Canon PowerShot SX60 HS vs SX50 vs SX520 vs Nikon P600

September 22, 2014

Superzoom photo of lion eating meat

In this article I’ll compare four superzoom cameras, the newly announced Canon Sx60 HS versus the SX50 HS (older model which the SX60 replaces), PowerShot SX520 and Nikon P600. If you are shopping for a new superzoom and focus on one of Canon’s finest ultrazooms and also looked at the Nikon P600, this comparison is definitely the perfect one for you. I’m pretty sure that by the end of this article, you’ll be familiar with the differences between the SX60, SX50 and SX520, and you’ll be able to make your final buying decision — so let’s get started.

I will start with a short introduction to each of the cameras and then continue to the comparison section.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS

Canon SX60 HS

Canon SX60 HS ultrazoom

Announced on September 15 2014, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS is as of the time of writing, Canon’s latest superzoom/bridge camera This camera updated on the SX50 HS which was announced on September 17 2012,  two years ago. The SX50 HS was and still is a very popular travel camera. After two years, it’s certainly time to update this camera, as even at the SX50 HS time of launch, in was in some aspects behind the competition.  Image quality wide, the no other superzoom was able to beat the SX50 HS, and that’s one reason why so many photographers bought this camera.

The PowerShot SX60 HS was improved in many positive ways. It features a 16.1 (effective) megapixel sensor and Canon’s latest Digic 6 image processor. That’s quite a big leap from the SX50 12-megapixels, considering Canon’s intention to keep the resolution low and use larger pixels in order to promote a better image quality. The sensor size stayed the same, a 1/2.3″ (6.17×4.55mm), but it’s expected considering the huge 65x optical zoom of the SX60 lens.

Speaking about the lens, Canon did upgrade the lens, and it’s one of my personal favorite updated on the SX60. It’s now a 21-1365mm F3.4-6.5  (focal length in 35mm equivalent) lens, so it has a bigger zoom than its predecessor, but most important is that it features a 21mm equivalent wide-angle focal length. This is a very wide angle, allowing to capture more parts of the scene both horizontally and vertically, great for landscapes, indoors, group shots, etc.

For comparison, let’s take a look at the wide-angle of other popular superzooms:

  • Canon SX50 HS, Canon SX520 HS, Nikon P600, Nikon P510, Fujifilm S1, HX50V: 24mm
  • Panasonic FZ200: 25mm
  • Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72: 20mm

A short glimpse of some of the most popular superzooms shows us that most of them have a 24mm focal length at the wide-end, with the FZ70 the only model that actually have a wider angle than the SX60, and the widest angle of any superzoom camera on the market to date.

A 21mm equivalent lens will give you a 79° horizontal and 63° vertical field of view, compared to 24mm which gives you 71.6° horizontal and 56.8° vertical field of view, this is a significant difference that will allow you to capture unique wide angle shot and become more creative with your camera.  This is something that you don’t get to enjoy on any smartphone camera, and the combination of an interchangeable lens with that FOV and camera body is much more expensive — superb feature for your next travel camera.

The SX60 also uses Canon’s optical image stabilization like its predecessor. The SX60 HS has a bigger lens and an overall bigger body. Lets take a look at the differences between the SX50 and SX60.

SX60 vs SX50 – Differences, What’s Changed?

Here’s a list of the differences between the Canon SX60 HS and its predecessor, the SX50 HS.

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We cal clearly see that for extra $150 (difference in price between the SX60 and SX50, with the SX60 being more expensive) you get more in return, including higher resolution, bigger zoom, improved AF speed, better viewfinder, wider lens, larger LCD with higher resolution, faster burst, more video recording function (inc. 60p Full HD), new sensor with faster new-gen processor, improved grip, front-dial and mic input in most part. In my opinion that’s a very nice update.

Unfortunately, the SX60 doesn’t offer a faster optics and I personally would have preferred that Canon would have chosen to stay with the same resolution as the SX50 (= larger pixels).

I was quite surprised that Canon has decided not to release this camera a year ago. If I remember right, this is the first time we see this camera skipped a year. That aside, I think that Canon did improve in areas that expected from it, but as I mentioned, many people wanted a faster lens to compete well against some other superzooms, and that’s my main complain with this new camera. I had a change to shoot a lot with the SX50 HS and loved this camera so much. Image quality is excellent, it’s relatively compact and lightweight and fund to shoot with, the perfect travel camera for me.

The SX60 will have hard time to compete against some of the fast lens super-zoom lenses, but it’s important to understand that those cameras do have shorter zoom range to maintain a smaller cameras size and lower price. Ir certainly in a different category than cameras like the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III. I think that people expected Canon to use a faster lens in its superzoom flagship after seeing Panasonic launching the FZ70 with a 20-1200mm (60x zoom) F2.8-5.9 lens — if Panasonic can do it, can’t Canon do it?

I thought about it for a few moments and I think that Canon focused in making the lens with a bigger zoom while still maintaining a compact camera size, as well as relatively low price. If it had to go with a faster aperture at the wide-end (f/2.8), this would make the camera bigger (for the same optical zoom) and obviously much more expensive.  So that was a compromise, and I think that the target audience will prefer a bigger zoom and more compact body than a slightly faster lens – although I might be wrong here, but that’s just a hunch.

SX60 vs SX520 vs P600

Now that you understand the key differences between the SX60 and SX50, it’s time to see how the Canon SX60HS compared to two other excellent superzooms, the Nikon P600 and Canon PowerShot SX520. I know that making a decision can be sometimes hard and frustrating and over-analyzing  stuff can be very time consuming. I hope that the following side by side comparison table with my side notes will help you out.

I recommend emphasizing on the features that are the most important for your type of shooting style. For example, if you intend to but a superzoom camera for your next trip to Berlin for example and you care most about the lens attributes, focus on that and try to eliminate cameras that doesn’t fall into your specific needs, stay with those that do. Than do the same to the less important features until you have a winning camera in your hand.

Canon SX60 HS, SX520 HS and Nikon P600 size comparison

Canon SX60 HS, SX520 HS and Nikon P600 size comparison (via camerasize.com)

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Conclusion

The Canon PowerShot Sx60 is certainly the most attractive camera among the three, but the most expensive one too. It costs around $150 than the SX520 and $120 than the P600. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to pay extra for this camera in order to enjoy its more advanced features. The SX60 HS has the biggest zoom among the three with 21mm ultra wide-angle lens, high-res LCD and by far the best viewfinder experience. It’s the only camera among the three to offer RAW and have a hot-shoe connector, it offers the most versatile video recording functions and 1080p60 (progressive) video recording mode. It has a very good battery life, front-top dial, best of the three and the only one with WiFi plus NFC and you can even attach filter adapter and lens hoods to optimize your results in the field and become even more creative with your camera.

On the downside, it lacks built-in GPS, but neither offer that. It’s larger than the other cameras, but as I mentioned, the difference is not big and none of the cameras is pocketable either, you’ll need a camera bag anyway — and it’s more expensive.

In my opinion, the SX60 is one of the best superzooms this year, and the one that I highly recommend. That said, I hope that Canon will release a new version next year with a faster lens.  The SX520 is more affordable, smaller, has a smaller zoom range, inferior battery life but all in all it’s a very good camera for its price. Let’s not forget that the Canon SX510 was one of Canon’s most popular superzooms, and people love it because of its small size, great advanced controls, manual focusing, big zoom and the excellent image quality. So if you are on a tighter budget, the SX520 is an excellent alternative to the SX60 HS, and a great camera in its own right.

The Nikon P600 has also gotten very positive reviews and it’s a very versatile camera, and probably a good choice for those who can’t give up on an articulating display and EVF (both are missing on the SX520) and built-in wireless networking capability. BTW, None of the three cameras have a touchscreen. So in some aspects, the P600 wins against the SX520 and it’s only $30 more expensive (the last time I checked). So the P600 is certainly a good option as well. So do your own calculations whether the SX520 is the right camera for you. The SX520 will certainly have inner competition from its predecessor, because the SX510 HS sells for almost half the price – something to keep in mind if you are on a limited budget.

Remember, you are not buying a camera everyday, and if this is your primary camera, I think that you’ll enjoy better shooting with the SX60 HS and it might worth the extra money your pay for it. I would buy the SX60 HS mainly for its 21mm focal length, big zoom, 1080p60 video recording, great ergonomic design and front dial and wireless capability.

What’s your opinion, have questions.. don’t hesitate and drop me a question in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and please don’t forget to LIKE this article and our Facebook page to get updated when a new comparison article is published.



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