Although the reactions are mixed (some people are just very unappeasable), but majority of Canon fans on DPReview seem to be happy with the 40D feature sets. One fan rejoiced “Canon pulls ahead of Nikon“, and another one yahoo-ed “40D – weathersealed!!! yes!!!“. It is indeed a fine machine. However by comparing to the Nikon D200, which is in the same class as Canon 40D and almost two years older, Canon just did a lot of catch-up. Even CNet agrees (see Canon fights back with two SLRs).

Here is the comparison of the major features side-by-side on DPReview of Canon EOS 40D and Nikon D200. It basically showed a close match of feature sets when the photo-taking aspects are concerned.

Canon’s catch-up done since 30D against Nikon D200

  • Dust and weather resistant construction (weather seal)
  • More pixels (8.2MP to 10.1MP)
  • Increased viewfinder optical magnification from 0.90x to 0.95x
  • Custom settings with the mode dial
  • High ISO noise reduction
  • Infamous CF door that causes loss of data if opened during image writing
  • ISO information in viewfinder
  • AF-on button
  • Blinking highlight alert and AF point display in playback

Canon EOS 40D interesting new features

  • Improved sensor pixel design with larger micro-lenses over the image sensor pixels that improves signal-to-noise ratio and improves sensitivity; 14bit analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion. We can expect better image quality.
  • 9-point cross type AF sensors, which should improve speed, precision and functionality, minimizing focus hunting in low light/contrast situations.
  • Integrated cleaning system. Similar to other manufacturers’ DSLRs, the sensor uses a ultrasonic vibration during start-up and shutdown to shake the dusts off. However the effectiveness of this feature is questionable. Canon now appears to offer a similar “dust ref” software feature as in Nikon to map out the dusts from the photos.
  • Live view. It does not auto-focus in this mode. However it is possible to achieve auto-focus by temporarily lower the mirror. This could be limiting the usefulness of the live view feature to mostly studio and macro photography.

What Canon still lags behind

  • GPS connectivity. Geo-tagging is quite a hot trend.
  • Spot metering coverage. Still a little wider.
  • FLASH capability; wireless FLASH (not with RF transmitter)
  • Exposure compensation/bracketing range

Overall Nikon still wins in ergonomics and the attention to details, which is difficult to go into details in words. However I have to admire the fine machine Canon just introduced. I believe the competition is always good for consumers like you and me. It leads to cameras with better performance/price ratio.

Updates

10/26/2007: Canon EOS 40D review by DPReview.

Posted in: Digital SLR Cameras on August 20th, 2007. Trackback URI
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