Canon XS vs Pentax 645D
The Canon EOS Rebel XS (called Canon 1000D in some regions) and the Pentax 645D are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2008 and March 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (XS) and a medium format (645D) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 39.5 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 Rebel XS and the Pentax 645D? 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 XS and the Pentax 645D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 Pentax 645D is considerably larger (48 percent) than the Canon XS. Moreover, the 645D is substantially heavier (195 percent) than the XS. It is noteworthy in this context that the 645D is splash and dust-proof, while the XS does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon XS||126 mm||98 mm||65 mm||502 g||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|2.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|3.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|7.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|8.||Canon SX20||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Aug 2009||399|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|10.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon SX10||123 mm||88 mm||87 mm||600 g||..||n||Sep 2008||399|
|12.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|13.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|14.||Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|16.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|17.||Pentax 645Z||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The XS was launched at a markedly lower price (by 96 percent) than the 645D, 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.
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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon XS features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax 645D a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645D is 341 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 0.79. The sensor in the XS has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645D offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 39.5MP, the 645D offers a higher resolution than the XS (10.1MP), but the 645D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.06μm versus 5.71μm for the XS) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 645D is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the XS, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645D has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.3 x 27.2 inches or 92.3 x 69.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.1 x 21.8 inches or 73.8 x 55.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.2 x 18.1 inches or 61.5 x 46.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XS 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 Rebel XS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax 645D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|2.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|6.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|16.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|17.||Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The XS and the 645D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 645D offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the XS (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 645D has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.51x), 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 XS, the Pentax 645D, and comparable cameras.
|6.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XS has one, while the 645D does not. While the built-in flash of the XS is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Pentax 645D has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The XS writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the 645D uses SDXC cards. The 645D features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the XS only has one slot.
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 Rebel XS and Pentax 645D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|6.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645D (unlike the XS) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the XS and the 645D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XS was replaced by the Canon T3, while the 645D was followed by the Pentax 645Z. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon XS or the Pentax 645D – 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 Rebel XS:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (126x98mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 978g or 66 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (96 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Pentax 645D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (39.5 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 94%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.51x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (800 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 8 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 645D is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 XS and the Pentax 645D place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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 XS or the 645D perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 XS||..||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|2.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|3.||Canon T7||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon T100||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|7.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|8.||Canon SX20||..||+ +||73/100||..||4/5||Aug 2009||399|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|10.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon SX10||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||Sep 2008||399|
|12.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|13.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|14.||Canon XTi||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|15.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|16.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|17.||Pentax 645Z||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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, 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon XS vs Pentax 645D
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 XS||Pentax 645D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2008||March 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 449||USD 9,995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon XS||Pentax 645D|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.2 x 14.8 mm||44.0 x 33.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||328.56 mm2||1452 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.7 mm||55 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||39.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||7264 x 5440 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.71 μm||6.06 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.07 MP/cm2||2.72 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 800 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 3||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1262|
|Screen Specs||Canon XS||Pentax 645D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon XS||Pentax 645D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||1.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon XS||Pentax 645D|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon XS||Pentax 645D|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
126 x 98 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.9 x 2.6 in)
156 x 117 x 119 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||502 g (17.7 oz)||1480 g (52.2 oz)|
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