Canon 40D versus Rebel XTi 400D

I have owned a Canon Rebel XTi (400D) for almost a year ... and while it's a darn nice camera, I was looking to upgrade and anxiousely waiting the Canon 40D to be announced - a side-by-side review of the Canon40D versus the Rebel XTi is below. So a few days after the 40D announcement, I placed an order with Amazon on August 26th, 2007. That turned into quite a ordeal - read more about the Amazon Canon 40D saga. Given how popular the camera is, not surprising there were some delays - stuff happens - but I was happy to receive it by September 6th. Below are some of my hands-on experience with both cameras.

The Canon 40D and Canon Rebel XTi have some similar characterists which include the same 10 Megapixel APS-C size sensor of 22.2 x 14.8 mm (1.6x focal length multiplier accepting both EF and EF-S lens) ... although the former is a different design with claimed better IQ (Image Quality) at high ISO. the 40D also had a top "settings" LCD, three custom settings, and a rear wheel that I use all the time. 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, while the Rebel XTi is a nice camera (which I sold), the Canon 40D takes it up a notch and it is a ton of fun to shoot ... and after using it for a while, it would be very, very difficult to go back to the 400D for me. ... and I'd still take the 40D over the subsequently released 450d although the announcment of the Canon 50D (upgrade to the 40D) is pretty interesting.

Feature Canon 40D Canon Rebel XTi (400D)

ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (H) 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Canon 40D has less noise with improved micro-lens design - lots more info/pictures at the Canon 40D versus XTi High ISO Shootout!

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 - more info on Canon 40D autofocus.
Also new to the 40D is Canon's Live View which allows a real-time view on the LCD of the CMOS image.

Continuous Shooting 6.5 fps or 3 fps up to 75 jpegs 3.0 fps up to 27 Jpegs
The 40D is a machine gun that goes on forever - I get 89 JPEG's with my Sandisk Ultra 2 card!
However, if you turn noise reduction on - CFII.2 - I only get 7 shots before it slows to ~shot/second.
Hear them them side-by-side in the Canon 40D Continuous Shooting Speed page.
BTW, there is no UDMA support, so the fastest CF card is probably the Sandisk Extreme III.

Viewfinder Info 95% coverage at 0.9x magnification 95% coverage at 0.8x magnification
40D looks much brighter/bigger ... especially appreciated by "older" eyes. Also shows ISO - yea! Mirror Blackout (59msec) is noticeably shorter.

Remote Control N3 connector - Wireless E3 connector, InfraRed
The XTi worked 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 remotes.

LCD 3.0" (230,000 pixels) 2.5" (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 400D
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 Adds Spot capability 35 area eval, Center weighted, Partial
Processor Digic III Digic II
Analog-Digital Converter 14 bit - image just seem sweeter! 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 1,100 500
Battery Canon 1390mAh Li-Ion Canon 720mAh Li-Ion
Weight w/battery 820 grams - 29 ounces 560 grams - 20 ounces
Size 146 x 108 x 74 mm (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in) 127 x 94 x 65 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
August/2007 US List Price $1300 $700
Canon 40D White Paper

The Canon 40D is an impressive camera at a decent price point. But what would make the Canon 40D even better - i.e. what would I like to see in the Canon 50D follow-on?

  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 XTi 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!

canon 40d rebel xti shooting play
canon 40d rebel xti shooting sound

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