In Memoriam: Canon EOS 40D (2008-2012)

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Canon EOS 40D
Today I would like to pay tribute to a wonderful camera--my Canon EOS 40D.  It's been good to me for 4 years, and I've taken in the neighborhood of 200,000 photographs with this camera.  It's been my trusted companion, whether photographing nature, birds, wildlife, or my kids' birthday parties. But sadly, on June 21, 2012, the mirror mechanism failed, so it no longer moves to expose the shutter when I take a picture.

There was a green screen set up in the studio of my office this morning, so I decided to take a studio portrait. Perhaps one day I'll have some fun and put interesting photographs behind the camera in this shot. Here are a couple photographs from the last day I took pictures with this camera.

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Zebra Longwing
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Silver Spotted Skipper
I thought it may also be good to take this moment to share a little bit about how a camera "ages." We're familiar with how cars age more by miles than by years. Cameras age more by "clicks" (actuations) than by years as well. Every time you take a picture with a DSLR camera, its mirror slaps the top of the camera so that the shutter can open and close to expose the sensor. These moving parts age and wear out over time. Canon rated my camera for 100,000 actuations. For a casual photographer who shoots perhaps 100 photos per week, you could expect this camera to last about 20 years, and since technology progresses so quickly these days, your desire for better technology will likely cause you to purchase a new camera before your shutter does. But if you shoot 1000 photos per week, like me, well, it's a different story. Shooting wildlife, I'm in the habit of holding down the shutter to photograph wildlife at 6 frames per second, and the clicks just add up throughout the day. I regularly come home with well over 1000 photos to sort through. Perhaps I will take fewer pictures with my next camera, though I doubt it.

But if you're in the market for purchasing a new camera, consider the shutter rating of the camera. If you shoot a lot, it may be worth the extra money for a camera rated for more actuations. And if you're considering buying a used camera, make sure you know how many actuations are on the shutter before you buy--it may make a huge difference in how long you could expect the camera to last.


  1. RIP Canon 40D. I had the same camera and the same problem. The mirror mechanism broke, and it happened at the worst time.... During a visit to Sanibel Island! Great write-up. Wonderful Butterflies!

  2. Dang, that is the worst!  The day my camera broke was a slow day for bird photography, which is why my last two photos are of butterflies.  But as I wait for my new camera to arrive, I'm missing some great stuff, like a Cooper's Hawk with a Eurasian Collared Dove in its talons.  Ugh...

  3. The EOS 40D becomes the sixth Canon 'prosumer' digital SLR, a line which started back in 2000 with the EOS D30, and how far we've come. Canon EOS Rebel SLR Digital Camera

    series have done great job in past years and is doing still as well.


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