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Canon 40D versus Canon SL1

The Canon EOS 40D and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (labelled Canon 100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and March 2013. 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 SL1 provides 17.9 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 SL1

The physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Canon SL1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 40D vs Canon SL1
Compare 40D versus SL1 top
Compare 40D and SL1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL1 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the SL1 is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the SL1 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 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 SL1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
Canon 40D» 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Canon SL1« 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon T6« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon XS« » 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 SL1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 58 percent) than the 40D, which puts it into a different market segment. 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: Canon 40D vs Canon SL1

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 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 SL1 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the 40D (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 40D and Canon SL1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SL1 offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixel, compared with 10.1 MP of the 40D. This megapixel advantage translates into a 33 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SL1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). However, it should be noted that the SL1 is much more recent (by 5 years and 7 months) than the 40D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The SL1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

40D versus SL1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. 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 40D» APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
Canon SL1« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
Canon T6« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p----Canon T6
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
Canon XS« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-----Canon XS
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SL1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the SL1 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 40D vs Canon SL1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 40D and the SL1 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 SL1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Canon SL1«optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
Canon T6« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T6
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T3
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
Canon XS« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon XS
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90

One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the SL1 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 SL1 uses SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
Canon SL1«YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
Canon SL2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon SL2
Canon T6« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T6
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
Canon T5i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
Canon XS« »Y-----2.0---Canon XS
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
Canon XTi« »Y-----2.0---Canon XTi
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90

Both the 40D and the SL1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the SL1 was followed by the Canon SL2.

Review summary: Canon 40D vs Canon SL1

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 40D better than the Canon SL1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 4.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 3).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 415g or 50 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (58 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 40D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL1 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

40D 05:10 SL1

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 40D or the SL1 handle or perform in practice. 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 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). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Canon SL1«Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon T6« »rev73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon XS« »82/100HiRec3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon XTi« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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