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Canon 40D versus Sony A6000

The Canon EOS 40D and the Sony Alpha A6000 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and February 2014. The 40D is a DSLR, while the A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 40D vs Sony A6000

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Sony A6000. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 40D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 40D vs Sony A6000
Compare 40D versus A6000 top
Compare 40D and A6000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6000 is considerably smaller (49 percent) than the Canon 40D. Moreover, the A6000 is substantially lighter (58 percent) than the 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the A6000 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (40D) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A6000, 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 A6000 can take 360 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 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, 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.

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
Sony A6000« 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
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
Sony A6300« » 120 mm 67 mm 49 mm 404 g 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony RX100 IV« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5100« » 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A3000« » 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-6« » 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 345 g 360 n Sep 2012 999- i Sony NEX-6

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. 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 A6000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 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 Sony A6000

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 A6000 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 Sony A6000 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A6000 offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the A6000 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the A6000 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 5 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.

40D versus A6000 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 consideration, the A6000 offers substantially better image quality than the 40D (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 1.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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.

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
Sony A6000« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
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
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
Sony NEX-6« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878Sony NEX-6

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A6000 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the A6000 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 40D vs Sony A6000

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6000 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 40D and Sony A6000 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 40D»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Sony A6000«1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
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
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6300
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
Sony NEX-6« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-6

One feature that is present on the 40D, but is missing on the A6000 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 A6000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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
Sony A6000«Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
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
Sony A6300« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6300
Sony RX100 IV« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
Sony NEX-6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Sony NEX-6

Both the 40D and the A6000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the A6000 was followed by the Sony A6300.

Review summary: Canon 40D vs Sony A6000

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 40D or the Sony A6000 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of 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.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 54%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 6.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 478g or 58 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (54 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 40D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

40D 05:17 A6000

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 40D or the A6000. 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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
Sony A6000«Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
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
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-6« »HiRec78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i Sony NEX-6

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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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