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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras 
Thread started 13 Jan 2009 (Tuesday) 22:59
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New 40D isn't outperforming my old XT like I hoped it would

 
guitarman3
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Jan 13, 2009 22:59 |  #1

I just upgraded to a 40D body from an XT. I mainly shoot birds (for over 2 years now but almost 40 years exper. with SLR's) and was expecting an improvement in focus ability over what I was getting with my XT and 100-400L combo. I've done some test shots around the house but also have gone out on 2 full day shoots with the new body (about 650 shots).

I noticed during the first shoot that something was off, especially after viewing the shots in LR (I shoot RAW). None of the 40D shots that are even close to focused are as sharp as most of the XT shots in similar previous situations. There's a softness that is not there in the XT shots. I tried a 2nd shoot a few days later and basically the same results.

I did a test at home and shot my 100-400 on my XT, my 40D, and on my daughter's 40D that was just delivered yesterday. Here are test pics:

With daughter's 40D:

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With my 40D:
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With XT:
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I probably should have used the TV mode on the test to lock in the same SS for all 3 but this is just one sample. The lock was about 40 feet from the camera. I shot other objects around the house and the XT outshot the 40D in all cases. I hand held the camera since I take a lot of birds that way (but I also use a monopod and car window often, too).

I realize the test was not scientific but the fact that it is so difficult to get an in focus shot with the 40D was very apparent in my two shoots--that was the REAL test for me. I'm disappointed to say the least. I also 'tested' my 17-40L on the two new 40D bodies and they both performed well with that lens. So the problem seems to be with the 100-400 when it's mounted on the 40D. This is bad because that is my birding setup. Both 40D bodies performed equally badly with the 100-400 and equally well with the wide angle lens during my home tests. So it's not like my 40D is obviously broken and my daughter's isn't. By the way, both bodies came from two different sellers.

I figure I have these options:
1) Keep shooting the 40D and hope things get better with time
2) Return the body to Costco and buy another 40D before Jan. 17 (rebate ends)
3)Return the body to Costco and buy a 50D so I'll have the micro adj feature
4)Send my equipment to Canon for calibration and hope the can resolve the issue
5)Return 40D to Costco and go back to shooting the XT

As a side note, my daughter briefly tested out her 70-200 F4L with her 40D and wasn't all that impressed with the sharpness with that lens either. It appears our 40D's do not like telephoto lenses. We also tried out her Bigma with the 40D bodies and it also outperformed the 100-400.

I expected more keepers from the 40D, not less. Are both the 40D bodies out of adjustment or is it my 100-400?

Costco.com is now out of 40d's so if I take it back and try another 40D, I'll need to buy it from some other outfit but I guess that is the same with the 50D as Costco doesn't sell the 50D body alone. I have until Saturday to make my decision since that is when the rebates from Canon expire.

What I'm asking from forum members--your opinion as to which option you would choose if you were in my situation and based on your experience with your own Canon cameras and lenses. Please take into account how you would react if YOU went out for a couple of shoots with your new camera and came back disappointed in its performance with your most-used lens. The home 'test' was not scientific but it did support what was happening during my shoots.

Thanks for your input and for helping me make a good decision.

Dennis
40D and grip, black XT, EF 17-40L, EF 50mm 1.8 II, Canon 100-400L, Canon 1.4X, Sigma 1.4x TC, Canon 580EX, Canon RC-1 Remote, Stofen Omni Bounce, Manfrotto 681B w/ 486RC; 3021BPro w/ 488RC
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XterraJohn
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Jan 13, 2009 23:38 |  #2

The second picture looks to have some motion blur. I suspect that this is the problem with the first picture as well. Looking at the EXIF data, the middle shot seems to have been taken at 1/125 of second, while the 3rd shot was taken at 1/250 of a second. It shows that you were using a 400mm focal length. Try using a shutter speed that's at least 1/400 of a second and see if you get the same results.

Edited to add: Actually, since you're using a crop camera, go with a shutter speed of 1/640.
Edited again to correct math and observational skills.




  
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bps
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Jan 13, 2009 23:49 |  #3

Something's definitely wrong with the 40D shots!


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Lenty007
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Jan 14, 2009 00:17 as a reply to  @ bps's post |  #4

Hello Guitarman3.
Besides motion blur your point is well taken.
I went from XT to 30d and wasn't blown away either from the "improvement".
In fact, as you point out, the pictures seem to be softer.
I didn't knew then that the XXd series carry a built-in blur filter to resolve a moiré problem. Photoshop offers a number of solutions, when used properly (delicately). It takes some time to "clean" up every single photo but hey that is why we have chosen this hobby!
EQ wise the pictures are slightly better. You won't see the difference in print but it is noticeable on screen.
The body is more robust and the shutter sounds like its going to last for ever.
Last week I have ordered the 50d so needles to say that I'm pleased with the XXd series.
Greetings,
Alain,




  
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wallybud
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Jan 14, 2009 00:21 |  #5

Those are both motion blur hands down...do the tests at 40mm with your 17-40 if you want to use a SS of 1/125th ;)

or a SS of 1/640th with your 400mm lens (1.6 X 400 = 640)


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XterraJohn
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Jan 14, 2009 00:21 |  #6

Lenty007 wrote in post #7072446 (external link)
Hello Guitarman3.
I didn't knew then that the XXd series carry a built-in blur filter to resolve a moiré problem.

It is my understanding that ALL current Canon EOS digital cameras have a built-in antialiasing (blur) filter, all the way from the Rebel XS on up to the 1DS3.




  
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Ryan7490
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Jan 14, 2009 00:23 |  #7

Hey I'm thinking of upgrading to a 40D from an XT. Unfortunately I cant see any of the photos you posted.


Nikon D610, 50 f/1.8, 70-300 VRII


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XterraJohn
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Jan 14, 2009 00:28 |  #8

Ryan7490 wrote in post #7072482 (external link)
Hey I'm thinking of upgrading to a 40D from an XT. Unfortunately I cant see any of the photos you posted.

Imagine two blurry pictures of a rusted padlock, followed by a clear picture of a rusty padlock.




  
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kombisaurus
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Jan 14, 2009 00:38 |  #9

I agree with xterrajohn.

It really looks to me like camera shake causing the blurriness rather than there being anything wrong with the auto-focus. Given that your shutter speeds for the three photos are 1/160sec, 1/125sec, and 1/250sec respectively, it's no wonder the sharpness drops with the slower shutter speeds.

There is no surprise at all that you get camera shake when shooting a 400mm lens with a shutter speed of 1/125sec, especially on a crop body. Your results with the 17-40 also tend to support the camera shake theory (ie the 17-40 will not show camera shake anywhere near as much as a 100-400, so no surprise the 17-40 performed much better).

I also noticed that the exif for the 40D photos show the metering mode was set to spot metering, while the XT had it's metering mode set to partial. This explains why the metering is different for all three shots which in turn explains why the shutter speeds are significantly different.

Try the same test at the 100mm end of your 100-400 rather than the 400mm end of the lens, and try to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible to elimate camera shake as a variable from your tests (ideally 1/1000sec or faster if possible - wait for a sunny day). It is often much better to shoot in Manual mode so you can be sure all cameras being tested are shooting with the same ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed as each other.

Unfortunately these photos aren't really telling me much about the cameras. I would expect the same results no matter what camera was used.


Adrian Broughton
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richardchoi
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Jan 14, 2009 00:44 |  #10

I agree with everyone, unless you were tripoding it. Both photos look like they could be the result of a up/down camera shake during the shot as opposed to off focus.




  
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Bazz8
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Jan 14, 2009 00:57 |  #11

XterraJohn wrote in post #7072241 (external link)
The second picture looks to have some motion blur. I suspect that this is the problem with the first picture as well. Looking at the EXIF data, the first two shots were taken at 1/125 of second, while the 3rd shot was taken at 1/250 of a second. It shows that you were using a 400mm focal length. Try using a shutter speed that's at least 1/400 of a second and see if you get the same results.

Edited to add: Actually, since you're using a crop camera, go with a shutter speed of 1/640.
Edited again to correct math.

try these settings the author is a canon pro photographer and yeh he can take a shot or two.
www.BIRDSASART.com (external link) <http://www.birdsasart.​com>
just search for his articals on the 40d and download his settings no more soft shots!
below are 2 of my own shots useing his settings which he uses on the 40d

http://www.flickr.com …/14389776@N06/2​861534417/ (external link)

http://www.flickr.com …/14389776@N06/2​861534273/ (external link)

Both these shot scored highly in a photographic club competition.
bear in mind that these shots where 2 of 20 i took hand held and panning with a 200mmmk11 f2.8 L lens using his settings.
regards
Bazz8


Gear List : SLR BODIES: Eos 5, Eos 3, D30 ( GIFT TO SON INLAW) 40D( SOLD) 1DMK3 ( Current Body)
LENSES : 28-105 USM ( WENT WITH D30) 50MM1.8 , 20-35MM F 2.8 L , 17-40MM F 4.0 L , 90MM MACRO F 2.8 TAMRON 75-300 F4-5.6 USM , 200MM MK11 2.8 L , 400mm 5.6L
TRYPOD: MANFROTTO 190 WITH MEDIUM FORMAT 3WAY HEAD, MANFROTTO MONOPOD LARGE SIZE.

  
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Ryan7490
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Jan 14, 2009 01:04 |  #12

XterraJohn wrote in post #7072507 (external link)
Imagine two blurry pictures of a rusted padlock, followed by a clear picture of a rusty padlock.

Oh ok..... yeah I'm not sure what could be causing that blurriness. But if it were me I would exchange the cam before the rebate ended just to be safe. Also try a high shutter speed with a higher iso. Cam shake is also another possibility, but from the looks of these 3 photos, it could be something else...:lol:


Nikon D610, 50 f/1.8, 70-300 VRII


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kombisaurus
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Jan 14, 2009 01:17 |  #13

Ryan7490 wrote in post #7072655 (external link)
XterraJohn wrote:
Imagine two blurry pictures of a rusted padlock, followed by a clear picture of a rusty padlock.

Oh ok..... yeah I'm not sure what could be causing that blurriness. But if it were me I would exchange the cam before the rebate ended just to be safe. Also try a high shutter speed with a higher iso. Cam shake is also another possibility, but from the looks of these 3 photos, it could be something else...:lol:

hehe.. nice evaluation of photos based on their descriptions rather than actually seeing them. :lol: Classic.

You should team up with the guy who is doing a review of the TC80N3 Shutter Remote which he doesn't have and hasn't used.
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=628852
:lol: :lol: :lol:
(sorry to go off topic - couldn't resist)


Adrian Broughton
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BroughtonPhoto.com.au (external link)
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gooble
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Jan 14, 2009 01:24 |  #14

First shot: 1/160 @ 400mm and blurry
Second shot: 1/125 @ 400mm and blurry
Third shot: 1/250 @ 400mm, pretty good

Wonder what the problem could be? It's motion blur due to a slow shutter IMO.




  
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guitarman3
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Jan 14, 2009 02:30 |  #15

Thanks for all the input so far!

Here is another object about 20 feet away, a 100% crop of a rock:
40D

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XT
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Again, the XT shot is at a faster SS. However, I doubt that changing the 40D's shot to 1/250th from 1/100 would have made it as clear a shot as the XT's. I'm willing to concede that some of it could be camera shake but I don't feel that is the entire problem.

I will try more tests again in the morning making sure all settings are the same on both cameras. I may even use a tripod to eliminate most of the camera shake. If it IS camera shake that is causing the 40D photos to be blurry, I'm wondering why I would shake more with one camera over the other? Also, isn't the lens' IS supposed to give me 2 to 3 stops leeway on the SS?

Here's a bird shot with the XT at 1/200th at 400mm:
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I don't seem to be able to achieve this with the 40D at 1/200th. I'm using the same technique with both cameras out in the field.

Dennis
40D and grip, black XT, EF 17-40L, EF 50mm 1.8 II, Canon 100-400L, Canon 1.4X, Sigma 1.4x TC, Canon 580EX, Canon RC-1 Remote, Stofen Omni Bounce, Manfrotto 681B w/ 486RC; 3021BPro w/ 488RC
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