Canon EOS 40D review
Image Quality And Value For Money
The Canon CMOS sensors have always been good at controlling noise, but the competition are catching up fast. The top speed of ISO 1600 uses a signal boosting – or electronic – method to increase the speed, while the Hi speed of ISO 3200 is probably performed mathematically, known as bit-shifting. Noise is well controlled throughout the standard range, with excellent shadow control in the lower ranges of sensitivity. Up to ISO 1600, images are always usable, but noise does get intrusive at ISO 3200, particularly the chroma noise.
Tone and Contrast
As with colour, we always find Canon models somewhat lacking in punch, and the 40D shares this characteristic though not as obviously as older models. This is probably a decision by Canon to maintain even tone across the range, especially in the highlights, which can blow out if the contrast is set too high. With this in mind, images from the 40D straight out of camera can sometimes look a little flat, though shadow detail and the highlights are held well. A little boost in contrast in Photoshop helps the images to garner some impact, while a touch of sharpening using the Unsharp Mask tool will also add bite. The JPEG processing in the camera does handle the images very well, though.
Colour and White Balance
Compared to some other manufacturers’ models, Canon cameras have usually produced marginally cooler images, with a tad less saturation, and the 40D is no exception. Of course this neutrality could be perceived as a good thing, but if you want to make direct prints with no post-processing, you may want to tweak the colour in-camera slightly to add a bit of warmth.
Sharpness and Detail
The smaller gaps between the photosites should enable sharper images – less information of the fine detail in a shot should be retained, or isn’t ‘falling through the gaps’. And despite the lower pixel resolution of the sensor compared to its main competition, the 40D produces sharp images.
Value for Money
The market has shifted slightly since Canon first began this range, and while models such as the EOS 10D were originally pitched against Nikon’s D100 for example, the introduction of the Canon EOS 5D is more the natural competitor to Nikon’s new D300.
This drop in price of the EOS 40D from the 30D’s £1200 price tag sees Canon position this camera much more competitively and this makes the camera a much better proposition for the enthusiast. As it stands, the average street price of the body has already dropped to around £800.