The Good Generally superior shooting speed among dSLRs; first-rate photo quality.
The Bad Large spot size for spot meter; relatively sluggish low-light focus.
The Bottom Line Great photo quality and excellent continuous-shooting performance are just two of the Canon EOS 40D's many attractions in the digital camera marketplace.
Canon EOS 40D
Editors' note: The competitive landscape for this camera has changed since our review, and we've updated the text and ratings to reflect that and the model's lower price. The design rating goes from a 9 to an 8--while still a nicely designed model, it's not particularly outstanding anymore--and features drops from an 8 to a 7 for its efficient-but-now-relatively-mundane set of capabilities. Text changes include comparisons to newer models.
Representing a more significant leap over the EOS 30D than the 30D was beyond the 20D, the Canon EOS 40D features a redesigned body and menu system, introduces some long-requested features, integrates some of the new technology from the EOS 1D Mark III and delivers a nice bump in resolution and performance. All of that, plus a solid overall increase in speed over its predecessor, make it a no-brainer upgrade from previous models, a substantially better option than its down-the-line sibling, the EOS Rebel XSi and a nice complement for the EOS-1D Mark III.
Canon offers two configurations of the 40D: body only, and a kit with the veteran f/3.5-to-f/5.6, 28mm-to-135mm IS USM lens. Taking into account the camera's 1.6x focal-length multiplier yields an angle of view equivalent to that of a 44.8mm-to-216mm lens on a 35mm camera. That's a bit narrow, though; personally, I think the admittedly pricey EF 24mm-to-70mm f/2.8L USM covers a more useful general-purpose range of 38.4mm to 112mm. Alternatively, you may want to wait until later this year when the inexpensive EF-S 18mm-to-55mm f/3.5-to-f/5.6 IS is slated to become available.