View Full Version : 40D: First Experience

Nikolai Sklobovsky
October 4th, 2007, 07:40 PM
As you may already know, I have purchased two brand new Canon 40D bodies Thursday Sep 20th 2007. Got them from Ritz Camera online at $1,299 apiece, no tax, overnight shipping for $26 only. Received early morning Friday Sep 21st. Played with them over the weekend trying to learn as much of the functionality as I can, and then used them extensively in Glacier NP at Smugmug shootout (Tue Sep 25 - Sun Oct 1), bringing home about 4,500 frames (about 44Gb).

The following are my brief impressions over the new gear.
Gear Background:
I purchased my first Canon 20D DSLR in Aug 2005.
Upgraded to 30D in March 2006.
Got second 30D body in December 2006.
Sold both 30D here at andybay a few days ago.
I have the following lens line up:
10-22, 17-55/2.8 IS, 50/1.8, 70-200L/2.8 IS, 100/2.8 Macro, 100-400L IS, 1.4 TC, extension tubes.

That 3" LCD is freaking gorgeous!
When you gradually upgrade your gear you may not think it's that obvious, but when you have a chance to see 20D, 30D and 40D all together you can clearly see the difference.
Much more info on the LCD!
* You always get your basic info while the playback
* While shooting, if you press Info twice, you'll get an extremely useful screen that shows ALL your settings live, all in bright big letters. No need to reach for tiny top LCD again. The mode is persistent until you do something else, which is especially great for a night shooting - you can see it from a few feet! No need to press that tiny light button again (and the light disappears after a few seconds)
* Now you can have both RGB and Luminosity histograms!
Sensor cleaning
Due to the fact I own and use two identical bodies, the need to change lenses is significantly less than with the one body setup. However, I did changed them enough (outside, very windy conditions) to pretty much guarantee a lot of dust bunnies in 30D or any other unprotected models. I don't know, maybe it was very clear Montana air, or was it the effectiveness of the sensor cleaning system, but I didnt see a single bunny yet.
New menu system
It takes a bit of time to get used to this 1D-based tabbed system, but I like it.
New custom functions
Very useful additions, like High ISO Noise reduction (be aware, though, it can drastically affect your burst rate at high ISOs).
Highlight preference seems also like a very nice feature.
Much better noise reduction
I have just mentioned High ISO noise reduction, which kicks in gradually as you crank ISO up. But it looks like the Long Exposure Noise reduction has been improved as well. I used them in combination, and it took only a few seconds (like 5-ish) to get back to me after 30 sec exposures - I didn't have to wait the full 30 second for the dark frame! And from what I have seen thus far, the pictures look much cleaner compared to what I remember from my 20D/30D ISO 3200 shots.
Auto ISO
This is what I call "green mode for advance shooters". Turn the ISO dial below 100 and you get Auto, which means it will automatically shift between 100 and 800, with 400 being a default initial value. I used this mode a lot and it works great!
User Settings
Now this was a total life saver. Record up to three sets of camera settings and switch between them in a fraction of a second. It remembers speed, ISO, custom functions, mode - the whole shebang.
One moment you're shooting smooth water at ISO 100, next moment - bracketing landscape at +/-1.5 EV and next one - shooting fast-moving deer at ISO1600. Considering your regular settings also work and are stored independently, you have, in fact not 3, but 4 instantly switchable modes.
Man, this feature alone justifies the upgrade!
Live View
In all fairness, I was a tad sceptical about this one. I've been using Sony DCS bodies for several years, so it kinda was nothing new.
Well, I was wrong. It's an extremely usable feature for macro, night or low/weird angle shooting. Of course, articulated screen would make it a total killer, but hey, there is always a room for improvement and 50D :-)
Word of advise: it drains your battery FAST, so don't leave your camera in this mode for long. Occasional trips into it, however, seems to be perfectly OK.
Thank Almighty: 2sec timer is not bound to MLU anymore, so you can finally choose 10 or 2 yourself.
That 6 fps and a bigger buffer sure feels nice when you shoot wildlife or any other fast action
Last but not least: you get to choose several of your favorite menu commands to be neatly grouped in one screen (you can even make it a default one). With it in place and the user settings saved, your need to navigate over other tabs virtually disappear.Well, that's about it for now. Overall, it's a great camera, well worth the price of the upgrade, I'm very happy with it.


Ron Morse
October 5th, 2007, 07:46 PM
I have to pretty much agree with what you say Nik. I am very happy with this camera. I think it was a big step up from my 20D.

I had mine about a week before you got yours but don't have nearly as many shots through it. Less than 700 through mine.

Nikolai Sklobovsky
October 5th, 2007, 09:39 PM
Thanks, Ron!
And with 6fps I'm sure you'll catch me in no time :-)