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Canon 30D vs 40D

The Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS 40D are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, 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 megapixels, whereas the 40D provides 10.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 30D   Canon 40D
Canon 30D Canon 40D
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 6.5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 g 146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS 40D? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 30D vs 40D

The physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Canon 40D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 30D vs Canon 40D
Compare 30D versus 40D top
Comparison 30D or 40D rear

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 compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 30D» 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 40D« 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« » 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon 450D« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
 
Canon 400D« » 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
 
Canon 350D« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Canon 20D« » 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Nikon D90« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 30D vs 40D

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

Technology-wise, the 40D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 3) than the 30D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 30D and Canon 40D sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the 40D offers a higher resolution of 10.1 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 30D. This megapixels 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.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 40D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 40D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.4 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.6 x 10.4 inch or 39.5 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13 x 8.6 inch or 32.9 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 30D are 17.5 x 11.7 inch or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inch or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inch or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The Canon EOS 40D offers exactly the same ISO settings.

30D versus 40D MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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, and 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon 30D» APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 40D« APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
 
Canon 450D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon 450D
 
Canon 400D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon 400D
 
Canon 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
The 40D offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 30D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 30D vs 40D

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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 40D has a higher magnification than the one of the 30D (0.59x vs 0.56x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 30D and Canon 40D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 30D»optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 40D«optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
 
Canon 450D« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon 450D
 
Canon 400D« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
 
Canon 350D« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 30D and the 40D write their files to Compact Flash cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 30D vs 40D

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 30D and Canon EOS 40D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 30D»Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 40D«Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
 
Canon 450D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 450D
 
Canon 400D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 400D
 
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
 
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
 
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

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. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.


Review summary: Canon 30D vs 40D

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 30D better than the Canon 40D or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon EOS 30D:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2006).


Arguments in favor of 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.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 3 vs DIGIC 2).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.56x).
  • 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 (7 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

30D 01:07 40D

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Canon 40D place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 30D and the 40D in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews: Canon 30D vs 40D

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 30D»+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon 40D«+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 70D« »+ +83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
 
Canon 60D« »+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« »+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon 450D« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
 
Canon 400D« »+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
 
Canon 350D« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Canon 20D« »-+ +-o- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Nikon D90« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D80« »++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »+ ++ +o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 30D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 30D vs Canon 40D

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 30D Canon 40D
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2006 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 1399 USD 1299
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Canon 40D
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 10.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 3888 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 5.73 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 3.03 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 2 DIGIC 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 64
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 703
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Canon 40D
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.59x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Canon 40D
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 6.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D Canon 40D
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 30D Canon 40D
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack BP-511A power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 822 g (29.0 oz)

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