My very first DSLR was the Canon 40D back in 2007, and a stunning first serious camera at that! It traveled with me on our 6 week holiday to Canada photographing some of the most amazing scenery and wildlife. This was a very beautiful time as a new photographer. Things were much simpler, we didn’t have the option of mirrorless cameras so it was either Nikon or Canon. A time when everyone wanted a DSLR & it was starting to become mainstream… Way before instagram filters made everyone a photographer!
Jumping around a few systems, Nikon and then into the Fuji camp for the past 2 years with all their latest lenses i’ve been pretty spoilt for image quality and you quickly forget the rest of the big name brands. Your last thought was you’ve left them behind back in 2010 with no “significant” updates. Canon has been branded with crappy image sensors, but after using Nikon and now Fujifilm which are both highly regarded I can say that there is nothing to worry about, If anything I would say each has their weakness. But we wont get onto that in this post.
I’ll always have a soft spot for the Canon 40d, and after two years of swearing at the auto focus feature (if you can call it that) of the Fuji XE2 I was soon hanging out again for a camera that could do it all. The Fuji system is not this for me yet but a system that is truly enjoyable and I will keep producing photos with. So a quick trip down memory lane to where it all began now lies the latest version of this blood line. The Canon 70d found its way into my little hands.
I was quickly browsing google images today for 40d pictures and specs to jog the memory and decided to do a little post on my findings. You quickly forget what you think was a wicked camera at the time was actually pretty average by today’s standards and the fact is we are totally spoilt for performance. Also considering the 70d was probably cheaper than the 40d 6 years ago as well.
Key 40D specs
- 10.1 megapixel
- 9 AF points
- iso 100-1600 (3200 exp)
- 230k screen
- No video
Key 70D specs:
- 20.2 megapixel
- 19 AF points all cross type, Center point is high precision, double cross-type at f/2.8 or faster
- iso 100-12,800 (25,600 exp)
- 1,040k vari angle touch screen
- video – 1920×1080 (30p/25p/24p)
So yes from the specifications of the 40d are bit of a laugh, can you imagine if 1600 iso was your maximum today? Can you imagine the noise at that level also, iso 800 might be just usable! This alone was probably the largest shock to the system for me, and the 10.1 megapixels! Something that I don’t often worry about or consider but we are now looking at most sensors being double that, even the small 1″ sensors!. It shows too, the photos from the 40d look like someone made them with a crayon, while the 70d produces images like a sharp water colour pencil was used.
A couple of things that I really miss from the 40d are the dedicated back wheel and set button with the little AF joy stick, which is much more solid than the new “D pad inside wheel” on the 70d . I also prefer the glossy finish to the menu/review/trash buttons of the 40d which had a much nicer feel to them, You also can’t beat the full mag alloy body of the 40d, the plastic composite body of the 70d just does not live up to the same feel but saves nearly 100g of weight. I’m sure if you drop either I know which one id put my money on. I guess with the new flip screen any sort of ruggedness is out the window. Perhaps this level of abuse should only be reserved now for the 7dmk2. The 70d does have some weather sealing though so this is a bonus for shooting in light rain perhaps?
The things I really like about the 70d are the variable touch screen which is really nice to use, the rubber body grip is nicely improved and feels better in the hand. The Auto focus is really nice, just enough modes without being complicating although i wish you could really pin point the size of the AF box like the 7d could. The AF selector button placement is really awesome. The touch screen is fantastic especially shooting live view and using the touch to focus or touch to fire shutter.
Improvements if there were an 80d would be:
- Increased VF size, at least on par with the 7dmk2, it is borderline too small now for this enthusiast market.
- Nicer buttons, they need to be quality at your fingertips, this is no entry level 760d.
- The iso button needs to be easier to locate, the little dimple on it is not enough to distinguish it from the others.
- The on/off switch is a bit agricultural and could be much nicer. Feels like your turning on a food processor.
- The shutter noise could be dampened some, 70d even rivals the Sony A7 here in loudness!
Quite often people say that Canon is slow to release technology but I say at least they get it right the first time, the product lasts and works flawlessly out of the box. Everyone will have their own nit picks with each model but the Canon “X0D” series has actually had the longest line of Canon digital DSLR since mid 2000 and is still a serious camera for anyone today.
Sony on the other hand have released about 4x variants of the A7 model within a couple of years, same with Fujifilm who now have 5 variants of body type with the same xtrans ii sensor.
Everyone is pretty quick to dismiss the “old” dlsr, but for me its a reliable proven tool both back in 2007 and still today and even after recently dismissing the bulky form with an upturned “mirrorless nose.” I’m now more than happy to have it back in my bag alongside my mirrorless.
I have one more feeling about the DSLR; its common place now, everyone owns one they are nothing new so people expect a camera to either be a DSLR or cell phone. People are shifting to mirrorless as they are small and stealthy. But now I feel like I get more looks with my retro style Fuji, people are intrigued to see what this hip & flashy old style camera is and often ask about it. So could the DSLR be actually be the unobtrusive, relaxed tool that everyone says its not. When you go against the grain that’s when people start to notice you regardless. I guess people are always going to notice you regardless as you squat down to take a photo lol
So yes i’ll carry it around because there is nothing like 1x battery to last the entire day, instantly ready for the next shot, tracks moving objects, nails focus without hesitation & coming home stoked with photos that are in focus, crisp, clear and all achieved with a system that offers great value for money. Yes its big but so are I-pads & we all know who looks more ridiculous taking photos 😉
Here are a few comparison photos between the two bodies. Thanks for reading!
Here are a couple of photos from my old 40d
And a couple from the new 70d