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Canon 400D vs Olympus E-520

The Canon EOS 400D (called Canon XTi in some regions) and the Olympus E-520 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2006 and May 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (400D) and a Four Thirds (E-520) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon 400D VS Olympus E-520
Canon 400D Olympus E-520
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 2.7" LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
370 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
127 x 84 x 65 mm, 556 g 136 x 92 x 68 mm, 535 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 400D and the Olympus E-520? 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

The physical size and weight of the Canon 400D and the Olympus E-520 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 400D vs Olympus E-520
Compare 400D versus E-520 top
Comparison 400D or E-520 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-520 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Canon 400D. However, the E-520 is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the 400D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 400D nor the E-520 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (400D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-520).

Concerning battery life, the 400D gets 370 shots out of its NB-2LH battery, while the E-520 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

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 camera comparisons 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)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 400D» 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799iCanon 400D
 
Olympus E-520« 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699iOlympus E-520
 
Canon 750D« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749iCanon 750D
 
Canon 760D« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 649iCanon 760D
 
Canon 650D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849iCanon 650D
 
Canon 1100D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449iCanon 1100D
 
Canon 550D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699iCanon 550D
 
Canon 500D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799iCanon 500D
 
Canon 450D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799iCanon 450D
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299iCanon 40D
 
Canon 350D« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899iCanon 350D
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Olympus E-600« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449iOlympus E-600
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699iOlympus E-620
 
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799iOlympus E-510
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 E-520 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the 400D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 400D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-520 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-520 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the 400D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-520 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 400D and Olympus E-520 sensor measures

With 10.1MP, the 400D offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-520 (10MP), but the 400D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.71μm versus 4.74μm for the E-520) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-520 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the 400D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS 400D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The Olympus E-520 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

400D versus E-520 MP

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. Of the two cameras under review, the 400D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-520 (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional 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 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462Canon 400D
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855Olympus E-520
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971Canon 750D
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon 760D
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon 650D
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon 1100D
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon 550D
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon 500D
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261Canon 450D
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252Olympus E-510
The E-520 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 400D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 400D and the E-520 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 400D has a higher magnification than the one of the E-520 (0.49x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 400D, the Olympus E-520, and comparable cameras.

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 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
 
Canon 750Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 750D
 
Canon 760Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 760D
 
Canon 650Doptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon 650D
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 1100D
 
Canon 550Doptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon 550D
 
Canon 500Doptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n Canon 500D
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Canon 450D
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon 350Doptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-600optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510

One feature that differentiates the E-520 and the 400D is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-520 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 400D has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

The 400D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-520 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-520 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 400D only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison

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 Olympus E-520 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 400DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 400D
 
Olympus E-520Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-520
 
Canon 750DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon 750D
 
Canon 760DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon 760D
 
Canon 650DYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 650D
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---Canon 1100D
 
Canon 550DYstereononeY-mini2.0---Canon 550D
 
Canon 500DYmonomono--mini2.0---Canon 500D
 
Canon 450DYnonenone--mini2.0---Canon 450D
 
Canon 40DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon 350DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 350D
 
Nikon D40XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-600Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-620Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-420Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-410Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-510

Both the 400D and the E-520 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 400D was replaced by the Canon 450D, while the E-520 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 400D or the Olympus E-520 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 400D:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.49x vs 0.46x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x84mm vs 136x92mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2006).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-520:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 8 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-520 emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

400D 05:07 E-520

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 400D and the Olympus E-520 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 400D and the E-520 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

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 400D+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799iCanon 400D
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699iOlympus E-520
 
Canon 750D..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749iCanon 750D
 
Canon 760D+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649iCanon 760D
 
Canon 650D+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849iCanon 650D
 
Canon 1100D80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449iCanon 1100D
 
Canon 550D+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699iCanon 550D
 
Canon 500D+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799iCanon 500D
 
Canon 450D+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799iCanon 450D
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299iCanon 40D
 
Canon 350D80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899iCanon 350D
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729iNikon D40X
 
Olympus E-600........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449iOlympus E-600
 
Olympus E-62088/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699iOlympus E-620
 
Olympus E-42085/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599iOlympus E-420
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699iOlympus E-410
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799iOlympus E-510
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 400D:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-520:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 400D vs Olympus E-520

    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 400D Olympus E-520
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2006 May 2008
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-520
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.71 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 3.07 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC II TruePic III
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 664 548
    Screen Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-520
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-520
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-520
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 400D Olympus E-520
    Battery Type NB-2LH BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 84 x 65 mm
    (5.0 x 3.3 x 2.6 in)
    136 x 92 x 68 mm
    (5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    Camera Weight 556 g (19.6 oz) 535 g (18.9 oz)

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