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I've had a 40D from new, and have recently gained an 1100D. While the 1100D is entry-level, it's also 4 years newer (both are old of course). I'm planning to head out to try for some night shots tonight as there's a slim chance the northern lights will be visible from the hills near me. Even if not there should be some good night views. I'll be using my Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 IS lens, and some sort of tripod (possibly my bike with a head clamped on to the handlebars if I can set it up in time).

The 1100 has higher max ISO, but I probably don't need that so much as lower noise for long exposures.

Which camera should I take, for better low-light performance? I haven't been able to find noise figures, but I recall being unimpressed with the 40D.

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  • It’s only an opinion, but in addition to having more megapixels, I would guess that the 1100D should have lower noise because it is 4 years newer. Nov 4 '21 at 14:20
  • @MikeSowsun I'm more used to scientific cameras these days, in which fewer bigger pixels improves signal-to-noise. As the increase in pixel count is small, newer electronics should win, but I know in the old days (I also still have a 350D that I keep in work) it took some time for the new hardware to trickle down the ranges
    – Chris H
    Nov 4 '21 at 14:29
  • @MikeSowsun SNR is virtually identical for both cameras as measured by DxO Mark. The 40D is minusculely better at lower ISO when measuring screen SNR, the 1100D is minusculely better at higher ISO when measuring Print SNR with normalized resolution at 8MP.
    – Michael C
    Nov 4 '21 at 21:19
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They're essentially the same, with very minor differences.

from DxO Mark:

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At ISO 100 and ISO 200 The 40D has ever so slightly better dynamic range.

At ISO 800 and above the 1100D has ever so slightly better dynamic range.

At ISO 400 they're virtually indistinguishable.

Since both are fairly old, I'd go with whichever one has fewer hot pixels to correct for in post-processing. ¹

¹ As camera sensors age the number of "stuck" and "hot" pixels increase due to use as well as exposure to gamma rays. Even out of the factory one example of "identical" sensors will have more defective pixels than another. Those tested at the factory as defective are mapped out of the sensor's output in a profile stored in the camera's flash memory. There are various methods to "remap" the hot pixel map of a camera after it has left the factory, with varying degrees of success. They range from something as easy as leaving the lens cap on and covering the viewfinder while leaving the shutter open for more than 30 seconds using the "manual sensor cleaning" option in the camera's menu to sending it to a factory service facility. Note that as higher ISO settings are selected more pixels will show up as "hot" and the worst offenders will be brighter than at lower ISO settings. Warmer sensor temperatures will also affect hot pixel performance.

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