Canon 40D vs Leica S3
The Canon EOS 40D and the Leica S3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2018. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (40D) and a medium format (S3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 64 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 Leica S3? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Leica S3 is provided 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica S3 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the S3 is substantially heavier (53 percent) than the 40D. It is noteworthy in this context that the S3 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S3||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1000D||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|11.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica S2||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1410 g||..||Y||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|Note: 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 40D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 93 percent) than the S3, 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. 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 Leica S3 a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the S3 is 307 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 0.8. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 64MP, the S3 offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the S3 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.59μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the S3 is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 1 month) 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Leica S3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 49 x 32.7 inches or 124.5 x 83 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 39.2 x 26.1 inches or 99.6 x 66.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 32.7 x 21.8 inches or 83 x 55.3 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 Leica S3 are ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Leica S3||Medium Format||64.0||9800||6533||4K/24p||25.6||14.4||3143||98|
|11.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||4K/24p||25.1||13.7||2763||93|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|15.||Leica S2||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.5||2224||82|
|17.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The S3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the S3 can use is 4K/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 40D and the S3 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 viewfinder in the S3 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the 40D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the S3 has a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.59x), 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 Leica S3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5/s||Y||n|
|2.||Leica S3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 450D||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 1000D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 400D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||n||n|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|15.||Leica S2||optical||Y||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 40D has one, while the S3 does not. While the built-in flash of the 40D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The 40D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the S3 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The S3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 40D only has one slot.
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 Leica S3 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.||Leica S3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 450D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1000D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 400D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica S2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the S3 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 40D does not provide wifi capability.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the S3 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The S3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the 40D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 40D was succeeded by the Canon 50D. Further information on the features and operation of the 40D and S3 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 40D Manual (free pdf) or the online Leica S3 Manual.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 40D or the Leica S3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (146x108mm vs 160x120mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 438g or 35 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (93 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).
Advantages of the Leica S3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (64 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 152%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/24p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.87x vs 0.59x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 1 month of technical progress since the 40D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S3 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 8 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. 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 Leica S3 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 40D and the S3 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Leica S3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2018||18,995||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1000D||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|11.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||ebay.com|
|12.||Leica S-E Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||16,900||ebay.com|
|13.||Leica S Typ 007||4/5||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2014||24,490||ebay.com|
|14.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950||ebay.com|
|15.||Leica S2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2008||22,995||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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? 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 40D vs Leica S3
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||Leica S3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Leica S mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 18,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Leica S3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||45.0 x 30.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||1350 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||54.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||64 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||9800 x 6533 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||4.59 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||4.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 50,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||Maestro II|
|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||Leica S3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Leica S3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Leica S3|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 40D||Leica S3|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
160 x 120 x 80 mm
(6.3 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||1260 g (44.4 oz)|
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