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Canon EOS 4000D: How does this no-frills, entry-level camera perform in microscopy?

The EOS 4000D is Canon’s latest stripped-back entry-level DSLR, available at a super-low price of around EUR 270 (body only, no lens). In our review, we focused on the suitability of the EOS 4000D for use with a microscope. As we will see, the features that are important when it comes to the specific needs of microscopy are frequently different from those required for standard photography applications.

microscope camera with APS-C sensor

The EOS 4000D has an APS-C format sensor with a resolution of 18 megapixels. ISO sensitivity can be set between 100 and 12,800, which places the camera in the mid-range. For microscopy applications, the camera body is attached directly to the microscope via the LM microscope adapter. As a rule, high-quality laboratory and research microscopes have a dedicated photo tube that is designed for attaching cameras. At 485 grams, the camera body of the EOS 4000D weighs the same as that of the 1300D and is thus also very well suited for mounting to an eyepiece tube. With the 4000D attached to the photo tube of a stereomicroscope in combination with our LM widefield adapter, we took this colourful picture of a thistle:

DSLR stereo microscope entry-level camera

The image above shows that the screen doesn’t tilt or swivel.

For scientific imaging – as is common practice in a photographer’s studio – the camera is controlled remotely from the computer. The Canon EOS Utility software, which is included for free with the camera, is a great tool for this. The images captured can be saved directly to the PC. The EOS 4000D also has built-in WiFi connectivity, which enables remote camera control from a mobile device (e.g. tablet or smartphone) using Canon’s free Camera Connect app, and an HDMI interface for delivering Full HD content to TVs or larger monitors.

In a bid to keep the price of the EOS 4000D down, Canon cut down some of the camera’s features – luckily, these are not very relevant when it comes to photomicrography:


The camera body is made from polycarbonate (plastic) and partially finished with rubber. However, since the camera – unlike when used for outdoor applications – is not exposed to external forces and not subjected to much stress when operated in a stationary setting, this is also not a really big deal for us.

The EOS 4000D comes with the same battery as the EOS 1300D. To save battery life, modern cameras usually have an “auto power off” function. Luckily, this can be disabled through the menu of the EOS 4000D, because it would be extremely annoying (for example during continuous shooting) if the camera were to power down automatically after a certain amount of time (max. 30 minutes). For cameras being used in stationary mode on a microscope, we generally recommend an AC adapter that provides a constant supply of power to the camera.

Conclusion: The Canon EOS 4000D is a basic camera with a great price/performance ratio. The image quality it delivers is adequate for many standard applications in microscopy. In addition, it can be controlled remotely from the PC/Mac and from a smartphone/tablet with the Canon Camera Connect app.