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EOS 20D

From Opus

EOS 20D
EOS 20D

This is not intended to be any fancy review but rather a confirmation that the 20D is really a camera that keeps its advertised promises. Picture taken off Canon website.

The best reviews to read are likely those on DP Reviews http://www.dpreview.com/ and Steves Digicams http://www.steves-digicams.com/

General:

8.2 MP 5 fps with up to 23 frame burst 9-point AF DIGIC II E-TTL II distance-linked flash USB 2.0 Hi-Speed/Video Out Magnesium alloy body Compatible with Canon EF/EF-S lenses and EX Speedlite flashes DPP RAW processing software PictBridge compatible

Positives:

1. The larger format over the 10D 2. New focus system is better with smaller objects 3. Lighter than 10D 4. New toggle switch is very convenient 5. Improved built-in flash 6. Can use 10D cabling 7. More shots per second - much better when shooting flying birds 8. Fast start-up time - very quick 9. Will work with all existing 10D gear except battery pack - you have to buy this 10. Build quality is excellent as one would expect 11. Slight menu improvement 12. A nice all round feel to it 13. Less noise at higher ISO settings 14. Feels like a better camera than the 10D for some reason

Possible Negatives:

Only buy it as a BODY ONLY - unless you want the EF-S 18~55 lens in the kit which is a waste of money that can be put towards a decent wide angle L lens. Otherwise this lens will do for happy snaps but nothing serious. The EF-S lenses are not interchangeable with all EOS cameras. Body only cameras have not yet been made available in South Africa so its a case of take it with the lens or leave it and wait forever.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CAMERA. Content and images originally posted by TwoBoy

Contents

[edit] Reviews

[edit] TwoBoy's review

The camera has been very well reviewed on a number of great sites but reviews do not ever tell the whole story.

I have tried the camera under various conditions ranging from bright sunlight to darkness. In every instance I have got shots worthy of retention even though the subject matter has not been. The standard factory settings work for me but I do change the color space setting from sRGB to Adobe RGB. I think this is better if you are using PhotoShop.

I have the 10D also (what a great camera) and will keep it as a 2nd camera but the 20D will now be the the camera to use. With the 10D I am able to get excellent prints of up to 60 x 40cm on paper and canvas (cloth) which is an excellent medium for printing wildlife photographs to be framed. The 20D should, I hope, boost the sizes possible considerably - I will be trying 80 x 60 shortly.

One major gripe I have is that to sell lenses they (Canon) seem to have lots of kits but no body only stocks in South Africa. This forces you to buy a mediocre lens which you do not want or its a case of wait, wait & wait some more. The BG-E2 battery grip is about the only thing that you need buy extra, again the waiting game.

As regards CF Cards, 512s are ideal as 256s (OK with the 10D) seem to run out of space too quickly. I much prefer to use more 512 cards than big capacity ones in case something goes wrong.

The new toggle switch is great for previews and saves time and fiddling. The camera is both faster and easier to work with than the 10D which is a plus to me. Start up time is minimal - this used to annoy me with the 10D sometimes.

Another point is the good pricing for what you get. This is a VERY GOOD body for the price.

One issue may well be that it will likely show up non L lenses badly. This applies to the 10D also. These cameras do need good glass to perform at optimum so these secondary expenses need considering when buying. Cheap glass will make you blame the camera for poor shots as every imperfection will become apparent. Examples: 28~135 IS lens (dog), the cheap EF-S lenses (some dogs), most non-L telephotos, pirate lens makes and others do not offer the performance required except for happy snaps. I exclude some of the Sigma EXs which are great lenses also.

Be prepared to layout a lot on L lenses - there is no cheap quality glass. Also - I suspect that in many cases the 20D locks up because non-Canon lenses may not be compatable. If I were Canon I am sure I would try to make life difficult for Sigma!!!

I suggest the Canon 100~400L IS USM lens as being a good starting point for birders, you can add more Ls from here on.

Update:

Having now taken some 3600 shots I have felt it necessary to downgrade it from a 10 to an 8. The camera does need the battery grip to feel balanced with long lenses, otherwise its too small for large hands. This obviously has an effect on handheld shots and Canon here have got no stock. Canon have already botched their software update once. The camera has locked up - my 10D never ever gave a hint of trouble. I also find more processing is needed. Perhaps the new software will correct this. My love affair with the 10D is something the 20D is really going to have to work on.

2nd Update

The Ver 1.0.5 software has definitely cured my lock-up problems and a few other minor things - upgraded to 9/10.

3rd Update

My BG-E2 grip has finally arrived after begging for it from Canon (and I mean getting on my knees). It is almost unbelieveable what a difference it makes. The 20D suddenly becomes a whole camera, balance with long lenses beomes natural and hand holding at 400mm becomes a pleasure. Now I can give the 20D its maximum points.

[edit] Pros

  • Superb all round camera

[edit] Cons

  • A few initial hiccups - I am sure they will be overcome

[edit] Romy Ocon's review

I have a couple of 300Ds for my bird photography hobby and added the 20D for flight shooting.

My impressions after over 3,000 pics in the field:

Pros:

1. The 5 fps, fast and accurate AF (particularly with my 400 5.6L), and AI servo with selectable settings are allowing me to take flight and action shots I had difficulty doing before with my 300Ds.

2. The specs quote a jpeg large fine buffer (with which I shoot) of 23 frames. In real-life burst shooting at flying birds, I never have to use half that limit. This camera has enough buffer (even more than 23 for fast CF cards) to satisfy the most shutter-happy bird shooter.

3. The low noise at high ISO has extended the performance envelop of my slow lenses (Sigma 50-500 and 400 4.6L) and the range of my flash (Sigma EF500 SDG + Better Beamer). This affords me more hand holding capability - essential for bird shots in the undergrowth or under the forest canopy, as well as on tiny skittish birds like flowerpeckers and sunbirds.

4. The extra 2 megapixels allow me more cropping flexibility and that results into better composition.

5. The 1.6x crop factor makes the 20D arguably the best birding DSLR in the market today for me. And I'll choose it over the 1D MII because of this, even if they're priced the same. The 5 fps is good enough for my flight shots, although 8.5 fps (of the 1DMII) is certainly better. I don't shoot in extreme weather and environment, so the 1DMII's weather sealing advantage is not important for me.

Cons:

1. My 20D's sensor seems to be prone to dust accumulation during long, sustained bursts. It appears that with its fast up and down movement, the mirror is behaving like a fan and scattering internal dust all over the sensor. I guess this is an inherent disadvantage of high fps DSLRs and suspect that the 1DMII would have the same under similar shooting circumstances. Not a deal-breaker, but I have to clean my sensor more often, an acceptable price to pay to get those flight shots.

2. There is a lockup bug and I had it 3 times in over 3T shots. Not a deal-breaker too, as I also experienced this with my two 300Ds. Just popped the battery out, inserted it back and went on shooting. I wish though that Canon will come out with a firmware fix soon.

3. The 20D's LCD is less bird shooter - friendly than that of the 300D. When mounted on a tripod, I have to tilt back the whole thing to check or adjust my settings.

4. For RAW shooters, the 6 frame buffer might be a big concern. I'm color-blind and can't maximize the full post-processing potential of RAW. I'm therefore a happy shooter of sweet jpegs with the 20D.


All in all, save for minor hiccups, I'm in DSLR heaven as far as bird shooting with the 20D is concerned.

Here's a gallery of recent pics with the 20D:

http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/macabebe3

I'm a newbie bird shooter (just started less than 6 months ago) so the pics are not representative of what the 20D can do. In the hands of experienced bird shooters (and with topnotch lenses), this baby should consistently turn out wonderful bird pics.

Romy Ocon Manila, Philippines www.pbase.com/liquidstone/wild_birds

UPDATE - November 5, 2004

After over 6,000 shots in the field, I'm continually amazed at the capabilities of the camera:

1. Low noise at high ISOs allows me hand holding opportunities with my 400 5.6L in low light. I've now reduced the frequency of use of my Sigma EF500 SDG flash (with Better Beamer), allowing for more natural-looking bird pics. Below are samples of high ISO photos.

ISO 1600:

http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/35885910

ISO 3200:

http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/35137004 http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/35885961

2. With the installation of firmware V1.05, the lockup glitch seems to have been cured so far.

[edit] Pros

  • 5 fps
  • large jpeg buffer
  • quick & accurate AF
  • 1.6x crop factor
  • low noise at high ISOs

[edit] Cons

  • sensor dust during sustained bursts

[edit] Simon S's review

When I first purchased this camera early in 2005 it was a new kid on the block. I bought the camera with the very average 17-55 kit lens. First impressions where the images produced where very soft and lacking in any zing! More experimenting and the purchase of Tamron's excellent 28-75 lens soon showed the true potential of this camera. With a bit of post processing IE unsharp mask the images where far better than my previous Fuji s602.


[edit] Pros

  • Nice to handle. Great build quality. Good image quality

[edit] Cons

  • Small LCD. Noisy shutter. Slightly soft images.
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