Fotog Friday: 20D Meet 40D?

So it has been some time since we have talked photography. I know, I know. It is has been unrighteously busy lately. Nevertheless, I have been sufficiently inspired after having picked up the December issue of Pop Photo to talk about the new Canon 40D. Most of you know that I shoot with the Canon 20D which I purchased three years ago. During this time, I have thoroughly enjoyed the 20D, having shot close to 200,000 images during this period of time. But as you can imagine, my shutter button lifespan has expired, the sensor is worn, the body beaten . . . you get the idea. So I have been thinking for some time what I would do for an upgrade, and man oh man, I am digging the new 40D!

There are numerous good reviews out there on the 40D (see some below), so I am not going to go there. But I would like to point out my top ten reasons why I am giddy over this piece of equipment. Check it.

1. The new, high-powered DIGIC III processor with improved image quality and color accuracy

2. New auto-focusing (AF) system
: “It’s AF system is among the fastest and most sensitive we’ve tested, capable of extremely high speeds in bright to moderate light, and decent performance down to EV -2.”

3. 3 Inch LCD and Live-Preview

4. Blazing Burst Rate – 6.5 fps!

5. Improved ISO Noise Reduction
Quote: “The biggest gains come in the form of lower noise at all ISOs, ranging from Extremely Low (ISO 100 to 200), to Low at ISO 800, Moderately Low at ISO 1600, and only up to Moderate at ISO 3200!”

6. Self-sensor cleaning

7. Flash-optional settings and direct control with the Canon Speedlite 580EX II
8. Improved viewfinder
9. Solid, rugged frame
10. Silent (quite mode) shooting

So what do you think? You Nikon guys jealous yet?

My summary:

There is so much that goes into a high-quality, high-performance digital SLR. Megapixels is over-hyped, and many bodies are overpriced. There is not another digital camera that offers the number of custom functions (such as live-preview, burst rate, self-determined modes, etc.) without providing superior fundamental components (such as AF system, processor, ergonomics, etc.). Sure, getting a 5D or Mark III would be nice, but for the price, I would much rather invest in quality lenses which have a much longer lifespan. The only missing feature I would be interested in is a full-frame format (no image magnification). Nevertheless, much like the tradition of the 20D when it hit the market, the 40D towers over the competition and once again raises the bar for professional-quality camera body for a reasonable price.

Random 40D Reviews:

Pop Photo
DP Review (a more detailed review here)
Luminous Landscape
Roland Lim (comprehensive review)
The Imaging Resource
Ken Rockwell
Bob Atkins
Living Room

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4 Comments on “Fotog Friday: 20D Meet 40D?”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Yeah…I agree wholeheartedly. Actually, now that Bethan and I have the photography business up and running (, we are saving up to buy 40D’s before this coming summer. Then our 20D’s can be backups.

    It has to be one of the best cameras for the money. I was so pumped when this came out that I think I emailed the link to friends who didn’t even care. Thanks for running through a review…it was helpful, and just confirmed that that is the direction we should be heading in.

    Thanks for your insight man…it’s always appreciated.

  2. Brandon,

    I really like your photog site. Did you develop that yourself? You guys have a great thing going there. The urban work is really cool.

    The biggest gains I see from the 20D to the 40D is color accuracy and overall picture quality at higher ISO’s. I shoot in low light often, which forces me to shoot primarily at 800 or 1600, depending on the lens I am using. The noise reduction and color is much improved from the 20D, from what I can tell. Also, many Canon users, including me, have been hoping for a better AF system, and Canon has come through on that.

    Also, I shoot in many settings that are “quiet” (weddings, conferences, etc.), so the silent mode (which I am still a bit skeptical about) could be nice.

    So what features are you liking the most about the 40D?

  3. Brandon Says:

    I am also diggin’ the better quality at higher ISO’s. At the weddings we’ve done, there have been some shots that were taken in such dim light that we had to quickly jack up the ISO so there was no motion blur. But during editing, the grainy look is just unbearable (it really makes me cringe). So I’m stoked they’ve improved upon this with the 40D.

    Also, the higher MP will help if someone asks us to blow up a photo above 11×14. It’ll still be sharp with the 40D.

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