Canon 40D versus Rebel XSi 450D

I owned a Canon Rebel XTi (400D) for almost a year, and then upgraded to a Canon 40D in September/2007 ... and subsequently put up a page comparing the Canon 40D to the Rebel XTi. In January/2008, Canon announced the Canon Rebel XSi 450D ... so I thought it might be interesting to do a similar a side-by-side review of the Canon40D versus the 450D Rebel XSi.

The Canon 40D and Canon Rebel XSi have some similar characterists which include the APS-C size sensor of 22.2 x 14.8 mm which results in a 1.6x focal length multiplier accepting both EF and EF-S lens). Both have pop-up flash with GIN of 43 feet and built-in dust cleaning. Some differences/improvements are shown below with links to more information.

In summary, the Rebel XSi appears to be a nice camera and would make a great entry-level DSLR. It actually has most of the capabilities of the 40D plus a few extra features. Canon could incorporate some of those features via a firmware upgrade ... but I won't hold my breath. And in addition to the 6.5 fps (versus 3.5) shooting speed, the 40D has several improvements that (for many people) will make it worthwhile to spend that extra couple of hundred dollars - examples include a top "settings" LCD, three custom settings, and a rear wheel that I use all the time. And be sure to check how how the Canon 50D compares to the 40D.

Feature Canon 40D Canon Rebel XSi (450D)

MegaPixels 10.1 12.2
The 400D and 40D both had ten megapixel sensors - 450D adds two to that in the Megapixel race.

ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (H) 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
While the 450D gets the improved micro-lens design, the additional megapixels should result in more noise due to smaller imaging pixels.

Auto-Focus All 9 cross-type with center high-precision/diagonal         9 focus points - center only is cross-type
Noticeably faster and more accurate. Note that high-precision only kicks in for f/2.8 or faster lens

Live View Standard - must flip mirror back down Standard and Contrast Based
Canon's Live View allows a real-time view on the LCD of the CMOS image similar to point-n-shoots ... although this is much slower than the standard auto-focus. While the 450D leap-frogs the 40D in the category, Canon should (but probably won't unfortunately) provide a Firmware update for the 40D that address this.

Continuous Shooting 6.5 fps or 3 fps up to 75 jpegs & 17 RAW 3.5 fps up to 53 jpegs & 6 RAW
Argueably the bigger differentiator between the two DSLR's. The 40D is a machine gun that goes on forever and you can often exceed that 75 JPEG's with a fast CF card such as the Sandisk Extreme III. Note that if you turn noise reduction on (CFII.2) the shot depth drops dramatically to the single digits.

Remote Control N3 connector - NO Infrared E3 connector, InfraRed
I'm assuming the XSi will continue to work with the RC-1 InfraRed remote which is small and about $20 ... very handy for short range line-of-sight and can attach to neck strap.
The 40D uses a longer range radio wireless remote. The LC-5 is big and $300+ ... but there are small and cheap 3rd party Canon wireless remote solutions.

LCD 3.0" (230,000 pixels) 3.0" (230,000 pixels)
Bigger screen is nice - shame it's not higher-res like all the other vendors are doing

WeatherProofing Battery and storage compartment doors None
See WeatherProofing pictures - surprised Canon didn't try harder on this one

Canon Techical Report 40D N/A
Viewfinder Info 95% coverage at 0.9x - Pentaprism 95% coverage at 0.87x - Pentamirror
Micro-focus adjustment no - Firmware Upgrade Please! no
Shutter Speeds 1/8000 to 30 seconds and Bulb 1/4000 to 30 seconds and Bulb
Metering 35 area eval, Center weighted, Partial, Spot Same - Spot added from 400D
Processor Digic III Digic III (upgrade from 400D)
Analog-Digital Converter 14 bit - image just seem sweeter! 14 bit - 400D was 12 bit
Top Flash X-sync Speed     1/250 second 1/200 second
Mirror Motor both ways - quicker & quieter! Spring Up - Motor Down (?)
Shots with no flash 1,100 600
Battery Canon 1390mAh Li-Ion Canon 1050mAh Li-Ion (400D was 720mAh)
Weight w/battery 820 grams - 29 ounces 475 grams - 17 ounces
Size 146 x 108 x 74 mm (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in) 129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
Storage Compact Flash SD/SDHC Card
January/2007 US Prices $1,150 (Market) $800 (List - ships April/2008)

Technology continually leap-frogs, and whle the 40D is the mid-range, the later release date of the 450D means it has many of those features. Some things that I would expect (hope!) to see in the Canon 50D.

  1. Everyone always asks for more megapixels, but that comes at a tradeoff in terms of speed and image quality, especially high ISO performance. Personally, 10 megapixels is OK ... but provide another stop reduction in noise.
  2. Standard blah-blah-blah about even better autofocus and image quality - 16 bit A-D?
  3. Even faster continuous shooting ... and/or provide an option to go lower image size (or crop) for faster frame rate.
  4. Along those lines, some sort of movie-mood when used in conjunction with Live View.
  5. Live View should also have contrast based autofocus via the sensor.
  6. Heck, along those lines, make the LCD screen flexible!
  7. Make the LCD 640x480 like everyone else ... this is a no-brainer!
  8. Really cheap remote wireless control - heck, why not built the receiver into the camera and sell a small $20 trigger?
  9. How much more would it have cost to use real weatherproofing with rubber seals/gaskets?
  10. The Rebel XSi LCD display can display all the shooting information and has a sensor near the viewfinder that detects when you put your eyeball up there and toggles it off. This ends up being really handy ... especially for us older folks since it's a challenge to read the smaller info display on top of the camera. Yes, we can replicate this on the 40D by hitting the Info button ... but that has to be done every single time. BTW, would be nice if they added the focus point selection there.
  11. In-camera micro-focus adjustment ... better yet, release that as a firmware patch to the 40D.
  12. Enhancements to the electronic shutter functionality so X-sync speeds can be really, really high.
  13. Cheaper, smaller, lighter, blah-blah-blah ... but same price point works if you add good features!

I welcome any comments on all of this. Back to more camera stuff.