Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
The Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D70s are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and April 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 40D||Nikon D70s|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)||ISO 200-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||2.0" LCD, 130k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|6.5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|750 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g||140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D70s? 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: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Nikon D70s. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 Nikon D70s is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the D70s is markedly lighter (17 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the D70s 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (40D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D70s).
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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon 40D»||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||-||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D70s«||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||-||Nikon D70s|
|Canon T3« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS« »||5.0 in||3.9 in||2.6 in||17.7 oz||500||n||Jun 2008||449||-||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799||-||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D90« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999||-||Nikon D70|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 D70s was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the 40D, 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
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 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 D70s 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 40D offers a higher resolution of 10.1 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D70s. 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 5.73μm versus 7.85μm for the D70s). However, it should be noted that the 40D is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the D70s, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 40D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 40D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.4 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.6 x 10.4 inch or 39.5 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13 x 8.6 inch or 32.9 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70s are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 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 Nikon D70s are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the 40D provides substantially higher image quality than the D70s, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon 40D»||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.3||703||64||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D70s«||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Canon T3« »||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||-||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||-||-||-||-||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi« »||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||-||21.9||10.8||692||61||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.0||664||62||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D5300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D90« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
Feature comparison: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 40D and the D70s 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 40D has a higher magnification than the one of the D70s (0.59x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 40D, the Nikon D70s, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 40D»||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D70s«||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Canon T3« »||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi« »||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D5300« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D90« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the D70s 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 40D and the D70s write their files to Compact Flash cards.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
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 Nikon D70s and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 40D»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D70s«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Canon T3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||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 D5300« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D90« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the D70s) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the D70s have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, while the 40D was followed by the Canon 50D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
Review summary: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Nikon D70s? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.1 vs 6MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.50x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 130k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D70s launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70s:
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 143g or 17 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2005).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 3 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 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 Nikon D70s 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 40D or the D70s. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon 40D»||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||-||Canon 40D|
|Nikon D70s«||-||-||-||o||5/5||Apr 2005||899||-||Nikon D70s|
|Canon T3« »||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||+||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 50D« »||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon XS« »||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449||-||Canon XS|
|Canon XSi« »||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 30D« »||+ +||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799||-||Canon XTi|
|Canon 20D« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Canon 10D« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Nikon D5300« »||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D90« »||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D40« »||81/100||+ +||o||5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||78/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Jan 2004||999||-||Nikon D70|
|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. 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.
Specifications: Canon 40D vs Nikon D70s
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||Nikon D70s|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 1299||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D70s|
|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||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||64||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||703||529|
|Screen Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D70s|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D70s|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D70s|
|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||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 40D||Nikon D70s|
|Battery Type||BP-511A power pack||EN-EL3a power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
140 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||679 g (24.0 oz)|
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