The EOS 40D is the sixth iteration of Canon’s “prosumer” digital SLR lineup, which began in the year 2000 with the release of the EOS D30. It’s incredible to think of how far we’ve gone since then. It’s been eighteen months since Canon released the EOS 30D, and although the 40D may seem like a relatively minor increase at first glance, there are a number of things that make this camera even better than the 30D.
Naturally, we anticipate an increase in the number of megapixels, and as a result, the EOS 40D is equipped with a CMOS sensor that has ten million pixels and uses the same method of dust reduction as the EOS 400D, which is an ultrasonic platform that rattles the low pass filter.
Other enhancements bring the EOS 40D closer in line with the EOS-1D series. These include a move to the same page-by-page menu system, both RAW and sRAW (2.5 MP), a 14-bit A/D converter and 14-bit RAW, cross-type AF points for F5.6 or faster lenses, a larger and brighter viewfinder, interchangeable focusing screens, a larger LCD monitor (3.00″), and faster continuous shooting (6.5 fps).
What’s Brand New
10 megapixel CMOS sensor
It has been three years since this model line has seen an upgrade in resolution. In August of 2004, Canon released the EOS 20D with eight megapixels, but they have maintained the same sensor for the EOS 30D.
There should be no surprise then to see an increase of two megapixels, and as per usual, Canon is stating (perhaps correctly) that despite smaller photosites, noise performance is on par with that of the EOS 30D thanks to advancements in sensor design.
EOS Integrated Cleaning System: an overview
With the release of the EOS 40D and the EOS-1Ds Mark III, Canon is now in a position to say that their whole range of DSLR cameras has dust reduction technology integrated into them.
At startup and shutdown, we use anti-static coatings and a piezoelectric element that rattles the area of the low pass filter that is facing the front of the device (you can disable this or operate it manually). It is important to point out that the precise design of the moving elements looks to have undergone some minor alterations since the EOS 400D.
14-bit analog to digital converter and DIGIC III image processor
The DIGIC III processor is included in the EOS 40D, just like it is in the EOS-1D Mark III and the EOS-1Ds Mark III (although in this case only one of them). This enables a whole host of brand new capabilities, such as Live View, as well as speedier picture processing and, we can only assume, an improvement in image quality. Improved shooting speed in continuous mode and a bigger buffer
The EOS 40D manages six and a half frames per second, which is an increase from the EOS 30D’s five frames per second, and it can buffer more than twice as many images, resulting in a burst of 75 images that can be captured in 11.5 seconds as opposed to the EOS 30D’s burst of 30 images that can be captured in six seconds (based on Canon official specs, however, we achieved 40 images in our review).
The larger, bright viewfinder
The percentage of the frame that is covered by the viewfinder stays the same at 95%, but the magnification increases from 0.90x to 0.95x. This difference is obvious when using the camera, and it is safe to say that the view through the viewfinder of the EOS 40D appears to be the same size as that of the EOS-1D Mark III. It is an obvious step in the right direction. Focusing on displays that can be switched out
Additionally new are focusing screens can be switched out. These are available in three distinct varieties: the Ef-A Standard Precision Matte (which is already included in the package), the Ef-S Super Prevision Matte (which is somewhat darker but makes it simpler to manually focus), and the Ef-D Precision Matte with grid (as shown above).
a B&W symbol may be seen in the viewfinder’s ISO display.
This has now been implemented, and there is also a new B/W icon that serves more as a warning that you are shooting in black and white mode. A permanent display of ISO in the viewfinder has been something that we have seen requested for quite some time, and it is something that we have asked for as well.
Mirror system that is both quicker and quieter
When you first use the EOS 40D, one of the most visible changes is the far speedier and quieter mirror operation. This is in addition to the bigger viewfinder, which is another welcome addition. It used to be that the mirror was lifted by a spring, but today it is motorized in both the up and down directions (and hence damped). This results in significantly shorter blackout intervals and a generally quieter sound when the shutter is released.
Sensor autofocus with nine points and cross-sensitivity
The EOS 40D retains the same nine focus points that were initially introduced on the EOS 20D; however, all of the focus points are now cross-type, which means that they are sensitive to horizontal and vertical detail when used with lenses that have an aperture of F5.6 or faster. In addition, the center point is now twice as sensitive as any other point when used with lenses that have a maximum aperture of F2.8 or faster and features cross-type sensors that are calibrated to 45 degrees. button labeled AF-ON
The dedicated AF-ON button is located on the rear of the camera to the left of the AE lock button (just ‘under your thumb’). This feature was carried over from the EOS-1D cameras, which is both a welcome addition and a carry-over from those cameras. This button is very helpful in situations requiring continuous focus, such as when you want the focus to track the subject while also maintaining the ability to activate the shutter release on its own.
WFT-E3/E3A is a wireless transmitter, and its grip is WFT-E3A.
The WFT-E3/E3A wireless transmitter, which now functions as a vertical grip, is the most exciting new addition to the accessory lineup. It combines two functions into one convenient package. When attached to the EOS 40D, it offers all of the standard controls found on vertical grips, in addition, to connecting through WiFi, wired Ethernet, and USB storage.
It comes with its own BP-511 battery, which, according to the manufacturer, will last just as long (when used continuously) as the battery included in the camera. The WFT-E3 is equipped with a built-in web server that enables HTTP viewing of photographs and remote shutter release. It also supports a variety of protocols, including FTP and PTP (remote control). Doors for the compartments that are weatherproof
It appears that while Canon has now weatherproofed the battery and storage compartment doors (water and dust can’t enter these compartments when the doors are closed), other areas such as buttons and dials aren’t fully weatherproofed as they are on the EOS-1D series. We are looking for exact clarification on this point. Therefore, although the weatherproofing of the EOS 40D is an upgrade over that of the EOS 30D, it does not appear to be up to the requirements of the EOS-1D.
Larger 3.0 “LCD monitor
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the standard display size these days is three inches, but after seeing how tight the button arrangement is, I’d be shocked to see manufacturers go much larger the next time. Resolution identical to that of the 2.5 “It takes its position but does seem to have a brighter appearance, and of course, when studying photographs, larger is always preferable. Live Perspective
The Canon EOS 40D features a Live Perspective mode that, once enabled, may be used by pressing the SET button. This model provides a real ‘Through the Lens’ view of the scene in front of the camera. The AF-ON button may be used to enable the optional autofocus feature.
When this button is pressed, the mirror will temporarily lower in order to acquire focus, and then it will rise again in order to restore the live view. Magnification (five or ten times), information display, exposure simulation, and silent shooting are some of the other Live View capabilities (a quieter but delayed mirror movement is used).
Display of Information Regarding Shooting
You may now show a live “control panel” style screen on the LCD monitor as an optional extra, taking a page out of the book that Canon wrote with the EOS 400D.
EOS-1D-like menu system
Use the multi-controller (joystick) to move between pages and dials to navigate. Gone is the single long scrolling menu of previous EOS x0D cameras; now the EOS 40D gets the more logical and easier to navigate page grouped menu system of the EOS-1D. Previously, EOS x0D cameras only had one menu that scrolled continuously.
Adjustments were made on-screen for the settings.
Again, you have the option of repeating settings modifications on the primary LCD screen. This feature may be particularly helpful when the camera is placed high on a tripod or when the top LCD panel is facing away from you.
Auto ISO (400 – 800)
Auto ISO was not accessible in any other shooting modes on the EOS 30D, including Auto or Scene. Now it can be used in all of the exposure modes, and an interesting thing is that the ‘creative’ modes (P, Av, and Tv) start at 400 and go up to 800 for this setting. It is unfortunate, however, that Canon has not yet incorporated the extremely flexible automatic ISO seen in Nikon and Pentax digital SLRs. This feature, which essentially becomes an “ISO priority,” is something that Canon should have done a long time ago.
Camera user settings
The mode dial of the EOS 40D has been updated to include three additional locations, labeled C1, C2, and C3. These allow you to rapidly retrieve previously saved camera settings, such as the shooting mode, menu settings, and any custom functionality you may have set up. Sculpting, including the adjustment of the tilt.
In addition to being able to trim (crop) a picture while in playback mode, you now have the ability to tilt the crop rectangle by plus or minus ten degrees in increments of 0.5 degrees. This feature is ideal for fixing photographs that are slightly skewed before they are directly printed.
RAW as well as sRAW
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III was the first camera that introduced the concept of small RAW.’ When you take a picture in sRAW mode, the resulting RAW file will have around a quarter of the number of pixels that a regular RAW file will have. This translates to approximately 2.5 megapixels for the EOS 40D.
Despite being stored as unprocessed data with a bit depth of 14, you are still able to do all of the usual post-processing RAW modifications, such as exposure compensation and white balance correction; nevertheless, the final image is simply more compact.
Optional noise reduction at high ISO settings
You may activate this “additional” degree of noise reduction to get even cleaner pictures, but doing so will slow down your camera’s continuous shooting buffer. The default setting disables this “extra” level of noise reduction.
If the card door is opened, the device will not power off.
After just seven years of complaining in what must have been a dozen or more digital SLR reviews, Canon has finally listened. When the door to the CF card is opened, the EOS 40D shows a warning message as well as a countdown that indicates how many more photographs need to be written before it is safe to remove the card. In contrast, the EOS 30D immediately turns off when the door is opened. At long last! External USB media support
This feature is only available when the WFT-E3/E3A wireless transmitter/grip is attached to the camera. However, it does allow you to connect USB storage devices (such as external hard drives or flash drives) and use them as storage devices. This feature is only available when the WFT-E3/E3A wireless transmitter/grip is attached to the camera. Flash-based USB devices can be powered by the EOS 40D / WFT-E3, however hard disk-based drives will require their own external power source.
There are very few differences from the EOS 30D visible from the front of the camera. There has been some chiseling done to the viewfinder chamber, and there is a new finger tuck on the hand grip, but other than that, there are no significant surprises. The back, on the other hand, has had more of a redesign, and the now three-inch LCD monitor is mostly responsible for this change.
In the EOS 40D, several buttons that were previously located along the left side of the monitor on the EOS 30D have been moved to the area below the monitor. Additionally, there is now a dedicated AF-ON button located ‘under your thumb.’ We need to be glad that Canon has not eliminated the button that is the most pointless of them, which is the Direct Print button.
The same materials, build, and construction as the EOS 30D, including a two-piece magnesium shell that makes up much of the front and rear of the camera and is well put together without any rattles or creaks, the EOS 40D feels just as solid and reliable as its predecessors in the EOS x0D line of cameras.
Side by side
It is obvious that many people would compare these two cameras to the current state-of-the-art serious-amateur (or semi-professional) digital SLRs from Canon and Nikon, despite the fact that there is a price difference of $500 between them. The Nikon D300 is both the bigger and heavier of the two cameras by 80 grams; however, it is doubtful that you would actually feel this difference when you are using the camera. One further distinction is that the D300 has an advantage of two megapixels over the other camera.
Within your grasp
The EOS 40D feels virtually exactly the same as the EOS 30D when you hold it in your hand, with the exception of a minor new finger hook that has been sculpted into the front of the hand grip. This is something that I’m sure some people will notice, but it didn’t really have a big effect on me (it is however more in keeping with the EOS-1D design). The Canon EOS 40D has a strong, trustworthy, and “well sorted” feel to it, which is something that can’t be denied about the camera. Ergonomics-wise, it also feels “fully sorted.”
Alterations to the camera’s layout in comparison to the EOS 30D
To see a side-by-side comparison of the EOS 30D and the EOS 40D’s designs, move your mouse pointer over any of the images below.
The EOS 30D got an upgrade to a 2.5-inch LCD panel. The EOS 40D receives a 3.0-inch LCD but keeps the same 230,400 dot count (320 x 240 x RGB). This dot count, while impressive, has been surpassed by the incredible 921,600 dot 3.0-inch LCDs that are featured on the new Nikon D3, D300, and Sony DSLR-A700. As can be seen in this picture, the screen does not have an anti-reflective coating, which means that it is more likely to pick up reflections than other screens.
LCD control panel
A large LCD control screen can be found on the top of the camera, and it displays a great deal of information on the various exposure settings and camera settings. The primary numeric area of the panel also serves a dual purpose in providing other kinds of information, such as the “Busy” alert and the ability to pick an AF point, among other things. On the rear panel of the EOS 40D, there is now a specific readout for the ISO sensitivity.
You may turn on the panel’s orange illumination by pushing the backlight button, which is located in the upper left corner of the panel. Once activated, the backlight remains on for roughly six seconds.
The viewfinder of the EOS 40D has been upgraded to have a higher magnification than the viewfinder of the EOS 20D/30D (up to 0.95x compared to 0.90x), and although this is only a slight increase in terms of specifications, the view through the viewfinder is noticeably larger and brighter, and it does not suffer from any distortion or corner softness. In the same way as in earlier versions, the eyepiece rubber may be removed, making it possible to replace it with the eyepiece cover, a different eyepiece, or an angled finder.
Displays that focus on
At first look, the image that is presented via the viewfinder does not appear to have been altered all that significantly; the spot metering circle still occupies around 3.5 percent of the frame, and there are still nine AF points. The inclusion of a persistent ISO display on the status bar is the modification that users have voiced their most satisfied with.
When using the automated AF point selection mode, the AF points picked by the camera are momentarily highlighted when you commence AF (half-press the shutter release / AF button), but if you select an AF point manually, that point is the one that is highlighted. In the setting that allows for automated AF point selection, the AF point won’t get highlighted until after an AF lock has been obtained.
When there is just one AF point set, it will flash twice: once after you are halfway through the shutter release, and again when it has locked (or not at all if no AF lock was possible). When using AI Servo AF mode (with the shutter release button held down halfway), the selected AF point only blinks once before beginning to track AF.
Storage Space for Batteries
The door to the battery compartment of the EOS 40D is just a simple clip that locks it, and it’s located at the bottom of the hand grip. The door panel itself may be removed (to make way for the optional battery grip). The Canon EOS 40D comes with the BP-511A Lithium-Ion battery pack, which has a capacity of 1390 mAh and operates at 7.4 volts (10.3 Wh). The connection that connects the AC adapter’s fake battery to the optional hand grip escapes via a small door that is located on the inner edge of the hand grip.
Charger for the Battery
The CB-5L battery charger is included with the Canon EOS 40D digital single-lens reflex camera, and it is comparable in size and weight to chargers used with earlier EOS x0D SLR models. Charge completion is indicated by a blinking LED that is located on the top of the charger. The charging process takes around 90 minutes.
Wireless Battery Grip for WFT-E3/E3A Devices (optional)
There are no less than three distinct battery grips that are compatible with the EOS 40D. These include the BG-E2 (which is also compatible with the EOS 20D and 30D), the new BG-E2N, which is almost identical to the original BG-E2 but features rubber seals around the door of the battery compartment, and finally, the new WFT-E3/E3A wireless battery grip.
As you can see, the WFT-E3/E3A is a different design than the BG-E2 series in that it does not have the dummy battery stalk. Instead, the camera battery remains inside the camera, and the grip simply attaches to the bottom of the camera. The only thing the WFT-E3/E3A does not do is provide any additional power to the camera (and communicate through a new connector).
You will be able to shoot wirelessly (802.11b/g) directly to FTP servers with the WFT-E3/E3A, in addition to having two-way communication through PTP and HTTP with this device. In HTTP mode, you will have full remote control of the camera, including the ability to watch a live view, make adjustments to the settings, and snap pictures.
Although only tiny flash drives can be powered by the grip, the USB port may be used to save directly to external USB hard disks and supply GPS data from USB GPS devices. The USB port is located on the bottom of the gadget.
A compartment for CompactFlash cards
The door of the CompactFlash compartment on the EOS 40D may be opened by sliding it towards you and then flipping it outwards. This compartment is located in the back corner of the hand grip. After the CF card has been ejected, the door itself swings open on a metal hinge and provides ample space for removing the card.
On the quick control dial, the CF activity light may be seen at the bottom right corner. The EOS 40D is compatible with Type I and Type II CompactFlash cards, as well as cards with capacities of more than 2 GB and the FAT32 file system, however, it is not compatible with the more recent ultra-high-speed UDMA standard.
All of the connections on the EOS 40D are located on the left side of the camera, just like they are on the EOS 30D; however, the order of the rubber covers and the layout has been altered. In all intents and purposes, there are now two columns of connections, each of which has its own cover. PC sync and the remote terminal (N3) are located on the left side, and video-out and USB 2.0 are located on the right (Hi-Speed).
Mounting Options: Base or Tripod
A metal tripod socket can be found on the underside of the camera. This socket is precisely aligned with the optical axis that runs through the center of the lens. It is also important to highlight the new grip connector, which can be found at the bottom right side of the device.
It would have been good to have a rubber ‘foot’ on the base of the camera, as I’ve asked in prior reviews; but, I would hypothesize that this may have caused the camera to be incompatible with the optional battery grip.
Lighting from within
The EOS 40D is equipped with an E-TTL II pop-up flash (the same as the EOS 30D and the 20D before it), it has a guide number of 13 (about 3.3 meters at 17 mm and 2.3 meters at 85 mm; ISO 100), and it has a wide-angle coverage of 17 millimeters. With support for E-TTL II, information about the distance between the lens and the subject is now included in the calculation of the necessary flash power. 1/250 of a second is the flash sync speed.
The Canon EOS 40D employs the built-in flash as its AF assist, the same as its predecessors in the x0D line. You are required to elevate the flash unit, which will strobe in order to give illumination to the AF system when there is insufficient light. This is in place of having a separate lamp that would aid the AF system.
Flash from the outside
The hot-shoe of the EOS 40D is compatible with flash units made by Canon as well as those made by third-party manufacturers (sync only). As is the case with the built-in flash, the hot shoe has support for E-TTL II metering, which derives the necessary flash power from the distance information provided by the lens.
This is compatible with each and every Canon lens (although distance information is only provided by lenses with ring-type USM motors). You’ll also notice the new weather seal surrounding the flash, which is designed to operate in tandem with the more recent 580EX II Speedlite.
Because the EOS 40D is equipped with a standard metal EF/EF-S lens mount, it is compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, as well as certain older lenses that need manual focusing and third-party lenses that are compatible. All lenses are subject to a field of view crop (also termed focal length multiplier) of 1.6x since the sensor is smaller than a 35 mm frame. As a result, a 17 mm lens delivers the same field of view as a 27.2 mm lens on 35 mm film.
Sound of the Shutter Being Released
In several of our assessments of digital SLR cameras, we now include a sound clip of a rapid succession of photos taken with the camera. The waveforms of a recording that was made by the EOS 40D shooting continuously in JPEG Large/Fine for a period of thirty seconds may be seen below. The storage card that was utilized was a SanDisk Extreme IV Compact Flash that has a capacity of 2 gigabytes.
Top of camera controls (left) – Exposure Mode Dial
The dial that controls the camera’s exposure settings may be found on the top of the device, to the left. This regulates the operation of the exposure, whether it is entirely automated, a preprogrammed scene composition, a flexible program, a variety of manual and semi-automatic alternatives, or any of the three places designated as “camera user.” These exposure modes are separated into two categories: basic and creative in the user handbook that comes with the Canon camera.
Basic zone exposure modes
Full Auto and the six scene exposure modes are referred to collectively as the “Basic Zone,” and while in this “Zone,” certain settings are either fixed, limited, or unavailable, as shown in this table. Full Auto is the only exposure mode that can be used in conjunction with the scene exposure modes. The second table provides extensive information on the variable settings.
In the basic zone, the camera will signal that blur may occur due to slow shutter speeds by blinking the shutter speed on the LCD and viewfinder status bar. This is done in order to warn the photographer of the potential for blur.
Creative zone exposure modes
The majority of professionals and prosumers will be more comfortable with and gravitate toward using the five exposure options. These modes make all of the menu functions and camera settings available to the user, and they may be combined in any way they see fit.
In the manual exposure modes (Tv, Av, and M), you control the shutter speed with the main dial (located on top of the camera) and the aperture with the quick control dial (located on the back of the camera). You may switch the operational direction of these dials by using the C.Fn IV-4 button.
Controls at the very top of the camera (right)
The LCD status panel is located on the top of the camera on the right side. Directly above this are four buttons, including one for the LCD backlight and three control buttons (see below). The primary dial and the button that releases the shutter are located in front of these.
The AF-ON, AE-Lock, and focus point selection buttons are located along the rear of the camera, directly ‘under your thumb.’ To return to shooting mode, you must first push the settings buttons once, then spin a dial to alter the setting value, and last, you must press the shutter release halfway (or press another button).
Top panel buttons
The following table provides an explanation of the connection between the various buttons on the top panel settings and the parameters that may be modified by rotating either the main dial (top) or the fast control dial (rear).
Where your thumb buttons are located (Shooting mode)
The beginning of autofocus
You can activate the autofocus feature without needing to “half-press” the shutter release button first thanks to the AF-ON button. The AF-ON button has just recently been added to Canon’s professional EOS-1D series, making the EOS 40D the first camera in the EOS x0D line to get it. Note that you may re-program the specific function of the AF-Of button by using C.Fn IV-1, or you can swap the AF-ON button and the AE/AF lock button by using C.Fn IV-2. Both of these options are accessible through the menu system on the camera (all custom functions are detailed in the menus section of this review). Lock for AE and FE
When you press the button, the automatic exposure will be triggered, and you may then lock the exposure for the following photo. By depressing and holding the button, you may lock the exposure for several shots. AF point selection button
You can select a single AF point by pressing, or you can browse between the various AF points by turning either the main dial or the fast control dial. You also have the option of selecting a location directly with the help of the brand-new multi-controller (press the selector for the center point). Through the use of the C.Fn III-3, the precise operation of this button may be altered.
Where your thumb buttons are located (Play mode)
If you are using the single view play mode, click this button once will move to a thumbnail index that is 2×2, hitting it twice will transition to an index that is 3×3. If the current magnification level is too high, pushing this button will bring it down. Enlarge
To enlarge the current image, press; there are fifteen levels leading up to a maximum magnification of ten times the original size. After you have magnified the image, you will be able to use the multi-controller to navigate around it.
Controls on the back of the camera
Because of the new three-inch LCD panel, the control buttons had to be moved from their prior location down the left side of the screen to a row of five buttons below, and the menu button was moved to the top of the screen. The “new addition” is the new dedicated Picture Style button, which is used to display the Picture Style selection/adjustment page. Aside from the AF-ON button, which we have already discussed, this is the only other “new addition.” Last but not least, let’s not forget to talk about the button that’s the least useful: direct print. This button is still not adjustable.
Quick-Adjust Dial for Controls
The Quick Control Dial may be used to adjust exposure compensation while the power switch is in the third position (one step past the ON position) (steps depend on C.Fn I-1).
If Live View is turned on, hitting the SET button will either enter or exit the live view mode. If Live View is not turned on, pressing the SET button will have no effect in shooting mode. If Live View is turned on, pressing the SET button will enter or exit the live view mode.
Image browsing on the EOS 40D is a little different from image browsing on the EOS 30D. The rapid control dial (rear) on the EOS 40D browses photos one at a time, while the main dial (top) jumps using the jump mode that has been selected. You are able to choose between several jump modes by pressing the JUMP button:
Shows the most recent image that was captured (or the last image on the card). The Canon EOS 40D is a shooting priority camera, which means that regardless of what is displayed on the rear LCD, it will be overwritten if any of the camera’s photographic functions (for example, half-pressing the shutter release or AF-ON) are accessed. This applies even if the camera is set to a different mode than shooting priority. Erase
When you press, the current picture will be deleted, and an OK or Cancel popup will appear.
Quick-Adjust Dial for Controls
Simply rotate the Quick Control Dial to view a gallery of pictures (the main dial can be used to jump images).
Lens mount controls
The last set of controls for the camera is located on the side of the lens mount. The first button is the flash open button, and pressing it will bring up the onboard flash if you are in the appropriate setting. After that, you’ll see a button labeled “lens release,” and just below that, you’ll see a button labeled “depth of field preview.” When you press the depth of field preview button, the lens will stop down to the aperture that has been indicated or selected.
JPEG versus RAW
Hover your mouse pointer over the links to get a comparison of the difference in sharpness and clarity that results from having a camera JPEG file processed vs having a RAW file processed using Canon Digital Photo Professional or Adobe Camera Raw. The JPEG settings of the camera were set to Standard, which is the default option for the Canon 40D. We utilized the most recent version of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP), which is 184.108.40.206, and we set the amount of sharpening to 3. DPP delivered the superior result overall.
Performance in Terms of ISO and Noise
Extremely little loss of fine information was seen in regions of subtle contrast when the Canon 40D was used at low ISO settings, and the camera-generated very low noise levels overall (where anti-noise processing takes its toll). The images were relatively free of noise up to an ISO value of 800, but beyond that, a gradual but discernible loss of delicate information occurred when the ISO value was increased.
At an ISO of 1,600, we can see that the shadows are beginning to become blotchy, but the detail is still fairly decent. The grain pattern and chroma noise become more noticeable at an ISO setting of 3,200, particularly in the darkest regions of the image. Having said all of that, the Canon 40D has exceptionally great noise performance at high ISOs; it does a good job of finding the optimal balance between reducing noise and maintaining subject detail. Please refer to the section titled “Output Quality” for further information on the appearance of these findings when they are printed.
JPEGs from the camera versus RAW files in terms of noise reduction and detail.
Let your own eyes be the judge, but ours say that the Canon 40D does a better job than most SLRs of striking a balance between the amount of image noise and the amount of subject information it captures.
The examples of image detail shown below were captured with an ISO setting of 3200 and cropped from the original RAW file created by Bibble, directly from the camera, from a RAW file created by Bibble using the built-in Noise Ninja function of Bibble (with the amount and level settings set to 20 and 0.8, respectively), and from Bibble with no noise reduction or other processing enabled.
Even at an ISO of 3200, the Canon D40 is capable of producing very clean RAW files, as can be seen in the crop that is furthest to the right. Although the in-camera JPEGs (the crop on the left of the image above) do sacrifice some subject detail in return for lower noise, the trade-off is not nearly as significant as it is with other cameras that we have seen.
You can obtain really decent-looking photographs at ISO 3200 by using a competent noise-reduction tool. There will be remarkably little indication of noise or loss of clarity in the images that you create. Using the Noise Ninja feature that is included in Bibble, the picture in the upper left-center was able to have noise reduced while maintaining as much of the image quality as possible.
(It’s possible that the full version of the Noise Ninja application might do an even better job, but the free version that’s included in Bibble only gives the most fundamental capabilities: Entering a valid license code for Noise Ninja is required in order to access all of the program’s functionality.
The Canon 40D does, in fact, include a setting that allows users to disable the high-ISO noise reduction in the JPEG files produced by the camera. The consequences of this setting can be seen in the image at the top right-center. However, when you compare it to a RAW export from Bibble in which all noise processing was turned off (as seen on the far right above), it is clear that the camera always does at least some noise-reduction processing. Although there is clearly more subject detail and less noise present than in the default camera JPEG, the camera always does at least some noise-reduction processing.
In our test in low light, the Canon 40D performed admirably, capturing photos that were adequately bright down to the lowest light level we test at, and doing so regardless of the ISO setting used. This amounts to around 1/16 the brightness of the normal city street lighting at night, which means that the 40D should be able to produce properly-exposed images in any location in which you can see well enough to walk around.
The degree of chroma noise was lowered to even lower levels at higher ISOs because to the Long Exposure Noise Reduction setting of the camera, which made the overall level of noise pretty low to begin with. According to Luke, our senior lab technician, the autofocus system of the camera was able to focus on the subject without assistance down to just below the 1/16 foot-candle light level. This was in line with the camera’s exposure system. However, Luke noted that the autofocus system was not always accurate at the lowest levels.
(The 40D does feature an autofocus-assist light option; but, as it utilizes the flash tube of the camera as the illuminator, it needs that the flash system is activated for it to operate.)
An insignificant degradation in image quality with high ISO and lengthy exposures: Both the ISO 1,600 and ISO 3,200 images taken here exhibit noticeable horizontal banding in the shadowy regions at the lowest light levels. The full extent of this may be seen in the crop on the right, which was taken at ISO 3,200 and exposed for 0.6 seconds.
Even though it is minor, the impact may be seen, especially when looking at the whole image at a 1:1 scale onscreen. The effect is less noticeable with an ISO of 1,600, but it is still there to be seen. It’s not what we’d call a significant issue, but it may be a problem for some people working in vital applications, so we felt it was necessary to bring it to your notice.
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Sensor *||• 22.2 x 14.8 mm CMOS sensor|
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter (with self-cleaning unit)
• 10.5 million total pixels
• 10.1 million effective pixels
• 5.7 µm pixel pitch
• 3:2 aspect ratio
|Image processor *||DIGIC III|
|A/D conversion *||14 bit|
|Image sizes *||• 3888 x 2592 (L; 10.1 MP)|
• 2816 x 1880 (M; 5.3 MP)
• 1936 x 1288 (S; 2.5 MP)
|File formats||• RAW (.CR2; 14-bit *)|
• JPEG (EXIF 2.21) – Fine / Normal
• RAW + JPEG (separate files)
• sRAW (2.5 MP) *
|File sizes (approx.) *||• JPEG L/Fine: 3.5 MB|
• JPEG M/Fine: 2.1 MB
• JPEG S/Fine: 1.2 MB
• RAW: 12.4 MB
• sRAW: 7.1 MB
|Lenses||• Canon EF / EF-S lens mount|
• 1.6x field of view crop
|Dust reduction *||• “EOS Integrated Cleaning System”|
• Self-cleaning sensor unit (filter in front of sensor vibrates at high frequency at start-up and shutdown – can be disabled)
• Dust Delete Data – Data from a test shot is used to ‘map’ dust spots and can be later removed using Canon DPP Software
|Auto focus||• 9-point TTL CMOS sensor|
• All points cross-type for lenses of F5.6 or faster *
• Center point additionally sensitive with lenses of F2.8 or faster *
• AF working range: -0.5 – 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)
|Focus modes||• One shot AF|
• AI Servo AF
• AI Focus AF
• Manual focus
|AF point selection||• Auto|
|AF assist||• Stroboscopic flash|
• 4.0 m range (at center)
|Metering||• TTL 35 zone SPC|
• Metering range: EV 0.0 – 20 EV *
|Metering modes||• Evaluative 35 zone|
• Partial (9% at center)
• Spot metering (approx. 3.8% at center *)
• Center-weighted average
|AE lock||• Auto: One Shot AF with evaluative metering|
• Manual: AE lock button
|Exposure compensation||• +/-2.0 EV|
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
|Exposure bracketing||• +/- 2.0 EV|
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
|Sensitivity||• Auto ISO (see below) *|
• ISO 100 – 1600
• 0.3 or 1.0 EV increments
• ISO 3200 (Enhanced H)
|Auto ISO *||• P, Av, A-Dep: ISO 400 – 800 (will drop to ISO 100 to avoid over-exposure)|
• Tv: ISO 400 (will use 100 – 800 if required)
• M: ISO 400
• Scene modes (apart from Sport and Portrait): ISO 100 – 800
• Sport scene mode: ISO 400 – 800
• Portrait scene mode: ISO 100
• With flash (all modes): ISO 400
|Shutter||• Focal-plane shutter|
• 100,000 exposure durability
• 30 – 1/8000 sec
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• Flash X-Sync: 1/250 sec
|Aperture values||• F1.0 – F91|
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• Actual aperture range depends on lens used
|Noise reduction||• Long exposure (1 sec or longer)|
• Optional for High ISO (default Off)
|White balance||• Auto|
• Kelvin (2500 * – 10000 K in 100 K steps)
|WB bracketing||• +/-3 levels|
• 3 images
• Blue / Amber or Magenta / Green bias
|WB shift||• Blue (-9) To Amber (+9)|
• Magenta (-9) to Green (+9)
|Picture style||• Standard|
• User def. 1
• User def. 2
• User def. 3
|Custom image parameters||• Sharpness: 0 to 7|
• Contrast: -4 to +4
• Saturation: -4 to +4
• Color tone: -4 to +4
• B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
• B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
|Color space||• sRGB|
• Adobe RGB
|Viewfinder||• Eye-level pentaprism|
• 95% frame coverage
• Magnification: 0.95x * (-1 diopter with 50 mm lens at infinity)
• Eyepoint: 22 mm *
• Interchangeable focusing screen Ef-A standard (2 other types optional) *
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
|• Ef-A (Standard Precision Matte – included)|
• Ef-D (Precision Matte with grid)
• Ef-S (Super Precision Matte for easier manual focus)
|Mirror||• Quick-return half mirror (transmission:reflection ratio 40:60)|
• Mirror lock-up (once or multiple exposures)
|Viewfinder info||• AF points|
• Focus confirmation light
• ISO sensitivity *
• Shutter speed
• Manual exposure
• AE Lock
• Exposure compensation amount
• AEB level
• Spot metering area
• Flash ready
• Red-eye reduction lamp on
• High-speed sync
• FE Lock
• Flash compensation amount
• ISO speed (while changing)
• WB correction (while changing)
• B&W mode icon *
• Maximum burst for continuous shooting
• Buffer space
|LCD monitor *||• 3.0 ” TFT LCD|
• 230,000 pixels
• 7 brightness levels
|LCD Live view *||• Live TTL display of scene from CMOS image sensor|
• 100% frame coverage
• Real-time evaluative metering using CMOS image sensor
• Best view or exposure simulation
• Grid optional (thirds)
• Magnify optional (5x or 10x at AF point)
• Optional Auto-focus with mirror-down / mirror-up sequence
• Two modes; normal and quieter
• Remote live view using EOS Utility 2.0 (via USB or WiFi/Ethernet using WFT)
• Manual focus only
|Record review||• Off|
• On (histogram via INFO button)
• Display mode same as last used Play mode
• 2 / 4 / 8 sec / Hold
|Playback modes *||1. Single image with exposure, file number, storage slot|
2. As 1 but also image count and quality
3. Detailed exposure information, thumbnail and luminance histogram
4. Less detailed exposure info., thumbnail, luminance and RGB histograms
|Playback features||• Optional blinking highlight alert *|
• Optional AF point display *
• Magnified view (up to 10x)
• 2×2 * or 3×3 thumbnail index
• Jump (by 1, 10, 100 images / by screen or date)
• Delete / Protect
|Flash||• Auto pop-up E-TTL II auto flash|
• FOV coverage up to 17 mm (27 mm equiv.)
• Guide number approx 13 m / 43 ft (ISO 100)
• Cycle time approx. 3 sec
• Flash compensation +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
• X-Sync: 1/250 sec
|External flash||• E-TTL II auto flash with EX-series Speedlites|
• In-camera flash configuration (currently only 580 EX II) *
• Wireless multi-flash support
• PC Sync
|Shooting modes||• Auto|
• Program AE (P)
• Shutter priority AE (Tv)
• Aperture priority AE (Av)
• Manual (M)
• Auto depth-of-field
• Night portrait
• Flash off
• Camera user settings 1 *
• Camera user settings 2 *
• Camera user settings 3 *
|Drive modes||• Single|
• High-speed continuous: 6.5 fps *
• Low-speed continuous: 3 fps
• Self-timer: 2 or 10 sec (3 sec with mirror lock-up)
|Burst buffer *||• Large/Fine JPEG: 75 frames|
• RAW: 17 frames
• RAW+JPEG: 14 frames
|Auto rotation *||• On (recorded and LCD display)|
• On (recorded only)
|Custom functions *||24 custom functions in 4 groups|
|Menu languages *||• English|
• Simplified Chinese
• Traditional Chinese
|Portrait grip||• Optional WFT-E3/E3A *|
• Optional BP-E2N battery grip *
• Optional BP-E2 battery grip
|Connectivity||• USB 2.0 Hi-Speed|
• Video out
• N3 type wired remote control
• PC Sync flash terminal
• Communication terminal on base for WFT-E3/E3A *
|Storage||• Compact Flash Type I or II (inc. FAT32)|
• Canon Original Data Security Kit supported (“Original Image Data”)
• No CF card supplied
|Power||• Lithium-Ion BP-511A rechargeable battery (supplied & charger)|
• Supports BP-511 / BP-511A / BP-512 / BP-514
• CR2016 Lithium battery (date/time backup)
• Optional AC adapter
|Wireless connectivity *|
|• Mounts on base of camera and also acts as vertical grip|
• Has its own BP-511A battery
• Wireless 802.11b / 802.11g
• Wireless security: WEP, TKIP/AES, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK
• Wireless methods: Infrastructure or Ad Hoc
• Wired ethernet (100 Base-TX)
• Transfer: FTP, PTP (remote control by computer), HTTP (view / remote fire)
• USB host capable: External hard drives, flash drives
• USB comms: GPS devices (records coordinates and altitude in image header)
|Dimensions *||146 x 108 x 74 mm (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)|
|Weight *||• No battery: 740 g (1.6 lb)|
• With battery: 822 g (1.8 lb)
Seven years have passed since Canon released the EOS D30, and the sixth iteration of that camera showcases all of the benefits of a progressive progression in both the functionality and the quality of the camera. Canon has been able to exhibit advancements in picture quality, performance, usability, and functionality with each successive step up the evolutionary ladder, culminating in the EOS 40D. They also demonstrated that in addition to meeting the requirements of the market,’ they also listened to owners and reviewers by implementing the most commonly requested feature changes.
This demonstrated that not only did they meet the requirements of the market,’ but they also listened to the market. These include the permanent display of ISO sensitivity on both the top LCD and viewfinder status bar, the warning message that appears when the CF compartment is opened while a writing process is in progress, and the inclusion of the AF-ON button. All of these features are included in the EOS 40D.
Because of the combination of the Canon CMOS sensor and the DIGIC III processor, images produced by a Canon camera have the same level of clarity regardless of the sensitivity setting (with the possible exception of ISO 3200), very little noise, and no artifacts that aren’t naturally occurring. The new high ISO speed noise reduction option does not have any impact on the luminance detail of the image, but it does eliminate any remaining chroma noise, which gives high ISO photographs a grain that is more reminiscent of film.
Nikon has been doing this for some time. It is a minor point and would really only be noticed by “pixel peepers” if Canon used a less powerful anti-alias filter. This would mean that JPEG images would require less sharpening and would be naturally “crisper” straight off the sensor. However, we would be interested to see Canon use this filter because it would mean that JPEG images would require less sharpening.
When we tested the dynamic range of the camera, we were taken aback to find that it offered a range that was consistently higher than that of both its predecessor and the other cameras in its class. We estimate that the new 14-bit processing pipeline is responsible for the vast majority of this improvement, which was seen mostly in the shadow range.
Negatives? Even keeping in mind that we are typically more critical of cameras that come with a strong legacy, like as the EOS 40D, it is absolutely impossible to discover any significant flaws with the camera. Even while the automatic white balance in artificial light is still not very good, there is no indication of the tone curve that is applied by the various Picture Styles, and the continuous shooting speed wasn’t exactly as quick as advertised, we are really just nitpicking here.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent resolution, good per-pixel sharpness
- The brand-new “High ISO speed noise reduction” option eliminates any and all traces of chroma noise, which is analogous to film grain.
- Images were captured using Canon’s trademark CMOS sensor, which eliminates noise and maintains clarity even at high sensitivities
- The highlight tone priority set provides a significantly more dynamic range with almost no drawbacks.
- EOS 30D has a good tone response and an increased dynamic range in comparison to its competitors.
- Continuous shooting rate of 6 frames per second at 1/500 second and 6.3 frames per second at 1/4000 second. This is slower than the required rate.
- Performance-wise, the automated white balance did about average, but it was still quite bad in incandescent light.
- The flash has to be turned on for the AF assist lighting (although AF is good even in low light)
- Live view does not have a contrast detect AF.
- There is no indication of picture style tone curve in the camera menu (contrast is an offset, not absolute)