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Canon EOS 40D

40d
Review Date: Feb 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Handling and balance (with battery grip), clean, vivid and crisp pictures, high shooting rate, reasonably silent shutter, live view, low light performance, pop-up flash surprisingly ok, exchangeable focus screens
Cons:
Dreadful AF hunting with fast moving objects (airshows), no proper MLU, front and back focusing issues, useless auto ISO, low LCD resolution, no AF-ON button on vertical grip

Together with my EF 70-200/2.8L and 27-70/2.8L this makes a nice combo. Especially with the battery grip everything is nicely balanced.

After lugging this kit around for half the afternoon you will swear and curse in all colourful ways, but after you see some crisp keepers passing by on your monitor you know it was all worth the effort.

For portraits I only use manual focus, because when using AF it front and back focuses all the time and I just can't get it right. The LCD does not help either in judging sharpness, cos what looks in focus on the LCD is often horribly OoF fullsize (and not just a bit).

I use some Contax & Leica dapters as well, so I'm pretty used to MF and in combination with LiveView it works fantastic.

Shooting airshows is not fun with AF, the 70-200 caught initial focus very quick, but tracking was impossible, even when the subject was on middle AF point all the time (try to lose a C5, no way) it kept hunting. From 450 pics 280 were OoF. After switching to MF and leaving stuff at infinity, only 12 out of 300 were bad... The high fps (6.5/s) rate is very handy here, me likes it.

Low light results are impressive as long as you get exposure right and avoid > 800 ISO. 1600 is usable for smaller prints.

For studio-ish work I really like the LiveView and tethered shooting via the USB cable, handy when camera is positioned awkwardly on a tripod.