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Canon 40D vs 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 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 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   Sony A6000
Canon 40D Sony A6000
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Canon EF mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
6.5 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g 120 x 67 x 45 mm, 344 g

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.

Compare Canon 40D and Sony A6000
Compare 40D versus A6000 top
Compare 40D or 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 compare the optics available 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 power pack in the A6000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

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» 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Sony A6000« 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Canon T3« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon XS« » 5.0 in 3.9 in 2.6 in 17.7 oz 500 n Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon XTi« » 5.0 in 3.3 in 2.6 in 19.6 oz 370 n Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3

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. 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.

The A6000 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

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 Sony Alpha A6000 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200..

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 T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
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 XS« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-----Canon XS
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
Canon XTi« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.066462Canon XTi
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
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-3« » APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068Sony NEX-3

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.

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
Sony A6000«1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T3
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 XS« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon XS
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
Canon XTi« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon XTi
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Sony A6300« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6300
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
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-3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-3

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.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 40D vs Sony A6000

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 Sony Alpha A6000 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
Sony A6000«Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A6000
Canon T3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon T3
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
Canon XS« »Y-----2.0---Canon XS
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---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 D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Sony A6300« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6300
Sony A5000« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5000
Sony A5100« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Sony A5100
Sony A3000« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Sony NEX-3

It is notable that the A6000 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 40D does not offer wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the A6000) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

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.
  • 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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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.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • 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.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built 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 (18 : 6 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 06:18 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 40D vs Sony A6000

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 T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
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 XS« »82/100HiRec3.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449- i Canon XS
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon XTi« »HiRecHiRecrev4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799- i Canon XTi
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
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-3« »-70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3

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.

Canon 40D:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A6000:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Canon 40D vs Sony A6000

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 40D Sony A6000
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 1299 USD 599
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.5 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.73 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 3.03 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 64 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 703 1347
    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 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting 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 11 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards MS or SDXC 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 micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 146 x 108 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
    120 x 67 x 45 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 822 g (29.0 oz) 344 g (12.1 oz)

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