Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Canon 40D first impressions

Well, it arrived today in time to pop over to the local college where I always test new cameras. This isn't exactly a compelling image, but it's what you're getting - I was just playing around with it, getting a feel for the controls and so forth. Maybe I'll go to the zoo tomorrow or something (no, not the San Francisco Zoo - no tiger dinner for me!)

Thoughts (versus my 20D)
*Like the big screen although the preview jpg should have more resolution and probably the screen should too.
*Big bright viewfinder - not up to full frame standards but a big improvement.
*ISO 3200 is shockingly clean. I really had no idea they'd improved it that much.
*Everything on the computer end of things - zooming, scrolling, flipping through images - all faster.
*Massive buffer and takes shots fast.
*Shutter much, much more quiet. I should get fewer stares at certain kinds of events.
*Shutter button overly sensitive, at least in high speed mode. Took lots of accidental pairs of shots (double taps!).
*The files are much larger - some of this is because the resolution is higher, and some is because it saves more bits per pixel. It's probably time to retire the oldest/smallest card and add another one on the high end.

In an ideal universe I'd like to have this camera for sports/wildlife/events and for the studio a full frame with more resolution even if the frames per second is low. Depending on Canon's announcements Jan 24th it will hopefully be clear what I want to do. As an example I wouldn't be happy with just a Canon 5D because at 3fps it's just too slow out of the studio, but in combination with a 40D that's an option. But I'd just as soon wait for the latest-greatest, especially if they split the line into a more expensive and cheaper camera - the cheaper/slower full frame will probably be fine as long as I have the 40D to fall back to when I feel the need for speed.

Keep in mind I pretty much have to have two digital SLRs - I really, really would hate to have one fail in the middle of a portrait gig - and it's looking more and more like it's not worth repairing my dear beloved 20D so pretty much I'm going to blow the 2008 hardware budget on digital bodies and that's that. Luckily I got three years out of the last one so this isn't an annual kind of deal.

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