Interestingly these two cameras, the Canon SX500IS and the CoolPix P510 are similar in specs and name.

The Canon SX500IS was announced just a week ago and is now shipping. The Nikon P510 has been available since february 12.

They both offer 16MP, a starting focal length of 24mm, loads of zoom with the SX500 providing 30x and the P510 provides 41.7x, both have optical stabilization and their form factor is similar.    If you don’t care about the review and want to know which camera to buy – the Nikon P510 is a much better camera, it sells for $100 more but the difference is worth the money.

Key Differences –

Sensor – The P510 offers a BSI-CMOS sensor – BSI stands for Back Side Illuminated which gives very good results in lower light vs the CCD sensor of the Canon. As a result the P510 offers a maximum ISO of 3200 vs 1600 from the Canon SX500is

LCD screen – The P510 is tilting and 921K dots – the SX500 is fixed and only 460K dots

Video recording – Full 1080P at 30fps, 720 at 60fps and 480 at 120fps are all possible on the P510, the Canon offers a maximum of 720 at 25fps.

GPS – The P510 has one for automatic Geotagging of photos (geotagging is writing latitude and longitude into the photo so it can be automatically placed on a map). the SX500IS does not have a GPS.

Price – Nikon CoolPix P510 is selling for $346 on Amazon. The Canon SX500IS is selling for $249

Final Thoughts
I usually pick Canon P&S cameras over Coolpix models, many of Nikon’s P&S models are just not built well – the P510 is an exception and as a result is selling well and getting excellent reviews at the under $400 price point for a super zoom.  You get a wicked amount of zoom with few of the usual sacrifices. The GPS is a nice additional feature which really makes this an excellent travel camera.  Just make sure you get a nice big SD card to hold all those images and video – I recommend the Transcend 16GB Card.

If you are willing to pay a bit more you should consider the Panasonic FZ150K 12MP 24x Zoom – at $499 you are in the price range of entry level DSLRs but with 24x zoom you are getting far more zoom for your money.  Fast AF, tilt-able screen and excellent video options make this the best travel zoom currently on the market.

If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of zoom but have a camera that will slip into your pocket consider the Canon SX260IS- 20x zoom in a small form factor, excellent quality with full 1080P video and beautiful 16MP images.  Current selling at $199 – Canon SX260 at Amazon

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