Canon EOS 40D - Full Review
Canon EOS 40D - New Features
The Canon EOS 40D isn't just a small update of the EOS 30D, as the EOS 30D was of the EOS 20D. It incorporates many new hardware features as well as software updates and additions. The EOS 40D can't be called an "EOS 30D MkII" in the way that the EOS 30D could have been thought of as an "EOS 20D MkII".
Here are the most significant of the EOS 40D's new features:
10 megapixel CMOS sensor
Though based on the 10MP sensor found in the Rebel XTi, the XTi and EOS 40D sensors are not identical. The EOS 40D sensor has been significantly improved over that of the XTi via the use of larger microlenses over each pixel to reduce noise and expand sensitivity up to ISO 3200.
Integrated Sensor Cleaning System
Like the 1D MkIII, 1Ds MkIII and digital Rebel XTi, the 40D now uses Canon's integrated sensor cleaning system. This comprises of anti-static coatings and a piezo-electric element which shakes the low pass filter in front of the actual sensor in order to remove dust particles. The filter is shaken when the camers powers up and powers down. Dust that has been shaken or blown loose is trapped by adhesive at the base of the sensor unit housing, preventing the dust particles from re-attaching themselves to the filter when the camera moves. A second part of the dust elimination system is a software solution that maps the location of any spots that may remain on the sensor. The mapped information is saved as "Dust Delete Data" and attached to the image file. This dust information can be subtracted from the final image during post processing using the Digital Photo Professional software.
Digic III processor with 14-bit A/D conversion
In common with the EOS 1D MkIII and IDs MkIII, the EOS 40D uses Canon's latest Digic III processor (though the 40D has just one, while the 1D series models use two). All three cameras now use a 14-bit A/D conversion system (earlier models used a 12-bit system). In theory a 14 bit system should allow the EOS 40D camera to produce images with finer and more accurate gradations of tones and colors.
Nine-point AF sensor with cross type AF zones
The EOS 40D has a 9 point "diamond pattern" AF system like the EOS 30D, but now all 9 points use cross type AF sensors which will focus on either horizontal or vertical details with any lens faster than f5.6. The center AF zone (shown on the left, highly magnified) is a diagonal cross type with enhanced sensitivity for lenses of f2.8 or faster aperture. Canon claim that AF calculation speed with the EOS 40D is 30 percent faster than that of the EOS 30D.
In common with the new EOS 1D MkIII and EOS 1Ds MkIII, the EOS 40D offers a "live view" mode. This gives you a display on the rear LCD of what the lens is seeing. There are some limitations though. in order to use AF the mirror must drop down while the AF sensor system operates, then raise again to restore the live view. The EOS 40D cannot use the 10MP CMOS sensor to achieve AF. In live view you can magnify the image up to 10x to make manual focusing easier and there is a quiet mode in which the mirror return is delayed until the shutter button is released. In the Live view mode shooting information and a grid can be displayed.
WFT-E3A wireless transmitter/vertical grip
The new optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E3A permits wireless transfer and back-up, as well as remote control of the camera in Live View mode. It can also be connected to various GPS receivers or Hi-Speed USB 2.0 external storage devices such as convenient flash drives or high-capacity hard drives with much larger storage capacity than the memory cards in the camera for instant back-up as images are captured. The WFT-E3A wireless transmitter also doubles as a vertical grip and requires its own BP-511A battery pack in addition to the battery installed in the camera body.
Other New Features
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- The EOS 40D now has continuous display of the ISO setting visible in the viewfinder, as well as an indictor to show when you are shooting in B&W mode.
- The camera no longer shuts down if the memory card door is opened when images are being written to the card. Now the images will continue to be written with a warning message displayed on the LCD showing how many more images need to be written before the card should be removed.
- You can now select an "auto ISO" mode in the creative zone (P, Av, Tv, M and A-dep), though
it doesn't offer the full range of ISO speeds. In P, A-dep and Av modes it selects speeds between ISO 400 to ISO 800 (though it will drop to ISO 100 to prevent overexposure). In Tv mode it will select between ISO 100 and ISO 800. In M mode it's fixed at ISO 400. There is no "ISO priority mode" where you set shutter speed and aperture and the camera picks the right ISO speed for optimum exposure.
- The EOS 40D has a 3" LCD monitor with a wider color gamut than that of the EOS 30D.
The resolution remains at 230,000 pixels.
- The EOS 40D has a larger buffer and faster frame
rate than the EOS 30D. You can now shoot at 6.5fps in a 75 JPEG burst (vs 5fps and a 30 JPEG burst for the 30D).
- The viewfinder magnification has been increased for 0.90x on the EOS 30D to 0.95x on the EOS 40D, making it a little easier to read. Coverage remains at 95% of the frame.
- The EOS 40D has interchangeable focusing screens. The "Ef-A Standard Precision Matte" is supplied in the camera. An "Ef-S Super Precision Matte" (which makes manual focusing easier but is slightly darker) and an "Ef-D Precision Matte with grid" are also available.
- The Canon EOS 40D uses a new mirror mechanism which is faster and quieter than that used on the EOS 30D. The EOS 40D uses a motor to move the mirror in both directions, whereas the 30D used a spring mechanism for part of the operation. This results in shorter blackout times and lower noise levels.
- There is now a dedicated "AF on" button on the 40D, rather than combining that function with the AEL button
as was done with the EOS 20D/30D. The "AF on" button also controls AF in "Live View" mode.
- The EOS 40D shutter is rated for 100,000 cycles and a shutter lag time of only 59 msec
- Some additional sealing has been added to the EOS 40D, though it is not the full weatherproofing sealing treatment
that is found on the 1D models. Seals have been added around the battery compartment and memory card compartment doors, though just looking at it it would appear to be more "dust proofing" then "water prooofing".
- The EOS 40D incorporates the optional Highlight Tone Priority and High-ISO Noise Reduction functions which were first introduced earlier this year on the EOS-1D Mark III and are also found on the new EOS 1Ds MkIII.
- Shooting information (shutter speed, aperture, focus mode, metering pattern, EC etc.) can now be optionally displayed on the rear LCD as well as on the top LCD of the camera. This can be of value when the top LCD cannot be easily viewed or when a larger, brighter view is required.
- When using direct print (printing from the camera) you can now rotate the image by up to +/- 10 degrees to correct for tilted images, as well perform image cropping.
- The EOS 40D now was three user custom modes (C1, C2, C3) on the main mode dial. These allow you to recall three sets of saved camera settings which can include parameters like the shooting mode, custom functions and various menu options.
- The EOS 40D (as well as the 1D MkIII and 1Ds MkIII) now records focus distance information in the RAW EXIF data (if the lens provides it). This can then be used in conjunction with EXIF focal length and lens designation data in the new Digital Photo Professional (DPP) v3.2 to automatically correct lens aberrations such as vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberration.