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Canon EOS 40D Gordon Laing, September 2007

Canon EOS 40D results : Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise

Outdoor resolution - Canon EOS 40D versus EOS 5D with EF 24-105mm

To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Canon EOS 40D and EOS 5D DSLRs within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings, 100 ISO sensitivities and Standard Picture Modes. The 40D's High ISO Noise Reduction and Highlight Priority were set to their default OFF and Disable settings respectively.

We tested each camera with the Canon EF 24-105mm f4.0L lens, with the focal length adjusted to deliver the same field of view. The lens was set to f8 for optimum sharpness.

The image above was taken with the Canon EOS 40D at a sensitivity of 100 ISO, using the EF 24-105mm lens at 24mm f8; the original Large Fine JPEG file measured 4.27MB. The EOS 5D's original Large Fine JPEG image measured 5.98MB.

In this test we've avoided taking crops from the sides and corners to ensure we're comparing the actual bodies as much as possible and not the differences between the lens at the two focal lengths used for each camera. All crops are presented here at 100% and the EOS 40D's show a slightly larger area due to its slightly lower resolution. For a RAW versus JPEG comparison, scroll to the bottom of this page. For a comparison against the Nikon D80, see out Canon EOS 40D noise results page.

Canon EOS 40D
with Canon EF 24-105mm at 24mm
Canon EOS 5D
with Canon EF 24-105mm at 39mm
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

The EOS 5D crops are noticeably sharper than those from the 40D, but this appears to be more down to the image processing using each camera's default settings, or inherent differences between their respective sensor technologies. Either way, if you increase the 40D's sharpening by a notch, or apply some after the event, its results look a great deal closer to its bigger brother. That said, the EOS 5D is capturing fractionally higher detail, but it's certainly not a huge difference. 10.1 versus 12.8 Megapixels isn't as big a difference as it sounds when it comes to real-life detail, although as we'll see on the next page, studio charts can reveal greater differences.

It's certainly interesting the 40D appears to deliver softer, more subdued images by default than the 5D, almost as if the full-frame model has been tweaked for a consumer market which prefers punchier output. Either way, while the 5D is resolving greater detail, it's minimal in this example. The full-framer still has an advantage when it comes to noise though as we'll see later in our EOS 40D noise results page. Before visiting this or our EOS 40D Studio Resolution pages though, scroll down to see how the 40D's RAW output compares to the default JPEGs.

Canon EOS 40D: JPEG versus RAW

We photographed the scene here in Large Fine JPEG + RAW mode and presented crops below from each file for comparison. The RAW file was converted using the supplied Digital Photo Professional software using the default settings and sent to Photoshop in 16 bits. This was then reduced to 8 bits and processed the same way as the original JPEG for presentation here.

The crop from the RAW file is noticeably sharper than the JPEG using the default settings, and while there's some undesirable artefacts as a result, the overall image is preferred. As you'll see throughout these results and sample images pages, the EOS 40D's JPEGs using the default settings can appear relatively subdued and soft compared to rival models. So unless you prefer this look, you may wish to increase the in-camera sharpening by a notch or better still, shoot in RAW instead. Then you'll really see what the 40D's capable of. Now let's look at the EOS 40D's resolution.

Canon EOS 40D JPEG
with Canon EF 24-105mm at 24mm
Canon EOS 40D RAW
with Canon EF 24-105mm at 24mm
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Canon EOS 40D results continued...

Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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