Canon EOS 40D Review
Though the Canon EOS 40D has been out for a few years already, it still features one of the best combinations of image quality and performance you'll find in a digital SLR. The Canon EOS 40D is an upgrade over the 30D, and features a different body and incorporates much needed modern features.
When buying the 40D, you can choose buy just the body or a kit when the relatively old f/3.5 to f/5.6 28 mm to 135 mm lS USM lens.
When you first hold the EOS 40D in your hands, you'll notice how solid, and durable it is. It's well protected from weather and dust. They added sensor cleaning to the 40D, the same technology present in the Mark III cameras. When you start up and shut down the camera, the sensor automatically cleans itself.
The grip is fairly comfortable and ergonomic. The menu system is intuitive as well to navigate. You won't have any problems finding a specific setting to change. Even if you're used to Nikon cameras, it'll only take a day or so to get acquainted with the interface.
Canon introduced three new positions in the mode dial: C1, C2, C3. You can assign most of the settings to these positions. You'll discover how much of a convenience this is when you do this. Sometimes when you do different shots, you need to change settings often. Instead of constantly digging into menus after every shot, just save them into these 3 new positions. You're not restricted to these settings even after you choose 1 of them too. For instance, if you saved an ISO sensitivity of 200 in C1, you can still change it when you choose C1.
Canon did get rid of the delete button, which we appreciated. Although you will now have go through the menu if you want to delete, you won't be able to accidentally erase all your photos with the click of a button.
The EOS 40D now has live view mode. Unlike older Canon cameras such as the 1D Mark III, you can autofocus in live view. When you press the autofocus-on button, the mirror flips down, focuses, then flips back up. The only negative is that it focuses just using the center autofocus area.
Just like any normal point and shoot digital camera, you can use a magnified view if you need to. Live view mode, in general is pretty quiet, thanks to 3 silent shooting options that enables you to control the shutter curtain reset. There's many options to tweak here, including the metering timer, and how long you want the camera to display metering info when you release the shutter. Generally speaking, we think live view mode is not practical for everyday use unless you use a tripod.
The viewfinder is excellent as well, offering more magnification than previous models, and a high eyepoint. Another cool thing Canon did was display the ISO sensitivity in the viewfinder. We hate having to move from the viewfinder to the control panel if we needed to see the ISO level.
Image stabilization is missing from the Canon EOS 40D. While not essential, it would be nice to have. It would have made sense to include built in IS, but Canon decided not to.
Let's move on to the performance, shall we? Overall, it exceeded our expectations, and is a definite upgrade over the 30D, though not quite as fast as the D80. Start to first shot takes just .3 seconds. Focus to shoot takes .4 seconds in good lighting. That applies for both raw and jpeg, thanks to good buffer/fast card writes. For burst mode, the Canon EOS 40D has both slow and high speed modes. Slow burst mode clocks at 3.1 frames per second, and high speed is at 6.3 frames per second.
Though the continuous shooting speed is not the best in class, you'll really start to see how remarkable it performs when you shoot action shots. We tried shooting a couple of action shots in Dorney Park of dolphins and they all looked awesome.
One area where performance is not as good is low contrast focusing. Low light lag clocks at 1.2 seconds, which is not terrible but not top of the class. Battery life is solid at 1000-1200 shots. Again, not top of the class but good enough. Keep in mind Canon does display a lot of information in their LCD display, which accounts for some battery. If you're using live view mode a lot, we recommend carrying a spare battery as it does eat quite a lot of battery life.
One thing you might notice when you first start shooting with the Canon EOS 40D is the short blackout time, and the more professional and quieter shutter release sound. We're big fans of quiet shutter release sounds.. I mean who wants to attract attention in a wedding, or any occasion?
When we shot with the EOS 40D, we were pleased with the images. All of our photos had great dynamic range with no noticeable clipping in the highlights. Automatic white balance was good, although they tended to be a little warm in artificial lighting. All in all, with a few exceptions, the metering schemes created very good exposures.
The max ISO for the 40D is 3200. Noise handling is pretty solid. You generally won't see any noticeable noise with ISO 800 and below. After that, you'll start to see some noise, but only if you examine your photos very carefully.
The 40D will be compatible with virtually any EF-mount lens created. The kit lens is a EF 28-125mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, and it's better than the average kit lens. While it's not as wide as the 18-55, the performance is still relatively good.
- 10.1 mega pixels
- Has ISO 100 to 3200
- Live View
- 3 Inch LCD display
- Optical Viewfinder
- Top of the class performance and speed
- Top of the class photo quality
- Focus in low light is slow
The EOS 40D delivers top notch qualities in 2 of the most important areas when picking a DSLR: performance and photo quality - top-rate for its class. We do recommend it, but suggest you also consider other competitors in this class. The EOS 40D is an extremely popular camera for people who shoot a variety of photos from still portraits, weddings to action shots. It's one of the best cameras in this price range.
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Thu, 17 Oct 2019 21:08:02 PDT