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Canon 40D vs Leica X2

The Canon EOS 40D and the Leica X2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and May 2012. The 40D is a DSLR, while the X2 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 16.1 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 Leica X2
Canon 40D Leica X2
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-12,500
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge450 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Leica X2? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Leica X2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 40D is only available in black.

Size Canon 40D vs Leica X2
Compare 40D versus X2 top
Comparison 40D or X2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X2 is considerably smaller (46 percent) than the Canon 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the X2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 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 X2 can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
2.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
5.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399i
6.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
8.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
9.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
10.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
12.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
14.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
15.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
16.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
17.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
Notes: 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 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.

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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. 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 X2 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon 40D and Leica X2 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X2 offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the X2 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the X2 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 8 months) 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 X2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 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 X2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

40D versus X2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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
1.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
2.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
5.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
6.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
7.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
8.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
9.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
10.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
11.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
12.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
14.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
15.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
16.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
17.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
The 40D offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The X2 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

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 X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 40D, the Leica X2, and comparable 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
1.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
2.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3 Y n
6.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3 Y n
7.
 
Canon 450Doptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
8.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon 400Doptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
14.
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
15.
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
17.
 
Olympus E-30optical 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 X2 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 X2 uses SDHC cards.

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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 Leica X2 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
1.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
2.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon 60DYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 50DY----mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 450DY----mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
9.
 
Canon 400DY-----2.0---
10.
 
Canon 20DY-----1.1---
11.
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
13.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the X2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 40D and the X2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the X2 does not have a direct successor. 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 40D better than the Leica X2 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer 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 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 450) 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).

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Arguments in favor of the Leica X2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.1 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm 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 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the 40D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 40D emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 6 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 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.

40D 09:06 X2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 40D and the Leica X2 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 40D and the X2 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
2.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199i
4.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
5.
 
Canon 60D5/5+79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399i
6.
 
Canon 50D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
7.
 
Canon 450D..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
8.
 
Canon 30D..+ ++ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399i
9.
 
Canon 400D..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
10.
 
Canon 20D....+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499i
11.
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
12.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
13.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5....3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
14.
 
Leica X Vario3/5....4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
15.
 
Leica X13/5..+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
16.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
17.
 
Olympus E-30....71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 40D vs Leica X2

    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 Leica X2
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 36mm f/2.8
    Launch Date August 2007 May 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,299 USD 1,995
    Sensor Specs Canon 40D Leica X2
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 4.79 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 4.35 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,500 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 X2
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x
    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 X2
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 40D Leica X2
    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 Leica X2
    Battery Type BP-511A BP-DC8
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge450 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 345 g (12.2 oz)

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