Jeffrey Sullivan PRO 5:12pm, 26 September 2007
Reviews (excerpts and links below) are starting to come in that compare the new 40D's images favorably to the 5D (more features and negligible image quality difference at half the price). It'll be interesting to see if the 40D replaces the 5D as the go-to model for XTi/400D users, at least until the 5D Mark II comes out (rumored early 2008).

Has anyone seen a detailed 40D to XTi comparison?

This review for example goes into the features of the 40D, many of which seem like great upgrades to the XTi/400D (6.5fps and deeper RAW buffer, improved af system and speed, faster processor, larger LCD with live view and file names visible, custom user settings), but I'm curious to see images to see if the 14 bit RAW sensitivity helps image quality and how much noise may be reduced at high ISO settings.

The 6.5fps speed could make the 40D much better for reducing movement in HDR sequences, but I hope the new processor makes in-camera noise reduction dramatically faster so it can be used during sequential shooting without dramatically trashing the sequential frame rate. Perhaps it'll shoot and buffer the RAWs first, then noise-reduce them (too much to ask for perhaps, but we can always hope).



I find that the IQ of the 40D is on a par if not even slightly better than that of the Canon 5D, which up until now has been my benchmark for DSLR image quality both at low and at high ISO.
The bottom line is that the Canon 40D is the most DSLR for the money that Canon has ever offered. Certainly in its price range there doesn't seem to be anything that can touch it.

Today the highly respected photographer and photographic educator Miles Hecker, has published a brief review on his web site showing examples of the IQ differences between the 20D, 5D and the new 40D. His results and conclusions closely parallel mine (gee, I'm so surprised).

The 40D is now in wide distribution and so people are able to see for themselves how the IQ of this camera compares to that of the 5D. Many on some forums were annoyed (to put it midly) that I had the gall to say that the image quality was comparable. Well, it's turned out that I'm not alone in this opinion.

"BTW just purchased a Canon 40D and have begun to experiment with it. Experience has been limited to this point, but so far I concur completely with your analysis of IQ. It's interesting, isn't it, that so many individuals out there want to believe that the state of the art in digital imaging equipment exists somewhere in the recent past and are incredulous that something new could be better than last year's best".
– A well known professional photographer with more than 30 photo books to his credit.

"I have used Canon 5D since it came out on the market and now I have used Canon 40D for a few weeks (and a few thousands of images). I have made some simple tests to compare IQ and as far as I can see you are quite correct – there is no difference between the two in IQ as far as I can see.

As a wildlife photographer I’m very pleased with the speed of 40D especially right now with the rutting season for red deer. I often have
to use ISO 1600 and the noise is not worse than 5D".

– A professional Swedish wildlife photographer

40D vs.5D review with pictures:
Canon EOS 40D final verdict
Canon’s EOS 40D features many improvements over its predecessor and finally shows the pesky Nikon D80 who’s boss – albeit one which costs almost half as much again. Canon’s delivered a superb DSLR which handles beautifully, is packed with useful features and delivers great-looking images.
The Live View facility works well, especially when remote-controlled using a PC, and the silent-shooting modes prove it doesn’t have to make a racket either. The anti-dust system whether through luck or design also proved quite effective in our tests, with foreign particles rarely being an issue. And while our studio resolution tests proved some 10 Megapixel DSLRs resolved slightly more, it didn’t make a big difference in real-life. Ultimately the 40D most-impresses out in the field where it’s simply an extremely quick and capable camera which confidently handles almost any situation. Sure, the default settings could do with a slight boost in sharpening to unveil the finest details, but this is easily adjusted if desired.
Beyond Canon's habit of burying many features in custom menus though there’s actually very little to complain about unless you look at the feature-sets of what are likely to become its two biggest rivals, the Nikon D300 and Sony A700. Both feature slightly higher 12 Megapixel resolutions which may not make a huge difference in real-life, but will undoubtedly help in marketing terms. Both also boast 3in screens with VGA resolution, which may do nothing to improve final image quality, but look absolutely fantastic in use. Both cameras additionally sport HDMI ports, which again while far from necessary, all adds up to the 40D looking a bit old-fashioned at times. And while the Sony A700 doesn’t have Live View, it does feature built-in stabilisation which works on any lens you attach.
The bottom line is you’ll have to compare features between the three cameras and weigh up which are of the most value. Is Live View more important to you than built-in anti-shake for example, and are the D300's extra features worth the money, or would you sooner spend the difference on a lens? It’s also crucial to pick up each camera in person as one will undoubtedly feel better to you. But if the 40D’s price and feature-set suits your requirements, you’ll have few if any complaints - and unlike the others, it's in the shops right now. Ultimately the EOS 40D is a superb DSLR which confidently earns our Highly Recommended rating - just be aware there’s at least two very worthy rivals coming soon to seriously consider.
Airchinapilot PRO 11 years ago
To me I render it down to a more simple decision.

Do I want full-frame or not? Am I a wide angle type of shooter (landscapes, portraits, events) or a telephoto shooter (sports, nature) shooter?

Nature photographers do all they can to go telephoto. If they went from a 1.6 crop to full frame they would suddenly find half of their lenses are not as telephoto as they previously thought.

Landscape photographers had to resort to special EF-S and crop body lenses already to get their wide angle view. They have already been spending big to get wide. On a full frame body they will be pleased to see many of their wide lenses (if they are not EF-S) will be even wider.
scubapup 11 years ago
are you significantly vested in ef-s lenses?

do you want your 24-70 2.8 to be trully 24-70?
Darik | I Shoot Shows 11 years ago
I like my 1.6 crop factor. Full Frame would be nice but i could always take a few steps back, if room permits.
Jeffrey Sullivan PRO 11 years ago
I have two EF-S lenses, 10-22 and 60mm macro, so with my 24-105, 70-200 and 2X teleconverter I cover an effective 16-640mm with my XTi and would with the 40D.

The 10-22 delivers an effective 16-35 or so and cost less than what a full format camera owner would spend to go wide, so there doesn't seem to be a mark against the 40D on the wide end. Although Canon hasn't designated any EF-S lenses with the L label, some have been claimed to deliver L quality (not the kit lens obviously). Meanwhile the boost in effective zoom magnification (or technically speaking sensor resolution in that cropped area of the image) comes free of charge.

I could sell the EF-S lenses to get a 16-35 or 17-40, so that doesn't seem like a large factor in the equation. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if the image quality of the 40D is close to the 5D at $2000 less, does its image quality exceed that of the XTi/400D by a measurable margin, enough to help justify a $1200 upgrade? The second question would be are the shooting features alone enough to justify the upgrade?

From a physics standpoint, a 24mm lens is still 24mm on the XTi. That's why they don't change the mm designation on cameras with APS-C sensors (and why the even smaller sensors on compact cameras make their mm-designated zoom ranges even harder to make sense of). The XTi simply puts its entire pixel count in the center sweet spot of the lens's image, and that could just as easily be perceived as a big plus (sharper corner to corner, less light falloff). I understand that most people refer to the frame's effective coverage vs. 35mm as one reference point, but I guess I don't understand why I'd care what a 24mm lens delivers on a 35mm camera, as long as I'm covering the wide to zoom range that I want to cover. The term "full frame" is relative, with the designation "full" a loaded term having clear value from a marketing standpoint to support the appearance of superiority over "less than full" products (like the deliberate omission of features such as spot metering). When generations of sensor design, processor speed, and user feature development separate two products, I think it's wise to revisit the quality of the net results, while considering any new shooting features.

So far when I see the image samples from the 5D (released in 2005) with the current 40D I'm left asking, "Where's the beef?" Sure, some reviewers notice a minor difference, mainly in certain extreme situations(1600 ISO) that may be rare for many of us, so I guess I'd still ask if that burger's worth the cost.

So without seeing a clear quality advantage for the 5D results (so far, pending additional professional reviews with head-to-head comparisons), lacking clear leadership that a modern 5D Mark II (say at 16.7MP) might demonstrate, the next logical question would be whether the 40D delivers enough enhancements to warrant a $1200 upgrade from the XTi. The improved features look great, the extra size and weight would be a drag for landscapes that involve a hike (same with 5D), so I'm hoping for image quality improvement and hopefully processor (noise reduction) speed to help the 40D come out a big enough improvement over the XTi/400D.

If Canon pre-announces a 5D Mark II, my upgrade target decision may get even more interesting.
fadetoblack2104 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by fadetoblack2104 (member) 11 years ago
I love my XTi, but for me the next step will be the 5D. Now, this is a moot point because by the time I have the money for that body (about 2-3 years) it will have been updated (MkII).
plastereddragon 11 years ago
fade, maybe long before then people will sell used 5D's to get the next big thing and then you'll be able to get a 5D sooner than you thought...
Javier Díaz Photos 11 years ago
I did just that a month ago and - while the price sill stands - I traded in my 400D /XTi. The 5D used price will stand, but for a lesser product like the XTi, how long before a replacement comes around and the XTi used price crashes?

Least I forget, according to french highly respected photo magazine CHASSEUR D'IMAGES, the 40D is little more than an XTi / 400D on steroids, and between those two and the 5D, the 5D rules.
scubapup 11 years ago
24mm is still 24mm on a 1.6 crop indeed, field of view is that of a 38mm though

since you love your 10-22 that much then just stay there if i were you
Jeffrey Sullivan PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Jeffrey Sullivan (member) 10 years ago
Just to provide an update... a month or two ago when the 5D was selling for around $1899 after rebates I bought the 40D for around $930 after rebates.

Here are some of my thoughts after using the 40D for a while:

Unfortunately my XTi failed a couple of weeks after I received my 40D, and I didn't take the opportunity to compare them side by side on the same scene before it died. However, simply looking subjectively at a variety of results, I do feel that I more often get "realisitc" results. Perhaps the 14 bit depth of the RAW files makes a difference, particularly as I make adjustments in Photoshop before converting down to 8 bit mode and saving an edited result in JPEG format. Note that the new XSi also has 14 bit RAW files, so the improvement I'm perceiving may not be generally applicable to the 40D over the Rebel series.

I do find the 6.5 fps shooting speed of the 40D extremely convenient for minimizing movement in HDR sequences, and with the new feature detection alignment in Photomatix 3.0 I can even take handheld HDR sequences and generally Photomatix has a decent probability of being able to make them overlay well.

The 40D also has a deeper shot buffer so when shooting RAW sequences I get more shots before the camera locks up, and the faster DIGIC 3 processor clears the buffer faster so I can shoot sooner. This has come in handy when shooting action... wildlife, kids, etc.

I already had the EF-S 10-22mm lens for APS-C format cameras, so to buy the 5D would have required the additional purchas of an EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L or EF 17-40mm f4.0 L to cover landscapes wider than 24mm. The 5D was on sale for about $1899 when I bought the 40D for low $900 range, but having to buy a wide lens brought the 5D option up another $1000-1500. My 200mm lens and doubler reach an effective 640mm on the 40D. With the 5D I'd be limited to 400mm with current lenses, or I'd have to buy something like the 100-400mm lens, getting me to 800mm doubled, but at another $1000-1500 cost. As a side note I wish I had bought the 100-400mm up front, as the 70-200mm f/4.0 changes to f/8 and loses autofocus when you add the Canon 2X doubler.

Depth of field and other factors change with sensor size, so the 5D produces out-of-focus backgrounds more readily for portraits, the 40D delivers high DOF more readily for landscapes:

In other words, for landscape photos the 5D will need a smaller aperture (and a longer exposure) to produce the same DOF as a 40D. That could be an issue for sunsets and sunrises, getting you into noisy ISOs and exposure lengths sooner than with the 40D as light fades, and increasing problems with motion. People who don't pay attention to hyperfocal charts may get fewer keeper landscapes (with acceptible DOF) with the 5D, unless they simply print smaller or have lower standards for what a "keeper" is.

The 40D will require wider apertures (larger, heavier, more expensive lenses) to get similar background blur as the 5D for portrait shots. It will not do quite as well at f/2.8 as the 5D would do at f/4.0, even though you've spent much more on the wider lens and it's twice as heavy in your hands all day. Again, whether or not reduced bokeh is considered an issue is up to the photographer (and his/her clients).

So it depends what you want to shoot. Ideally I'd like to have the 40D for dawn and dusk landscapes and the 5D successor (probably announcing this Fall and shipping this Winter) for portraits and mid-day landscapes (on an L-series lense, not available in the EF-S line).

The 5D reportedly has a larger and brighter viewfinder, which could help focusing night shots, but as I shoot a variety of shots during the course of a day I find the 40D's built in pop-up flash handy in a pinch for fill light, as I don't carry a backpack full of accessories such as a flash during daylight hours. As I travel around, I also don't need to keep the flash unit's AA batteries charged... one less thing to worry about unless I know I'll be doing portraits.

So there's no one right anser, but I feel that the 40D is doing an excellent job and the 6.5 fps is a big plus. I'll apply the $900-1000 I saved towards a full frame camera in the future that has better specs and performance than the 5D.
pixability PRO 10 years ago
nice post Jeff.

I had never thought much about fps in terms of handheld HDR and thats a good thing t notice. Also I was unaware of the PhotoMatix 3.0 upgrade so I was able to go install the upgrade as a result of your post. I'm still a ways from contemplating my next camera upgrade si by then I'll be comparing the 50D but the lens issues will probably still be the same.
It would depend on what you shoot the most, do you want to be without an in camera flash like the 5D

FF advantages:

*Shallower depth of field.
*Lower noise.
*Wider DR.
*Much better viewfinder.


*Shallower depth of field.
*More expensive.
*Quite demanding of wide angle lenses.
*Smaller angle of view for telephoto shot

you would need to have good lenses with the 5D, so a large part of the improvement is simply down to the lens and the 5D shows up all the faults of a cheaper lens so be prepared to buy some Ls.
shadinsb 10 years ago
The thought of a 5D makes me drool. The thought of the next 5D makes me drool like Homer. Then the price makes me choke on the drool.

One day...

Oh, and watching my buddy stuff two 5D's (each with an L attached) into a small plain duffel bag, one on top of the other...makes me wince.
Guillermo - 10 years ago
I am considering a 5D and so .. but its nothing worng to think that I can afford the current one and leave the new one for later?

I doubt the new one will be in the price range of the current.

anyway i would like the current one, what are the downsides of the camera .. technologywise, no automatic sensor cleaning right? .. i got my rocket blower so thats that... all the shooting programs are the ones on my XTI that I can control melf right> like M Av Tv and so ?

pretty much thats it and now that i think those aren;t even downsides ! hihi
Airchinapilot PRO 10 years ago
Hush, you can look up the stats yourself but off the top of my head.

The current 5D has a lower shutter speed than the 30D/40D.

It also has a lower flash sync shutter speed. 1/160th (?) vs the 30D/40D's 1/250th. If you don't work with flashes this won't matter to you.

No sensor cleaning -- but then I have the 30D right now so that doesn't matter to me.
Guillermo - 10 years ago

I know that you mean , i mostly shoot without flash si this does not matter and well shuter speed I single shots so that doesn't matter either...i'll look for the stats..
Airchinapilot PRO 10 years ago
I think the 5D is a great camera and will still take the amazing pics after the new one comes out. I would take that into account when people start unloading theirs for the new version. I'm only a semi-pro so saving every bit of money counts.
teamkonsol Posted 10 years ago. Edited by teamkonsol (member) 10 years ago
5d is beyond slow. 40d if you need the speed and oh is it ever
quicker (than nimble).
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