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Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

The Canon EOS 40D and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and March 2009. The 40D is a DSLR, while the GH1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (40D) and a Four Thirds (GH1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 40D   Panasonic GH1
Canon 40D Panasonic GH1
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 124 x 90 x 45 mm, 385 g

Body comparison: Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

The physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Panasonic GH1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.

Compare Canon 40D and Panasonic GH1
Compare 40D versus GH1 top
Compare 40D or GH1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH1 is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the GH1 is substantially lighter (53 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the GH1 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 Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GH1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the GH1 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

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, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 40D» 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Panasonic GH1« 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 1,499- i Panasonic GH1
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 1100D« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 50D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon 450D« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 400D« » 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Canon 20D« » 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Nikon D90« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Olympus E-30« » 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
Panasonic G10« » 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« » 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« » 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« » 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1
Panasonic G1« » 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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. The 40D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the GH1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 Panasonic GH1

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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 40D features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GH1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH1 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 GH1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 40D and Panasonic GH1 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the GH1 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10.1 MP of the 40D. 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 4.33μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). However, it should be noted that the GH1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the 40D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The Canon EOS 40D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200.. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

40D versus GH1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 40D» APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
Panasonic GH1« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon 1100D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon 1100D
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
Canon 450D« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon 450D
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
Canon 400D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon 400D
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Olympus E-30« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055Olympus E-30
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354Panasonic GF1
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353Panasonic G1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GH1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the GH1 can use is 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the 40D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 40D and Panasonic GH1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Panasonic GH1«1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon 1100D« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 1100D
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
Canon 450D« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon 450D
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
Canon 400D« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 400D
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Olympus E-30« »optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-30
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic GF1
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1

One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the GH1 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 GH1 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 40D does not have a selfie-screen.

The 40D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the GH1 uses SDHC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
Panasonic GH1«Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Panasonic GH1
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Canon 1100D« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon 1100D
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
Canon 450D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 450D
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
Canon 400D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 400D
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Olympus E-30« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-30
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF1
Panasonic G1« »Y----mini2.0---Panasonic G1

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the GH1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 40D and the GH1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the GH1 was followed by the Panasonic GH2.


Review summary: Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 40D better than the Panasonic GH1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 40D:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • 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 300) on a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2007).

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 7%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x90mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 437g or 53 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 6 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 8 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.

40D 08:10 GH1

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 40D or the GH1. 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: Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Panasonic GH1«HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 1,499- i Panasonic GH1
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 1100D« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon 1100D
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon 450D« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon 450D
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 400D« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon 400D
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Olympus E-30« »-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Panasonic GH2
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i Panasonic GF1
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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
Panasonic GH1:
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 40D vs Panasonic GH1

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 40D Panasonic GH1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 March 2009
    Launch Price USD 1299 USD 1499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 17.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 64
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 772
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.59x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution n/a 1440k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 6.5 shutter flaps/s 3 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
    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
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack DMW-BLB13 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    124 x 90 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.5 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 385 g (13.6 oz)

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