Canon 40D vs Olympus E-300
The Canon EOS 40D and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (40D) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 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 Olympus Evolt E-300? 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 Olympus E-300 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 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 Olympus E-300 is notably smaller (21 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the E-300 is markedly lighter (24 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the E-300 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (40D) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-300).
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|3.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|4.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|5.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|6.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|7.||Canon XSi||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 XTi||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.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|13.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|14.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|15.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|16.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|17.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the 40D, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 40D features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.0. The sensor in the 40D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 10.1MP, the 40D offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the 40D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.73μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 40D is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 10 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
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 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 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 Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 40D and the E-300 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 E-300 (0.59x vs 0.5x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 40D and Olympus E-300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the E-300 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 E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-300 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 Olympus Evolt E-300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the E-300) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, 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 Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 40D better than the Olympus E-300 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 40D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.1 vs 8MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.5x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 134k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-300:
- More compact: Is smaller (147x85mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 198g or 24 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 40D is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 5 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 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 Olympus E-300 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 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 E-300. 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 expert reviews 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], 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.||Olympus E-300||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|3.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|4.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|5.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|6.||Canon XS||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|7.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|8.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|9.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Canon 20D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|11.||Canon 10D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|12.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|13.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|14.||Olympus E-330||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|15.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|16.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|17.||Olympus E-1||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon 40D vs Olympus E-300
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||Olympus E-300|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||September 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Olympus E-300|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||3.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||TruePic|
|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||Olympus E-300|
|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||3.0inch||1.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||134k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Olympus E-300|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Olympus E-300|
|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||Olympus E-300|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||624 g (22.0 oz)|
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