’t be so hard, and each camera has its own unique feature that should appeal to different people with different needs.

What’s your opinion, which camera is better? — share your opinion in the comment section below, and please don’t forget to subscribe to our Facebook page and LIKE the article if you like it. Thanks for reading.

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