The Canon 40D was announced by Canon on August 20, 2007 as the replacement for the Canon 30D, which can now be had for quite a bargain. The 40D is a 10.1 MP “prosumer” DSLR, slotted between the Canon Rebel XTi (aka 400D) and the Canon 5D. In addition to the sensor upgrade (from 8.2 MP on the 30D), some of the highlighted features of the 40D include:
- DIGIC III image processor
- Continuous shooting at 6.5 frames/second
- Refined AF system now has 9 cross-type AF sensors; center AF point has enhanced sensitivity for f/2.8 and faster lenses
- 3-inch LCD display with live view feature
- Larger optical viewfinder
- Dust reduction system
- Three spots on mode dial for custom settings
- Redesigned menu system from the EOS-1D series cameras
Fortunately, a breakthrough allowed Canon to use a larger area on the sensor for each photosite, and the 40D employs the company’s excellent DIGIC III image processor, which does a much better job of handling noise. The practical upshot is that the 40D does achieve higher resolution without a noise penalty.
Images are crystal clear and beautifully sharp, with excellent detail throughout (the superb 17-40mm f/4 L lens supplied for the test helps). We aren’t particularly convinced that 14-bit files add anything substantive to most RAW photographs, though (perhaps files with greater and greater bit depth will be the new megapixel war). Colour rendition is excellent on the Canon 40D; Canon’s traditionally zingy reds are tamed here – although London buses and fire engines are still vivid – and skin tones are extremely natural.
Excellent image quality in the lab translates to excellent image quality in the field if a camera’s autofocus, exposure and metering systems, and viewfinder are all top notch. And here, the 40D is hard to beat. Its AF system is among the fastest and most sensitive we’ve tested, capable of extremely high speeds in bright to moderate light, and decent performance down to EV-2.
The Bottom Line – there’s a lot to like about the 40D. If you’re looking for a 10-megapixel camera that can fire long bursts, is compatible with a mature system of professional accessories, and creates superb images in almost any light, look no further.
As is typical of this particular line of Canon digital SLR cameras, images from the Canon 40D are excellent. High ISO images printed at 13×19 inches are usable from ISO 100 to 800, with little noticeable noise, and little evidence of noise suppression. You can see a more gradual degradation as you move up the ladder when viewing onscreen at 100 percent, but it’s hardly noticeable when printed. Impressive.
With a quality lens attached to it, the EOS-40D can produce spectacular results. The camera produces very smooth-looking photos, which some may consider soft—and if so, you can play around with the Picture Styles to find a sharpness setting you like. Colors were spot-on—no complaints there. As for noise, there wasn’t much, and you had to get the ISO pretty high to see any of it. Purple fringing is going to depend a lot on your choice of lens. It did pop up here and there, but it was fairly minor in most cases. My only photo quality complaint is that the the 40D has the tendency to underexpose.
From an image quality point of view the combination of the Canon CMOS sensor and DIGIC III processor means equally detailed images at all sensitivities (except maybe ISO 3200), low noise and a complete lack of unnatural artifacts.
This is a fine camera with worthwhile advances on its predecessor. Canon has dominated this segment of the market for DSLRs between $2000 and $3000 [AUD], but now faces stiff competition. The Sony A700, the Nikon D300 and the Olympus E-3 are coming soon, which means four superb cameras to choose from in the price range. Camera shops have already discounted the 40D to around $2600, so expect some serious price cutting.
The Canon 40D is the best digital SLR body for budget-conscious wildlife photographers. Within the Canon system, the 40D makes sense for people who leave the house on a specifically photographic mission and don’t mind carrying the extra weight and bulk in exchange for the ruggedness and two-wheel user interface.
Despite the fact that it shares a lot of its heritage with its EOS stablemates at either end of the cost spectrum, you’d be silly to think of the 40D as either a just an upscale XTi, or down-market Mark III. It’s a rock-solid high-end enthusiast/entry-level pro camera that’s built tough enough for almost anything you can throw at it.
Yes, this camera is for the Rebel XTi owner looking to move up in toughness and burst rate, but it’s also tough enough and fast enough to serve as the backup body for a Mark III-toting journalist. And, of course, it’s just right for the legions of shooters out there who’ve been happily making killer shots with the 20D and 30D for the past several years. All in all, it is a heck of a lot of camera for just about $1300 (street, body only).
“The 40D is a camera that will appeal to a vast range of photographers from advanced amateurs to working photojournalists and wedding photographers. All will appreciate its exceptional image quality, ease of operation, speed, modest weight and size, compatibility with the vast Canon system and very reasonable price.” [Canon 40D White Paper] I agree.
For Canon owners looking for an upgrade option, then this is a compelling option, being fast and responsiveness. It hides a few things away rather needlessly and the control systems aren’t the best thought out though. It will be interesting to put the Sony a700 up against it because it offers a similar spec, though not quite as fast. If you’re looking for an upgrade to an entry level DSLR then the 40D will blow your socks off and can be heartily recommended, but if you were saving up for a Nikon D300 then it might not do enough to change your mind . . . .
It only took a few shots to notice the difference in focusing. Focusing is faster and very accurate. I took more than 500 shots that night, some of them in burst mode with 6.5 fps, and the AF system proved to be equal to that of Canon 1-series cameras. The central point worked well even without flash. I can’t think of a single other camera in this class with such a great AF system.
It’s true that it costs more than other 10-megapixel cameras, but it’s also much more professionally-orientated. Its nearest rival in the semi-pro market would be the newly-announced Nikon D300, but the list price is £1300 for the body only, and for that money you could get an EOS 40D and Canon’s 17-85mm image-stabilised lens and have change to spare. The Canon EOS 40D’s strength doesn’t lie in any great technological breakthrough but in its professional appeal and its sheer value for money.
Great photo quality and excellent continuous-shooting performance are just two of the Canon EOS 40D’s many attractions in the digital camera marketplace.
Overall, the Canon EOS 40D is a more than able update of the 30D and since the introduction of the first Canon prosumer DSLR, the 3.1-megapixel EOS D30 back in 2000, it is light years ahead on that base line. In a nutshell, this is a cracking camera and one marred only by the odd metering performance, otherwise it is quite simply excellent and worth a close inspection for anyone either trading up or for those pros’ that need a back up body that is not a compromise to far.
An intelligent and well executed upgrade to the 30D. It’s well built and fast, with some genuinely useful extras such as Live View LCD and custom modes. A must buy for the keen amateur with a collection of Canon lenses.
Canon’s EOS 40D features many improvements over its predecessor and finally shows the pesky Nikon D80 who’s boss – albeit one which costs almost half as much again. Canon’s delivered a superb DSLR which handles beautifully, is packed with useful features and delivers great-looking images.
The Live View facility works well, especially when remote-controlled using a PC, and the silent-shooting modes prove it doesn’t have to make a racket either. The anti-dust system whether through luck or design also proved quite effective in our tests, with foreign particles rarely being an issue. And while our studio resolution tests proved some 10 Megapixel DSLRs resolved slightly more, it didn’t make a big difference in real-life. Ultimately the 40D most-impresses out in the field where it’s simply an extremely quick and capable camera which confidently handles almost any situation. Sure, the default settings could do with a slight boost in sharpening to unveil the finest details, but this is easily adjusted if desired.
WyoFoto has a solid side-by-side set of test shots (100% files) that show the image quality of the Canon 40D directly compared to that of the Canon 5D.
The IQ I see in the 40D images from ISO 100-800 is 95% the match of the 5D. At 1600 the shadow noise of the 5D looks to be a tad bit better than the 40D, but not by a large margin. The 40D’s tonality and richness in color gives the 5D a real run for the money. The only area I see the 5D looking better is in low contrast highlight regions. It manages to pull out a tad more detail. The 20D does okay in the shadows, but in the midtones and highlights just can’t match the richness of the 5D or 40D. It’s images while pretty good have a flatter tonal appearance. This subtle richness gives the 5D images the 3D effect people often talk about. (Read *and see* more . . . . )
In just about every respect the EOS 40D technically outperforms the EOS 30D and so I think it is a worthwhile upgrade for those who can afford to switch and who can use the new features. I didn’t feel that way about the 30D, which was a good camera but for me didn’t offer enough new features to persuade me to trade in my 20D and upgrade.
My time with the 40D was short, but I found that shooting about a thousand frames over a long weekend was all I needed to be able to draw some preliminary conclusions. These are, in brief, that the image quality of the 40D is excellent, continuing the industry-leading results that Canon has offered for the past 5-6 years. I didn’t see any breakthrough in low noise at the highest ISOs, but as with the EOS 5D ISO 400 is essentially noiseless and can be used as an everyday speed. Noise doesn’t really become an issue until ISO 1600 and even then isn’t that objectionable.
- 6.5 fps is a lot for a camera at this price point
- Shutter sound is much lower than for the 1D Mark III
- We think the noise level is slightly higher than 1D Mark III. No surprise because the pixels are just quite a bit smaller
Personally, I think Canon has done a good job with the 40D and has upgraded and added many new useful features. Image quality wise, I don’t think there is any significant differences between the 40D and 30D/20D. There is little difference in real resolution between a 10MP and 8MP sensor. In my opinion, Canon has managed to maintain the high ISO noise level while increasing the megapixel count.
Amazon Customer Reviews – Amazon customers are starting to post their reviews and opinions on the new 40D now that the camera is shipping. Some of these reviews and impressions are quite thorough and helpful in sizing up the new camera. Here’s a sample quote:
So, what about picture quality?? It’s a 10mp camera so the pictures are big. I have a workhorse MacPro tower and it has no problem working on the 10-12MB pictures that this camera produces (.jpg processing for now). I’m happy to say that the focus is spot on in all of my sample pictures from 4 different lenses (17-40 f/4L, 28-135 IS zoom, 50mm f/1.4, 100mm macro). The DPP software can be used to edit raw files if you choose to use it. It works pretty well and it was very speedy on my MacPro. You also get direct access to picture styles from within the computer software so you don’t have to worry about setting it in camera. The pictures look very nice. The colors are very accurate. at iso100 the pictures are so nice and smooth. My 50 and 100mm lenses make the most buttery out of focus areas on this camera.
Digital Rev has a hands-on review of the new 40D:
Without a doubt, the EOS 40D totally surpasses the 30D and reinforces Canon’s product positioning above the EOS 400D. For enthusiast and semi-pro customers alike, you will find that the 40D will meet your expectations and give you that extra bit of power that you might need in action shots.
Read the press release for more details.
There are a couple of YouTube videos of the 40D floating around as noted here.
Canon 40D Accessories
Official Canon Resources
Canon’s Official EOS 40D resource page is here. There you’ll find feature highlights, full specs, sample images and more.
The Canon 40D White Paper. (White Papers are comprehensive documents detailing system enhancements — and the technological developments behind them.)
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices.
[tags]canon, eos, 40d, is, usm, review[/tags]