Canon 40D good and bad

Started Apr 25, 2008 | Discussions
vadim_c Senior Member • Posts: 1,712
Canon 40D good and bad

Hope this will help some readers to make an educated decision when buying their 1st DSLR.

Why first ? because it is difficult mentally and sometimes financially switch the brands, although some do that. I am trying to be as unbiased as possible, although as most mortals I do mistakes. If you have a constructive addition you are very welcome to add it here.

So let’s start from the bad first. (hopefully the reader will keep in the memory what is last  )

1. Front focus issues. Unfortunately there are way too many complaints about this. Please note that rarely if ever anybody complains about back focus.

2. Flash that is used as a focus assist. I personally would prefer to replace the flash with IR lamp.

3. Canon’s worst gimmick – the print button. Many find its presence very annoying, especially considering that it takes a fairly favorable place on the camera.
4. … Actually that’s it. Good news!

Now the good:

1. The most important for me: The camera is always ready to take picture as long as it is on and has a lens on it. It does not matter if you are replaying pictures or changing the settings. Once you pressed the shutter release button it is ready to go. The most limiting factor is the photographers own reaction. The lag is virtually nonexistent.

2. Extremely ergonomic. It would be very difficult to come out with better controls that are important during the shooting. The second wheel is very useful. The secondary controls such as replay are placed less favorably, but they are much less important.

3. Very good dynamic range. You can miss the exposure by a stop and even two and still get good photos.

4. Accurate exposure meter.

5. Low noise comparing to the closest competitors.

6. Practically endless buffer. If you find it small you probably need a video camera 
7. Probably the widest array of available lenses ranging from $70 to $100,000

8. Good battery life better than many P&S even though the load on it is much heavier.
9. AF Servo. Just amazing how helpful it can be.

10. Finally the absence of those childish elements such as bright red triangle on the camera (you guessed what I refer too) I had really hard time choosing between two brands and that red triangle was the final drop. IMHO it is even worse than a white lens  (Please note that I have absolutely nothing to say against Canons’ competitors. Some of them are really nice cameras). In my opinion the 40D’s look and feel is close to perfection and just looks like a camera.

I also wanted to add the neutral options. For me they do not matter, others might find them useful ( or vice-versa )
1. Multi point focus, rarely use it.

2. Live view. Never have time to use it.

3. Highlight priority.

4. Sensor cleaner. While better than nothing it is still not ideal.

5. Wide array of image size selection. Hardly anybody uses anything else than RAW or highest jpeg.

6. Cumbersome power switch. This has good and bad sides; the good that it is probably impossible to flip it accidentally, the bad is that you might miss a shot when switching it on.
7. Worse than competitors’ display, makes absolutely no difference to me.

Of course there are more to this such as weather sealing of the absence of but that would change the class and the price so we would be talking about a different camera.

Westkip Contributing Member • Posts: 515
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

That's a damn good list Vadim and I, for one would largely agree but you're perhaps a little hard on the extra functions. Certainly I would normally use raw but I frequently have occasion to photograph ackwardly placed parts of moving machinery for e-mailing to my people in the States and I switch to small jpeg. They wouldn't really thank me for half a dozen 8 meg files!

So other people might find some of the other functions equally useful. But I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about the daft print button.

KariP
KariP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,860
Canon 40D good and bad and ugly...

Hi

Funny that you too mentioned the red triangle ! I was choosing a camera ( and a system ) 6 moths ago and that small detail was irritating me ; ) - decision (40D vs D300 ) was not based entirely on that detail...

Print button is just funny - perhaps Canon will develop something for that later ?

I have not seen much front focusing - possibly 1-2 cm in some low light shot with (70-) 300mm f5,6IS . There is of course the physical problem of distance metering optically with a accuracy like variation

Agree with the list of good sides . i just enjoy the colors and picture quality.

Next summer shows if liveview is so good with macro work as it looks

So , not so much to add !
--
Kari
SLR photography for 40 years
60°15´N 24°03´ E

 KariP's gear list:KariP's gear list
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MattWeth Regular Member • Posts: 477
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

Great list.

I've just bought a 40D (first dslr, so am at the start of a very steep learning curve) and did a lot of reading around before deciding. In the end, I'd managed to work out most of what you've listed, but good to see it in one place.

And yes - the red triangle! - Makes it look like some sort of Fisher Price 'My First Camera'

Matt

Bohdan Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Con....

inferior flash system.

It would be nice to have wireless control from the camera body and the internal flash to act as a master. The other, "red triangle", has that in most, maybe all, of their bodies.

No built in focus assist, preferably IR, lamp.

I actually think Nikon makes more visually appealing camera bodies.

The 40D without a lens mounted looks like childs toy, imo.

The Print button could easily be reprogrammed for other uses. Must be some dark hidden reason why they put that useless button on the camera. Maybe the CEO's daugther uses it.

Weather sealing but at this price point I can sort of understand why it's not.

-- hide signature --

I may be, and probably am, completely wrong.

chrelen New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

One more for the bad bits: a poor/restrictive auto iso function

Vibrio Veteran Member • Posts: 4,004
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

vadim_c wrote:

So let’s start from the bad first. (hopefully the reader will keep in
the memory what is last  )
1. Front focus issues. Unfortunately there are way too many
complaints about this. Please note that rarely if ever anybody
complains about back focus.

most people don't complain about any focus issues

2. Flash that is used as a focus assist. I personally would prefer to
replace the flash with IR lamp.

anyone who seriously needs to use flash uses a speedlight so no strobing flash

3. Canon’s worst gimmick – the print button. Many find its presence
very annoying, especially considering that it takes a fairly
favorable place on the camera.

it does nothing to interfer with pushing the shutter button and is in an area that is not even held when taking a shot. I've acutally used it so its not actually a bad point.

-- hide signature --

http://blog.quantum-capture.co.uk/

update 19.04.08 - blogged Harman paper products

tocarver Veteran Member • Posts: 3,640
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

Having had a Pentax K10D before switching to Canon 30D, now 40D, I miss the Raw Button that allowed switching from Raw to Jpeg!! This could easily be done in firmware, so we could chose a print function or Raw Switch for the stupid print button.

Also preferred the Auto ISO implimentation on the Pentax. Would not have minded a little circle of fire around the center AF points and the ability to adjust Lenses for focus (+:

All I have to do, I guess, is save more and get a Mark IIn or Mark III, but I love the 1.6 crop, being into birding/wildlife.

All in all, I beleive when all things are considered, the Canon 40D is the very best bang for the buck out there right now!! I'm very happy with this camera and the Canon lens selection.

I have said it before, if I could find a camera with the build and sealing/features of the Pentax ( + being able to use 20 year and older lenses ), Nikon's flash system and Canon's great sensor and lens/accessory availability and line up, I think it would be the perfect system!

As I've often read, there is no one perfect camera, my Sony H5, can still take movies, which the 40D wasn't designed to do LoL
--
Jerry
http://www.pbase.com/tocarver
Equipment, to date, (+: In profile

Bohdan Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

Vibrio wrote:

replace the flash with IR lamp.

anyone who seriously needs to use flash uses a speedlight so no
strobing flash

I believe he was talking about focus assist and no intention of using the flash or if the flash is being bounced.

-- hide signature --

I may be, and probably am, completely wrong.

Roger Nordin
Roger Nordin Senior Member • Posts: 1,657
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

tocarver wrote:

Having had a Pentax K10D before switching to Canon 30D, now 40D, I
miss the Raw Button that allowed switching from Raw to Jpeg!! This
could easily be done in firmware, so we could chose a print function
or Raw Switch for the stupid print button.

Actually Canon had that function in my old Powershot S45 camera... from the dpreview review:

"Pressing the FUNC button during record review provides you with the option to change the current image to RAW format. This means that you can shoot JPEG and if you realize you have a very important shot you can press FUNC and save it as a RAW instead. Very useful, very clever."

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonS45/page6.asp

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Roger

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Glenn W. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,428
Front focus is pointless argument...

I don't really know how you somehow determined that there are more front focus issues then back focus, but really I find this argument to be more or less totally pointless.

As someone else has already pointed out, most people don't report ANY problems with focus. I myself have had one AF problem and it was a back focus problem and was due to a defective lens that I returned shortly after determining that it had a AF problem.

AF problems in general can be related to the lens or the camera, so even if you could some how prove that more people have had front focus issues, you probably have no way to even know if it was the camera or the lens used...

My personal observation is that something close to 30% or maybe more of reported AF problems are user error or totally unrealistic expectations of how precise a Canon pro-sumer grade AF system is going to be...

Bottom line... to say that Front focus is a problem on the 40D, seems almost ludicrous and to some degree makes me question if I should even bother reading the rest of your list....

vadim_c wrote:

Hope this will help some readers to make an educated decision when
buying their 1st DSLR.
Why first ? because it is difficult mentally and sometimes
financially switch the brands, although some do that. I am trying to
be as unbiased as possible, although as most mortals I do mistakes.
If you have a constructive addition you are very welcome to add it
here.
So let’s start from the bad first. (hopefully the reader will keep in
the memory what is last  )
1. Front focus issues. Unfortunately there are way too many
complaints about this. Please note that rarely if ever anybody
complains about back focus.
2. Flash that is used as a focus assist. I personally would prefer to
replace the flash with IR lamp.
3. Canon’s worst gimmick – the print button. Many find its presence
very annoying, especially considering that it takes a fairly
favorable place on the camera.
4. … Actually that’s it. Good news!

Now the good:

1. The most important for me: The camera is always ready to take
picture as long as it is on and has a lens on it. It does not matter
if you are replaying pictures or changing the settings. Once you
pressed the shutter release button it is ready to go. The most
limiting factor is the photographers own reaction. The lag is
virtually nonexistent.
2. Extremely ergonomic. It would be very difficult to come out with
better controls that are important during the shooting. The second
wheel is very useful. The secondary controls such as replay are
placed less favorably, but they are much less important.
3. Very good dynamic range. You can miss the exposure by a stop and
even two and still get good photos.

4. Accurate exposure meter.

5. Low noise comparing to the closest competitors.

6. Practically endless buffer. If you find it small you probably need
a video camera 
7. Probably the widest array of available lenses ranging from $70 to
$100,000

8. Good battery life better than many P&S even though the load on it
is much heavier.
9. AF Servo. Just amazing how helpful it can be.

10. Finally the absence of those childish elements such as bright red
triangle on the camera (you guessed what I refer too) I had really
hard time choosing between two brands and that red triangle was the
final drop. IMHO it is even worse than a white lens  (Please
note that I have absolutely nothing to say against Canons’
competitors. Some of them are really nice cameras). In my opinion the
40D’s look and feel is close to perfection and just looks like a
camera.
I also wanted to add the neutral options. For me they do not matter,
others might find them useful ( or vice-versa )
1. Multi point focus, rarely use it.

2. Live view. Never have time to use it.

3. Highlight priority.

4. Sensor cleaner. While better than nothing it is still not ideal.

5. Wide array of image size selection. Hardly anybody uses anything
else than RAW or highest jpeg.
6. Cumbersome power switch. This has good and bad sides; the good
that it is probably impossible to flip it accidentally, the bad is
that you might miss a shot when switching it on.
7. Worse than competitors’ display, makes absolutely no difference to
me.

Of course there are more to this such as weather sealing of the
absence of but that would change the class and the price so we would
be talking about a different camera.

tocarver Veteran Member • Posts: 3,640
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

Roger Nordin wrote:

tocarver wrote:

Having had a Pentax K10D before switching to Canon 30D, now 40D, I
miss the Raw Button that allowed switching from Raw to Jpeg!! This
could easily be done in firmware, so we could chose a print function
or Raw Switch for the stupid print button.

Actually Canon had that function in my old Powershot S45 camera...
from the dpreview review:

"Pressing the FUNC button during record review provides you with the
option to change the current image to RAW format. This means that you
can shoot JPEG and if you realize you have a very important shot you
can press FUNC and save it as a RAW instead. Very useful, very
clever."

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonS45/page6.asp

Sweet!!! To bad they didn't do the same for the xx series )+:
--
Jerry
http://www.pbase.com/tocarver
Equipment, to date, (+: In profile

Vibrio Veteran Member • Posts: 4,004
if the light is that low

you'd be using flash anyway or manual focusing.
--
http://blog.quantum-capture.co.uk/

update 19.04.08 - blogged Harman paper products

OP vadim_c Senior Member • Posts: 1,712
Re: Con....

Bohdan wrote:

The Print button could easily be reprogrammed for other uses. Must be
some dark hidden reason why they put that useless button on the
camera. Maybe the CEO's daugther uses it.

I guess Canon wants to trick you into buyiing their printer rather than sending files for printing to Costco.

OP vadim_c Senior Member • Posts: 1,712
Re: Front focus is pointless argument...

Glenn W. wrote:

I don't really know how you somehow determined that there are more
front focus issues then back focus, but really I find this argument
to be more or less totally pointless.

Just read this forum deep enough. I mentioned it here as I had the same problem. At the end everything worked out fine after sedning all my equipment to Canon (can show you the receipt that states that the body's AF was mulfunctioning), with exception of a couple of month worth of unacceptably soft photos.

My personal observation is that something close to 30% or maybe more
of reported AF problems are user error or totally unrealistic
expectations of how precise a Canon pro-sumer grade AF system is
going to be...

Agreed. There are still 70%.

Bottom line... to say that Front focus is a problem on the 40D, seems
almost ludicrous and to some degree makes me question if I should
even bother reading the rest of your list....

You are very welcome to skip the the next topic.

And please do not turn this into one more focus discussions. There are plenty of them already.

Bohdan Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
I do 100% of my own printing

but you have a point.....
--
I may be, and probably am, completely wrong.

Bohdan Senior Member • Posts: 1,122
Re: if the light is that low

I would rather have an IR assist.... with that, there would also be no need for the flash to prefire which is extremely annoying to everyone within shooting distance.

It's a lousy system with no redeeming qualities.

Even my Sony 707 has a better system.

-- hide signature --

I may be, and probably am, completely wrong.

acouniot New Member • Posts: 21
Red triangle ?

MattWeth wrote:

And yes - the red triangle! - Makes it look like some sort of Fisher
Price 'My First Camera'

Matt

Matt,

Well ... if you are seeing a red triangle, I am afraid it is not a (Canon) 40D :-))
Maybe more of a (Nikon) D40, mmh ?

Alain

aris1234 New Member • Posts: 16
Re: Canon 40D good and bad

I too have just bought my first DSLR - a 40D.

vadim_c wrote:

So let’s start from the bad first. (hopefully the reader will keep in
the memory what is last  )
1. Front focus issues. Unfortunately there are way too many
complaints about this. Please note that rarely if ever anybody
complains about back focus.

Not had it long enough to comment.

2. Flash that is used as a focus assist. I personally would prefer to
replace the flash with IR lamp.

That would be nice - or perhaps a small inexpensive IR lamp which sits on the hotshoe.

3. Canon’s worst gimmick – the print button. Many find its presence
very annoying, especially considering that it takes a fairly
favorable place on the camera.

Canon is a large company that make many different products, from imaging, to printing and others. My guess is that the marketing person from printing spoke with the marketing person from imaging, and some bean counter decided it was a profitable move.

4. … Actually that’s it. Good news!

Now the good:

1. The most important for me: The camera is always ready to take
picture as long as it is on and has a lens on it. It does not matter
if you are replaying pictures or changing the settings. Once you
pressed the shutter release button it is ready to go. The most
limiting factor is the photographers own reaction. The lag is
virtually nonexistent.

I agree - this is dead fast. The only thing that may slow it down a bit is if you tell it to do a sensor clean when you switch on or of. A nice feature would be to have the option to do a sensor clean when switching off, not on switching on. But it's no biggie for me. I tend to leave the camera in standby mode (switches to that after 1 minute of inactivity), and when I press the shutter half-way, it's back online in milliseconds.

2. Extremely ergonomic. It would be very difficult to come out with
better controls that are important during the shooting. The second
wheel is very useful. The secondary controls such as replay are
placed less favorably, but they are much less important.

Ergonomics are fine. The only thing I have against it is that the body is mostly plastic - and feels like it. I handled a friends Nikon D200 and that is a metal body and feels alot more solid. As a camera though, I prefer the 40D.

3. Very good dynamic range. You can miss the exposure by a stop and
even two and still get good photos.

4. Accurate exposure meter.

5. Low noise comparing to the closest competitors.

Not played with it enough to compare the above yet.

6. Practically endless buffer. If you find it small you probably need
a video camera 

Yes, this is just awesome. I feel like I have a new six-shooter with unlimited bullets

7. Probably the widest array of available lenses ranging from $70 to
$100,000

Always nice to have.

8. Good battery life better than many P&S even though the load on it
is much heavier.

I've had the camera for 24 hours and taken 500 shots already - battery indicator still shows full.

9. AF Servo. Just amazing how helpful it can be.

Yes, nice for kids!

I also wanted to add the neutral options. For me they do not matter,
others might find them useful ( or vice-versa )
1. Multi point focus, rarely use it.

Agree, but doesn't hurt to have. Wife may like it in the auto mode.

2. Live view. Never have time to use it.

I think this is one of the most excellent features of the 40D. For one, the mirror and shutter noise are much much less. It is a bit of a PITA to use - particularly when focusing, but I can already think of one very practical use for it. Using the 40D on a tripod with a telephoto lens, at the back of an auditorium taking pictures at my sons annual school plays. No need to re-focus (distance is the same for each shot), and the shutter sound is much less.

3. Highlight priority.

4. Sensor cleaner. While better than nothing it is still not ideal.

Can't hurt. I've ordered a SensorKlear pen for the dust that won't shift by any other means.

5. Wide array of image size selection. Hardly anybody uses anything
else than RAW or highest jpeg.

Again, can't hurt. If you're doing a load of photos you know will only be for web use, you have the option of using lower sizes. This also increases your frame buffer considerably.

6. Cumbersome power switch. This has good and bad sides; the good
that it is probably impossible to flip it accidentally, the bad is
that you might miss a shot when switching it on.

Don't even need it I'm assuming that leaving it in standby doesn't use any power.

7. Worse than competitors’ display, makes absolutely no difference to
me.

Yes, the high-res display is a 'nice-to-have' but not critical.

Of course there are more to this such as weather sealing of the
absence of but that would change the class and the price so we would
be talking about a different camera.

Yep.

Aris

MattWeth Regular Member • Posts: 477
Re: Red triangle ?

acouniot wrote:

MattWeth wrote:

And yes - the red triangle! - Makes it look like some sort of Fisher
Price 'My First Camera'

Matt

Matt,

Well ... if you are seeing a red triangle, I am afraid it is not a
(Canon) 40D :-))
Maybe more of a (Nikon) D40, mmh ?

Alain

Hi Alain,

Yes I was indeed referring to the Nikon - I know that Canon's don't have a red triangle! - I refer you to the original poster's point 10.....

best
Matt

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