Canon 40D – First Impressions

*Warning equipment measurbating ahead*

I admit that in our whole wedding photography career, we were never first adopters of camera gear. It was either we bought our gear second hand or we waited a few months before buying a camera. But for the past few months, we’ve been wanting to buy a new cam as our four other cams have quite often been in and out of the service center. Thankfully we have friends like CJ and Jon of Threelogy who lent us their cameras when we were short of backup gear.

Anyway, when the Canon 40D was announced a few weeks ago, I knew it was the right time to upgrade and I wanted it ASAP. So I had my cousin buy my camera in Hong Kong and had my brother bring it here. Today is the local launch of the Canon 40D and since I’ve been using the camera for the past two weeks, I might as well write down my impressions on Canon’s new camera.

Impressions of a Filipino Wedding Photographer on the Canon 40D (after upgrading from a Canon 20D)

The features I love best:

Faster and more accurate AF
The 20D focuses fast at the center focus point but not at the other focus points. It also back-focuses a lot when I’m using my 10-22mm lens. The 40D focuses fast at all focus points and is spot on using the 10-22mm. But I did notice some front-focusing problems using my 70-200mm. The good thing is the LCD is huge so you know right away if the shot is out of focus.

Custom user settings
The 40D has 3 custom user settings on the dial. I find this feature very useful when I need to quickly change settings, i.e. during the bridal march. I use setting #1 for the entourage walking down the aisle (on board and off cam flash); #2 during the bride’s entrance (backlit, no flash); and #3 for the groom waiting by the altar (off cam flash). Before when using the 20D, I had to use 2 bodies set at different settings during the bridal march. Now I only carry the 40D. ;)

Larger viewfinder
Always a plus if you can see more, hehe.

AF-ON button
Ever since I started using the Canon EOS digital line, I’ve been assigning the rear [*] button as the Auto Focus button. Now the 40D features a dedicated AF-ON button beside the [*] button. I like that the AF-ON button is ergonomically placed, it feels better to shoot.

Live view
With the 40D, you can now have the option to view in real time what your camera sees on its humongous LCD, similar to what most point and shoot cameras do. Canon is mostly promoting this feature for macro and studio shoots. I used this feature a lot in our last wedding, mainly for checking the composition when I was shooting from the hip. I like shooting without looking at the viewfinder to catch the subject off guard or get a different angle.

Shutter/mirror noise
The 40D is quieter than the 20D and its shutter sounds more electronic, if I can describe it as that hehe.

Things I’m not too excited or happy about:

10.1 megapixels
I already stopped counting megapixels at 8MP.

6.5 frames per second
Not much use for weddings (except for those occasional split-second altar kisses hehe) but a killer feature for sports photography.

3-inch LCD
The LCD is huge but the colors are way off. Either the LCD is too blue or too yellow. I wish the 40D had the 5D’s LCD.

In conclusion, I love the Canon 40D. It’s fast and feels good to hold even without a battery grip. It may take a while though to get used to the different button placements and the menu system. My only rant is the LCD color.

As for Mimi, she said she’s not too sold on the 40D, as she’s perfectly happy with her 5D. :P