Gizmodo and others are unhappy that the new Canon 40D is the 30D with 10 megapixels and dust shake.
I have to wonder what the hell they were expecting?
[The 40D is a good camera after the jump]
The 30D was rushed to market because Canon guessed wrong on the 5D replacing the 20D among enthusiasts. The Nikon D200 set a bar high enough that people were comparing it to the 5D at twice the price than the 20D where the comparison was natural. The 10 megapixel sensor wasn’t ready so the 30D introduced a good enthusiast camera at a great price.
The 30D may not seem like that because there doesn’t look like anything special on the spec sheet side-by-side with the 400D. “I’m paying an extra $300 for a spot meter and 2 more fps and 2 less megapixel?”
Well, yes, that’s the problem when your company lives and dies on the spec sheet. It’s unfortunate that the D80’s 11-point CAM 1000 AF and metering systemn forces Canon to put thier 9-point AF in the Rebel line.
Nikon gives you spot metering down the line (even their D40) and even Auto ISO which is curiously missing from the Canon line. But the D200 distinguishes itself in usability: lens compatibility, access to features likes ISO, AF-ON, CSM shooting modes, multi-channel readout, custom function button, 1/3 steps, customizable menu groups, ports for cable releases and GPS, CF compatibility, and construction/weather sealing, only a few of which appear on the spec sheet.
But anyone who has ever used a Nikon D200 knows there is a difference between it and the D40/D50/D70/s/D80. And it’s not just the CF, weight and an extra 2 fps. It’s so obvious what you are getting when the first time you put the viewfinder up to your eye and take a shot.
It’s also significantly harder to use than the D80. In fact the D200 is a really bad first dSLR for someone. The usability difference between the 20D/30D/40D and the Rebel line basically comes down to putting the trademark Canon dial in the back. It’s my hope that Canon gives up on the simple menus and uses that space to copy some of Nikon’s features like AF-On.
Why the 40D is a good camera
Because the Nikon D200 is selling at reputable sellers like B&H for $1340 new right now.
Canon is a company that lives by the spec sheet. The differences between D200 and the 30D are large on the spec sheet and the price difference is very small ($200 right now). The 40D blurs that spec sheet difference and brings value back into the Canon line.
If I had purchased a Canon 300D way back then, the 40D would have been my next camera. Instead I went from the D70 to the D200 and paid more money both times in the process.
I’m happy with my choice, and I bet a lot of Canon people will be happy with theirs.