Canon 40D vs Leica X1
The Canon EOS 40D and the Leica X1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2009. The 40D is a DSLR, while the X1 is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 12.2 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 X1? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Leica X1. 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 X1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), 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 Leica X1 is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Canon 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the X1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X1 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 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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Leica X1||124 mm||60 mm||32 mm||306 g||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995|
|3.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|4.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|5.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|7.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|8.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|9.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Sep 2012||699|
|12.||Leica X2||124 mm||69 mm||52 mm||345 g||450||n||May 2012||1,995|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|15.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 X1 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (40D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 12.2MP, the X1 offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the X1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.51μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the X1 is a much more recent model (by 2 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.
The resolution advantage of the Leica X1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.3 inches or 54.3 x 36.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 29 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.2 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 X1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||19.8||10.8||-303||43|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.5||10.4||-583||39|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|16.||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.|
Apart from 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 X1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 40D and Leica X1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|2.||Leica X1||none||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 450D||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 400D||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Leica X2||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n|
|16.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the X1 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 X1 uses SDHC 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 Leica X1 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 X1||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 450D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 400D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica X2||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the X1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the X1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the X1 was followed by the Leica X2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Leica X1? 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:
- 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.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 3 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 260) 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).
Arguments in favor of the Leica X1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x60mm 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).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the 40D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 6 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 X1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 40D or the X1 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.||Leica X1||3/5||..||..||+||..||4/5||Sep 2009||1,995|
|3.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|4.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|5.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|6.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|7.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|8.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|9.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|11.||Leica D-LUX 6||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2012||699|
|12.||Leica X2||3/5||..||..||..||3/5||4/5||May 2012||1,995|
|13.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699|
|14.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|15.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|17.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 40D vs Leica X1
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 X1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||36mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||August 2007||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 1,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Leica X1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||4272 x 2856 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||3.30 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|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 X1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Leica X1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Leica X1|
|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||Leica X1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||260 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
124 x 60 x 32 mm
(4.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||306 g (10.8 oz)|
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