Canon 400D vs 500D
The Canon EOS 400D (called Canon XTi in some regions) and the Canon EOS 500D (labelled Canon T1i in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2006 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 400D has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the 500D provides 15.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 400D and the Canon EOS 500D? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 400D and the Canon 500D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 500D is notably larger (19 percent) than the Canon 400D. However, the 500D is markedly lighter (6 percent) than the 400D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 400D nor the 500D 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|2.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|3.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|7.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|8.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|12.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 500D is 1 percent bigger. 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 500D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the 400D (DIGIC II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 15.1MP, the 500D offers a higher resolution than the 400D (10.1MP), but the 500D has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.69μm versus 5.71μm for the 400D). Yet, the 500D is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 7 months) than the 400D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 500D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 500D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 400D are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 400D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 500D are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|7.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 500D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 400D does not. The highest resolution format that the 500D can use is 1080/20p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 400D and the 500D 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 500D has a higher magnification than the one of the 400D (0.54x vs 0.49x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 400D and Canon 500D in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
The 400D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 500D uses SDHC cards.
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 400D and Canon EOS 500D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the 400D and the 500D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 400D was replaced by the Canon 450D, while the 500D was followed by the Canon 550D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 400D and the Canon 500D? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 400D:
- More compact: Is smaller (127x84mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2006).
Advantages of the Canon EOS 500D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.1 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC II).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/20p video.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.49x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 400D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 500D is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 2 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 before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 400D and the Canon 500D 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 400D or the 500D. 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 summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|2.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|3.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|4.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|7.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|8.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|9.||Canon 550D||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|11.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|12.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|13.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 400D vs Canon 500D
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 Model||Canon 400D||Canon 500D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2006||March 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 400D||Canon 500D|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||15.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||4752 x 3168 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.71 μm||4.69 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.07 MP/cm2||4.53 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/20p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||21.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||664||663|
|Screen Specs||Canon 400D||Canon 500D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 400D||Canon 500D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 400D||Canon 500D|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 400D||Canon 500D|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
127 x 84 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||556 g (19.6 oz)||520 g (18.3 oz)|
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