Canon 50D vs. 40D – Screen

Okay – so one of the most obvious features – well – perhaps other than the extra 50% boost to image resolution – is the upgrade to the LCD monitor on the back of the camera.  The diagonal measurement remains the same – 3" – but there has been a bump from 230,000 pixels to 920,000 pixels.

In short – WOW. The main thing you see is a more continuous tone to the image, and when you zoom in, you can get a much better idea as to if your shot is sharp or not.

Again, you will need to pardon my louse P&S photography skills (or lack thereof) for these photos, but I’ll admit it – I was lazy and didn’t want to use the SLRs to shoot each other’s screens… the Casio P&S in Macro mode seemed to do the trick pretty well.  The one thing it did have problems with was showing the color in the screens. They both do show pretty accurate color – the images of the screens just don’t show it – again – chalk that up to me.

This first pair of photos is of the same jpg (from a 50D) shown on both screens. The differences in tonal display and most notably the shadows along the top and overall contrast was not as different. You should look more at the sharpness of the images – the detail on the front of the cap, and the coin detail as well. The top images is from the 40D – the lower image is from the 50D:



The display is just overall sharper and clearer – even before you zoom in.

The next pair of images are from my ISO tests (yes – they will be posted soon), showing the same image from both cameras – EF 24-105 f4L IS @ f5.6 for 1/2 second at 100 iso. The cameras both had their image enhancements turned off or to a basic setting. Picture style of "standard" on both, high ISO speed noise reduction off, and I had the Auto Lighting Optimizer turned off on the 50D. I had thought about using the same exact image for both tests for zoom in, but figured that the 40D can’t shoot a 15.1 MP jpg, to view a 15.1 MP jpg may exaggerate the 40D’s screen a bit. I decided I should use an image shot by the 40D to be more accurate.  Here I’ve zoomed in to look at both detail on the coin as well as the grain in the wood – again 40D on top, then the 50D below:



Again – just much sharper. The grain detail focus is very visible on the 50D while the 40D could either be in (as it was) or just a touch soft. You really can get close to pixel peeping – in fact, I was able to see the "hot" pixels on my sensor on the screen, once I knew to look for them. I’ll see if I can get a photo of that test .jpg off the screen when I post about the sensor reset I did.

So that was all well and good for .jpg files, but I don’t shoot .jpgs… I shoot pretty much exclusively in RAW – (gee – sounds like another post for the future).  The .jpg file is full res when saved to the card, while the RAW file has (I believe) a pair of embedded jpg images for use for preview (a thumbnail, and a higher res version). Would the camera be able to render out enough detail for this screen to show the same high level of resolution w/ a RAW file?

Again I went to the high ISO files and came back with the same spec – EF 24-105 f4L IS @ f5.6 for 1/2 second at 100 iso – but this time, the RAW file was the only version on the card (I shot the tests RAW+JPG). The 40D on top and the 50D below:



Again – hands down – the 50D was much sharper and much more usable. You can also see how the anti reflective coating on the 50D screen kept the reflection of the casio from appearing, while you can see (in the left side of the upper image) the silver face of the casio reflecting in the image.

This new screen is definitely a huge upgrade from the 40D’s version, and makes the camera much more capable of checking for focus, and is much more usable during a shoot – it was much easier to see images in the varying lighting conditions out at the velodrome (the only shoot I’ve used the 50D on so far).

Thanks for reading!

One thought on “Canon 50D vs. 40D – Screen”

  1. Nice comparison, thanks. Did you also test the cameras in RAW only mode?
    If the 50D uses the same small embedded thumbnail as the 40D to render the RAW files on the lcd, there should be no notivable difference between 40D and 50D!

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