Canon has replaced the EOS 40D with the Canon EOS 50D (Discontinued), but reviews still recommend the 10.1-megapixel Canon EOS 40D as an excellent buy if you can find one at a good price. Stepping up to this semi-pro level brings a heavier, sturdier magnesium camera body with better water resistance, plus 6.5 frames-per-second shooting for tracking action, which is twice as fast as the highly rated Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (Discontinued). The nine-point autofocus system on the Canon 40D uses cross hairs for improved accuracy, and the camera settings are shown on a second LCD screen on the top -- a design that most photographers prefer. You also get live preview on the LCD and a built-in sensor cleaner, and the kit lens is image-stabilized. If you don't need the extra fast shooting speed, however, reviews recommend the less expensive Canon EOS XSi.
We found the best comparisons of the Canon EOS 40D with its closest competitors at What Digital Camera magazine and at DigitalCameraInfo.com. Both U.K. publications give each camera numeric ratings as well as detailed reviews. PopPhoto.com provides less formal but very useful comparisons of the Canon 40D with other digital SLR cameras, and Phil Askey's review (at DPReview.com) provides excellent comparisons as well.
1. What Digital Camera
The Canon EOS 40D earns a Gold Award here, with an overall score of 90 percent, well above average. The review praises the camera's image quality, but criticizes the LCD resolution and finds some controls inconvenient.
Review: Canon EOS 40D Review, Editors of What Digital Camera, June 2008
A ratings chart at this site ranks the Canon EOS 40D second only to the much more expensive Nikon D300. The long, detailed review of the Canon 40D gives the camera mostly high marks.
Review: Canon EOS 40D Digital Camera Review, Editors of DigitalCameraInfo.com, Dec. 21, 2007
This review includes detailed lab-test reports and compares the Canon 40D with its two closest competitors, noting that it's faster with action shots, has a bigger LCD screen and provides some other advantages as well.
Review: Camera Test: Canon EOS 40D, Michael J. McNamara, Oct. 2007
The Canon EOS 40D shares the Editors' Choice award with the Olympus E-3, but editors rank it above the more expensive Nikon D300 and say the 40D is their best choice for action shots.
Review: Editor's Choice 2008: Advanced Digital SLRs, Jonathan Barkey and Russell Hart, June 2008
This experienced reviewer rates the Canon EOS 40D digital SLR as "highly recommended," based on a long, very detailed review with comparisons to close competitors.
Review: Canon EOS 40D, Phil Askey, Oct. 2007
This review is very thorough and detailed, recommending the Canon EOS 40D with enthusiasm but without having tested its closest competitors. The reviewer notes that the cross-hair focus points make autofocus faster as well as more accurate.
Review: Canon EOS 40D Review, Jeff Keller, Dec. 2007