The Canon EOS 40D becomes the sixth Canon ‘prosumer’ digital SLR, a line which started back in 2000 with the EOS D30, and how far we’ve come. It’s been eighteen months since the EOS 30D and although on the surface the 40D looks like a fairly subtle upgrade there’s a lot that makes this an even better camera. Of course we expect a step up in megapixels, and so the 40D comes with a ten million pixel CMOS sensor with the same sort of dust reduction as the EOS 400D, an ultrasonic platform which shakes the low pass filter. Other improvements bring the EOS 40D closer into line with the EOS-1D series, these include a move to the same page-by-page menu system, both RAW and sRAW (2.5 MP), 14-bit A/D converter and 14-bit RAW, cross-type AF points for F5.6 or faster lenses, a larger and brighter viewfinder, interchangeable focusing screens, a larger LCD monitor (3.0″) and faster continuous shooting (6.5 fps).
Seven years since the EOS D30, the sixth incarnation of that camera displays all of the advantages of a progressive evolution in both features and quality. With each step up the evolutionary ladder to the EOS 40D Canon has demonstrated improvements in image quality, performance, usability and features. They also demonstrated that as well as meeting the ‘requirements of the market’ they also listened to owners and reviewers by implementing the most commonly requested feature changes. With the EOS 40D these include permanent display of ISO sensitivity on both the top LCD and viewfinder status bar, the warning message with the CF compartment is opened during a write process and the addition of the AF-ON button.
The 40D’s very long list new/improved features makes this camera a very nice upgrade over the XTi, the 30D and their predecessors. Though most people are not going to find any one new or improved feature compelling enough to justify an upgrade from the 30D, combine all of these features and the Canon EOS 40D begins looking very attractive. There are a lot of 20D owners who sat out the 30D upgrade cycle who will give serious consideration to bringing a 40D home.
The bottom line is that the Canon 40D is the most DSLR for the money that Canon has ever offered. Certainly in its price range there doesn’t seem to be anything that can touch it. Move up a notch in price though and the forthcoming Nikon D300 may well put the squeeze on Canon’s hegemony in the DSLR marketplace. Time will tell, and no matter what happens we’ll all benefit from the renewed competition.