Canon 40D vs Sony RX10
The Canon EOS 40D and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and October 2013. The 40D is a DSLR, while the RX10 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (40D) and an one-inch (RX10) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 40D and the Sony RX10. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions 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 Sony RX10 is notably smaller (28 percent) than the Canon 40D. It is noteworthy in this context that the RX10 is splash and dust-proof, while the 40D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX10 has a lens built in, whereas the 40D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 40D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 40D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the RX10 can take 420 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the RX10 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|3.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|6.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|7.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|8.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|9.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|10.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|11.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|13.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|14.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|15.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 Sony RX10 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX10 is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX10 offers a higher resolution of 20 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 2.41μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). However, it should be noted that the RX10 is much more recent (by 6 years and 1 month) than the 40D, 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 Sony RX10 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX10 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 40D are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.4 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.6 x 10.4 inches or 39.5 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 13 x 8.6 inches or 32.9 x 21.9 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 are ISO 125 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX10 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 40D (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The RX10 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the RX10 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX10 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 viewfinder in the RX10 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 40D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the RX10 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 40D and Sony RX10 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|8.||Canon XS||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
The 40D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the RX10 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon XS||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the RX10 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 provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 40D (unlike the RX10) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 40D and the RX10 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 40D was replaced by the Canon 50D, while the RX10 was followed by the Sony RX10 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 40D or the Sony RX10 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 40D:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/3200s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 420) 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).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
- 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 complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.59x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (129x88mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 40D).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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 modern: Reflects 6 years and 1 month of technical progress since the 40D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX10 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 7 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. 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 Sony RX10 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 40D or the RX10 perform in practice. 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 summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|3.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|4.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|5.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|6.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|7.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|8.||Canon XS||..||82/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|9.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|10.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|11.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|12.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|13.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|14.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|15.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|17.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D X vs Sony RX10
- Canon 300D vs Sony RX10
- Canon 40D vs Canon G7 X Mark II
- Canon 40D vs Leica V-LUX 2
- Canon 40D vs Olympus E-3
- Canon 40D vs Panasonic FZ150
- Canon 40D vs Panasonic GM1
- Canon 40D vs Sony NEX-5N
- Canon S120 vs Sony RX10
- Olympus E-3 vs Sony RX10
- Panasonic S1H vs Sony RX10
- Pentax 645D vs Sony RX10
Specifications: Canon 40D vs Sony RX10
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||Sony RX10|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-200mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||August 2007||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Sony RX10|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||125 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||64||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||703||474|
|Screen Specs||Canon 40D||Sony RX10|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Sony RX10|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/3200s|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Sony RX10|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 40D||Sony RX10|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||420 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
129 x 88 x 102 mm
(5.1 x 3.5 x 4.0 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||813 g (28.7 oz)|
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