Monday, October 8, 2007
The Best D-SLRs Get Better
In this year's most significant camera announcements for professional photographers, Canon and Nikon both have announced a pair of new D-SLRs
The 10.1-megapixel Canon-produced CMOS image sensor in the EOS 40D provides a 23% increase in resolution over the EOS 30D's 8.2-megapixel sensor. While based on the sensor in the EOS Digital Rebel XTi, the 40D's version uses larger microlenses over each pixel to reduce noise and expand sensitivity. The focal-length factor remains 1.6x. • A sharper, brighter viewfinder has 0.95x magnification, a 22mm eyepoint and interchangeable focusing screens.
• The Canon DIGIC III image processor provides faster operation and more efficient energy consumption, as well as finer image detail and more natural colors. Image quality is also improved by 14-bit A/D conversion (which can recognize 16,384 colors or brightness steps, four times as many as the 30D's 12-bit conversion), high-ISO noise reduction and Highlight Tone Priority, which expands the range between middle gray and white with minimal effect on dark tones.
• The 30D was quick at 5 fps, but the 40D can shoot at 6.5 fps for up to 75 Large/Fine JPEG or 17 RAW images. The 40D also provides 3 fps, silent and single-frame advance modes.
• The completely redesigned AF sensor still features nine AF points, but all nine now work as cross-types at ƒ/5.6 or faster. The unique diagonally oriented central sensor is sensitive to both vertical and horizontal lines at ƒ/2.8, a first for an EOS camera. Focusing calculation speed is 1.3x faster than with the 30D, and autofocusing is more accurate and more stable.
• The magnesium-alloy body and stainless-steel chassis now feature additional sealing against weather and dust. The 100,000-cycle shutter features a contactless switch for increased reliability. Along with the mechanical shutter, the 40D has a first-curtain electronic shutter for the Live-View function.
• The Canon EOS Integrated Cleaning System incorporates a self-cleaning sensor unit and dust mapping for automatic removal of dust spots during post-processing (using the provided DPP software)—an essential feature for an interchangeable-lens D-SLR. The third-generation self-cleaning sensor unit uses ultrasonic vibrations to vibrate dust off the low-pass filter in front of the image sensor each time you switch the camera on or off (it also can be activated manually when desired). Dust removal performance is equal to that of the pro EOS-1D Mark III.
• The 3.0-inch LCD monitor (up from the 30D's 2.5 inches) features a Live-View mode, handy for odd-angle, close-up and tripod-mounted shooting. You can focus manually or (via a Custom Function) automatically in Live-View mode. Live-View also features silent shooting and exposure-simulation and grid-line modes. LCD monitor image display and navigation are simpler, with more options.
• While the 40D retains the Picture Styles of the 30D, there's a handy Picture Style button to make selection easier. The 40D also is compatible with Canon's Picture Style Editor software (provided with the camera), which allows users to input their own preferred style, color and tone curves. Picture Styles let you adjust color, saturation, contrast and sharpness for a given shot. There also are presets (standard, portrait, landscape, faithful, neutral and monochrome, each with its own set of adjustments), and you can create and save your own custom Picture Styles.
• If you accidentally open the CF card slot cover while images are being written to the card, a warning appears, but writing continues until finished—a great safety feature. Images can be backed up on external storage devices with the WFT-E3A Wireless File Transmitter. The 40D also is compatible with original data verification system.
• An AF Start button lets you activate autofocusing and metering separately. AF starts when you press the AF Start button, metering when you depress the shutter button halfway.
• A sharper, brighter viewfinder has 0.95x magnification, a 22mm eyepoint and interchangeable focusing screens.