If the array of new features isn't enough to excite you, the Canon EOS 40D bristles with a tempting group of physical enhancements that make this camera much better than its predecessor. This next section explains what the most important improvements are, and why they are significant.
■ 10.1 MP vs. 8.2 MP: Unless you make huge prints or crop images severely, you're not likely to notice the difference in megapixels. But the jump to10.1 MP does bring the 40D in line with all its competition, as well as its junior sibling, the Digital Rebel XTi.
■ Faster continuous shooting: If you don't believe that 6.5 frames per second is a significant improvement over the maximum 5 fps available with the EOS 30D, try firing the two cameras side by side at their maximum burst rates. Shazam! The speedier frame rate helps reduce the chances that the critical moment will occur between frames, which is common with fast-moving sports like baseball or track. The 40D also has slower continuous shooting, with an optional 3 fps mode to capture more leisurely activities. The slower rate is especially handy when you don't want to sort through a gazillion shots to find the best one.
■ Larger buffer: A larger internal memory buffer works hand-in-hand with the 40D's continuous shooting modes to allow you to capture more frames in a row before shooting halts to allow the camera to store the pictures you've already taken on the Compact Flash card. The camera can grab as many as 75 JPEG Large/Fine shots in one burst, compared to just 30 shots with the EOS 30D.
■ Improved Focus Points: While the EOS 40D has a nine-point focus system that's similar to the 30D's, all nine function as more sensitive cross-type focus sensors with lenses having a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or larger. Cross sensors detect focus in both horizontal and vertical directions, rather than in just a single orientation. The 40D's center focus point has additional sensitivity when used with lenses having an f/2.8 or larger aperture.
■ Expanded metering sensitivity: The EOS 40D's exposure metering range extends from 0.0 to 20 EV, rather than EV 1.0 to 20 (with the 30D). In very dim light, the 40D can calculate an exposure of eight seconds at f/2.8 at ISO 100 (EV 0.0), while the 30D won't register an exposure of less than four seconds at f/2.8 at ISO 100 (EV 1.0). Both cameras can meter at brightness levels up to 1/4,000 second at f/16 at ISO 100 (EV 20), which is roughly 32 times as much illumination as you can expect under bright daylight.
■ Improved view: The viewfinder magnification of the EOS 40D has been boosted to 95 percent of life-size (when using a focal length of 50mm focused at infinity). The eyepoint (the distance you can move your eye from the viewfinder and still see the entire image) has increased from 20mm to 22mm. All in all, the 40D's view is bigger and easier to see.
■ Larger LCD screen: The improved 3-inch LCD screen can be viewed from a wider viewing angle. The resolution remains the same as in the 30D at 230,000 pixels. Half an inch diagonally may not sound like much, but the new screen is a huge enhancement (see Figure A.3).
■ Improved mirror action: The EOS 40D uses a motor to raise and lower its mirror (instead of springs), producing a much quieter mechanism, and a significantly shorter blackout time between shots. The motor's action is damped, too, which creates less vibration from potential mirror bounce. In addition, the mirror can be locked up for single or multiple exposures.
■ Wireless and USB Device Support: Would you like to store your photos to an external USB storage device, such as a hard drive or flash drive? All you need is the Canon WFT-E3/E3A wireless transmitter/vertical grip and suitable media. The transmitter/grip's internal PB-511 battery can power a solidstate flash drive, but if you connect a hard drive it will need its own power supply. If you're shooting in a studio, the accessory grip can connect to your 11b or 11g wireless network, or wired Ethernet connection. Expect to pay a considerable fraction of what you laid out for your EOS 40D camera body for this useful add-on.
■ More road-hugging weight: Okay, this isn't exactly an advantage, but the EOS 40D is a full 2mm wider and taller (about a tenth of an inch in either direction), and 37 grams (about 1.3 ounces) heavier.
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