Although the Canon 40 D has many significant improvements I am slightly disappointed that the image quality at high ISO is not significantly better than the 20 D. a camera over three years older. I went to the camera store and had my 20 D. with me to test both cameras at high ISO indoors tripod with exactly the same lens and exactly the same subjects under exactly the same lighting conditions. Except for a small increase in pixel density, the noise levels are approximately the same as the older Canon 20 D.. Perhaps I am expecting too much from Canon or Moore's Law does not apply to image quality any longer.
Well, Moore himself has said that Moore's Law is dead:
Heat is the enemy. The more megapixels per sensor chip, the more heat is generated. The more heat, the more noise, especially at higher ISOs. It's not a Canon problem, it's a physics problem. Or, in the immortal words of Robert Heinlein, "TANSTAAFL".
What does apply is that when cramming more sensor sites into the same small space, the sensors get smaller and thereby gather less volume of light, so when the sensors are exposed to low illumination the signal generated is weak and easily mis-recorded, which is in dark image areas seen as noise.
Yall are missing the point...After OVER 3 years I expected more of an improvement in noise reduction
Well, let's try one more time: It's probably technically feasible to reduce noise level at high ISOs, but how much would it cost? Remember, Moore's Law only involves the number of transistors that can inexpensively be placed on an IC chip and has nothing to do with image quality. Canon not only has to make these things, they have to sell them, too. And, hey, ISO 800 film has been around for, what, over ten years now, and it still has grain? Imagine that!
By the way, you didn't say what high ISO you were talking about. I'm guessing 1600 or higher?
How do you expect noise should be reduced when the cause of noise is increased every time they increase a camera's megapixel capacity? One and one still make two, at least I hope so!
lets see how could the noise be reduced? Decresing the gap between photosites mabe? improved materials and production/frabication prossesses? I dont know prehaps my grasp of the technoligy is as bad as my spelling....I would have rather kept the megapixical count at 8mp and had iso 6400 with at the noise level of the 20d at 1600
It is a good thing you are as young as you are and have not been doing photography for very long, because it was not that long ago in film days if you wanted decent color reproduction ASA 64 was as fast a film speed as there was. And there were not that many subjects or conditions that we did not find a way to get a photograph made one way or another even with such a slow film.
And by the way, they have already done everything they can to get more light to each photo site including a lens for every site with current chips. However there have been announcements of developments in new material/technology to further increase the sensitivity of photo sites on area array sensor chips - maybe in a year or two it will get into production.
In the meantime , as my grandfather often said to me, wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which fills the soonest.
"Spit"? My grandfather pronounced it a little differently. Probably an Arkansas dialect thing....
My grandfather lived in Minnesota in a small town much like Lake Woebegone as described in The Prairie Home Companion. Yes, different dialect for sure, you betcha!
Ok what ever, It is just my personal openion anyway Gess I have to get the 40D and keep my xti's as backups. I am on a every other model upgrade cycle and the next upgrade will be the 60D probably when dgic 4 processor comes out
I'm not really trying to defend Canon here. But, I really think you'd do well to go out and shoot with the 40D for a while, before reaching too many conclusions. I'm not saying the 40D is perfect. I'm pretty sure it isn't. And, personally, I'm continuing to shoot with my two 30Ds for a while longer (at least 'til the dust settles). But, I'll likely upgrade to a pair of 40D sometime next year.
The 40D is a more significant upgrade over the 30D, than the 30D was over the 20D (which I don't have). And all of them represent significant improvement over the 10D (which I do have as a backup camera - and which four years ago cost me about 1.5X today's price for a 40D), D60 and D30.
Most 40D owners seem relatively happy with their purchase, even those upgrading from 30Ds. Compared to your 20D, there's an even more significant jump in LCD size, the addition of spot metering and more.
To me it's a real positive that the 40D manages an increase to 10MP while keeping high ISO noise about equal to the 8MP 30D/20D. All the feedback I've heard seems to indicate that Noise Reduction on high ISO files is quite effective and what makes it possible.
In addition, I like the improved viewfinder, interchangeable focus screens and ISO display in the VF. Even compared to the 30D, the bigger LCD will help with histogram reviews when outdoors in bright sun, and when changing menu settings thanks to larger text. A larger image buffer means more shots before any delay. I think 14 bit is a good move in the right direction, too. All positive stuff!
As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on some features like Highlight Protection or whatever it's called. I'm glad to see the mid-level cameras getting a wireless data transfer option, even though I can't really justify the cost yet, personally.
6.5fps doesn't do a lot for me. The 5fps of the 20D/30D is adequate for me... But that's just my shooting style. I can see why others would like 6fps.
Also I'm not sure I'd have much use for Live View, although I might find out differently once I have the camera in hand.
The improved Auto Focus of the 40D seems to be a hit among users. I know I might certainly appreciate it, having become so AF dependent peering through the tiny tunnel of APS-C-sized camera viewfinders. Of course, this assumes it works as well or better than advertised (which we now know isn't always the case). If successful, it would be one of the top reasons I'd upgrade, even though I've learned to work the 30D's AF pretty well.
What leaves me unimpressed is the lack of easy access to mirror lockup (although it's more accessible in Live View, than previous cameras that lack that function). One button or at least higher level menu access to MLU is something many Canon users have been whining about for a long time now.
And a lot of folks (me included) hiss at the Direct Print button. It would be very cool if Canon just made it a sort of generic button and allowed it to be programed for something actually useful like MLU... Okay, even as a Direct Print button for the ten to twelve people who actually use it.
I'm still very skeptical about the Anti-Dust system. Not sure it's worth it... Is it added complexity that might call for a trip to the repair shop some day? I think Anti-Dust measures on all D-SLRs are largely just there to sooth concerns of folks who are brand new to the cameras and scared to death of cleaning the sensor. If we haven't already done so, we all really just need to learn to clean the sensor! It's not all that different from dealing with dust issues in the days of film.
Meanwhile I do think Canon has plenty of options to improve upon even the 40D. I've wondered aloud and in writing why they don't offer an even more pro-oriented APS-C model. In my opinion, they could easily use the 40D as a starting point... It's already 80 or 90% of the way there.
Just remove the built-in flash and use the extra room to further improve the viewfinder, plus that would further improve environmental sealing at the same time. Maybe put in a bit larger buffer and dual compact flash memory slots (*not* two different types of slots, IMHO, although that's a minor point). Offer a matching battery grip that has the new "AF On" button and real environment seals (both unlike the BG-E2N, which is silly), plus shares 1D-Series battery technology. I think Canon would sell a ton of "40D Pro" models, if they decided to make them. It would be more squarely aimed at some of their competition's offerings. But that's just my opinion, and, hey, I'm just dreamin' here!
With respect to high ISO noise, I think we'll see future improvements, but maybe they'll mostly be occurring on the software side, either in-camera or post-processing... At least for a while.
Oh, and a little food for thought... Have you noticed a few other camera makers recently abandoning their CCDs in favor of CMOS sensors more similar to what Canon made such a strong commitment to some years ago? Why is that? Part of the reason is that the cost of CMOS production has come down thanks to some recent innovations. But probably even more importantly, high ISO noise is even a bigger problem for increasingly crowded CCDs, because they draw more power and generally run hotter.
Frankly, I wouldn't be unhappy if the pace of development among digital cameras were to slow a little, if that's what we're seeing. As the industry matures, we might expect improvement to come in smaller and smaller increments. That may take off some of the pressure for photographers to upgrade so frequently. Maybe some day we'll see a D-SLR with a product life cycle rivaling the EOS 3!
Plus I'd rather see Canon's efforts directed toward filling some remaining gaps in their EF lens line-up (especially primes, if you're listening Canon) and upgrading some of the veterans.
In the end, it's not really so much the camera but the photographer, anyway. To my way of thinking, lenses are more critical than the box they're mounted on... Although look what always seems to get the most press!
Are you a professional writer? That is one of the best written responses I have seen in a long time. I agree with you on almost everything, I was just hoping for more on the noise reduction side. I do hope however that the improvement in the auto focus on the 40 D. is improved as advertised, that will definitely help increase the amount of good shots I get when I am shooting the occasional high school sports shots.
Big deal. Who ever said the 40D was really going to be that much better than the older and not so wiser 20D. Ive had both cameras and have absolutely loved both of them. Light or Night. Both cameras shine!! I can see where you're coming from in search for better low light conditioning cameras. You are not the only one. Have you noticed one of the Major test's any big testing company does on a camera. Is test the ISO. Low ISO or high, the 40D is great compared to @ price. Remember this is a $1300 camera and they have managed to test this up against some of the Giants. Mark and D series. And the 40D has managed very well. 3 years is not a long time in the Camera technology world. Look at the Full frame sensor... why can't the 40D have a bigger sensor? Or be 10fps?
Im sure Canon has the mega 40D on there shelf right now. But why release it now, when they can make a lot more money on the 40D and every other camera in between.
You can't have your cake and eat it too.