Monday, February 4, 2008
Sweet Spot D-SLRs
Between the pro and entry-level models lies a paradise of high-performance features, ease of use and excellent value
While most entry-level D-SLRs offer 10 megapixels these days, the models we look at here generally produce better image quality through use of higher-end image processors and A/D converters and better AF systems. Sweet-spot models typically offer faster shooting rates and usually are the first consumer models to get new technologies and features developed for pro D-SLRs. These cameras offer a terrific value, dollar for dollar, balancing price and performance.
Canon EOS 40D
A major upgrade of Canon's popular EOS 30D, the new 10.1-megapixel EOS 40D provides 23-percent more pixels, 14-bit A/D conversion, a DIGIC III image processor, and improved long-exposure and high-ISO noise reduction. It features a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with Live View capability, Canon's EOS Integrated Cleaning System to do away with sensor dust, 6.5 fps shooting and lots more-all for $100 less than the 30D when it was introduced.
Canon's most affordable model with a Live View LCD, the 40D actually betters the Live View capabilities of the professional EOS Mark III-series cameras (which are restricted to only manual focus in Live View mode), allowing you to focus manually or use the AF system. The Live View mode also features silent shooting, exposure-simulation and grid-line modes. Even more impressive, with the optional WFT-E3A wireless file transmitter, you can remotely control your camera from a nearby computer and view the Live View image on your computer monitor.
Autofocusing performance is excellent. All nine AF points are now cross-types with lenses of ƒ/5.6 or faster, while a unique diagonally oriented central sensor features enhanced precision at ƒ/2.8 or faster—actually better than Canon's pro cameras. Focusing calculation speed is 1.3x faster than with the 30D, and autofocusing is more accurate and more stable. AF operating range remains EV -0.5 to EV 18 (ISO 100).
The 40D retains the 30D's fast 0.15-second startup and 100,000-cycle shutter, top shutter speed of 1⁄8000 sec., compact yet high-capacity rechargeable battery, and compatibility with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses (with a 1.6x focal-length factor).
Camera: Canon EOS 40D
Image Sensor: 10.1-megapixel (effective) CMOS
Resolution: 3888 x 2592 pixels
Sensor Size: 22.2x14.8mm, 1.6x focal-length factor
LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch Live View
AF System: 9-point
Shutter Speeds: 1⁄8000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄250 sec.
ISO Settings: 100-1600 (1⁄3-stop increments), plus 3200
Continuous Firing Mode: 6.5 fps, 3 fps
Recording Format: JPEG, RAW, sRAW
Metering: 35-zone evaluative, 9% partial, 3.8% spot, center-weighted
Storage Media: CompactFlash
Dimensions: 5.7x4.2x2.9 inches
Weight: 26.1 ounces
Power Source: BP-511A rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Estimated Street Price: $1,299
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