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Canon EOS 40D

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92% of reviewers $1,168.60
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Superb image quality: 10.1 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, extensive noise reduction technology, and 14-bit conversion for outstanding color tones and gradations.

Outstanding performance: 6.5 fps, burst rate up to 75 consecutive JPEGs or 17 RAW images and DIGIC III Image Processor.

Strong, rugged build quality: magnesium-alloy exterior, shutter durability-tested to 100,000 cycles, top speed 1/8000, top x-sync speed 1/250.

New AF system with 9 cross-type sensors, and world's first diagonal high-precision cross-type AF at center point with f/2.8 and faster lenses.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System, Picture Style settings, Spot metering, and Highlight Tone Priority for advanced in-camera image control.

Large 3.0-inch LCD monitor and advanced Live View Function with new options for reduced shutter time lag and quiet operation.

Wide range of accessories, including interchangeable focusing screens, extensive remote control options, new battery grip BG-E2N, and new dedicated wireless file transmitter WFT-E3A.

Type: Digital AF/AE SLR
Recording Medium: CF Card Type I and II and external media (USB v.2.0 hard drive, via optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E3A)
Image Format: 0.87 x 0.58 in./22.2 x 14.8mm (APS-C size sensor)
Compatible Lenses: Canon EF, EF-S, TS-E, and MP-E lenses
Lens Mount: Canon EF mount
Lens Focal Length Conversion Factor: 1.6x


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Registered: Jul 23, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Extremely Good Balance of Ergonomics, Build Quality Speed and Image Quality. Huge Canon Lens line-up and Accessories support.
Price....Paid too much as I bought it a year ago.

Got myself back into digital photography after a 5-6 years break and this was my first DSLR since the Nikon D1. Got a 24-105 f4L IS USM and Sigma 10-20 lens to go with it.

Considering that it's only a prosumer grade DSLR, the standout for me is its speed and responsiveness. Fast start-up, minimal shutter and viewfinder lag, a very competent AF and 6.5fps burst rate. On paper, although its 9 point AF seems not a big wow factor but in practice, it is brilliant. The cross sensors, the overall area coverage in diamond shape and lower EV sensitivity is a great combination. I subsequently owned a 30D as a backup and the real difference is in indoor shooting. 30D will hunt a bit while 40D is much faster locking on.

Image Quality is also pretty good and I usually use it up to ISO 1600. Performance of ISO 3200 is generally useable but not consistent depeding on lighting situation. Usually have to make sure I use RAW at ISO 3200 so that there's more latitude for post processing.

BG-E2N which I got subsequently is a bad fit for the 40D. Works better with the 30D. It does not give me the feeling of a solid tight fit and I think its because the bit of extra weight gain as compared to the 30D.

Jul 23, 2008
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Registered: Sep 28, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 177
Review Date: Jul 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image cleaning system, AI, shutter speed, image size, size and weight
The 3" LCD is nice but it is still limited by low pixel count. Also, help me understand why live view is such a big deal. Finally, what is up with the goofy print button???

I started with film in the 70's and in recent years, I've converted to digital photography. A 10D, 30D, and now the 40D. Every generation seems to improve over the predecessor ... guess that is how it works ... sometimes.

The 10D was tough to beat ... provided you did not need to shoot fast moving subjects. The 30D was a nice camera, but, it's AI was a bit slow for sports. The 40D is a fine body that offers a cleaning system (that actually works), an AI Servo mode that accurately predicts the next frame, and all at a reasonable price. It is my favorite ...

I still do not understand the direct print button nor do I understand why anyone would use live view ...

Fitted with a good lens (24-70) or two (24-70 and 70-200), this camera will work well for most users.

Jul 22, 2008
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Registered: Jul 16, 2008
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: nice build quality, very handy, 6.5 fps, liveview, very good viewfinder, lightning fast boot
heavy (quality or weight, you choose), no fast way to chose jpeg vs raw, would have appreciated 12 MPix.

This is my first SLR. Previously, I owned a FujiFilm S9500 (S9000 on American market), which is a bridge.
Basically, it's a whole different world. If you're considering buying a SLR after owning a bridge, prepare for a huge gap.

So far, I'm using it for nearly 2 months now, and more than 2000 pictures taken. (I bought the package with the 17-85, which is decent (but not great))
I must say I've never been disappointed. Colors are vivid and nice, through in inside, white balance is often wrong.
It is very usable up to 1600 ISO. I would not recommend 3200 since noise begins to be very high and makes picture hardly usable.
Battery life is good, through you should definitely consider buying an extra pack.
I've bought a SanDisk Extrem III 8 GB (30 MB/s) : it's incredible how many shots it can take @ 6.5 fps.

Now, if you're taking shots of people : the sound the shutter (and mirror) makes is great. Adding this to the 6.5 fps, you're guaranted that people you shoot will be pleased, as they feel like being models.

Anyway, I definitely recommend it for an amateur. From inside to outside, for portraits or landscape, even for fireworks, it's just incredible how nice the pictures it takes are. At least, you won't be able to blame the camera for missed pictures Wink

Jul 16, 2008
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Registered: Aug 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 226
Review Date: Jul 1, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $995.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: DigicIII 14bit, 6.5FPS, Live View,Better menu system from 1 series, Image Quality is Excellent for price
6 copies of this camera and still haven't gotten one that AFs perfect, High ISO performance is no where near as good as 5D or 1DmIII(own both so thats what i can compare it 2),6.5FPS is good but considering the comp with nikon...8FPS would be more what I would want(and would use), Live View is useless unless you have your tripod handy, High iso color is not great IMO, Build quality is still not up to D300 standards,

Untill canon gets the AF issues fixed id steer clear of this latest entry of the xxD series. After going back to the store I got it at I checked all 5 copies ...all had front focus issues with pretty much every lens in the store , Canon Ls and 3ed party. Seem like quality control is nonexistant with canon lately, my MKIII got fixed finally after 3 services for focus issues as well. I understand why canon is now discounting these cameras ....

Jul 1, 2008
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Registered: Apr 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 641
Review Date: Jun 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 10MP, 6fps, solid build.
Confusing menus. Had a hard time setting up backbutton * focus w/o using the AF-ON button.

This is the best camera I've ever owned. It is quieter than than the 20D and I've owned the D30, D60, 10D, 20D and now the 40D. I will use this camera for a long time.

Jun 26, 2008
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Registered: Nov 22, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: speed, build, handling, high-iso noise
monitor not sharp, Canon QA

I'm absolutely happy with 40D. Used in past 350D, 400D, 10D, 5D, 1Dmk1. Impressively good iso1600-3200 noise, I set higher iso quite often to get film like grain. Handles very much alike 5D, just quicker.

Good new technologies like 14bit RAW and highlights priority are welcome, just don't see much difference in real life yet...

On negative side I purchased three copies of 40D (not at the same time) and returned two of them due to quality control problems.

Jun 20, 2008
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Registered: May 29, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 51
Review Date: Jun 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very fast, Sharp

Very Nice SLR, Best camera for the price.

Jun 10, 2008
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Registered: Apr 3, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 111
Review Date: Jun 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good feel in the hands, solid build, weatherproof, self-cleaning sensor, manual controls.
None so far.

I dug around a lot reading reviews (including those below) before I pulled the trigger after my XT bit the dust. This camera has quite a different set-up and so I'm just getting used to the location of some controls, but I have to say that my picture quality has taken a huge jump using the same lenses that I had on my XT. Very pleased with this purchase.

Jun 9, 2008
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Registered: Apr 19, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 2423
Review Date: Jun 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $980.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent pictures, ergonomic, viewfinder is much better than on 30D
had problems with autofocus, after calibration is almost perfect

Went through 20D, 30D and finally 40D
Excellent camera, it has some negative sides but as a photography tool its very usable. Don't compare this camera to 5D or Mark, it is a different class, but in 10-20-30D line its a camera with so many welcomed futures (you have to see colors)
I had problems with autofocus (pictures were to soft), send to Canon for calibration and received 10 days later with perfect autofocus and upgrated software. Thank you, CANON!
I am using this camera with Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens and Canon 85 mm f/1.8 for portraits and results are truly remarkable.
Love this camera.

That picture I made after calibration

Jun 5, 2008
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Registered: Oct 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 34
Review Date: May 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 7 


There is enough positive things said about 40D so I won't repeat in details. In summary a very very responsive camera and a list of nice features. One thing I like very much is actually the battery life, coming from 10D this 40D lasts forever!

Here is a list of negatives I observed. May sounds like nitpicking but potential buyers should know these up front.
- AWB performance is pretty bad under incandescent light, worst to be exact compared to 1D/1Ds series and 10/20/30D. Somewhat pink/orange look rather than my 10D's yellow/orange look. The latter is relatively easier to fix in my experience. You should use gray card whenever possible.
- Shadow noise is evident starting ISO200. Review tests you can find online cannot do a comprehensive estimate on noise performance because the 40D has a great range of good/bad scenarios. If possible, exposure for the highlight to minimize the shadow noise effect. On average though, this may not always be the case and that's why we hear some complaints about 40D noise.
- Fine-detail color graduation can be a problem in some cases. Most evident in skin tones. A worst case is skin tone under shadow, the color noise is quite evident and color noise reduction in DPP may result in ugly blocks of dark colors. Lightroom seems have a smarter color noise reduction and not so "blocky". By looking at the original image you would know the root problem is the color noise, it's almost impossible for software to remove it while preserving the fine color graduation, the information is simply not there.
- Grip is better than 20/30D as I heard, but compared to my 10D I still feel the grip is a little too thin (I have relative long fingers).
- LCD is much much bigger coming from 10D. Yet this LCD has a slight bluish color cast and can't really used for checking in-focus or not. I soooo miss LCD on Canon's pocket camera!! But anyway this fact doesn't bother me.

May 27, 2008
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John Morlidge
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Registered: Mar 31, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 42
Review Date: May 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: FPS, 14bit processing, great handling.
hard to judge exposure from LCD

I got the 40d as a replacement for my 350d. I was also looking at the 5d but decided on the 40d because it was newer.

Ended up recently getting a 5d as well, but this should not detract from the good point of the 40d.

The IQ of this camera is very good, a great improvement over the 350d - helped I believe by the 14bit proessing. Also the increased FPS and buffer are a great advantage when speed is required. The AF is also better than the 350d.

The handling of this camera really boosted my creativity as it makes it so much easier to work in manual mode. I almost never use a program mode now unless I require the speed. I wouldn't want to trust the weather sealing in the wet though!

One negative that I did notice with this camera was that some exposures which looked perfect on the LCD ended up really under exposed in reality. This has happened on a couple of occasions.

Whilst other features such as Live view, large screen, etc are nice to have I think I could live without them. I was glad to see that Canon did not feel the need to ramp up the MP count to 12 or 14 at the detriment of IQ on the small sensor.

Overall I now use this camera as a 'brother' to the 5d when I want the FPS and 1.6 conversion etc. They are perfect companions and I wouldn't want to get rid of either of them.

May 25, 2008
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Roberto Cruz
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Registered: Jun 7, 2007
Location: Mexico
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Speed, ergonomics, menu system, 14 bit and LCD monitor.

After owning the 20D and 350 Rebel I was quite happy. So, for a birthday gift I bought a 40D.
The difference is first noticed by the speed of this camera. The 14 bit images have color and contrast that the other two cameras do not have. I believe that the only way to judge a camera is by printing and printing large. The prints from the 40D are just so much richer in color than the other cameras I have owned.
My menu, camera user settings, huge LCD monitor with very accurate color and the speed of the digic III makes this camera a joy to use.
Some people think this camera is a small upgrade from the 30D, nothing could be further from the truth.

May 20, 2008
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Registered: May 7, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,145.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price, Usable ISO 3200, Color/detail rendition, ergonomics.
no full weather-sealing, no in-camera double-exposure feature

I have used the 20D since 2004. Upgrading to the 40D was a very welcome move, especially that I can now see the ISO on the viewfinder! as for hi ISO performance, this camera delivers the goods (but of course, that comes with just getting the exposure right also!). Here's a sample:

I gave it a 10 for the overall rating, considering the price, durability and functionality of this gear. I'm no super pro by any means, and I'm really just a hobbyist with some little oppoturtunities once in a while, and I can say that the 40D is one decent workhorse. My clients have been happy, and I have also repeat clients as well (going back to my 20D days). The 20D is still one very capable camera, and is now used as my back-up unit. I would say that the camera behaves slightly (only very slightly) different from the 20D, perhaps because of it's sensitivity. I'm sure it's just me not being too familiar yet with spot-metering. I waited for a decent and worthwhile upgrade to my 20D, and I got it in this camera. Now... what if CANON built an articulated built-in flash design into their future cameras (this way, with just the standard built-in flash, you can actually tilt it's head...I don't think it's a far-fetched idea at all).

For those of you thinking of getting a 40D...go get one already. For those planning on switching to Nikon...hey, they have a great camera too! It's a great year to be a D-SLR owner.

May 7, 2008
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Registered: Feb 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: May 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, lcd, live view, fps, nice upgrade from 20d

May 4, 2008
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Registered: Apr 28, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 6 


1. The “quietness” of the shutter does not last. Initially it is a nice soft “cluff” noise, BUT after putting a few thousand frames through this body, the foam damper which the shutter comes up against during an exposure, gets pressed enough times for its “springyness” to get lost. The result is less damping of the shutter noise, which turns into a loud “clack” a la 20D.

2. I have always loved the color and light handling of the 10 and 20D cameras - I think its even better than the 1D MKII that I have. I have to say the 40D is nowhere close. Sunlight on skin for example, on the 10D and 20D was never a problem, but the 40D seems to have trouble handling bright light with shadow. You get color smears almost, instead of a smooth color graduation. It seems like the ability to handle subtle color changes just isn’t there any more.

3. You get a very sharp picture from this camera, true, but the tones of the colors in general are very metallic, and not warm and natural at all. It’s like shooting with a Fuji Finepics - the same hue and tone to the colors. It’s like they have overpixeled this chip at the expense of certain other things, like the tonal handling. Any type of Auto setting is a problem.

4. If you choose “NO Flash” auto setting, it actually gives you the best results with this camera, believe it or not, EXCEPT it mostly shoots at ISO400 in this setting EVEN in bright sunlight. You can’t force an ISO change in this mode.

It’s an OK camera, but I would actually rather have a new 10D, anyday…!

Apr 28, 2008
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Registered: Mar 1, 2005
Location: Chile
Posts: 405
Review Date: Apr 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: The 40D has all the useful features needed for almost any photo situation. The handling and shooting performance are nice upgrades from the 20D.
The sensor is not a step up from 20D/30D. Auto ISO is not very versatile. Again, there is a direct print button but no programmable button for mirror lock up or other useful functions?

The 40D was to be a considerable upgrade from my 20D, or so I thought. A new model with a new sensor and most of the features missing from the 20D that everyone wanted. How could it not be better outright? Well it is and isn't.

I will cover the ergonomics, features and shooting performance first. This is where the 40D shines.

1. Liveview is useful for more than just astrophotography. I actually has a paying job within a week of getting the 40D where liveview made a difference. Event photography where one is forced to hold the camera overhead to get crowd shots is so much easier with this.

2. The 40D is faster to respond and get the shot from button press. It is much easier to get a bird in frame as it leaps from a branch. Blackout time between shots is much shorter allowing easier tracking of fast moving objects. 6.5 FPS is nice, but its advantage against 5 FPS of the 20D is not as significant as the response times and blackout times.

3. The viewfinder is brighter and larger.

4. Having your most used settings available in a quick access menu is very helpful when you need to change things on the fly during changing conditions.

5. Finally, ISO in the viewfinder and easily changeable on the fly!

6. I have rather large hands, so the larger grip and finger indent. is a nice comfort item for me over the 20D/30D.

7. A nice large LCD screen with RGB and luminance histograms is a very nice feature. What isn't so nice? The resolution of the LCD is a bit too low. The background of the histograms makes them hard to decipher in bright outdoor light.

8. The mirror moves faster as mentioned before for lower blackout times, but it is also a bit quieter. I have held on to my 300D for situations where camera noise would be intrusive and the 40D is almost quiet enough now for most sensitive situations.

9. Why oh why does Canon ignore all the cries about the wasted space on the camera for a direct print button? Why do they ignore the suggestion to make this button customizable?

10. Spot (semi) metering is a much welcomed addition over the 20D.

11. Highlight priority is quite useful for helping to keep that white bird from blowing out when you are not watching exposures as closely as you should be.

12. The biggest thing this camera does for a sports/wildlife photographer in my opinion is the large 17 image RAW buffer. It is very helpful when trying to get the best shot from an action sequence. I rarely bump into this limit.

14. It is very well built, but I wish it was fully weather sealed.

!5. The sensor cleaning seems effective. Where I had to clean my 20D senor regularly, the 40D has only needed a dust off a couple of times over the past few months for a couple of dust bugs that wouldn't go away on their own.

There are many other fine points about this camera that could be mentioned but they are in line with most of the other offerings in this level of gear.

Now for the contentious part as far as I am concerned, the image quality. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just that it culd have been better. Canon had to decide to increase the almighty megapixel count for marketing drones, or go for better image quality. Megapixels won.

Like I said, the image quality isn't bad. It's actually quite good and on par with the 20D/30D. I subjectively feel the IQ is a tiny bit less but I can't provide hard data to prove it, so lets say the 40D is as good as the 20D/30D. What the 40D has is more pixels, an approximate 12% increase. That's good if it means better images, but as I just said it doesn't mean that much.

What Canon should have done is applied the advances in sensor technology to the 8 megapixel sensor. Seeing as Canon had to drop the real sensitivity of the 40D 1/3 stop from the 20D, and added better lenses to get there, they could have applied the better lenses to the 20D sensor and gave us true 3200 ISO and maybe more. Lower light capability and faster shutter speeds wins over 12% more pixels in my opinion.

In closing, the 40D is a very capable camera that would meet the needs of most critical people. It isn't a 1D series performer, it's much better than any of the Rebel series for serious shooters, and its a good value. What I think it falls flat on is the sensor and it not being a real upgrade from the 20D/30D series. I don't look at my 40D images and go "Wow! These 40D images are better than my old 20D." Instead I find myself saying "Hmmm, nice features, but where are the better images?"

If you have a 20D, its most likely worth upgrading, but not for images quality. If you have a 30D, the only compelling reason I can see to upgrade is the sensor cleaning and liveview.

Apr 17, 2008
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Canon EOS 40D

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
147 159886 Nov 5, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $1,168.60
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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