Canon 50D versus 40D

I owned a Canon Rebel XTi (400D) for almost a year and upgraded to the 40D by ordering one (funny Amazon saga) on August 26th, 2007. Exactly a year later, Canon announces the 50D ... and it appears to be quite the camera - here's a side-by-side review of the Canon50D versus Canon 40D. Most notable is the higher resolution LCD, 50% jump in megapixels, and higher ISO capability (remains to be seen how noisy that will be) ... but a number of other nice improvements that should make this one heck of a DSLR.
Feature Canon 50D Canon 40D

MegaPixels 15.1 (4752x3168) 10.1 (3888x2592)

ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 (H1), 12800 (H2) 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (H)

LCD 3.0" - 920,000 dots - VGA 3.0" - 230,000 dots
Glad Canon finally upgraded the resolution ... plus now the entire image (rather than just a thumbnail) is used when you zoom in all the way to check for dead-on focus.

Live View Auto-focus with Face Detection Manual Focus Only

Continuous Shooting 6.3 fps up to 60 Jpegs - 90 with UDMA Card 6.5 fps up to 75 Jpegs
The 40D is a machine gun that goes on forever and impressive that the 50D retains similar frame rate and burst depth with 50% more pixels.

Viewfinder 95% coverage at 0.95x magnification 95% coverage at 0.9x magnification
Always nice to have brighter/bigger viewfinders ... especially appreciated by those of us with "older" eyes!

Remote Control N3 connector - Wireless Same
The Canon LC-5 wireless remote is big and $300+ ... but there are small and cheap 3rd party Canon wireless remotes.

Misc. UDMA storage (much faster) HTP display on viewfinder, noise reduction levels, vigenetting adjust, auto-lighting

Canon Technical Report 50D 40D
Micro-focus adjustment Yes No
Processor Digic IV Digic III
Video Out NTSC, PAL, and HDMI! NTSC, PAL
Shutter Speeds 1/8000 to 30 seconds and Bulb Same
Metering 35 area eval, Center weighted, Partial, Spot Same
Top Flash X-Sync Speed     1/250 second - be nice if higher Same
Auto-Focus All 9 cross-type with center high-precision/diagonal at F/2.8 Same
Analog-Digital Converter 14 bit Same
WeatherProofing - pics Foam on Battery and CF Door Same
Battery Canon BP-511A 1390mAh Li-Ion Same
Shots with no flash 800 1,100
Weight w/battery 810 grams - 28 ounces 820 grams - 29 ounces
Size 146 x 108 x 74 mm (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in) Same
Intro US Price $1400 - Oct/2008 $1300 - Aug/2007
Canon Info Canon 50D White Paper Canon 40D White Paper

After using the Canon 40D for a while, I wrote the following as suggestions that would make the follow-on 50D even better - how did they do?

  1. YES - 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. 50D actually seems a bit less noisy when you account for the 50% increase in pixels.
  2. NO - Standard blah-blah-blah about even better autofocus and image quality - 16 bit A-D?
  3. NO - Even faster continuous shooting ... and/or provide an option to go lower image size (or crop) for faster frame rate.
  4. NO - Along those lines, some sort of movie-mood when used in conjunction with Live View.
  5. YES - Live View should also have contrast based autofocus via the sensor.
  6. NO - Heck, along those lines, make the LCD screen flexible!
  7. YES - Make the LCD 640x480 like everyone else ... this is a no-brainer!
  8. NO - Really cheap remote wireless control - heck, why not built the receiver into the camera and sell a small $20 trigger?
  9. TBD - How much more would it have cost to use real weatherproofing with rubber seals/gaskets?
  10. NO - 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. YES - In-camera micro-focus adjustment ... better yet, release that as a firmware patch to the 40D.
  12. NO - Enhancements to the electronic shutter functionality so X-sync speeds can be really, really high.
  13. TBD - 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.       added - Canon 7D versus 50D.