Canon 40D Review

by Enche Tjin on June 18, 2009


I have been using Canon 40D for two years. It is my second camera (my first camera is Pentax k100). It is big, solid and tough. I thought Pentax K100d is quite big, but it is nothing compare to this 40D. The grip is very ergonomic. I feel confidence handling it.

Body and control
The built quality of Canon 40D is excellent. It is made from magnesium alloy body. It is weather seal as well. It is made to withstand plenty of abuse. I dropped the camera once to the ground, and it still performs like new. I think entry level camera such as Rebel XSi would not able to withstand it.

Canon 40D has many buttons and two main dials. The first dial is thumb dial, located near shutter button. The second one is the big round dial located at the back of the camera. I especially like the round dial. I usually change aperture, view photo, choose menu using this dial. To access live view mode, I simply push the button in the center of the dial.

ISO and Auto ISO
The ISO range starts from 100 to 3200. The auto ISO range is from 100 to 800. I hope it is 100 to 1600. 40D handles noise very well up to 800. You will see more noise creeping in at 1600. At ISO 3200, the image quality is unacceptable. The Auto ISO is the biggest disappointment for me. It tends to stick at ISO 400 most of the time.

LCD Screens
Canon 40D has two LCD screens, the main / back screen and top LCD screen. The top LCD screen is clear in the dim light condition such as indoor or evening, but not clear in the bright daylight. To solve this problem, you can use accessory called Hoodman. The top LCD screens is helpful to check out camera settings at any time and any circumstances. It has green light lcd that could be turned on if necessary.

Auto Focus System
Canon 40D has 11 AF points, distributed in diamond formation. The speed of AF will depends on the lens. Lens that have USM (Ultra Sonic Motor) is generally perform faster than non-USM, but some lenses like Canon 85mm f/1.2 USM AF are quite slow because of the complicated lens elements. Some lenses are also better in tracking subject than other.

Favorite features
There is a feature called Highlight tone priority. I think it is a great feature because it protects the highlight from over exposure. It is great to use for portraits, wedding, landscape and so on.

The shutter has a distinctive noise. It sounds very professional. This camera can also shoot up to 6.5 fps which is great features to capture fast moving object.

Because this camera is more than two years old now, it has many cameras that match or surpass this camera in term of its specifications. For example Canon 50D which has high-res LCD screen, higher image resolution and better Auto ISO. Nikon D300 is superior regarding AF system. It has 51 points and better tracking system.

There is also Nikon D90 which has hi-res 3 inch lcd screen, cleaner image in high ISO speed but slower continuous speed and worse built quality. Read controversy regarding Nikon D90 vs Canon 40D.


This is a very good camera suitable for either professional or amateur photographer. The size might be a bit too big for casual shooters, but after a while you might use to it. The image quality with the kit lens is good, but I recommend to get a higher quality lens to get maximum quality. Even it is more than two years old now, this camera is still capable and robust for you if you can live with its limitation (hint: Auto ISO and LCD screen)

Main specifications

  • 10 Megapixel image resolution
  • 6.5 fps continuous shooting
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • 3″ LCD screen 230k resolution
  • Live View
  • 9 Diamond shape auto focus points

Subjective Rating – relative to crop sensor DSLR camera

  • Image Quality: 4/5
  • Features: 3/5
  • Performance: 5/5
  • Body and Handling: 5/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
Related Post:

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Abatto October 15, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I own one and I love it

Chris April 20, 2010 at 10:37 am

I use two professionally and I am very happy with the results. Its faster than I really need, I can’t think of a single fault. Excellent camera.

Elva October 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

I read this paragraph completely on the topic of the difference of latest
and previous technologies, it’s awesome article.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post: Canon 1D Mark IV rumors: Fastest sports camera?

Next post: Canon Ti / 2000D specification leaked