Canon 40D vs Zeiss ZX1
The Canon EOS 40D and the Zeiss ZX1 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2018. The 40D is a DSLR, while the ZX1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (40D) and a full frame (ZX1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Zeiss provides 37.4 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 Zeiss ZX1? 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 Zeiss ZX1 is provided 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 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 Zeiss ZX1 is notably smaller (16 percent) than the Canon 40D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 40D nor the ZX1 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the ZX1 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.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||142 mm||93 mm||46 mm||800 g||250||n||Sep 2018||5,999|
|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 Q2||130 mm||80 mm||92 mm||718 g||370||Y||Mar 2019||4,995|
|13.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|14.||Leica Q Typ 116||130 mm||80 mm||93 mm||640 g||300||n||Jun 2015||4,249|
|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 RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|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. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 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 Zeiss ZX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the ZX1 is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 37.4MP, the ZX1 offers a higher resolution than the 40D (10.1MP), but the ZX1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.81μm versus 5.73μm for the 40D). Yet, the ZX1 is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 1 month) 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 resolution advantage of the Zeiss ZX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the ZX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 37.4 x 25 inches or 95.1 x 63.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 30 x 20 inches or 76.1 x 50.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 25 x 16.6 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 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 Zeiss ZX1 are ISO 80 to ISO 51200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||Full Frame||37.4||7488||4992||4K/30p||25.2||14.1||2759||94|
|12.||Leica Q2||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/30p||26.4||13.5||2491||96|
|13.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|14.||Leica Q Typ 116||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.7||2221||85|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The ZX1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 40D does not. The highest resolution format that the ZX1 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the ZX1 has an electronic viewfinder (6221k 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 ZX1 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 ZX1 has a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 40D, the Zeiss ZX1, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|2.||Zeiss ZX1||6221||n||4.3 / 2765||fixed||Y||1/1000s||3.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|6.||Canon XS||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon XTi||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Leica Q2||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||20.0||n||Y|
|13.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|14.||Leica Q Typ 116||3680||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||n||Y|
|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 RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 40D has one, while the ZX1 does not. While the built-in flash of the 40D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the ZX1 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The 40D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the ZX1 uses an internal SSD.
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 Zeiss ZX1 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.||Zeiss ZX1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon XS||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon XTi||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica Q2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|14.||Leica Q Typ 116||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the ZX1 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 ZX1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The ZX1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Zeiss. In contrast, the 40D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 40D was succeeded 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 Zeiss websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 40D and the Zeiss ZX1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
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 (1/8000s vs 1/1000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
Reasons to prefer the Zeiss ZX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (37.4 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 93%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced 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.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p 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 (0.74x vs 0.59x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (4.3" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2765k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 40D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (142x93mm 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).
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More prestigious: Has the Zeiss luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the ZX1 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 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. 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 Zeiss ZX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 ZX1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.||Zeiss ZX1||3/5||..||..||83/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2018||5,999|
|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 Q2||..||..||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2019||4,995|
|13.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|14.||Leica Q Typ 116||5/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||4,249|
|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 RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 40D vs Fujifilm X-T1
- Canon 40D vs Nikon D90
- Canon 40D vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Canon 40D vs Panasonic LX7
- Canon 40D vs Ricoh WG-60
- Canon 40D vs Sony A7R III
- Fujifilm X-E2 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Olympus E-1 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Olympus E-3 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Olympus E-PM2 vs Zeiss ZX1
- Sony A7 III vs Zeiss ZX1
- Sony H300 vs Zeiss ZX1
Specifications: Canon 40D vs Zeiss ZX1
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||Zeiss ZX1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||35mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||August 2007||September 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 40D||Zeiss ZX1|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||37.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||7488 x 4992 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.73 μm||4.81 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.03 MP/cm2||4.33 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||80 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|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||Zeiss ZX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||6221k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||4.3inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||2765k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 40D||Zeiss ZX1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||Internal SSD|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single SSD|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 40D||Zeiss ZX1|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 40D||Zeiss ZX1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
142 x 93 x 46 mm
(5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||800 g (28.2 oz)|
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