Canon 40D vs SX420
The Canon EOS 40D and the Canon PowerShot SX420 IS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and January 2016. The 40D is a DSLR, while the SX420 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (40D) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX420) sensor. The 40D has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the SX420 provides 19.9 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 PowerShot SX420 IS? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Canon SX420 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.
The SX420 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the 40D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX420 is considerably smaller (54 percent) than the Canon 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the SX420 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX420 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.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon SX430||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||323 g||195||n||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|5.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|6.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279|
|7.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|9.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|11.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|12.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|13.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|14.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|17.||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.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 SX420 was launched at a lower price than the 40D, despite having a lens built in. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 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 SX420 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX420 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the 40D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX420 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the SX420 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4+) than the 40D (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX420 offers a higher resolution of 19.9 megapixels, compared with 10.1 MP of the 40D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.19μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). However, it should be noted that the SX420 is much more recent (by 8 years and 4 months) than the 40D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX420 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon SX420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.8 x 19.3 inches or 65.4 x 49.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.6 x 15.5 inches or 52.3 x 39.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.2 x 12.9 inches or 43.6 x 32.7 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 PowerShot SX420 IS are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX420 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the SX420 can use is 720/25p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 40D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX420 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 40D and Canon SX420 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|2.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX430||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX710||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/3200s||6.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 450D||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 400D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n|
|17.||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 SX420 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 SX420 uses SDXC 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 PowerShot SX420 IS 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 SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon SX430||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX710||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 450D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 400D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 40D has a hotshoe, while the SX420 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the SX420) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the SX420 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the SX420 was followed by the Canon SX430. 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 is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Canon SX420? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 40D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- 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 0.5 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 195) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 SX420 IS:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.9 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/25p video.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (104x69mm 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.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 40D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 SX420 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 40D or the SX420. 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 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 SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299|
|3.||Canon SX430||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2017||299|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|5.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|6.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279|
|7.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|8.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|9.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|11.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|12.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|13.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|14.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|17.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 1Ds Mark III vs Canon 40D
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon SX420
- Canon 40D vs Nikon 1 V1
- Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
- Canon 40D vs Nikon D90
- Canon 40D vs Olympus E-5
- Canon 40D vs Sony RX1
- Canon SL3 vs Canon SX420
- Canon SX420 vs Canon SX520
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon D3000
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon P1000
- Canon SX420 vs Sony A99
Specifications: Canon 40D vs Canon SX420
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 SX420|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-1008mm f/3.5-6.6|
|Launch Date||August 2007||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Canon SX420|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||19.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||5152 x 3864 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||1.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||70.91 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/25p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||DIGIC 4+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||64||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||703||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 40D||Canon SX420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||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||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Canon SX420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||0.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Canon SX420|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 40D||Canon SX420|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||195 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
104 x 69 x 85 mm
(4.1 x 2.7 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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