Canon 40D vs 500D
The Canon EOS 40D and the Canon EOS 500D (labelled Canon T1i in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 40D 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 40D 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 40D and the Canon 500D. 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 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 smaller (20 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the 500D is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|8.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|11.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|13.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|15.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 500D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the 40D, which puts it into a different 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. 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. 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. 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 40D (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 500D offers a higher resolution of 15.1 megapixels, compared with 10.1 MP of the 40D. This megapixels advantage translates into a 22 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 500D has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.69μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). However, it should be noted that the 500D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the 40D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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 40D 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 40D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. 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 determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|6.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|16.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 500D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D 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 40D 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 40D has a higher magnification than the one of the 500D (0.59x vs 0.54x), 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 40D and Canon 500D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|2.||Canon 500D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 650D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 550D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 450D||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 400D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n|
|16.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the 500D is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 40D 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 40D and Canon EOS 500D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 500D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon 650D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 550D||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 450D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 400D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the 500D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the 500D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, 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 conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 40D better than the Canon 500D or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.54x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2007).
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 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/20p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 302g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 7 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 500D comes out slightly ahead of the 40D (8 : 7 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 40D or the 500D. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|6.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|8.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 550D||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|10.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|11.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|13.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|14.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|15.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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.
- Canon 1100D vs Canon 40D
- Canon 40D vs Canon 600D
- Canon 40D vs Canon T100
- Canon 40D vs Leica CL
- Canon 40D vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon 40D vs Ricoh WG-6
- Canon 500D vs Fujifilm X-H1
- Canon 500D vs Fujifilm X-Pro3
- Canon 500D vs Leica M-E Typ 240
- Canon 500D vs Samsung NX500
- Canon 500D vs Sony A6100
- Canon 500D vs Sony NEX-5T
Specifications: Canon 40D 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 40D||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 2007||March 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Canon 500D|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||15.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||4752 x 3168 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||4.69 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 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||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||64||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||21.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||703||663|
|Screen Specs||Canon 40D||Canon 500D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Canon 500D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||3.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 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 40D||Canon 500D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 40D||Canon 500D|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||520 g (18.3 oz)|
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