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April Fool’s, Not!

It’s taken me about a six months to digest my research and analyze images taken with my two new Canon EOS 40D’s; both professional and personal. I’m just going to put it out there for what it is worth. So here it goes!

Back in August 2007, my dad told me about a new camera Canon was introducing in September. It was the EOS 40D and all of the technical specifications made me want to get one. So on September 4, 2007 I ordered my first 40D. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to be comfortable using the camera at the 2007 Olympia but I brought it to Las Vegas anyway.Roland at the 2008 ASC

Sharing my new toy with Merv Petralba, my partner in crime and IRON MAN’s west coast contest photographer, we found out that my new 40D had a serious focusing problem. Luckily, I made the decision to still use my Nikon D200 as my main camera to cover all of the Olympia. As soon as I returned to Delaware I sent the 40D back to where I purchased it with no problems and received a new one in about a week. Wow, what a major difference.

After shooting test images for about a month, I made the command decision to go over to the dark side. The image quality between my 40D and D200 falls in favor of Canon. Color, white balance, lens quality, battery life, etc. has this former Nikon-user switching over to the point of making another command decision: shoot all contests in 2008 with Canon equipment starting with the Arnold Sports Classic. I bought my second 40D body prior to leaving for the ASC to keep from having to switch lenses between individual posing routines and comparisons. Life is good with this set up.

Being a Nikon film and digital camera user for numerous years, switching over to Canon was a big step for me; both financially and technically. The financial aspect should be a no-brainer; two camera bodies, 24-70mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 Canon lenses, extra batteries, and a few other things.

The technical aspect of my endeavor was a little more challenging. The most obvious for me was attaching the lens to the body; totally opposite from a Nikon. The Canon had a few more knobs and menus to learn but nothing too overwhelming or mind-boggling; that’s why they include an owner’s manual with your new camera. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t figure it out, read the book.”

When I started shooting for IRON MAN, the 2006 Team Universe was the first contest I covered, along with Bill Comstock. It was “baptism by fire” as my dad put it. He told me “either you will like doing this type of photography or you won’t.” It is a total different beast to what I do day-to-day as a photographer. I was hooked. I know I went off on a tangent but what I wanted to say, the camera I started out shooting contests with was a Nikon D70. I shot the 2006 Atlantic City Pro with that camera, too. The 2006 Excalibur was the end of the D70. Prior to entering the building, my camera bag strap broke and the bag hit the ground. Nothing came out and all looked good. Once in the building, I started getting ready to shoot when I realized the lens mount had separated from the camera body. Now I have an semi-expensive 6 Megapixel paper-weight.

Right before the 2007 Arnold Sports Classic, I ordered my D200. I used it to shoot all of the contests I covered in 2007. It did me good, even shooting at 800 ISO. Above 800, the “digital noise” was very noticeable. It’s still a good camera but I have put it to the side as a backup or something.

Between October 2007 and now, using the 40D, I have shot non-contest events using available light and at 1600 ISO. My images had very little digital noise. In my opinion, the 40D is a great camera for the money. To my surprise, my dad showed up in Columbus with his own 40D. He took some amazing shots backstage using a 85mm f/1.2 lens. See all of our ASC pictures at

Now comes 2008 and the Canon 40D. What a step from my D200! I was total Canon at the 2008 Arnold Sports Classic this year as I planned and I’m totally happy with my decision to go Canon. I still need to fine-tune my exposure and white balance settings but that’s the only area of concern I have at this point. The next contests I will be covering is the New York Men’s Pro, New York Women’s Pro, and the Shawn Ray 202 & under on May 10th in New York City.

See you at the Tribecca Performing Arts at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007. For contest info, go to See you there! Roland B.

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