Camera in a Live Test: Canon 40D versus Canon 30D

Just how does the quality of the Canon 40D compare with that of the older Canon 30D? In this first article for July, we take both cameras for a field test. The results are documented in the text below.

A couple of weeks ago, a buddy of mine bought himself a new Canon 40D. He dropped by a few days ago and brought his new camera along. I was naturally curious how much better his new 10-Megapixel camera would be, so … we took a couple of quick photos and compared them in Lightroom. OK, it wasn’t a proper lab test but it was clear that the 10-Megapixel Canon 40D did show a marked improvement in picture quality over the Canon 30D. Below are the first two photos we took in a side by side comparison.

I was pretty much impressed with the new “Live View” feature in the 40D. I had the same feature in my Sony DSC-F828 but you can’t really compare the two. Situations sometimes arise when it’s not possible to get your eye to the viewfinder to make the shot – and for those times you’ve got “Live View”. The image from “Live View” can also be viewed on your Computer or TV set with the use of an adapter cable – but be forewarned it really chews up your battery power.


Here’s the photo from the Canon 30D. The little window shows the area we enlarged for a 1:1 comparison. (click on the photo)

The same shot (almost) from the Canon 40D.


On our field test we took the usual shots – flowers, scenery, the lake, ducks, etc. After a hard days shoot we naturally gravitated over to the nearby “Beer Garden” for a spell!

I also had the opportunity to try out a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L zoom (with Image Stabilizer). It was really heavy but I was impressed with how quickly it focused the shot – usually within a second.

Otherwise, Canon enhanced the menus somewhat in the 40D, and I was left with the impression (just a feeling) that the 40D was lighter than my 30D.

To round out the shoot, we took two additional shots with the same lens, focal length and aperture settings. As much as possible we tried to keep all settings and menu options in the 40D and the 30D alike. The results of which you can see below.


The shot from the Canon 30D. Both these photos were produced directly from the RAW camera data.

The same shot from the Canon 40D. We made no improvements of any kind to the RAW photos.


The best photos from our shoot I took into Lightroom for editing and are being presented here as the newest profiPhotos gallery. In order to properly view the gallery you need to have Flash Version 9.0 installed in your browser. If you don’t have it installed yet, you can download a free copy from Adobe. The link is below.


Click on the photo to the right to begin the Photo Gallery show.


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