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Canon EOS 40D Review

by Philip Greenspun, September 2007 (updated March 2011)


The Canon 40D gives you the same 10-megapixel resolution as the Rebel XTi for nearly double the price, double the size, and double the weight. The sensor is the same physical size as on the Digital Rebel, resulting in a waste of glass when using lenses designed for the full-frame EOS bodies (film, 5D, and 1Ds). Why would anyone want to buy the Canon 40D?

Where to Buy

Some of Photo.net's partners have the Canon EOS 40D available, or you may be able to find a used Canon EOS 40D in Photo.net's Classified Ads section. Otherwise, check out Canon's newer Digital SLRs from our partners. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

Here are the reasons:

  • two control wheels instead of one: faster user interface especially when using metered manual exposure or setting exposure compensation
  • superior durability and protection from dust and rain
  • the larger physical size puts controls in more natural positions for most adult hands
  • better/brighter viewfinder and larger rear LCD
  • (for soccer moms) better autofocus system and faster motor drive increase potential for capturing peak action at a sports event

The Rebel XTi is a better camera to throw into a bag if you think that you might want to take a picture. The 40D is a better camera to take if you are leaving the house on a specifically photographic mission. The 40D is a truly great camera for wildlife and sports photography.

This review is based on a two-week field test of the camera using the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM (review) lens while on a trip to Turkey.


Operating Speed

As with other modern digital SLRs, the Canon 40D turns on almost instantly and is very responsive, a welcome improvement over typical point and shoot digicams. The camera can capture 6.5 pictures per second, but it can't write them to the CompactFlash card that fast. After you've captured about 75 JPEGs or 17 RAW images, the viewfinder and top-deck LCDs will read "BUSY" for a few seconds until some of the images have been saved, freeing buffer memory for additional photos.

The 6.5 frames per second capture rate of the 40D is significantly better than the 3 frames per second of its cousins in the Canon consumer body line (Digital Rebel and the full-frame 5D). This can make a difference when trying to capture a player's foot on the ball during a soccer game, for example.

A camera that works fast is an important asset when doing street photography... (if you get an angry look, smile!)


Controls

The main difference between the Canon 40D and the Rebel series is that the 40D has two control wheels, one on the rear of the camera. In metered-manual mode, this makes it easy to adjust shutter speed and aperture simultaneously. In a aperture-priority or program autoexposure mode, the rear control wheel sets exposure compensation.

The Canon 40D has a top deck LCD display giving out information on exposure, autofocus, white balance, ISO, and other camera settings. With a couple touches of the "info" button, the 3" rear LCD can provide a clearer and larger presentation of the same information.

A top-deck control wheel ("mode dial") lets you choose among the standard four exposure modes: Metered Manual, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, and Program autoexposure. Canon calls these the "creative zone". The same switch has "idiot modes" labeled with small icons, such as a running guy. The rear LCD screen shows the same icon and a text explanation, e.g., "sports". Canon calls these the "basic zone". Dividing the camera into these two zones makes it more complex in many ways than the EOS 5D and other higher-end cameras. Settings and switches will be magically enabled and disabled depending on the position of the mode dial.

The EOS 40D has the standard focus modes of any Canon SLR: Manual, Single-shot auto, "AI Servo" (continuous, intended for sports), and "AI focus" where the camera tries to figure out whether or not your subject is moving. As with all of the great Canon EOS bodies over the decades, if you drill down into the custom function menus, you can figure out how to make the autoexposure lock button on the back of the camera into a "burst of AF" thumb switch while in Manual Focus mode. Thus you're able to manually adjust focus but have automatic assistance available when desired. (Start at the Custom Function menu then III-2) Autofocus performance is excellent, even in dim light, with 9 AF sensors distributed around the frame.

Operation is modeless. If you've pressed the playback button and are reviewing images, a quick touch of the shutter release readies the camera to take pictures again. Curiously, Canon seems unable to get this important user interface feature into their point and shoot cameras, all of which have a playback/record switch on the back and the camera won't function as a camera if the switch is set to "playback".

A modest step-up in user interface complexity from the EOS 5D or Rebel XTi, but similar enough to other Canon EOS bodies that an experienced Canon photographer could use the camera without resorting to reading the manual.


Viewfinder

The most unusual thing about the 40D's viewfinder is that it includes a display of the ISO setting. Suppose that you've been indoors and set the camera for ISO 800 to capture available light at the expense of some noise in the image. When you go back into the bright outdoors the in-viewfinder display will remind you that you should set the ISO back to 100 or 200 for best image quality.

As with most consumer SLR bodies, the viewfinder shows a little bit less of the image than the sensor will capture, i.e., your photo will be about 5 percent wider and taller than what you saw in the viewfinder. Underneath the optical through-the-lens view is a one-line in-viewfinder LCD display showing shutter speed, aperture, an exposure meter, focus confirmation (dot that appears when something in the image is in focus), a flash symbol that lights up when the flash is ready, an exposure-lock symbol, and a counter showing how many more photos may be captured before filling up the in-camera memory buffer (only relevant when photographing sports in RAW mode). It is easy to view the entire viewfinder image and the one-line LCD display underneath, even while wearing eyeglasses. If you don't want to wear eyeglasses, the Canon 40D has a built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1).


Live View

If the Canon 40D is mounted in a place where you can't see through the optical viewfinder, you can view the image to be captured on the 3" rear LCD, on a television set connected via an included cable, or on a personal computer connected via a USB cable (software included). The 40D is the cheapest Canon body with this specialized capability.

How does Live View work? The mirror is flipped up, darkening the optical viewinder and sending all of the light to the sensor. This disables the autofocus system, whose sensors are in the viewing path, upstream from the mirror. To focus, press the "zoom in" button on the rear of the camera for 5X or 10X magnification, set the lens for manual focus, and turn the focus ring on the lens. If this seems like too much work, set a custom function to enable autofocus and press and hold the new "AF ON" button on the rear of the camera. This flips up the mirror, tries to autofocus, and flips down the mirror when the AF ON button is released.

For those learning about exposure, the Live View mode may be set, via a custom function, to "exposure simulation". The LCD image gets brighter or darker as aperture and shutter speed are changed in metered manual (M) mode.

Battery life in Live View mode is short; Canon says to expect to capture between 130 and 170 images on a fully charged battery.

Summary: A feature that most photographers will seldom use and that adds a tremendous amount of user interface complexity to the camera.

Mirror Lock-Up

For maximum sharpness tripod photography at high magnifications, either with macro or telephoto lenses, the Canon 40D includes mirror lock-up capability. This is enabled via Custom Function III-7. Once enabled, a single press of the shutter release locks up the mirror. After the vibration of the mirror slam has subsided, a second press will take the picture. How can this reduce vibration and increase image sharpness if a clumsy human keeps touching the camera? It can't, unless you attach a remote release or use the self-timer. For landscape photography, put the camera on a tripod, set exposure and focus manually, enable mirror lockup, set the self-timer mode to 2 or 10 seconds, and press the shutter speed just once for each image. The mirror will lock up as soon as the shutter release is pressed. Two seconds later, the shutter will open and the picture get taken. Two seconds should be enough for the vibration of the mirror and the vibration of a finger on the shutter release to dissipate.

Mirror lock-up is most important at shutter speeds between 1 second and 1/30th of a second.

Some of Canon's film bodies had a mode in which mirror lock-up was enabled only with the self-timer. This was very useful for travel photography when the camera was on and off a tripod because it is so easy to switch in and out of self-timer mode (the "drive" button). The EOS 40D lacks this capability and switching in and out of mirror lock-up mode involves wading through a series of menus, unless you use up one of your three "custom function memories" on the mode dial.

Storage

The Canon 40D takes a single Compact Flash card, either Type I and II. Each RAW image is 12-13 MB, which means that you can store about 80 images per gigabyte (GB). Remember that the images are 3888x2592 pixels!

Avoid the use of microdrives, which operate slowly and are more prone to failure than the solid-state CF cards.


Flash

The Canon 40D has a built-in flash powerful enough (guide number 43 in feet at ISO 100) to serve as a primary light at ISO 400 or ISO 800. Maximum flash sync speed is 1/250th. Set flash exposure compensation to balance flash and ambient light by pushing the top deck ISO/flash-plus-minus button and turning the rear control wheel. Once set, the exposure compensation symbol appears on the top deck LCD and in the viewfinder. More valuable is a clear display of the amount of flash exposure compensation on the rear LCD in "info" mode.

If you're going to photograph a reception in a dark restaurant, slide a Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash, (compare prices) (review) into the accessory shoe on top of the camera. Both internal and external flash exposure may be controlled by the camera's computer using a through-the-lens sensor.

When using the built-in flash with a larger lens, such as the 17-55/2.8, remove the lens hood so that it doesn't cast a shadow.

Left: Overcast day, ISO 400, f/6.3 at 1/160th.

Right: Basically the same ambient exposure (f/5.6 at 1/200th) but with the on-camera flash flipped up. The flash helps separate the subject from the background.

Here is a situation where I should have used flash exposure compensation to reduce the amount of fill light. The lens hood was removed, but still the front of the 17-55/2.8 lens casts a shadow at the bottom of the frame.

Underground in Cappadocia, where the Christians hid from Mongol and Islamic armies, there isn't a lot of ambient light. The on camera flash works to produce the deer-in-the-headlights look so familiar from point and shoot digicams.

Available Light

The best way to ruin a photo is by using an on-camera flash as the primary light source, which is why photos taken indoors with point-and-shoot digicams are usually so terrible. If you're stepping up from a point-and-shoot and go into a living room with the Canon EOS 40D and a Sigma 30/1.4 lens, you will feel like a superhero. Thanks to the physically much larger sensor, images at ISO 800 and ISO 1600 are much better than what you'd get with a point-and-shoot. With an f/1.4 lens, you will be able to use the lower noise setting of ISO 400 in many indoor situations. With an f/2.8 image-stabilized lens, you can use lower ISOs and therefore slower shutter speeds but remember that many photos will be ruined by subject motion.

Autofocus performance in low light is excellent.

If you need maximum capability and image quality in low light, consider the Canon EOS 5D, (compare prices) (review).

[Photo at right: ISO 800, 1/13th at f/2.8]

Here's a photo from an art show that I wanted to illustrate a guide to watches for pilots. Getting the photo was more important than the quality of the photo, which makes ISO 800 acceptable. This is probably one of the most challenging subjects for high ISO, with a lot of blank areas to show digital noise. Lighting was artificial and you're seeing the camera's best guess for color temperature on automatic white balance. Handheld at 1/30th of a second at f/3.2 at 35mm (equivalent of 50mm on a full frame camera); the image stabilizer worked well.
ISO 1600. 1/8th of a second at f/2.8; handheld (leaning against a wall?) with image stabilizer.

Batteries

The included Lith-ion battery is adequate for a day of active photography, somewhere between 300 and 500 photos plus review. To recharge the battery you must carry a chunky travel charger that plugs directly into a wall socket.

If you are carrying out an important photographic project, carry a backup BP-511A battery. The Battery Grip BG-E2N holds two of these batteries, adds a vertical shutter release and may make the camera easier to control for those with large hands.


Software

The Adobe Camera Raw 4.2 plugin (for Lightroom and Photoshop CS3) can decode RAW images from the Canon 40D. The JPEGs on this page were generated with Photoshop CS3 and my personal scripts that you can download. The Picasa program from Google also can understand the 40D's RAW files.

If you decide to go the Photoshop/Bridge route, you might find The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers (Peter Krogh; O'Reilly 2005) helpful.

Make sure to enable "auto rotate" (first tools menu) so that an image captured with the camera held vertically will appear on a computer screen in a vertical orientation.

Canon includes software with the camera, but it is not as good as Picasa (free), Adobe Lightroom, or Adobe Photoshop/Bridge.

Reliability and Durability

The 40D is metal on the inside and plastic on the outside and remarkably rugged. The camera includes an automatic sensor cleaning function that activates when the camera is turned on or off.

Compared to the Other Canon Bodies

As hinted in the introduction, the Rebel series makes more sense than the 40D for the average consumer. The Rebel is cheaper, smaller, and lighter with similar image quality. The compromises with the Rebel are a more awkward user interface, an inferior viewfinder, less weather-resistance, and an inferior autofocus system.

The EOS 40D will be worth the extra weight and money for those trying to capture sporting events, moving wildlife, and anyone who makes heavy use of manual exposure or exposure compensation.

Consider the Canon EOS 5D, (compare prices) (review), which is about the same weight as the 40D, in the following situations:

  • access to a closet full of older Canon EOS lenses that cast a full-frame image
  • wide angle photography projects that require a good choice of high quality wide angle lenses
  • low light photography without a flash

Compared to Nikon, Sony, Pentax, et al

For the photographers who will typically buy the 40D, it doesn't make sense to ask, "How does it compare to Body X from Manufacturer Y?" If a photographer has a large set of Canon EOS lenses, he or she will be forced to choose among the bodies that Canon is selling. If a photographer does not have a large set of Canon EOS lenses, he or she will need to decide which SLR system to use for the next 5 to 10 years. This decision should not be made on minor differences among the camera bodies that are on sale at the moment. Our article "Building a Digital SLR System" provides some guidance on this topic.

The foregoing notwithstanding, readers may be curious to know "How does the Canon 40D compare to the Nikon D300?" The Nikon body is about 50 percent more expensive and won't be released until December 2007, four months after the 40D shipped to consumers. Here are the differences that jump out from the press releases:

 Canon 40DNikon D300
Resolution10 megapixels12 megapixels
Autofocus9 points51 points
Viewfinderaround 95 percent100 percent

In exchange for an extra $500, Nikon gives the photographer some nice features. The extra resolution might help with enlargements beyond 12x18". The additional autofocus sensors might help in tracking action at a sports event. The 100 percent viewfinder might save post-processing time cropping out a distracting element that appeared in the final image but that wasn't visible in Canon's 95-percent viewfinder.

For similar image quality with maximum system compactness, the Olympus E-3 body and associated Four Thirds system lenses might be an attractive alternative to the Canon 40D and EOS lenses. For photographers with an extensive collection of Sony/Minolta-mount lenses, Sony has announced an A700 body with similar specifications to the Canon 40D. The main advantage of the Sony is sensor-based image stabilization, which does not work as well as the Canon and Nikon in-lens systems, but works with all lenses.

Conclusion

The crop sensor combined with state-of-the-art systems makes the Canon 40D the best digital SLR body for budget-conscious wildlife photographers. Adding the 6.5 frames per second capture rate makes the 40D the best digital SLR body for sports photographers who don't want to buy the Canon EOS 1D Mark III, (compare prices) (review). 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. People who are interested in low-light and wide-angle photography should consider a full-frame body such as the Canon EOS 5D, (compare prices) (review).

Where to Buy

Some of Photo.net's partners have the Canon EOS 40D available, or you may be able to find a used Canon EOS 40D in Photo.net's Classified Ads section. Otherwise, check out Canon's newer Digital SLRs from our partners. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

If you're going to be taking photos indoors or want to fill in shadows, add a Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash, (compare prices) (review).

What Lens to Get?

Beyond a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC for Canon, (compare prices), which is essential for day-to-day and low light photography, you will probably want the following standard high-quality zoom lenses:

For safari or sports, you'll want a Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, (compare prices) (review).

If you're on a tight budget and yet want at least one decent lens, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, (compare prices) (review) is a good choice for portraits.

[Look more carefully than usual at lenses from companies such as Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina. Canon has been quick to make small-sensor bodies and very slow to design new lenses that match to those small sensors.]

Manufacturer's Specifications

  • Resolution: Approximately 10.1 million effective pixels (total pixels: approximately 10.5 million)
  • Recording pixels: 3888 x 2592
  • Sensor type: CMOS sensor, with primary R-G-B filtration
  • Sensor size: 22.2 x 14.8 millimeters
  • Pixel size: 5.7 microns square
  • Lens focal length factor: 1.6x
  • Sensor dust removal: EOS Integrated Cleaning System; active removal of dust by vibrating front low-pass filter; automatic removal of dust spots, in Canon Digital Photo Professional software (v. 3.1 or higher)
  • Maximum frames per second: 6.5 frames per second (fps) at full resolution
  • Maximum number of frames / burst: JPEG: 75; RAW: 17
  • Shutter speeds: 30 seconds to 1/8000, plus Bulb (1/3 or 1/2-step increments)
  • Flash sync speed: Up to 1/250, with EX-series Speedlites
  • Anticipated shutter durability: 100,000 exposures, based on Canon test methods
  • Computer interface: USB 2.0 (Hi-speed)
  • Image recording storage media: CompactFlash (CF) cards (type I or II, including Microdrives)
  • Card compatibility: "FAT32" compatible--OK for cards over 2GB
  • Image format options: JPEG (choice of "Fine" or "Normal" compression); RAW (Canon .CR2 RAW file format); RAW + JPEG (any JPEG file size available; JPEG file written as separate file)
  • Analog to digital conversion: 14 bits per channel (16,382 separate tones from brightest to darkest, for each channel)
  • Resolution options: "Large"--3888 x 2592 (approximately 10.1 million pixels); "Medium"--2816 x 1880 (approximately 5.3 million pixels); "Small"--1936 x 1288 (approximately 2.5 million pixels)
  • File numbering: sRGB color space: IMG_0001.JPG or IMG_0001.CR2; Adobe 1998 RGB color space: first character is always underscore (_)
  • Folders: Automatically created for image storage; new folder can be user-created with "Manual Reset" function; folders cannot be freely selected on memory card by the photographer
  • Highlight tone priority: Expands tonal range of bright highlights by about one stop; ISO range limited to 200 to 1600; activated by C.Fn II-3-1
  • Data verification: "Original Image Data" can be appended to each image via Custom Function IV-6-1; requires optional Canon Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3 to check authenticity
  • Live View viewing options: Camera's LCD monitor; computer monitor, via USB; computer monitor, via wireless transmitter WFT-E3A
  • Manual focus: Viewed on LCD monitor, with option to magnify focus area 5x or 10x
  • Autofocus: Possible--C.Fn III-6-1 active, press AF On button; mirror drops down temporarily while AF On button is pressed, allowing AF to function
  • Silent mode Live View shoot: Mode 1: First shutter curtain remains open; shooting up to 6.5 fps possible; Mode 2: Quieter option; 2nd shutter curtain doesn't close until user's finger is taken off shutter button
  • Accessory wireless transmitter: Canon WFT-E3A (optional, dedicated wireless transmitter)
  • Attachment to camera: Attaches to base of camera; totally integrated with EOS 40D's design
  • Wireless transfer methods: 802.11b or 802.11g; link speed: approximately 11 megabits/second (802.11b) or 54 megabits/second (802.11g)
  • Connection method: Infrastructure or Ad Hoc (802.11g functions in Ad Hoc mode)
  • Maximum wireless distance: Approximately 490 feet (150 meters), if "receiver" has its own antenna (depends on environment)
  • Wireless channels: 11 (in North American market)
  • Ethernet (wired) transfer: Yes; Ethernet 100Base-TX (maximum distance approximately 1,000 feet); link speed: approximately 100 megabits/second
  • Transfer options: 1. FTP mode (images sent to folder on host computer); 2. PTP mode (remote control of camera possible from computer); 3. HTTP mode (view camera's files using web browser; remote firing of camera possible)
  • Security options: Encryption: WEP or TKIP/AES; authentication: open system, WPA-PSK, or WPA2-PSK
  • USB "host" capability: Plug compatible USB devices into WFT-E2A, for use with the EOS 40D; GPS devices (write GPS time, coordinates, and altitude info into each file's EXIF info); external hard drive (connect compact external USB hard drive, and write files directly from camera to the hard drive as if it's an additional memory card)
  • LCD monitor: 3.0-inch (diagonal) TFT color; approximately 100% coverage; approximately 230,000 pixels on monitor; approximately 140 degrees viewing angle
  • LCD monitor brightness: Adjustable in 7 levels (via Menu)
  • Video-out: Yes (to standard TV monitor); NTSC or PAL, selectable on Menu
  • Number of AF points: Nine, all cross-type AF points
  • Center AF point: Unique hybrid cross-type AF point; world's first high-precision AF point with both horizontal and vertical high-precision; additional standard precision, cross-type sensors for lenses from f2.8 to f5.6
  • AF point selection: 1. Manual AF point selection via 9-way multi-controller on back of camera; 2. automatic AF point selection
  • AF activation: Shutter button, or new AF On button at back of camera
  • AF modes: One-Shot AF (for stationary subjects); AI Servo AF (for tracking moving subjects); AI Focus AF (auto selection of One-Shot or AI Servo AF)
  • AF sensor: Entirely new Canon CMOS AF sensor
  • AF sensitivity range: EV -0.5 to 18 (at 73 degrees F / 23 degrees C, ISO 100)
  • Shutter speeds: 30 seconds to 1/8000 second, plus Bulb (1/3 or 1/2-step increments); x-sync at 1/250
  • ISO range: 100 to 1600, in 1/3-step or full-stop increments; ISO can be expanded to 3200 via C.Fn I-3-1
  • Auto ISO: Can be set in any exposure mode, including P, Tv, Av, and M; ISO usually based at 400; typical auto range is 100 to 800, depending on conditions; manual exposure mode: auto ISO fixed at 400
  • Exposure modes: Manual, Aperture-priority (Av), Shutter-priority (Tv), Program AE
  • Full-auto modes: Green Zone, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, Night Portrait, Flash Off
  • Metering: 35-zone metering sensor; Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points); Center-weighted metering; Partial metering; Spot metering at center of picture (approximately 3.5% of picture area)
  • Metering range: EV 0 to 20 (all patterns, at normal temperatures)
  • Exposure compensation: Possible in P, Tv, Av, and A-DEP exposure modes; +/- up to two stops, in 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments (via Quick Control Dial)
  • Autoexposure bracketing: Possible in P, Tv, Av, M, and A-DEP exposure modes; +/- up to two stops, in 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
  • Compatible flashes: All Canon EX-series Speedlites, including new Speedlite 580EX II
  • Camera menu sets flash: Yes (580EX II only, as of August 2007)
  • E-TTL II flash metering: Flash metering not linked to active AF point; distance from compatible EF lenses now used; entire metering area can be averaged using Custom Function 14-1
  • Modeling flash: 1-second burst of flash possible at 70Hz when depth-of-field preview button is pressed (580EX/EX II, 550EX, 420EX, MR-14EX, MT-24EX, and Speedlite transmitter only)
  • Wireless E-TTL: Fully compatible, including ratio setting over six-stop range
  • Flash exposure compensation: Up to +/- 2 stops can be set on camera body (can also be set on compatible Speedlites)
  • Built-in flash: Covers lenses as wide as 17mm (27mm equivalent); Guide Number 43 (feet)/13 (meters), ISO 100
  • Viewfinder focus screen: New interchangeable "Ef" series focusing screens; standard screen: Ef-A--precision matte screen very similar to EOS 30D; optional Ef-D screen--precision matte with grid lines; optional Ef-S screen--Super precision matte (superior manual focusing with fast lenses, f1.8 to f2.8)
  • Viewfinder display: Similar to EOS 30D; new: ISO is always displayed; new: B/W shooting mode icon; new: maximum burst available now two digits
  • Dioptric adjustment: User-set from -3.0 to +1.0 (range can be extended using optional Canon dioptric Lens E, plus rubber frame Eb)
  • Mirror lock-up: Possible via Custom Function III-6-1
  • Eyepiece shutter: None (cover is provided on included strap)
  • Color space: Standard sRGB or Adobe 1998 RGB (separate setting on Menu)
  • White Balance: Auto; Pre-set (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash); color temperature (set by user from 2500K to 10,000K in 100K increments); custom (shoot white object or 18% gray card, base WB on that neutral object)
  • White Balance correction: Fine-tuning of overall color, in any white balance mode; amber/blue correction, in 9 steps; magenta/green correction, in 9 steps; set on graph on LCD monitor, using 9-way controller; both types of correction can be combined
  • White Balance bracketing: Three separate files written with a single click of the shutter; can be varied in the amber/blue direction, or the magenta/green direction; can be adjusted up to +/- 15 mireds (equivalent to 3 steps on the 9-step adjust scale); can be combined with standard auto exposure bracketing (9 files written to CF card)
  • Picture style: Extensive range of settings for user to tailor color, contrast, sharpness, etc. to their preference; same characteristics as previous EOS SLRs with Picture Style control
  • Black and white recording: Set via monochrome setting within Picture Styles menu
  • Computer connection: USB 2.0 Hi-speed, via small "B"-type USB connection
  • Remote control: N3-type push-in terminal (same as EOS 20D, EOS-1D Mark II, etc.)
  • Video-out: Single-pin mini-jack
  • Direct Printing compatibility: PictBridge printing to compatible Canon and other brand printers
  • Compatible images: JPEG, RAW, or sRAW, if they comply with DCF protocol
  • Preview effects on camera's LCD: Printing effects can be previewed (includes brightness, levels, contrast, color saturation, color tone, and color balance--face brightener and red-eye correction cannot be viewed)
  • Connection to printer: Via USB cable included with camera
  • DPOF image marking: Compatible; images can be "tagged" while reviewing on LCD monitor
  • Battery: BP-511A, BP-511, or BP-512 (rechargeable lithium-ion, same as EOS 30D) (BP-511/BP-512: 1100mAh; BP-511A: 1390mAh)
  • Shooting capacity: Approximately 1100 shots (at 68 degrees F / 20 degrees C); approximately 800 shots (at 32 degrees F / 0 degrees C)
  • Charger unit: Canon CB-5L or CG-580 (also can be charged with compact power adapter CA-PS400)
  • AC adapter: AC adapter kit ACK-E2 (optional; consists of adapter AC-E2, and "dummy battery" DR-400)
  • Battery grip (optional): Battery grip BG-E2N or BG-E2
  • Date/time back-up battery: CR2016 lithium battery--coin-type; user-replaceable (estimated life 5 years)
  • Body exterior material: Magnesium alloy top, front, and rear covers
  • Chassis material: Polycarbonate and stainless steel
  • Lens mount: EF lens mount; metal; compatible lenses: all Canon lenses for EOS cameras
  • Compatible with EF-S lenses: Yes
  • Custom functions: 24 custom functions, in four distinct categories; 9 entirely new custom functions
  • Operating temperature range: 32 degrees to 104 degrees F, at 85% or lower humidity (0 degrees to 40 degrees C)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 inches (145.5 x 108 x 73.5 millimeters), very slightly larger than EOS 30D
  • Weight (without battery or CF card): 26.1 ounces (740 grams), approximately 1.4 ounces (40 grams) heavier than EOS 30D

Text and pictures copyright 2007 Philip Greenspun. All images were captured with the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM, (compare prices) (review).

Article revised March 2011.

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Adam Maas , August 20, 2007; 01:40 P.M.

The sensor is actually a hybrid. The silicon is based on the 400D sensor, but it gets the 14-bit output and greatly improved microlenses of the 1DmIII.

And the reason it didn't get native ISO3200 and H-mode 6400 is because that is a 'Pro' feature. The 40D already got enough of the 1D's new toys, that would have been a little too much for the price point.

stefan Dimov , August 21, 2007; 11:38 A.M.

Nobody seems to have mentioned the new viewfinder. I find the viewfinders of most modern prosumer cameras be a major limiting factor. Look through the viewfinder of an EOS-3 for example and you'll see what I mean. I know that DSLR crop cameras cannot compete with the old school FFs when it comes to viewfinders but any improvement will be welcome. I own a 20D and I really am contemplating the new addition to the two digit lineup when prices fall a bit.

James Alexander , August 21, 2007; 09:40 P.M.

New autfocus system but still no autofocus at f/8 to match my EOS3. Bummer.

Daniel Smith , August 22, 2007; 03:04 P.M.

"Is it really going to improve your photography or provide anything that is essential in terms of functionality that a 20d/30d or D200 can't?"

Yes, the 6.5 frames per second is very welcome for my sports work. Not to blast away but to get a touch faster onto the action while the ball is in the air and on the way to the fingertips of the wide receiver.

The larger buffer is a welcome addition so when I have a running back or somesuch coming right into the lens I can hit a burst of him as one or more tackers converge on him. Don't lose it right in the middle of a long run or goal line dive.

The speed burst and buffer will be a great help in sports work for me.

The larger screen on the back is a good addition for helping with checking focus. The bit larger viewing SLR section is very welcome, especially when shooting in dimly lit gyms at f/1.8 or with the longer lenses at f/2.8 wide open.

Faster AF performance and lower noise are VERY WELCOME and usable for almost all sports/performances in some of the poorly lit arenas/high school gyms/rodeo grounds/football stadiums and whatnot.

Canon is getting a bit closer to the EOS3. Now just add the eye control and 45 point AF and a command back for using Trap Focus for my attempts to photograph mink and wolverine as they walk through their territory and it will be just right for my needs.

Adam Rosser , August 31, 2007; 03:34 A.M.

"First the eyepiece magnification is 0.9x instead of the 0.8x on the 350D. I don't believe this is any different from the 20D / 30D, and its not such a big difference either."

The magnification is 0.95x which is a small but really noticeable increase. I played with one today. I will definitely buy one once I convince my wife.

"Second is live view, being able to use an SLR with the convenience of a point and shoot seems like a useful feature - it might even make up for the viewfinder."

Even better, which many people don't realise, is that you can use the 'Set' button for live view as a mirror lockup button. Press set, mirror up, take shot with remote or timer. Even better, you can still see the scene even with the mirror up.

Richard Leonard , August 31, 2007; 05:47 P.M.

I received my one from H.K. on thursday, I'll stick up a few shots as soon as I can get out to ream off a few over the weekend. It's really impressive but it's a fair step up for me from the 300d. My old stalwart rebel feels like a toy in my hand compared to this "Weapon" of a camera.

URGalaxy shop on ebay for those interested in knowing where I got it. They delivered in three days. It's not out for sale over here until the end of the month....

FP Anderson , September 03, 2007; 01:04 A.M.

bill keanephoto.net patron wrote: Not to say the wrong thing, because I almost went for a 30D back in January, but the 40D makes me feel very good about the decision to go with a D200. Onboard wireless flash command might have made a 30D more attractive, but the 40D still doesn't appear to have it.

-------

If the onboard wireless works great for you then I am surprised. I never could get the results I wanted, sounded great but exposures just were not there. The Nikon sensor just did not compare either.

I am however pleased with my manual focus Nikkors on my 5D and 20D. The 5D however is a dust magnet so selling them both to get a 40D seems logical. Would though miss having my 28PC Nikkor on the 5D and it's better finder.

I have to say though that the 20D refurbished (Adorama had some for $650) would seem to be the best value in any DSLR.

cheers- F.P.

Matt Snider , September 06, 2007; 10:26 P.M.

I purchased one of the first 40D's in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area last Wednesday, August 29 and I have to say this is one incredible, well-designed, well-built camera and the photos I've taken so far have been at least an order or two of magnitude better than what I got out of my 20D's (and I wasn't unhappy about those results.)

No back or front-focusing problems. Excellent noise control, even at 3200 ISO. Nicer feel to the body. The big LCD is very helpful for this pair of 50 year old eyes. I like the intermediate ISO steps and the 580EX control from the camera. All-in-all, a great piece of photographic engineering as far as I can see for a week's worth of ownership.

Ralton Bentley , September 09, 2007; 02:14 P.M.

I got my 40d on Friday 7th. Spent the weekend playing with it. My 350d will not be used again by choice...

Chris Macks , September 14, 2007; 09:35 A.M.

Bought one in paris last weekend. 40d + 17-85 IS package. Upgraded from a 300d (Rebel). In a different league. Couldn't be happier

paul f , September 15, 2007; 05:39 P.M.

Ralton,

You have some great macros in your gallery.

Would love to hear your opinion, as a macro shooter, of your new 40D's usefulness for manual critical focusing.

How does manual focusing with the 40D's LiveView at 5x compare with manual focusing on the 40D's (slightly) larger viewfinder?

Is manual focusing with LiveView as accurate as using AF confirmation?

Do you think focusing with LiveView at 5x might replace the need for an AF confirmation chip (or a custom focusing screen) for someone using non-EOS manual lenses?

Thanks.

Ralton Bentley , September 18, 2007; 03:30 A.M.

Hi Paul I haven't tried the LiveView yet, been too busy shooting in the normal manner. The larger viewfinder helps, and the accuracy of the AF confirmation is good. I'll try the LiveView sometime and let you know. Cheers

Jake Izumi , September 23, 2007; 04:22 P.M.

The body based IS is not effective at all , I had a Sony Alpha before getting my Canon EOS400D and now 40D with EF-S17-55IS and 70-300DO(I hate the white color of my EF70-200f4L IS so replaced it with my new DO).

The IS in the lens is much better solution without compromising AF performance.

I guess the Sony Alpha's AF was so slow ompared to my Canons because of the Sensor based IS shaking the sesnor all the time it is trying to AF.

So I concluded the BODY ANTI-SHAKE deteriorate its AF speed and performance.

http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4615/image-stabilization-special-stop-the-shake.html

Many say with in-body-IS , you will save alot in the long run because your lenses will not need the IS , but think about the prices of Sony and Olympus lenses ? that tells you somehting , they are ,as a system , much more expensive than a Canon or a Nikon.

Fnally, you can not compare the 40D with the Oly E510IS , which has only primitive 3 point AF.

Martha Ramey , September 25, 2007; 12:04 P.M.

Just FYI, I have the Canon 40D, and I just got a set of training videos from Elite Video that helped tremendously. It covered genereal info such as ISO, and lenses, but also went really in depth with the functions I hadn't been using. The videos were great. Highly recommend them to any user of the 40D. Check out: www.elitevideo.com

Karsten Weiss , October 02, 2007; 02:04 P.M.

I agree with Phil that the mirror lockup with two button presses was a really stupid idea. Canon, please fix it!

Rob Bernhard , October 02, 2007; 02:19 P.M.

<<I agree with Phil that the mirror lockup with two button presses was a really stupid idea. Canon, please fix it!>>

Can't you use one of the Custom Modes on the dial to set mirror lockup?

Chris Malcolm , October 06, 2007; 08:59 A.M.

A good review but I'm not sure a Sigma 30mm 1.4 should be recommended as "essential".

True, it's decent value and as close to a 50mm prime equivalent available but it's certainly not the finest glass around. The known issues being poor sharpness on the edges and vignetting up to f/2.8.

What I would say is that it's "essential" to explore your options before deciding on such a lens.

Michael Eckstein , October 07, 2007; 08:47 P.M.

The 40D has a magnesium chassis and a magnesium alloy body, not a plastic body. I know because my 40D was in a serious accident and there are a few dents in the metal body.

Tom Aellis , October 08, 2007; 07:47 P.M.

Simply put, the dynamic Range on this body is awesome. Perhaps the deepest I've seen. Every single level of this camera blows me away. I just put my 1Ds up for sale. The capture of the Midtones, studied in Aperture's Histogram make me smile. Best, Tom

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Anthony Zipple , October 10, 2007; 11:23 P.M.

I have had mine for a couple of weeks, an upgrade from a 20D. Photos are marginally better: Sharper, less noise (especially above ISO 1600), wonderful color balance. The new features are great. I am thrilled with auto sensor cleaning. In the field, it is hard not to pick up dust when you change lenses a lot. The cleaning system is a big plus, in my opinion. The other upgrades are nice including the larger LCD. All in all, it is the first digital that I have used that makes me really happy to have retired my EOS 3 and 1V film bodies.

Mark Lee , October 12, 2007; 04:49 P.M.

I just got it today. I'm waiting for the battery to charge... the waiting is so painful. Just itching to take pictures... only if it wasn't raining today. It's too new for me to take it outside. heh.

BRAD CARLSON , October 15, 2007; 04:20 P.M.

does anyone know what the status is on the raw converter for this new camera with regard to photoshop? will their update for camera raw work in cs2? or will it only apply to cs3?

Wes Baker , October 15, 2007; 07:05 P.M.

The last few updates to Adobe Camera Raw will not work on Photoshop versions CS2 or older. But there is a reasonable workaround.

Just go download the latest version of Adobe's DNG converter. It's a standalone program, and it reads 40D files (and all of the other cameras that are seen by the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw). Simply convert the 40D files to DNG, then open them in earlier versions of Photoshop or Bridge.

That worked for me, but I went ahead and bought a new copy of Lightroom last week, and you can open up anything Lightroom can see in pretty much any image editor you want.

BRAD CARLSON , October 16, 2007; 11:53 A.M.

thanks wes, i appreciate this insight. one more technical question arises: once converted to dng and opened, can the file then be treated as a raw file in the sense that you can apply all the raw controls in the older version of camera raw so that flexibility is still there? or do you just go straight into photoshop to do all the post processing?

Wes Baker , October 17, 2007; 01:15 A.M.

A DNG file works just like any camera manufacturer's RAW file in ACR or Bridge. You can do all of the highlight recovery, tonal expansion, white balance tweaks that you can do with a CR2, etc.

Now the Canon RAW tool, Digital Photo Professional, will not recognize a DNG. But you wouldn't need a DNG in the first place if you were going to work with DPP.

Alan Cox , October 21, 2007; 10:29 P.M.

The 40D is the first camera that I've bought for myself in 15-20 years. I've been a die hard medium and large format film enthusist, researching DLSRs since they first came out. Since I regularly print 16x20s, I've been waiting for a serious camera in the 10-12 megapixel range that delivers high ISO without high noise. I love how the 40D feels and handles, and for landscapes I use the 10x zoomed live view to check for critical focus. I got the full frame EF 28-135mm IS kit lens, since I believe that in a few more years my next DSLR will be a full-frame one.

Samson So , October 22, 2007; 01:20 A.M.


Tested image with 40D

I have used some Canon DSLRs in the last 4 years. 40D's sensor cleaning is a big big benefit to me. I spent considerable time retouching my images when I shoot with 5D and 10D.

6.5 fps is a good news when we don't want to pay the extra cost for a 1DII or 1DIII.

While handling of 40D is very similar to 30D and 20D, I still think 10D is the most comfortable to grip in hand in the same class.

The control buttons beside the display panel on top of the camera now have different sequences. I wonder why Canon didn't made them similar to other cameras (e.g. 10D and 5D have the same arrangements on these buttons). I need to look at the buttons every time when I am switching camera(s). This slows me down when I am changing ISO, working on flash compensation, etc.

CS2 can't open 40D's RAW. Upgrading to CS3 is another extra cost! I am learning a new work-flow using DPP...

Still trying out the other features of this new machine. May have more comments later.

Some of my testing photographs were uploaded here http://www.flickr.com/photos/samsonso_photography/sets/72157602301555520/

John Korb , October 22, 2007; 03:44 A.M.

I've had my 40D a few weeks now and I'm VERY happy with it. I have two 20D bodies and while I still use them, the 40D has stolen my heart.

First, the dynamic range is amazing. The new version of Canon's DPP manages to extract shadow and highlight information from 40D raw images that just wasn't possible with the 20D raw images. As a CS2 user, I'm finding the new version of Canon's DPP not only very easy to use, but I like the results I get with the Canon DPP software better than the kludges required to get CS2 to manipulate 40D raw images. I had a few flash shots "go dark" or "go white" because the cable to my 580ex was acting flaky and I was amazed that the Canon DPP software was able to turn those dark shots and near white shots into usable images. It can't do that with the 20D raw images, just the 40D raw images, but it is truly amazing to see. One of these days I'm going to do a test shoot with a model and deliberately bracket exposures from 2-1/3 stops under to 2-1/3 stops over and see just how wide the recoverable range really is.

Second, the image quality is just plain better than that of the 20D, particularly in low-light situations. Better colors, less noise.

Third, the 40D seems to auto focus faster and BETTER in low light situations than the 20D, and it seems that the 40D will auto focus in situations were the 20D tended to hunt and never did find focus.

So have I retired my 20D bodies? Nope! In the last 16 hours I've used both the 40D and 20D in studio and on location. When the lighting conditions are a little less predictable, I reach for the 40D as I know I can do more with the raw files, but the 20D is still a solid performer.

james bossert , October 22, 2007; 10:20 A.M.

I'm a little concerned with the heavy recommendations in this article for the inclusion of the sigma 30mm 1.4 lens as a standard lens. I had two of these lenses and could not get past the back focus/random auto focus issues. Many reviewers have similar issues. That being the case, maybe it would be safer to recommend another lens?

Shan McArthur , October 22, 2007; 12:05 P.M.

I have had the camera for a month now and I have two things to say: 1. WOW. This is an amazing camera and is very versitile. It is hard to miss or spoil a shot with this camera body 2. This camera really needs L-series optics as the kit lens does not have quite enough clarity at medium-wide apertures for what the sensor can handle.

Angus Dike , October 22, 2007; 01:06 P.M.

Though I'm sure the 40D is a great camera, does anyone have any comparisons of images between it and the 30D? (I'm most interested in noise and dynamic range rather than extra pixels.)

Oscar Colorado , October 22, 2007; 01:29 P.M.

Also check http://www.photoaficionado.com/reviews/40dreview.html

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Mark Van Bergh , October 22, 2007; 06:28 P.M.

I have no doubt that the 40D is a very good and very capable camera, and take no issue with the general tone of the review (well, except perhaps the recommendation of the Rebel). :-) However, the statement about the superiority of in-lens stabilization vs. sensor-based systems is, to my knowledge, contrary to available evidence and sounds more like a repitition of Canon (and Nikon) marketing hype than a factual statement. I'll just note, for example, that the recent Pop Photo "test" of various stabilization systems found that the Sony sensor-based system in the A-100 was as or more effective than any of the Nikon and Canon in-lens systms with the exception of one Canon and one Nikon lens involved in the "tests," and even in those cases the difference was only 1/2 stop in one case and one stop in the other. Yes, there are flaws in the Pop Photo test that are beyond the scope of this comment, but the results are similar to a "test" I saw about a year ago in a German magazine. The point being that while some may believe one system is better than the other, the reality is generally different. Oh, and let me know how well those stabilized 30/1.4 Sigma shots turn out on the 40D. :-)

Ken Sheide , October 22, 2007; 07:45 P.M.

>I agree with Phil that the mirror lockup with two button presses was a really stupid idea. Canon, please fix it!

OFF TOPIC: I disagree. I used this feature all the time for macro work on an Elan 7 film body when there was a breeze. I would attach the cable release, press the remote button once to flip the mirror up, then wait for a lull in the breeze to press the remote button again and start my exposure. It kept me from wasting film (and money).

However, with digital bodies, I think the self-timer combined with mirror lock-up is sufficient. If you get a breeze, simply delete that shot in-camera and try again. Even so, keeping the two button press mirror lockup capability is nice for those who don't want to do things this way (delete and re-shoot until obtaining a shot without breeze-induced blur).

ON TOPIC: As far as 40D goes, I'll buy one as an upgrade to the 30D simply because of the increased image size (10MP vs 8MP), the anti-dust system, and the supposedly improved AF system. I get all sorts of pixel pixies (dust spots) in my shots with the 30D and just can't seem to get rid of them with compressed air. Also, I photograph a lot of birds these days and could really use a better AF system for tracking them in flight.

Charles Griffin , October 25, 2007; 09:27 A.M.

My first shots with the Canon 40D were stunning--to me, at least.

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Frank Armstrong , October 25, 2007; 06:30 P.M.

I bought a 40D they second week they were available. I have owned a D60, two XT's, and a XTi. One thing I have learned -- the better the lens, the better the digital image. Nothing shows up or off a lens like digital. I'm saving for the EF-s 17-55 f/2.8 IS. My two favorite lenses are the EF-s 10-22 and the EF 70-200 f/4 L. I overheard a Canon rep tell someone that the EF-s 10-22 would have been designated as "L" if it weren't an EF-s. And I would vote the 70-200 f/4 L as being in the top five of all Canon lenses. These lenses on the 40D really show off just how good this new camera is. I love the feel of the camera, and after four days of shooting in Mexico it felt right at home. I do a lot of shooting "from the hip" without putting the camera to my eye -- yeah, sneaky -- in order to catch people not looking at the camera. The new focusing system proved itself over and over. Exposures were well within acceptable limits for street shooting. Best camera I've used to date. http://pitchertaker.blogspot.com/2007/10/40d-comes-through-for-me.html

Robert Winslow , October 30, 2007; 12:41 P.M.

I took the 40D Africa recently. It performed very well. My main complaint is that the Mode Dial does not have a lock on it. Several times this got turned inadvertently.

Charles Wood , November 16, 2007; 06:55 A.M.

As bright as Phil is, he tends to skim over some details that are relevent. If you really want to read the most comprehensive review of the 40D existing, read it at www.dpreview.com.

The dynamic range of the 40D is quite incredible and if you haven't tried some of the new stitching programs such as ArcSoft Panorama 4Pro or an HDR program with tone mapping, such as HDRSOFT, then you are in for a surprise at what a camera such as the 40D can deliver. I've stopped using my Pentax 645.

Ocean Physics , January 08, 2008; 11:45 A.M.

I agree with Phil that the mirror lockup with two button presses was a really stupid idea.

Except that he never said or implied any such thing. And it's a perfectly fine idea.

Dana Childs , January 24, 2008; 04:49 A.M.

THANK YOU! Finally I've found a review that actually references the Rebel XTi which I currently own. I've wanted to step up to the 40d, but haven't gotten a really good feel of what I'd be gaining until I read your review. Of course...Canon just announced the Rebel Xsi, but from what I've read, I'd still be making a better choice going with the 40d...at least for my needs

Jonathan Farmer , January 24, 2008; 11:03 A.M.

I like working with the 1.6 crop factor as a lot of my work is done with the 500 f/4 L, IS USM. Why did Canon put a 1.3 sensor in the 1DMk 3?? This makes the 40D camera a great choice for wild life bird photography where you need all the focal length you can get or afford. To me the 40D is a better choice over the 1d Mk3 for this reason.

I see that the new Rebel XSi has 12.2 megapixels on the 1.6 APSc which makes it great for telephoto use with more room to compose your image with cropping.

Steven Blumenkranz , January 25, 2008; 08:11 P.M.

Changing sensor size is the equivalent of cropping. The 1.3 sensor in the Mark III will yield the same magnification if cropped to the equivalent of the 1.6 sensor. You lose nothing as long as resolution is increased by the same factor.

Mark Fenlon , January 25, 2008; 11:13 P.M.

Recently, I bought a Nikon D300 body and a Canon 40D. The Nikon for use in our studio, the 40D for my own pleasure. I also bought a Tamron 17/50 2.8 lens for general use to mate with the 40D. To my surprise, I pick up the 40D more than the Nikon, even at work. Both bodies a excellent photographic tools so I'm not complaining about the D300. But for every day and candid use the Canon is super. Fine detail and excellent natural colours, fast focus and large bright view finder, all first class. Most of all, the easy to use menus, make it very user friendly. The D300 is an superb tool but you need time to get to know this camera. You can pick up Canon and get and learn its functions and capabilities very quickly, its more intuitive than the D300. Interestingly I bought both Canon body and Tamron lens for $3,000 HKD less than the Nikon body alone. The 40D is a real "value for money" package, one of Canon's gems!

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Jonathan Farmer , January 30, 2008; 09:59 A.M.

To Steven Blumenkrank Hi Steven, As you stated "Changing sensor size is the equivalent of cropping. The 1.3 sensor in the Mark III will yield the same magnification if cropped to the equivalent of the 1.6 sensor. You lose nothing as long as resolution is increased by the same factor." If you crop any image smaller to enhance the telephoto effect, you are also making the image smaller hence reducing pixel count and reducing the amount of digital information which ends up producing an inferior image. If I could do as you stated ?yield the same magnification? by increasing the resolution factor (this makes no sense), then I would have saved the money I spent on the 500mm L lens, used a shorter focal length, crop and end up with the same results as if I used a longer lens. The 1D Mk 3 is the same 10 mega pixel count as the 40D but the crop factor is 1.3 compared to 1.6, if you crop the 1.3 to mach the size of 1.6 you end up with a smaller pixel count producing the same magnification but at the expense of pixel density.

BRAD CARLSON , May 06, 2008; 02:54 P.M.

i purchased the 40 d three times now and still have a defective one. returned two so far for exchange - first one for dead pixel in the lcd review screen, second one for blotchy spots on the sensor straight out of the box and now the third one has both the above! canon has very poor quality controls! i have also noticed focus problems similar to the 30 d - front focusing. so far i am underwhelmed with this product.

Dan Ferrel , May 13, 2008; 01:32 P.M.

"Canon includes software with the camera, but it is not as good as Picasa (free),..."

Your kidding right. If your serious you have either never actually used and understood Digital Photo Professional or you dont reallize the Picasa downsizes all your images to an unusable size for printing.

I understand that this review is based on personal experience and prefrence but I just have to say that for most of the things that 40D owners would be interested in (especially if you shoot RAW) DPP is extremely capable. I'm not trying to make it out that its better than CS2 or CS3 (CS2 cant even work with the 40D's RAW files as its unsupported) but to say that Picasa is better makes me think that you dont know how to use DPP.

If anybodies interested, heres Canon's tutorial. If you havent figured out how to use DPP yet its a must. http://www.usa.canon.com/content/dpp2/index.html

Veronica Anderton , July 04, 2008; 02:54 A.M.

I bought a Canon 40D to take on vocation. I used the camera some before vocation and 2 days into vocation maybe shot a total of 400 images then it gave me an "error 99" message though this is usually a Lense issue we tried different lenses and talked with Support ...nothing would get this camera working again. It reminded me of turning the car key and hearing a clunk istead of the car starting. Every thing we did to try to get the camera to start...even opening the battery compartment the camera clunked....we returned the camera for an exchange to try the 40D again it should be arriving this coming week. I heard of one other guy having the error 99 issue ....I hope my exchanged camera works good ...I don't want to have to make a different choice of camera.

Michael Oxford , July 07, 2008; 01:12 P.M.

this is one of the worst camera reviews I've ever read.

In reference to Live View: "A feature that most photographers will seldom use and that adds a tremendous amount of user interface complexity to the camera."

No. To activate LV, you just hit the "set" button in the middle of the command wheel. it's easy. it's not confusing at all, and it comes in very helpful, especially if you are doing critical work, or just messing around. So what, there is no AF. you shouldn't be using it on fast moving targets anyway. This is just a load of BS.

Veronica Anderton , July 14, 2008; 09:30 P.M.

I received my new replacement Canon 40D and am excited to have a decent Camera again. I failed to state earlier that I was really enjoying my new toy before it broke and I am looking forward to giving this camera another go :-) "There is always going to be a lemon in the car lot" Sorry Michael, didn't mean to get your blood pressure up.

James Rudd , July 15, 2008; 10:29 A.M.

I recently updated from from a 400D to the 40D - I am very pleased indeed, much more a pro camera. I also went for a 28-300 L IS zoom lens - whilst quite heavy, it is a very powerful combination - a mono pod helps too. There is no substitute for good lenses - I also run an 10-22 and 17-85 is - add a 580 EXII and battery grip - its virtually a professional set up.

Ale de Vries , July 18, 2008; 01:43 P.M.

This review matches my experience with the 40D, but I think it is not correct in stating that the 40D has similar picture quality to the 400D/Rebel XTi.

The 40D signficantly outperforms the 400D - although the base sensor is the same, the microlenses for the 40D's sensors are better, and you can tell. Low-light performance is way better than the 400D's, with less grain and better definition and colors. Also, the 40D's 14-bit image processing renders a higher registered dynamic range than the 400D's, which allows for greater retention of detail in the extreme darks and lights, and with that you have more flexibility in post-processing images with extreme light distribution into a more evenly distributed image.

Granted, this better quality is not very apparrent when you do shots at ISO 400 or lower of rather normally lit scenes - which is what Rebel users are more likely to do - but if you're regularly taking pictures in more diverse situations and use extensive post-processing to get the most out of your image, then the 40D is definitely the more mature camera, and well worth its price tag.

Jean De Villiers , September 02, 2008; 05:27 P.M.

Dark Corners Canon EOS 40 17-85mm kit lens

dark corners

Please tell me if this is a problem with the camera. A long exposure of the same shot does not seem to do the same. Is this then only a bad property of the lens or is it a fault in the camera or lens? It also does not do it at telephoto end, but only at wide angles (17mm to about 24mm). Could anyone please comment on these photos regarding the dark corners. It happens mostly in low light, even without any attachments to the lens. It was taken with a Canon 40D with the lens that came with it, i.e. EF-S 17-85mm. Does it seem to be a fault with the camera?? It also happens when using the flash to take photo's indoors. It's also mostly the the top right hand corner. Please let me know whether this is a problem with the camera...

Jean De Villiers , September 02, 2008; 05:36 P.M.


Dark Corners EOS 40D with kit lens

Another picture showing the dark corner problem explained above. I could send originals to anyone interested. This photo was taken with a polarizer and UV filter attached to the lens.

Jean De Villiers , September 02, 2008; 05:38 P.M.


Dark Corners EOS 40D with kit lens

Another shot displaying the dark corner problem...

Jean De Villiers , September 02, 2008; 05:39 P.M.


Dark Corners EOS 40D with kit lens

Another shot displaying the dark corner problem...

Adam Middleton , October 07, 2008; 06:23 A.M.

"This photo was taken with a polarizer and UV filter attached to the lens"

That's likely the problem - they are projecting out into the path of the light hitting the sensor and will be most evident at wide angles. Take them off, bin the UV filter and use the polariser only when you expressly need what it offers. I can only guess that the lens is engineered very closely to the physical limits of the barrel - other lenses can be a bit more forgiving in stacking filters. Perhaps try a Cokin-like square filter system if you still want to use combined filters.

De Lenzer , January 20, 2009; 09:59 P.M.


You can teach a monkey to use a camera. A photographer can see a shot, then make that shot, all it can be.

This is a great camera.

I began with a 20D. Had a 30D. I will stop, right here. The next camera I might buy (if things look up - lol) is a 5d Mk2. If I do buy it I will keep the 40D because of the boost I get from the smaller sensor, in terms of range (i.e. a 300mm lens becomes a 450mm lens, for free!).

At the end of last summer I tested my 28-135mm IS "kit" lens against a horrendously expensive 24-105 L. There was a difference but you had to look hard, indeed, to even see it on a large computer screen. If you viewed the images at "actual pixels" size the difference was still minor and could have been duplicated with the flick of a mouse, in photoshop.

My advice to anyone who will buy any camera, lens or whatever is to go to a store, take the time and do some testing. For example, test a new lens for front/back focusing BEFORE you pay for it. If they don't want you to do that, you need another store! I went through about five 70-300 IS lenses before I found one that focused correctly...

Don't sit there and daydream. Try it before you buy it and, if the increase in price is not reflected in quality, forget it. If everyone would realize just how small the differences are there would be a lot less "high end" stuff for sale!

My vision is excellent, bordering on acute, and I am very picky about my images (which can be found at http://www.MageProductions.com)

I tell people, over and over again, you can't buy it.

A f 1.4 lens can cost a zillion $ and it will focus on eyelashes, while failing to focus on the eyes, themselves. I'm dead serious. So like, what did you buy? If you understood depth of field, you would have known. But you didn't do the work. You got hooked by hearing "fast glass" instead.

Want a fast lens? Get the "nifty fifty" for about $90. Play with it. If you use it (wide open) THEN pay well over a thousand $ for a zoom. But I don't think you will... and you will learn why most lenses top out around f 3.5.

The 40D is all the camera you or I need, barring rare and specialized situations and images, the size of walls. What you do with it will have a lot more to do with what you get from it than anything else.

Samir Koirala , February 05, 2009; 03:33 P.M.

I recently bought a 40D after almost a year using a Nikon D80 and shorter periods with a Canon XTi and Nikon D300. I also tested a Nikon D90 before choosing the 40D. The first thing I noticed is that image quality differences between DSLRs of the same type have really narrowed (I shoot mostly in RAW). All the ones I mention are very good. The newer ones (D90, D300, 40D) do have less noise at high ISOs and in shadows than the XTi and D80 but it seems to me that image quality alone is no longer a compelling reason to switch bodies (unless you’re willing to jump up to a full frame DSLR or wait several generations). Features, build quality, lenses, system, or usability are better reasons. My reasons for switching to the 40D were simple and very subjective: user interface, metering, and simply how it felt in my hands. And also price.

The very first time I picked up the 40D I was delighted with how comfortable it felt. I am a big fan of the finger notch in the front of the hand grip (deeper than it was in the 30D), the thumb-rest at the back and especially the big dial in the back. For me, Canon has really got these right. In my hands the Nikons never felt as comfortable, and the dials - especially the front one - didn’t quite fall in place as they should. The XTi grip felt even more awkward. Coming from the D80 with its admittedly twitchy metering, I have also been impressed by the accuracy and predictability of the 40D’s metering. I trust it enough that in the midst of shooting I often don’t check the LCD at all. I dial in some positive compensation when light colors dominate a scene, but that’s about it. I should note that the D300 also has very reliable metering. A feature of the 40D that I use often is Highlight Tone Priority. With it on, dynamic range is noticeably extended and I rarely get blown highlights, even when there is overexposure. I have also noticed that the 40D has a nice, gentle roll-off to blown highlights, even compared to the D300, so when there are blown areas, they blend in better.

In terms of features the 40D is no longer the cutting edge but more than adequate for most users. I particularly like the C1-C3 user settings right on the main dial, fast continuous shooting, single-press switching between auto area AF and a single AF point, and the very nifty silent mode2 in Live View (I use it often in very quiet situations). Long night exposures are also impressively clean, without the hot pixels and amp glow that were obvious in the D80 (the D90 and D300 are much better but still not as clean as the 40D).

It’s not all wine and roses with the 40D. I wish its default jpegs were a bit more “crisp” (I need to use RAW for that) – they seem to suffer from a bit too much NR even at low ISOs. The images on the LCD are terrible for judging focus (thankfully focus as been very accurate on my setup). As others have pointed out, it’s not the LCD resolution that’s a problem but the low quality embedded jpegs. Judging focus is far better on the Nikons I have used. Auto ISO implementation is crippled compared to the Nikons or even Canon P&S cameras. The absence of an infrared remote control sensor is an annoyance. And built-in wireless flash control would sure be nice (pretty much every other brand has it at this price level).

However, these shortcomings do not matter for me in most of my photography, and the 40D has become an intuitive and versatile tool very quickly. I find it responsive and comfortable to a degree that my previous DSLRs weren’t, and the image quality is excellent as well. And at the price at which I bought it (under $600 Canon-refurbished), I think it’s a real bargain.

Bard Fosse , May 04, 2009; 02:52 A.M.

This is an old review but never mind, I enjoyed it.

The 40D has now the 450D and 50D around itself, even the underling 450D has higher pixel count, so many buyers will ask themselves why buy it?

I bought the 450D when I re-entered dSLR and photography as a hobby again, and I really think I will change it out with the 40D, why?

First of all I have the 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens which does not balance on the 450D well, secondly the 40D really is comfy in my hands, it is great ergonomics on it, thirdly the high ISO noise is superior to both 450D and 50D, fourthly the weather/environment sealing/toughness is superior to 450D, and lastly it shoots faster than the 450D, yet it is not much more expensive than 450D, it's far cheaper than the 50D. So all in all you get a tough camera body with weather sealing and great IQ (better than 450 and 50D) actually many compare it with the 5D mk1 so right now it is a bargain camera. I was considering the 50D but reading up on it and figuring out the 40D is a better performer in IQ, it was easy to decide when checking the price tags.

Fer Chestnutgrove , November 15, 2009; 11:05 P.M.

The best camera I've had, I learned photography with the 40D, I climbed 5300 m in the Andes (Ritakuba Blanco) no problem, is very good.


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