Home > Reviews > Canon EOS 40D

With a whole new list of features packed in the EOS 40D, will the 40D be a worthy upgrade to the EOS 30D? Or will it be a slightly disappointing case like when the EOS 30D was released to replace the EOS 20D?

Will the EOS 40D be the choice of camera in the prosumer DSLR range? Read on and you decide!

Following many months of intense anticipation by photography enthusiasts all over the world, the Canon EOS 40D, that was built on the sucess of Canon’s perennially popular EOS 20D and 30D was launched on 20th August.

The EOS 40D sports a newly enhanced CMOS sensor that is both designed and manufactured by Canon, giving 10.1-megapixels. Canon has also replaced the autofocus sensor (which was basically the same thing in the 20D and 30D) with one that is more sensitive and much faster. DIGIC II has also been replaced by the improved DIGIC III image processor, giving you 6.5fps of continuous shooting up to 75 best-quality JPEG files or 17 RAW files.

Canon has positioned this camera to take on any assignment thrown at it, ranging from quick action and sports to wildlife and nature shots. Housed inside the magnesium-alloy casing is the highly efficient DIGIC III as well as DDR SDRAM memory, together with a four-channel-per-line sensor output and separate motors for mirror and shutter.

LCD Display

– Increased sized from 2.5″ to 3.0″; menu text can be larger
– Broadened colour gamut
– Narrower viewing angle for better viewing under bright sunlight


The latest generation of Canon’s image processing engine. The EOS 1D Mark III has two of them even. Over it’s predecessor, it offers better fine details and colour of the images recorded. The speed of the processor allows for 6.5fps shooting and the excellent efficiency of the DIGIC line is carried on, with battery life going all the way to over a thousand shots (without flash) on a single charge, and of course on a single battery.

Improved image quality

Sensor size remains the about the same for Canon’s APS-C range of DSLRs. However with each new release, larger microlenses are used over each pixel, reducing noise output and expanding sensitivity to ISO 3200. The analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion capability has been extended from 12-bit to 14-bit. With 14-bit, each channel is able to recognise 16,384 colours and this is four times that of the EOS 30D, resulting in images with better gradations of colours and tones!

A new autofocus module

The nine-point AF coverage since the EOS 20D has remained, however the module has been redesigned and we now see a marked improvement to speed, precision and functionality. Subject recognition problems have been greatly minimised. Autofocus speed of the EOS 40D is 30 percent faster than the EOS 30D.

Interestingly, the new AF sensor now provided cross-type (horizontal and vertical) AF measurement at all nine focusing points for maximum apertures up to f/5.6. Also, the center AF point offers even more enhanced precision for both horizontal and vertical subject contrast when using EF/EF-S lenses that are f/2.8 or faster.

Also, the default standard precision matte focusing screen is interchangable to a grid-type focus screen (for better horizontal/vertical alignment when composing an image), or a Super-Precision Matte focus screen (for easier grasping of the ‘sweet spot’ when performing manual focus on lenses that are f/2.8 or faster). This is the first of any camera in the EOS 40D’s class.

For exposure control, the same 35-zone metering sensor is retained. However, spot metering has been widened from 3.5 percent to 3.8 percent. Metering range has also been widened from 1 to 20EV to 0 to 20EV.

Live View

This function originally introduced on the EOS 1D Mark III, allows users to shoot images using the LCD instead of the viewfinder. There are 5x and 10x zoom functions available, making taking precise photos a breeze with manual focusing.

The viewfinder can only show 95 percent of the view being captured, whereas for Live View, the full 100 percent view is displayed on the LCD.

A short comparision on some of the changes between the EOS 40D and the EOL-ed EOS 30D:

  EOS 30D EOS 40D
Sensor size 22.5 x 15.0mm 22.2 x 14.8mm
Image pixels Effective: 8.20 megapixels approx.
Total: 8.50 megapixels approx.
Effective: 10.10
megapixels approx.
Total: 10.50 megapixels approx.
Image types JPEG
RAW (12-bit)
JPEG + RAW recording
RAW (14-bit)
JPEG + RAW recording
JPEG + sRAW recording
Image sizes Large/Fine: 3504 x 2336
Large/Normal: 3504 x 2336
Medium/Fine: 2544 x 1696
Medium/Normal: 2544 x 1696
Small/Fine: 1728 x 1152
Small/Normal: 1728 x 1152
RAW: 3504 x 2336 (8.7MB approx.)
Large/Fine: 3888
x 2592
Large/Normal: 3888 x 2592
Medium/Fine: 2816 x 1880
Medium/Normal: 2816 x 1880
Small/Fine: 1936 x 1288
Small/Normal: 1936 x 1288
RAW: 3888 x 2592 (12.4 MB approx.)
sRAW (Small RAW): 1936 x 1288 (7.1MB approx.)
Viewfinder magnification 0.9x approx. 0.95x approx.
Viewfinder eyepoint 20mm approx. 22mm approx.
Focusing screen Fixed, precision matte Interchangable,
default is precision matte, can be changed to grid-type or Super-Precision
AF points 9, cross-sensitive center AF point (f/2.8 and faster lenses
9, all
cross-sensitive (f/5.6) while center AF point additionally sensitive
when used with f/2.8 or faster lenses
Metering modes 35-zone TTL full aperture metering
– Evaluative (linkable to any AF point)
– Partial (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)
– Spot (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder at center)
– Center-weighted average metering
35-zone TTL full aperture metering
– Evaluative (linkable to any AF point)
– Partial (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)
– Spot (approx. 3.8% of viewfinder at center)
– Center-weighted average metering
Shutter speeds 1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb 1/8000 to 30 sec.,
X-sync speed 1/250 sec. 1/250 sec.
Self-timer 10 sec. delay 2 sec. or 10 sec.
delay, can be set
Continuous shooting speed High speed: 5fps max.
Low speed: 3fps max.
High speed: 6.5fps
Low speed: 3fps max.
Maximum burst JPEG Large/Fine: 30 approx.
RAW: 11 approx.
RAW + JPEG Large/Fine: 9 approx.
JPEG Large/Fine:
75 approx.
RAW: 17 approx.
RAW + JPEG Large/Fine: 14 approx.
LCD monitor size 2.5-inch 3-inch
LCD pixels 230,000 230,000
Brightness levels 5 7
Playback display format Single image, shooting information, 9-image index, magnified
view (Approx. 1.5x – 10x), autoplay, image rotation, and Jump
Single image,
Single image + Image-recording quality, shooting information, histogram, 4-
or 9-image index, magnified view (approx. 1.5x – 10x), rotated image, image
Histogram display Brightness or RGB,
must be set
Brightness and RGB
can be viewed together
Highlight alert In the shooting information mode, any overexposed highlight
areas with no image information will blink
Can be set,
overexposed highlight areas will blink
Battery life At 20ºC, with 50% flash use: 750 shots approx.
At 20ºC, without any flash use: 1100 shots approx.
At 23ºC, with 50%
flash use: 800 shots approx.
At 23ºC, without any flash use: 1100 shots approx.
Dimensions 144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm 145.5 x 107.8 x
Weight 700g approx. 740g approx.

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