PLEASE HELP - CANON 40D PHOTOS NOT GOOD NIKON D60 BETTER?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by rico_barone, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I am just getting into DSLR photograpy and am starting a course in early January. After reading many reviews, I decided to go with a mid-level camera and chose the Canon 40D which has received many great reviews, looks like a prosumer camera due to its size, and is offered at great pricing right now. A photography magazine rated it a "Steal for 2008".

    I added a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII Autofocus Lens and thought I had a pretty good kit. On December 27th (this past weekend), my cousin and his wife came over to our home with a Nikon D60 and 18-55mm kit lens. Sitting in the same place in our dining room, I took two shots. One with their D60 and one with my 40D. Both cameras were set to *Full Auto* mode. I was shocked at the results. The D60 photo appeared to be properly color balanced and very crisp (especially when magnified to 100%). My 40D shots looked red and blurry.

    I began scouring various forums and read that the 40D has had issues with autofocus. So, I quickly took my camera back to the retailer (although I'm 5 days over the 30 day return period) and they exchanged it with another brand new body. I obviously cannot replicate the same scene with the subject that was here for dinner :) but the red color looks the same and it still does not appear to be as sharp as the Nikon photos when enlarged to 100%.

    I am not sure what to do. I don't know if it's a lens issue (the Tamron lenses also have some reviews stating that some copies are "soft" and need to be sent back to Tamron for calibration), or perhaps it's the 40D?

    I have made up a web page with the sample images I mentioned above, and also performed two focus tests using the focus test charts found on the Internet (I don't know how good these are). The focus tests were done as instructed (camera mounted on tripod at 45 degree angle, white balanced, focus test chart flat, etc.) 40D set to center AF point and I used a timer to avoid camera shake.

    If you could please visit the following URL and offer your opinions, I would appreciate any feedback:
    http://www3.telus.net/rico/40DImages/Canon40DTest.htm

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. Rico, from my experience, a photography "system" will always produce the best results. By that I mean, a Canon body with a Canon lens will produce superior results to a Canon body with a 3d party lens. In the film days, mixing and matching lenses, bodies, film etc was fine. But with the advancing technologies, you will lose functionality and/or IQ by using third party lenses IMO.

    A more practical suggestion is to calibrate the WB for the two bodies and then compare results. Canon tends to AWB at the "reddish" end of normal, while Nikon is more neutral. That only accounts for colors though, not blur.
     
  3. I think you are worrying about a lot for nothing. Your focus test looks fine and reasonably sharp at the plane of focus as does the shot of the sweets. I see no issues with your lens performance.
    Nikon has a well regarded flash system implementation and nuances of color rendition are more of a question of "taste" than of one being perfectly correct and the other being wrong.
    The 40D is a much more capable camera in terms of "shooting performance" when compared to the D60. Your 17-50mm f/2.8 lens has a HUGE advantage in it being a constant aperture f/2.8 lens. If you don't yet recognize how valuable that is compared to the kit lens, you will eventually. I would take in-hand camera shooting performance and a faster aperture lens over your friends D60 and kit lens, any day. And that's not because of a Nikon vs. Canon issue either.
    My recommendations...
    1. Don't worry about these little differences from a single shot that you are seeing. Your camera is very capable and your lens is sharp enough to accomplish any photographic goal you might have.
    2. Learn to take control of what your camera is doing, and of what happens with your photos after you take them. You are on the right track with taking a class.
    - Shoot RAW, get a good RAW converter (Lightroom).
    - Learn Photoshop (elements or otherwise), especially control of color, contrast, sharpness and tone. Color differences go away in the digital realm. You can make the Nikon photo look like the Canon or vise versa.
    - Learn to control the balance of ambient light with the amount of flash, and how they interrelate in the Canon camera world. I think that may be part of what you are seeing in the differences between the Nikon and Canon shot, both for color rendition and sharpness. Read this article to help get started... http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/
    - Worry less about things like sharpness or other peoples cameras. These things only matter to us photographers and only make a small difference in photos. Non-photographers will appreciate your photos only for the photos themselves, and generally not for how "sharp" they are or aren't or what camera they are taken with.
    Anyhow, you made good choices in what you bought, and I don't think you have a lemon. Use it, and stop worrying!
     
  4. If you're going to shoot in full auto mode and you find the D60 is giving you better results, then I think the obvious answer is to exchange the 40D for a D60 and be happy.
    Canon's default white balance under tungsten lighting is very warm. All the EOS bodies are the same ans are set in "tungsten" mode for tungsten photofloods (3200K), not domestic lighting (closer to 2600K).
     
  5. First problem: your 40D was not in full auto mode on the portrait. The EXIF data in the image shows that it was in aperture priority mode. When using flash in Av mode the camera sets the shutter speed for ambient light. Your shutter speed was only 1/20th of a second yet your focal length was 50mm (80mm equivalent). You needed a shutter speed of at least 1/90th of a second to eliminate sharpness robbing hand shake.
    The sweets shot had a better (but not ideal) shutter speed of 1/60th, but an aperture of only f/4 versus the D60's f/5.6. Any close up/macro shot benefits from a smaller aperture with more DoF. Having said that, if I zoom into in focus sections of the two sweets shots, I see more detail/better sharpness from the Canon. It's slight but unmistakable, and probably has nothing to do with the bodies and everything to do with the lenses or some other factor such as hand shake.
    Second problem: the 40D portrait image was recorded in the AdobeRGB color space while the D60 was recorded in sRGB. Unless you know what you're doing and have properly calibrated your computer and printer for an AdobeRGB workflow, use sRGB. Simply discarding the AdobeRGB profile from the Canon portrait JPEG results in a more neutral shot, though this is secondary to the real cause of the color balance differences in both the portrait and sweets shots (see below).
    Third problem: the D60 image is actually too blue. But the key difference in the color balance between the two cameras, on both the portrait and sweets shots, goes back to the exposure. The D60 shots, with a faster shutter speed and an ISO of 200, were primarily illuminated with flash light which is colder. The 40D shots had slow shutter speeds and an ISO of 400 which means ambient light, which was warm here, played a much larger role in the Canon shots. Shot with higher shutter speeds and lower ISOs the Canon images would have been colder just like the D60 shots.
    Fourth problem: the Canon portrait shot was made closer to the subject which means less DoF, and it looks like the focus may have been off. It's hard to tell for sure in light of the slow shutter speed and hand shake. If there was a focusing error it's impossible to tell whether it was user or camera error without knowing AF mode, selected AF point, and user technique. But at this point I wouldn't bet against the camera (no offense). Having said this, the errors did not completely destroy the image detail, which is partially recoverable using unsharp masking.
    Fifth problem: the D60 shots are actually underexposed, but it's hard to tell if that's the camera's fault or a limitation of the built in flash given the ISO setting and the scene to be illuminated.
    You don't need to replace or service your 40D, you don't need a Canon lens, and you certainly don't need to trade brands. With due respect, learn to use the camera and you will get fantastic results.
     
  6. Just exchange the Canon 40D for the Nikon D60 if you only shoot in auto mode. Colors on auto mode are vary from one manufacturer to another, just like TVs they're all different in default setting. You can adjust the 40D to look like the D60, and vice versa.
     
  7. Thanks to all who have replied thus far, particularly Sheldon and Daniel Lee who have provided some very detailed and informative feedback - thank you, an no offense taken at all. I know I have a lot to learn, thus I value your feedback and my interest in taking courses.
    Please keep in mind that my goal is *not* to simply shoot in Auto Mode. I intend to take various photography classes which may lead to my getting into semi-professional work if I feel I have some talent. The reason I mentioned Auto Mode is because my family members only know how to use that mode on their Nikon D60. For curiousity sake (because I just got my Canon 40D) I thought I would take a photo in auto mode with their camera and compare it to the 40D in auto mode.
    To me, the images looked better from the Nikon. A family member commented on the 'red hair' of my subject in the Canon shot and jokingly commented that they would 'fire me' from a paid job based on that photo. The Nikon did show the true 'salt & pepper' hair of the subject.
    Daniel Lee commented that I was not in full auto mode on the 40D but I could have sworn I was. I can't see where in the EXIF info it indicates I was in AV mode. But in any event, the image I did take in full auto on the 40D looked the same as what I have posted on the webpage I mentioned.
    Thanks again.
     
  8. After a couple of years of messing around with many body/lens combos I have finally stopped at the 40D. I also have the Tamron 17-50 along with Canon 70-200 F4L and 400 F5.6L. The 40D/Tamron combination have produced some of the finest photographs I've ever taken, partly because of all the learning I've done along the way, and partly because of the quality of the equipment. The one thing I have found out with 100% certainty in my photographic journey is that most of the errors you make are not the equipments fault, it is probably human related. Stick with your excellent combination of equipment and learn with it. Also, don't focus so much on what is written around the internet. I've experienced no focusing problems whatsoever with the Canon, and the Tamron is also right on the money. You can make yourself nuts with other peoples opinions. Once you get more experience you will really appreciate your excellent equipment.....good luck, Rich
     
  9. Daniel: Most impressive post!
     
  10. It is more than obvious that you have buyer's remorse and don't understand yet how to get the best out of your camera and you are nervous because some casual observers think the D60 produces better results. All the camera manufacturers use their own profile to interpret the RAW data the sensor produces. It is very well known that Nikon is much more aggressive with their JPEG renditions than Canon. The 40D Canon JPEG shots will look very different than the D60s for that exact reason. YOu can and should adjust the variables (like contrast, sharpness, picture style, etc.) if you inted to shoot JPEG.
    Or, the obvious answer is to switch to Nikon and be done with it.
    BTW, most serious photographers shoot in RAW mode and interpret their own version of a photograph - total freedom, no worry about WB, sharpness, etc. etc.
    You have much to learn, you should do some serious reading to understand all these facts - a good starting point is this forum, but you should also pick up some books on exposure.
     
  11. Hi,

    The first thing that occured to me when I saw the shots is: he was obviously in Av mode, and he does not realise that balancing ambient light with flash (leading to what is called "dragging the shutter") is done automatically on the Canon in Tv and Av mode, but has to be enabled ("Slow Flash") on the Nikons.

    The second thing: Canon has slightly warm Tungsten setting: this is why you adjust it using either custom white balance, or easier, Canon DPP software (Digital Photo Professional, supplied with the camera free of charge). My advice, btw, is to shoot RAW as soon as you can get yourself to do it.
    The third: he does not know how the focus system works.

    The fourth: he may be confusing all the autos (e.g. auto focus spot selection with auto exposure with auto white balance, etc). Natural mistake, the manuals are not that intuitive.

    The fourth: he should not worry. As well as being a professional photographer, I teach photography and I teach digital camera use, so I see dozens of people in each class with Nikon or Canon cameras (depending on the course), and all of them learn all these things in just a few hours. But you do need to learn this stuff.

    Out of these two excellent cameras, the Canon is a superior body. Yes, you need to learn some stuff, but it's not that daunting. And btw, I think one needs to worry about lenses more than cameras.

    Good luck and have fun with your camera!

    Michael
     
  12. Don't worry so much about the gear. Take the Time to learn how to use it to best meet your needs.... i started like yourself... lost in the equipment... then i stopped, sat back and just spent time shooting shooting shooting... you will get the hang of it.... :)
     
  13. Mat,
    I know where you are coming from - but I think you really do need to do learning learning learning before, or at least in addition to, shooting shooting shooting. I have many people on my courses who after 10 years of shooting finally figure out how the focus system works, or slow flash - and that is a pity!
    Michael
     
  14. 99% of the time it's a problem with the tool user not the tools.
     
  15. " Canon has slightly warm Tungsten setting: this is why you adjust it using either custom white balance..."
    This is something you must adjust to if you plan on doing alot of indoor tungsten work.
    I have 3 very different Canon slr bodies and the tungsten is way warm on all of them. The 40D also does not handle awb very well. My 5D and before that my 20D all did a better job when shooting jpg on awb. (something I don't recommend, learn raw).
    Raw is one of the best features available to us followed by the ability to custom white balance with a few button presses. Much easier than in film days.
    All considered, the 40D is one of the best values out there right now for a mid level DSLR.
     
  16. " Canon has slightly warm Tungsten setting: this is why you adjust it using either custom white balance..."
    This is something you must adjust to if you plan on doing alot of indoor tungsten work.
    I have 3 very different Canon slr bodies and the tungsten is way warm on all of them. The 40D also does not handle awb very well. My 5D and before that my 20D all did a better job when shooting jpg on awb. (something I don't recommend, learn raw).
    Raw is one of the best features available to us followed by the ability to custom white balance with a few button presses. Much easier than in film days.
    All considered, the 40D is one of the best values out there right now for a mid level DSLR.
     
  17. <i>"...one thing I have found out with 100% certainty in my photographic journey is that most of the errors you make are not the equipments fault, it is probably human related.one thing I have found out with 100% certainty in my photographic journey is that most of the errors you make are not the equipments fault, it is probably human related."</i>
    <p>
    You are understating it by a *lot* -- most likely 99.5% of the time the errors are grey-mattered related and NOT equipment issues. Grey matter (brain power) means you have the capability/knowledge of the entire system of photography -- to UNDERSTANDING how to use your equipment, the capture, to the final post processing; where here, the OP does not at all and is a tyro, at least one who wants to learn.
    <p>Finally, the Canon 40D does not have AF issues.
     
  18. Agreed, no "AF issues" other than people not understanding how the AF system works. The manufacturers do not make this easy by using confusing terms and symbols, eg the AF point select symbol looks just like the metering mode symbol... using terms like "AI", which few mortals can decode (AI means "Artificial Intelligence") - I never cease to be amazed at such user-confusing issues.
    For beginners, here is a simple (simplified only a bit!) summary:
    AF becomes easy once you realise:
    1. There's a setting for WHERE you focus, and a setting for HOW you focus.
    2. WHERE is all about the focus points:
    3. "All points" means the camera chooses the closest object covered by a point.
    4. That may not be what you want so it is OK to use just one point, move that over the object you want to have sharp, and then focus.
    5. As a refinement of that, you can keep your finger on the shutter after the focus beep, then recompose a bit, and then shoot. (we call this "focus-recompose-shoot").
    6. HOW is about how the camera behaves when trying to focus (regardless of the 'where'):
    7. This can basically be set to "stop when you have achieved focus" (terms like "One Shot" or "AI Focus are used for this) or "keep trying forever" (terms like "AI Servo" are used for this).
    8. The former is best when you want control, but the latter is usually best when you are shooting moving objects like sports.
    Basically, that's it. Nothing to it - except after understanding, you need to practice. Yes, there are subtleties beyond this of course, but they are subtleties.
     
  19. [Mark HOLLOWAY [​IMG], Dec 30, 2008; 06:38 a.m.
    Daniel: Most impressive post!]
    I will have to send that. Way to go Daniel Lee.
     
  20. other thoughts-
    nothing has been said about wjhether or not YOU setup the dslr to take good quality jpegs. and nothing was said about whether or not HE setup his dslr to take good quality jpegs. any dslr does not comed from mthe factorfy setup to take a goodjoeg. the usewr has to do for himself. aside from the differences in the settings between the 2 dslr, you are not saying what he did to setup the camera.
    also, if you are coming from a p&s there is a world of differnce. when you get a P7s and take it out of the box, add battery and memory card, you should be able to take pretty good shots as is. but, with a dslr, even in full auto everything, the dslr requires that you set it up first and it also sometimes your help in taking the shots. you have to know when to intervene with its auto process. this photgraphic knowledge the user gains over time. and by time i mean years.
    below is how to setup a dslr for takeing a good quality jpeg. once setup DO NOT CHANGE THE SETTINGS. if you want/need more color add/ change the color in post processing not with your preset settings. i setup my dslr 4 1/2yrs ago and have not altered my settings since, and the dslr has worked fine. next if you are coming from a p&s do not expect the exadgerated color of the p&s, the dslr does not do that. it was built to give accurate color.
    to setup for jpeg with new camera-
    there are 4 functions that may be adjusted. the color mode(or whatever it is called) saturation contrast and sharpening. i assume you are using a calibrated monitor. simply select a scene immediately outside your house. hopefully it has lights darks and colors. all settings in the camera are at zero or default. adjust color mode first then check the shot on the monitor, decide if ok, if not adjust reshoot and recheck. go on to each of the other adjustment settings. the object is to get the monitor scene as close a possible to the real scene outside. do not be concerned if the finished monitor scene has enough color for your tastes; the amount of color can be adjusted in pp. you are going for accuracy between the 2 scenes. the real and the one on your monitor; when done the 2 scenes should look identical or as close as possible. do not hurry. the adjustment process could take several hours. but once done leave the settings alone. at this point you know that the camera will accurately make the best most accurate pics possible of the scene. after i set my dslr up 3+ yrs ago about, i have not ever moved the settings. It took me 2-3 hours to setup my dslr.
    if i needed/wanted more color or whatever that is what pp is for. i also try very hard to do my composing in the camera and not crop heavily in the pc. my thinking is why buy a 10mp camera and crop away 40%. you are then no better that a 6mp that is not cropped. besides which the cropped 10mp is noisier.
    i would not adjust the contrast to get more DR. to me you just have to get used to the idea that digital has DR limitations. i shoot slides for 32yrs; the DR in digital and slides is about equal. i never had a problem. While DR limits exposure, lighting should/can be adjusted to compensate. if you want more headroom in your camera for taking jpegs, use adobeRGB color gamut. it gives slightly more headroom.
     
  21. I have the 40D and that Tamron lens - the best combination I've ever had. With that camera and that lens, I'm getting the best photos I've taken: ever (ok, *I* take some of the credit too).
    Shoot in RAW, set the wb in the computer. Thats what I do now. I say now because I never shot in RAW much but I shoot in RAW all the time now which is so much better than shooting just jpg (ok, I shoot RAW+jpg).
    Canon feels the warmer tones for tungsten wb setting is better...I guess they feel users of their products dont know any better - I dont know but as mentioned all of Canons cameras have a warmer tone than the competitors.
    Shoot in RAW, or learn how to set your custom white balance but setting your CWB all the time would be a pain in the sensor so shoot in RAW - you're more than likely going to be processing the image in the computer anyway...start with the best file.
     
  22. Rico,
    But in any event, the image I did take in full auto on the 40D looked the same as what I have posted on the webpage I mentioned.
    I assume you mean the sweets image which was in a program mode? The 40D sweets image also received much more ambient light exposure than the D60 sweets image. On the sweets the 40D was set to ISO 400 versus 200 on the D60, and the aperture was f/4 versus f/5.6. That's 2 stops greater sensitivity to the warm colored ambient light, about the same as the 2.5 stop greater sensitivity in the portrait shot. Regardless of whether or not the 40D's AWB is warmer than the D60's in an identical shooting situation, this is not a white balance issue. The D60 images were exposed using flash, the 40D images were exposed to a large degree by ambient light. Trust me, if you could return to that exact same night, dial down the ISO to 200, and set the camera to use 1/90s at f/5.6 with flash, the images would have the same color as the Nikon images. And there would be zero hand shake blur.
    You were in a program mode on the sweets, but I can't tell which program mode (P, green square, one of the little pictures on the dial) with the software on my notebook, which is what I'm on at the moment. So I can't comment on why the camera chose what it chose.
    To me, the images looked better from the Nikon. A family member commented on the 'red hair' of my subject in the Canon shot and jokingly commented that they would 'fire me' from a paid job based on that photo. The Nikon did show the true 'salt & pepper' hair of the subject.
    Ignore it. People like to think that photographic quality comes from a camera (it doesn't), and that they made the best purchase or brand choice. So little competitions and digs like that appear from time to time.
    To me none of the images look 'better'. The Nikon shots are underexposed and too cool, and the Canon shots are too warm, plus the portrait shot suffers from hand shake. Honestly if I had to post process one or the other I would choose the Canon because the lighting/exposure is better once you edit away the color cast. But this has nothing to do with brand and everything to do with exposure to ambient light in the scene.
    In this situation I would have most likely bounced an external flash off the ceiling and shot RAW so that I could precisely control color balance later. That can be done on either camera, it's not a brand issue and it's not a choice auto mode can make.
    I know a DSLR is a significant purchase for most people and that you are nervous you made the "wrong" choice. Relax. Cozy up with a good intro book on photographic technique. And start studying. Your camera and lens are actually better than the D60 combo you tested against in terms of specs, but it's not really about the camera and the lens so much as it's about you. You said you don't want to live in auto mode, so don't. Next time there's a little competition or test you can blow away the most expensive camera on Earth in auto mode by making choices with your camera that no auto mode can make.
     
  23. BTW, thanks to those who complimented my first post.
     
  24. Listen to Daniel Lee Taylor, my friend.
    You have a severe case of "analysis paralysis".
    The 40D is the best value for the money of any camera out there. Stop agonizing over nothing. Go out and learn to use your camera and SHOOT! The only way to learn your camera is to SHOOT! If you are that anal over the quality of your shots then what in the heck are you doing buying Tamron lenses? Tamron is a good lens, but not in the hands of a beginner. Get Canon "L" series lenses and your breath will be taken away with what the 40D can do.
    Now, having said all that, I will admit that Nikons do have better low-light AF than Canon, so if that's what you're going to be shooting, then buy a Nikon and get some sleep.
     
  25. I think it's more like...shoot..learn why the shoot look like s***...shoot again....learn again...shoot again...until finally AHA...then you can sleep.
     
  26. Thanks again to everyone who has replied to my post. You have ALL been a tremendous help!
    Phil Hawkins... yes, I'm picky. Why did I buy a Tamron lens? Because I am just getting into digital photography and didn't have the $1,100 Canadian to drop on the Canon 17-55mm IS USM f/2.8 lens right now. I just purchased the 40D body so this would have been a lot of cash to drop in one purchase. I will be saving up for the Canon lens, but in the interim, the reviews for the Tamron have been excellent.
    Daniel Lee, your information is **EXCELLENT**. As an aside, I did happen to contact Canon Canada support yesterday and provided the link to my sample page before I posted in this forum. They were going to escalate it to a manager for review.
    Well, I received a call from Canon just about an hour ago, and the very informative and knowledgeable fellow (David) basically confirmed everything that was said by all of you knowledgeable people in your replies. He did state that the two cameras will not behave the same due to the different processors and the sensors (Nikon D60 uses CCD and Canon has a CMOS). He also confirmed that my shutter speed was way too slow and educated me on the "shutter speed should equal the focal length" rule, and that as a minimum, I should have been at 1/60th of a second or higher.
    All in all, Canon and all of you have confirmed that my camera equipment is fine and that I just need to learn more.
    Daniel Lee... Just as a test, I took two more images this morning using as close to your recommended settings (I can't seem to dial in 1/90th sec shutter unless that was a 'typo'). Obviously the subjects are not here, but I did take the shots in the same dining room and under the same lighting (although some ambient outdoor light is coming in through the windows but it's an overcast day here). WOW! What a difference! Below is the link to the page with these new samples. I cannot believe how sharp the image of the tequila bottle is when zoomed up! You are the man!
    http://www3.telus.net/rico/40DImages/samples_danielsettings.htm
    To Daniel Kennedy and Richard Martin, thank you for supporting my equipment selection and advising me of your excellent results with the same combination. I feel much, much, better about my equipment now, and know that I simply have to learn - A LOT!
    I have just purchased Adobe Lightroom 2 and will eventually learn to shoot in RAW. Step-by-step I hope to gain a wealth of knowledge as you have all done over the years.
    I thank you once again for all of your precious time in responding to my concerns and for providing such valuable feedback. All the best of health and happiness to everyone in 2009! Have a Happy New Year. Rico.
     
  27. Curious if the OP used "P" - Program or the green rectangle ("idiot mode") setting? It does make a world of difference. Also was the focus point set, or did the camera pick it? I've heard of people complaining about focusing issues with Canons and didn't know they could choose the focus point themselves and not let the camera do it.
     
  28. Great posts by Daniel Lee.
    I had an EOS 30D, got stolen replaced with a 40D (thanks to my insurance Company), fantastic camera but it took a good investment of time and effort in learning how to get decent results. Used to have an old Pentax film system couldn't understand why it took me so long to go digital.
    You want to see a top quality detailed comparison go look at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos40d/ and http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond60/ these guys do this all the time so they are highly reliable and respected technical review site. Looks to me like the 40d is a better camera.
    Read the manuals read the websites, go on courses, get to know every angle of the camera, and then work out how you want to use it. Practice it get in the groove and even then you will cock up, forget you set ISO to 1600 etc etc. Use raw, use your favourite raw converter makes a big difference, gives you total control of the end result but at the cost of time and effort. It wont correct poor composition or poor focussing though. If you want to get lots of pictures out fast use a white balance card with the camera white balance control, eg if you into sports and cant be bothered with the time involved in getting all the flexibility of using your PC to process the raw image.
    In the end the camera is only a tool, its what you do with it that means you get great results (or otherwise). You got to put the time in to learn how to master the camera, and then some more to learn how to master making great photos. Its a big investment way beyond which camera you buy, actually with the way bodies are now effectively consumer electronics you will go through a new body say every 2 to 5 years. Its more important to invest in the system and take a long term view!
    Hope that helps.
    M
     
  29. Hi Bob B.... As Daniel Lee pointed out, the image I posted of the male subject turns out to be shot in Av Mode. I did shoot the original photo in "idiot mode" as you say (green rectangle) and it looked almost identical to the photo I currently have posted.
    In the posted image, what I tried to do was match the aperture of the Nikon D60 (f/5.6) so I did switch the 40D to Av mode and dialed in f/5.6 to see if that would make a difference in the color, etc. It did not, but I also realize there were many other factors that played a part, particularly the fact that the ambient light took priority over the flash and my slow shutter speed.
    Thanks.
     
  30. Rico,

    Your Tamron lens is fine. Tamron, like everyone including Canon and Nikon, makes some great lenses, some good, and some junk. Your particular lens has great image quality. Do not worry yourself over it or waste money trying to replace it. Your money would be better spent on additional lenses.

    Personally I factor the DSLR crop into the shutter speed/focal length rule. So at 50mm on a 40D, which is equivalent in field of view to 80mm on a 35mm body, I would shoot a minimum of 1/90. (If I have to I will shoot slower and try to brace myself. Another trick is to take 3-5 shots in continuous burst, shutter held down through the burst. One will be sharper than the others as hand shake is a random event.)

    Daniel Lee... Just as a test, I took two more images this morning using as close to your recommended settings (I can't seem to dial in 1/90th sec shutter unless that was a 'typo'). Obviously the subjects are not here, but I did take the shots in the same dining room and under the same lighting (although some ambient outdoor light is coming in through the windows but it's an overcast day here). WOW! What a difference! Below is the link to the page with these new samples. I cannot believe how sharp the image of the tequila bottle is when zoomed up! You are the man!

    See, I told you ;-)

    You're probably seeing 1/80 because your camera is set to shift in 1/3 stop increments. Mine is set to 1/2. Doesn't matter either way.

    I thank you once again for all of your precious time in responding to my concerns and for providing such valuable feedback. All the best of health and happiness to everyone in 2009! Have a Happy New Year. Rico.

    Good luck in your learning. I hope to see you and your photos around photo.net in the future.
     
  31. In the posted image, what I tried to do was match the aperture of the Nikon D60 (f/5.6) so I did switch the 40D to Av mode and dialed in f/5.6 to see if that would make a difference in the color, etc. It did not, but I also realize there were many other factors that played a part, particularly the fact that the ambient light took priority over the flash and my slow shutter speed.
    It's common for new users to misunderstand what Canon bodies are doing with flash in the various exposure modes. Basically in Av the camera will choose a slow shutter speed to let in ambient light mixed with the flash. The idea is to get the background and some of the atmosphere of the room lighting, but fill in and properly expose the main subject with flash. It's actually a good idea except when it results in a harsh color cast that the user doesn't understand.
    When I shoot with flash I almost always shoot M. In Manual the camera is still automatically adjusting flash output for optimum exposure, but I can control both my shutter and aperture to try and get the desired depth of field and ambient light. It's important to remember that your range of shutter/aperture options are more limited when flash is used with M because the flash is only so powerful. So I don't stop down to f/22 with flash, for example, because the flash probably won't be powerful enough to properly expose the scene at that aperture. And while a Canon EX flash can sync to any shutter speed, I don't generally choose a speed faster than 1/200 because that again requires more flash power. (High speed sync is really for fill flash outdoors on a sunny day.)
    You should play with the camera/flash combo in both P and M modes to see what you like best.
     
  32. Yes, that is what I was saying above (in my first response). In Nikon cameras, you have to enable "slow flash" (mixing ambient and flash) exolicitly when you want it; in Canon cameras, it always happens in Tv and Av mode.
     
  33. ..and you can use this excellent camera behaviour to get creative.
    Look here for example (attached image). Just took this an hour ago - with a 1D with external 580EX II flash. I was on Av, with exposure compensation set to minus one and two-thirds stops (1-1 2/3). And flash set to zero/ The Exposure comp allowed me to darken the background (it was actually brighter than I made it here), while flash then illuminates the foreground.
    Flash can be the most amazing light if you learn how to use it, and practice makes perfect.
    00Rwxt-102007784.jpg
     
  34. Brilliant analysis Daniel!
    I tried to do something similar with my Canon DSLR and a Nikon DSLR in a retail store. Having the Canon set exactly the way I like to use it and then merely guessing that the Nikon was set reasonably close turned out to be a complete waste of time! Again. different ISO settings and even different resolution settings. These sorts of body comparisons must be done in a controlled manner with complete knowledge of both systems!
     
  35. Let me start by saying that all the advice I've read in this thread is very good (but I didn't read it ALL!). The best advice is that the camera is a tool and the 40D is a capable tool. That said, I wouldn't compare a 40D to a Nikon D60. I would compare the 40D to the Nikon D90. The D90 offers better metering, more focus points (and one is cross hair), a 920,000 pixel LCD vs the 40Ds 230,000 pixel and the D90 is cheaper than the 40D! BTW- we started shooting digital with a Canon 10D and went through them all: 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D. But I would take a D90 over a 40D any day of the week. And a D300 truly rules (once you shoot with 51-focus points, you won't go back!).
     
  36. Rico,
    I have the 40D and the same experience. Try to use only the center focus point. Even that when viewed at 100%, the images are not as sharp as (far less sharp than) the ones from Nikon. I have been frustrated since I bought it in June 08. I shot raw only, but that does not help much. You crank up the sharpness, noise is more pronounced. I have read a lot on Canon forums to improve the IQ, but after a while following all the instructions, I figured out that's the camera problems. Not only you and me have these problems with the 40D. Go to Dpreview's Canon forum, you will see a lot of unhappy 40D owners. If you can return, do it. If you want to stick with Canon, try the 50D or 30D. But for my experience, go with Nikon. Get the D60 or D40 with a cheap SB600, you will see big differences on sharpness, keeper rate, color, exposure consistency.
    Tuong
     
  37. Half year ago:I had the same problems, like you, after I purchase my 40D. I used to compare it with other cameras and I was very frustrated: How come, I bought a Canon of 1.000 EURO and the pictures are ugly? This camera should make fine pictures like the ones that I saw in the magazines. Finally I hired a pro photograher who teached me all about the aperture, shutter speed and so on.
    Today: my 40D make better pictures now? No, she always did, now I LEARN how to use my camera. I forget AUTO Mode and jpegs, my camera is always set up on M(Manual) and RAW.
    I decide to answer Rico because I know how he feel and Rico, squeeze all the information you can from the abouve guys and trust them and you will see that one day your Canon 40 D ;) will take better pictures then Nikon.
     
  38. Hey Rico, look another exemple of a guy, Mr. Tuong, who is so superficial, IMO. Why? Because on dpreview's site Canon 40D received Highly Recommended and Canon 50D received Highly Recommended Just - meaning with resevations.
    On the other hand Mr. Tuong lead the discussion to the eternal fight between Canon and Nikon. I don't find it very instructive.
    Is the first time when I'm agressive and I don't feel good about it. But I think that I'm right based on my personal experience with digital cameras.
     
  39. Perhaps I can weigh in again.
    It is always better to avoid "Nikon vs Canon" wars. The comparison here is an easy one though: the 40D is a better camera than the D60.
    Does it take better pictures? No, it does not. Pictures depend on the photographer, and on the photographer's knowledge.
    You should learn the basics of exposure ("what is aperture", "what does shutter speed do", etc), and you should also learn about:
    • The autofocus system - see my explanation above ("where" and "how")
    • Flash modes ("slow flash" on Nikon vs Flash in Tv/Av on Canon)
    • Exposure compensation ("The +/- button")
    • White balance (esp. in mixed light)
    • Shooting RAW
    • The modes and what they do - first the "scene modes" like portrait and sports, but as soon as possible the creative modes (Tv/S, Av/A, M)
    • Difference between P and Auto
    • Metering modes
    A lot to learn, but it's not difficult - taking a quick course usually helps a LOT. Or else, google the above subjects.
    Michael
     
  40. I had a post last night and now I saw another post from Tudor who felt offended. I am so sorry about that. I just want to tell my observation. I have both systems, and the pics I want to show to my family are always from Nikon. What can I say? I bought the 40D based on dpreview.com and that was a mistake. When I shot bottle using self timer like they did in dpreview, yes the 40D with 10 mpix was sharper than the D40. But when I shot people, that was a different story. I did not know why. Pic was not sharp, and skin tone made me depressed. At first I thought I might get a lemon. But after reading several posts day after day in dpreview's Canon forum, I knew I was not the only one who had to deal with these problems. Maybe it was my technique. But for shooting people, I think just focus at the eye, press FEL, recompose, and then click. The rest can be taken care of with DPP. But I cannot get a good pic in term of sharpness and color, yet after six months of ownership of the 40D.
    With my experience with the 40D, what do you expect me to suggest to Rico?
    Tuong
     
  41. I am sorry if it already mentioned but may I add that nikon Aperture Priority vs Canon Aperture Mode is quite different. In my film Nikon Film Camera, In Aperture and Program Mode, you can change the aperture but if you use flash the shutter speed won't go below 1/60.
    With my canon 400D the shutter speed will varied depend on the ambient light on Av.
    so if you want to compare maybe it is best to go full manual on both.
     
  42. Um, does no-one read what I wrote? :) I pointed this out twice already above, and touched on it once more, so that is three times. Here's a fourth:
    • Nikon needs to you explicitly enable "slow flash" if you want it. Otherwise, it sticks to 1/60th or faster.
    • Canon enables this in Av and Tv mode every time. But in P mode it sticks to 1/60th or faster.
    Anyone who does not understand, please ask now - this is quite important.
    To compare you do not need to use Manual. You can either use Slow Synch flash on Nikon, or alternately, you can ensure your Canon does not go beyond 1/6oth by using Tv mode set to 1/60th sec.
    Cheers,
    Michael
     
  43. What this thread suggests, as usual, is that in almost all cases the things that make one brand seem better than the other are usually more about the user than the camera. Comparably equipped cameras by companies like Nikon and Canon are more or less equally capable and can produce images that are indistinguishable by viewers.
    Switching to brand A because you don't think that your brand B camera is "good enough" is usually not as effective as figuring out why you aren't getting the results you expect from brand B.
     
  44. Agreed, G Dan. I see this as a teacher who teaches all these cameras: the similarities between brands of the same generation and class are very great indeed - any differences are very minor and subtle. I usually tellpeople who are in a class to learn brand A: what you are learning here today will also enable you to use a camera of brand B or C in just a few minutes. Even the symbols chosen by the respective manufacturers are usually almost identical.
    And this is good news: imagine if camera manufacturers did not learn from each other.
     
  45. I have the same problems. I bought Canon 40d ($1079 fr. Newegg) for Xmas just nearly 30 days. I shot a lot of pictures indoor for Christmas with external flash Speedlight 430EX II.
    My friend has a Nikon 90d ($1149 fr. Newegg) , he took pictures when I am taking pictures. All his pictures seemed like sharper and much more good focus.
    I call Newegg and like to return the Canon 40d, the will charge me $162 for restocking. I am little hesitated.
    However I have not taken any outdoor pictures, but for now I am very disappointed with the quality of focusing and sharpness of indoor photos of the Canon 40d.
    What do you guys think?
     
  46. quang phan,
    i suggest you read all the responses above. they explain it very well.
    in a few words - you need to learn how your camera works. i explain above how the focus system works. also, we explain why you get motion blur in certain modes. your camera is very good - it is you who simply needs to learn how to use it. it's not difficult. if after you read all the above posts you still have a problem, please do ask again.
    good luck.
    michael
    ps - apologies, all. the shift key does not work on this keyboard so i lack capitals or shift-symbols.
     
  47. Hi Quang,
    Yes, all the answers are above. The 40D is an excellent tool. However, I usually recommend the Nikon system especially when someone is relying on flash for proper (any) exposure. Again, the D90 has two more focus points and a better metering system than the 40D. And the Nikons are generally regarded as having a better flash system (in part due to better metering to begin with). Now none of this matters if you learn to use the camera (shutter speeds, exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation and so on). And learning these basics are always a good thing. But if you just want to pick up the camera, point & shoot; then the Nikon system will tend to be a bit better because of the metering and focus points.
    Mike
     
  48. It looks like you have the right answers above as to the cause of your troubles, however, if your monitor hasn't been calibrated, don't be too quick to judge color. As was mentioned, your 40D photo had lots more ambient light in it, which appears to have been red/orange tungsten colored light. AWB usually fails when mixing 2 different colors of lighting. The Nikon photo had much more flash and less ambient room light in it, making it easier for the body to determine color balance. This also reduces that red/orange tungsten tone. By the way, the nikon photo does look blue on my monitor as well.
    The 1/focal length rule is to be considered a minimum for dependable, acceptable, (not good) results. (if you are steady) If you analyze closely, you will find that in many situations, you will need to double this or more if you want to move from acceptable to good in image quality. Best of luck to you.
     
  49. I keep hearing about all these extra focus points Nikons have compared to Canon. I wonder why since many , many people including myself have given up on letting the camera pick the focus.
    Most people who are tired of the camera missing focus use the CENTER point. How does having a whole bunch more points insure correct focus?
    I don't care if the entire viewfinder is covered with points, (apparently some cameras approach that) the camera is too stupid to know with certainty what the human wants in focus.
    I have Nikons and Canons BTW.
     
  50. "yes, I'm picky"
    this is not a matter of being picky, it's a matter of not knowing how to use your equipment. I'm sure you missed a lot of really good info from Daniel's post based on lack of understanding. I've seen in film and digital many people take a similar shot at the same time, one with a mid end point and shoot and one with a much higher level camera. The low end basic ps camera turned out better results due to the exact same problem mentioned. Lack of knowledge. Many times series of bad photos are blamed on the camera and many more than most are due to pilot error. Learn how to use your camera.
    J
     
  51. "Again, the D90 has two more focus points and a better metering system than the 40D ."
    The D90's AF is significantly inferior to the 40D's - an example of more not equalling better.
    It has only one cross-type sensor (in the middle) vs. the 40D's 9 cross-type AF points, and is based on (or actually the same as) the AF in the D200, which I know from direct personal experience to be markedly poorer than the AF in the 3 0D (the camera I replaced my D200s with), which is itself far removed from the 40D's AF.
    Yes, the D90 adds 3D Tracking, to which I say - big deal, it's still a poor AF system compared to the 40D.
    As Thom Hogan's revew of the D90 says:
    Autofocus performance is decent. It's not a big step up from the D80​
    Which is damning with faint praise if ever I saw it...
    And I don't know where the idea comes from that it has better metering than the 40D either.
    Yes, the D90 probably has a better meter than the D80, but that wouldn't be hard: but the 40D's metering is really excellent - I do not delete images from the 40D because of metering errors made by the camera, simply because it doesn't happen.
    Spot metering linked to the AF point, maybe? A solution looking for a problem, in my view. Aside from that I'd trust the 40D's meter over that of the D90 any day - again, the D90's meter is essentially a warmed-over version of the one in the D200 (with added "3D Color Matrix Metering"), and the D200 couldn't match the 30D, much less the 40D.
    Indeed, DPReview's opinion of the D90's meter is quite telling:
    Our only real worry about the D90 is the matrix metering, which seems to be so strongly connected to the selected AF point that it allows highlights to clip a bit too often for our liking. There is an option to fine-tune the meter (and assign a different amount of correction to each metering mode), if you find it a consistent problem.​
    It's clear from looking at the feature set that Nikon pitches the D90 against the Canon entry-level (the 450D, for example), and the 40D is a level above that in any real sense.
    But that also means that it might not be as "instant" a camera to get to get the best out of.
    And of all the D90's features you might choose to push as "advantages" over the 40D - "the Nikon system will tend to be a bit better because of the metering and focus points " - you probably could not have picked worse.


    There's more to this than just comparing spec. sheets...
     
  52. I had a long winded post all ready.... but then thought better of it! Let me just say that I have shot literally thousands upon thousands of images with a 40D and the 24-70 f/2.8. Hundreds of thousands if you want to include the 30D, 20D & 10D. I have only shot a few thousand with the D90- but so far it meters better and I have yet to have any of the focus issues I had with the Canons. I do prefer the D300 and 51 focus points have opened my eyes, but the D90 is a solid camera and a better value for most casual shooters, IMHO, than the Canon. It seems to me that the 40D and the 450D use the same 35-zone metering system? It isn't until you spend $3,800 on a Mark III that you get Canons better 63-zone system? In any case, I am only relating my experiences with both cameras. Your mileage may vary!
    Mike
     
  53. Not sure why more metering zones means better, Mark?
    I too have shot with both Nikon and Canon. I have a 5D and a 1D3, and both meter just great. To meter using a reflective meter, though, you need to know about the limitations of such meters, i.e. metering off mainly dark or light or backlit subjects. In those cases, use an incident meter or use a spot meter or use exposure compensation. I am sure I am telling you nothing new - this response is just for others' benefit.
    As for focus: works great. Select a focus spot, aim it at your subject, focus, recompose, shoot. Alternatively, have the camera pick (it will pick the closest subject covered by a spot), but whenever you have a camera pick, it is limited by the fact that the camera does not have your brain (or any brain for that matter), so it will pick the wrong subject. That is why most pros use one spot. Also - the centre spot is sensitive to horizontal and vertical lines; others just to either horizontal or vertical.
     
  54. Well, I can't say with any certainty that Canon's 63-zone system isn't better than their 35-zone system as I haven't used either of the the top two bodies reserved for the 63-zone system. I can say I would be very upset if it wasn't a better system!?. In terms of knowing how to take a picture, I do. I may not be the best and I may have a lot to learn, but this entire wedding was taken by me and an assistant using Canon cameras:
    http://gallery.me.com/artzangelink#100043
    Again, I can only relate MY experience with both the Canon and the Nikon. I understand the posts outlining concern with Canons AF. I read somewhere once that the Nikon AF simply wouldn't take the picture until it had achieved focus. While the Canon was much more liberal in that regard. And that has been my experience. We shot a graduation, the 24-70 was on the 40D, lens hood on, in the shade, 3-graduates with their arms around one each others shoulders, they fill the frame: there is nothing else on any plane on which to focus (and we did use the center focus points on the Canon and recomposed shots as needed but this isn't the best way to do that but that's another story). The camera tells us we are in focus. Looking at the 230,000 pixel display (the D90 is 920,000 pixels) the image appears in focus. The sad truth, it simply wasn't. And that wasn't the first time. So yes, I have an affinity for those who post with AF issues. After having used both, I trust the Nikon's reflective metering more than the Canons. I am NOT saying you can't get great results using the Canon, because you can. But of course that can be said of almost ANY DSLR. Again, IMHO, the Nikon system seems to deliver better results even with limited photography knowledge. What I am saying echoes the OP and at least one other post: pick up a Nikon & a Canon, throw both in P, Av or Tv and start taking pictures. No exposure comp, no flash comp, use just the center focus point: I would bet money that the Nikon will fair better as that has been MY experience. Can the Canon yield a great image. YES. I have never advocated otherwise. Should a person learn how to use their camera. YES. I have never advocated otherwise (I even teach a digital photography class!).
    Mike
     
  55. I want to go back to simple fundamental set of facts: Nikon and Canon both make great systems. Great photographers use both systems to make outstanding photographs. One cannot tell which system was used by looking at the photographs.
    In the end, it really doesn't matter much to most photographers - even most very good ones - which brand is used.
     
  56. Let me just say that I have shot literally thousands upon thousands of images with a 40D and the 24-70 f/2.8. Hundreds of thousands if you want to include the 30D, 20D & 10D. I have only shot a few thousand with the D90- but so far it meters better and I have yet to have any of the focus issues I had with the Canons.
    Let me just say that I didn't have any complaints with the AF or metering on a Canon 10D, much less later models. My friend has tossed many images with poor exposure and focus from Nikon bodies, first the D70, later the D200.
    It's not the camera.
    I second Thomas Hardy on the focus point count issue. I can center point AF/recompose faster and more naturally than anyone can fiddle a joystick or button to select another point. With AF on the rear button, not the shutter, I don't even think about it any more, I just do it in a split second. The only situation where having dozens of points seems to matter is when tracking a small, flying target against a solid background (i.e. birds against the sky).
     
  57. You can set a Canon to look like a Nikon. You can set a Nikon to look like a Canon. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
     

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