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Canon 40D vs G12

The Canon EOS 40D and the Canon PowerShot G12 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2010. The 40D is a DSLR, while the G12 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (40D) and a 1/1.7-inch (G12) sensor. The 40D has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the G12 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 40D versus Canon G12
Canon 40D Canon G12
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
no Video 720/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 80-3,200 (80 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.8 LCD, 461k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 1.1 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 112 x 76 x 48 mm, 401 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Canon PowerShot G12? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Canon G12. 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 40D vs Canon G12
Compare 40D versus G12 top
Comparison 40D or G12 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G12 is considerably smaller (46 percent) than the Canon 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the G12 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G12 has a lens built in, whereas the 40D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 40D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the G12 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NB-7L power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499i
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G12 was launched at a lower price than the 40D, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 40D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon G12 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G12 is 87 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.6. The sensor in the 40D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G12 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, the G12 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the 40D (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 40D and Canon G12 sensor measures

With 10.1MP, the 40D offers a slightly higher resolution than the G12 (10MP), but the 40D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.73μm versus 2.07μm for the G12) due to its larger sensor. However, the G12 is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the 40D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

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 PowerShot G12 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.

40D versus G12 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the 40D provides substantially higher image quality than the G12, with an overall score that is 17 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.1 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
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 2592none22.111.370364
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.551256
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The G12 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the G12 can use is 720/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 40D and the G12 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 40D and Canon G12 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n

One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the G12 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 G12 uses SDXC cards.

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 40D and Canon PowerShot G12 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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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
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the G12) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 40D and the G12 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the G12 was followed by the Canon G15. 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

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 40D better than the Canon G12 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (17 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 370) 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 available for much longer (launched in August 2007).


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G12:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 3).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (112x76mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 40D).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the 40D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 40D comes out slightly ahead of the G12 (11 : 10 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.

40D 11:10 G12

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Canon G12 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 G12. 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 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
 
Canon G12+73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
 
Canon 70D+ +83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon G15+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon 1100D80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon 60D+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
 
Canon 50D+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Canon 450D+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Canon 400D+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon 20D..+ +..o.. Aug 2004 1,499i
 
Fujifilm X10..76/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-450....4/5..4/5 Mar 2009 499i
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon G12:
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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 40D vs Canon G12

    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 40D Canon G12
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5
    Launch Date August 2007 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Canon 40D Canon G12
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 4.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 2.07 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 23.04 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 161
    Screen Specs Canon 40D Canon G12
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.8inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 40D Canon G12
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 1.1 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 40D Canon G12
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 G12
    Battery Type BP-511A NB-7L
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    112 x 76 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 401 g (14.1 oz)

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