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Canon 40D versus Canon 7D II

The Canon EOS 40D and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 40D has a resolution of 10.1 megapixel, whereas the 7D Mark II provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 40D vs Canon 7D II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Canon 7D II. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display 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 – the 40D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 40D vs Canon 7D II
Compare 40D versus 7D Mark II top
Compare 40D and 7D Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 7D II is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the 7D Mark II is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the 40D. It is noteworthy in this context that the 7D Mark II is splash and dust-proof, while the 40D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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.

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the 7D Mark II can take 670 images on a single charge of its LP-E6N 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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 40D» 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i
Canon 7D II« 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i
Olympus E-30« » 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i

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 launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the 7D Mark II, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 40D vs Canon 7D II

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. 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 7D Mark II 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.

Canon 40D and Canon 7D II sensor measures

With 20MP, the 7D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the 7D Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.10μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the 7D Mark II is a much more recent model (by 7 years) than the 40D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

40D versus 7D Mark II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 7D Mark II has a markedly higher DXO score than the 40D (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 40D» APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364
Canon 7D II« APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
Olympus E-30« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 7D Mark II indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the 7D Mark II can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 40D vs Canon 7D II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 40D and the 7D Mark II 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 40D and Canon 7D II along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon 40D»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n
Canon 7D II«optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n
Olympus E-30« »optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y

The 7D Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 40D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 40D was succeeded by the Canon 50D.

Review summary: Canon 40D vs Canon 7D II

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 40D better than the Canon 7D II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 88g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 670) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years of technical progress since the 40D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D Mark II is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 4 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.

40D 04:08 7D Mark II

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 40D and the 7D Mark II in practical situations. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 40D»HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i
Canon 7D II«Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i
Canon XTi« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Olympus E-30« »-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i

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.

 

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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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