Canon 30D versus Canon 40D
The Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS 40D are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2006 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 30D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixel, whereas the 40D provides 10.1 MP.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Canon 40D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 30D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 40D is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the 40D is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the 40D are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Canon 30D (⇒ rgt)||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||no||2006||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft)||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||no||2007||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||YES||2010||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||YES||2009||1,699||discont.||check|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||YES||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||no||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||no||2006||799||discont.||check|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||no||2005||899||discont.||check|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||no||2004||1,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||no||2003||1,999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||no||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||no||2006||999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||YES||2005||1,699||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 40D was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the 30D at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 40D is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the 40D offers a higher resolution of 10.1 megapixel, compared with 8.2 MP of the 30D. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.73μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the 40D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the 30D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 consideration, the 40D has a markedly higher DXO score than the 30D (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.1 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 30D (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||no||21.5||10.8||736||59|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft)||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||no||22.1||11.3||703||64|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||no||21.8||11.4||696||63|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||no||21.9||10.8||692||61|
|Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||no||22.1||11.0||664||62|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||no||21.8||10.8||637||60|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||no||21.9||11.0||721||62|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||no||21.1||10.9||571||57|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||no||22.1||11.2||524||61|
|Nikon D200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||no||22.3||11.5||583||64|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 30D and the 40D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 30D, the Canon 40D, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 30D (⇒ rgt)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft)||optical||YES||3.0||230||fixed||no||8000||6.5||12||no|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||no||8000||5.3||13||no|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||8000||8.0||12||no|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||8000||6.3||13||no|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||3.5||13||no|
|Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||1.8||115||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||1.8||118||fixed||no||8000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||1.8||118||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3||920||fixed||no||4000||4.5||17||no|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Nikon D200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||5.0||12||no|
Both the 30D and the 40D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the 40D was followed by the Canon 50D.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 30D or the Canon 40D – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 30D:
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2006).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 40D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10.1 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D is the clear winner of the contest (5 : 1 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 30D or the 40D. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Canon 30D (⇒ rgt)||87/100 HiRec||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2006||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft)||90/100 HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2007||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 60D (⇒ lft | rgt)||87/100 Rec||79/100 Silver||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt)||93/100 HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||1,699||discont.||check|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||90/100 HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100 HiRec||HiRec||reviewed||4.5/5||4/5||2006||799||discont.||check|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2005||899||discont.||check|
|Canon 20D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2004||1,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2003||1,999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D90 (⇒ lft | rgt)||89/100 HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Nikon D80 (⇒ lft | rgt)||86/100 Rec||HiRec||reviewed||4.5/5||4.5/5||2006||999||discont.||check|
|Nikon D200 (⇒ lft | rgt)||91/100 HiRec||HiRec||reviewed||5/5||-||2005||1,699||discont.||check|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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