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Canon 20D Review

Canon 20D Review

Canon 20D Review

Advanced cameras don’t have it easy. While entry-level cameras should only be as easy to use as possible and the professional tools should be specially “trained” for sports and/or reportage applications, the cameras in the upper middle field must serve a variety of purposes, yet still be easy to operate and in some cases also serve as a “status symbol” symbolizing the latest state of technology. The Canon EOS 20D is a digital SLR camera for ambitious amateur photographers and semi-professionals.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • familiar operation (EOS-typical)
  • consistent further development of the EOS 10D
  • sturdy workmanship
  • E-TTL-II flash exposure metering and control
  • White balance diagram
  • enormous choice of lenses
  • class-spanning
  • DSLR-typical image quality and responsiveness

Cons

  • no exchangeable viewfinder mats
  • A-DEP depth of field program now fully automatic only
  • no sensitivity specification in viewfinder
  • Viewfinder image cover and eyepiece size may be larger if desired
  • no color balance setting (R-G-B control)
  • no voice memo function
  • no wireless (E-TTL) flash control with built-in flash

The target group of committed amateur photographers is broadly diversified. There are those for whom the possibilities of simpler cameras are not sufficient, those who are convinced that technology will help you to take better photos and also those who simply want to have the “best” or most modern for a short time (until a newer product makes the current technology obsolete). We wanted to check how far the Canon EOS 20D meets the different requirements of its target group and have recorded our impressions in the following text.

Canon 20D Review

 

The EOS 10D’s successor, which has been further developed in function and resolution, is aimed at semi-professional and partly professional users as well as ambitious amateurs who value a wide variety of systems.

Canon 20D Review

Canon 20D Review

 

The improvements and innovations compared to the predecessor model are impressive. With a newly developed CMOS sensor with 8.2 megapixels, the EOS 20D makes up for the short-term resolution advantage of the prosumer cameras. Newly developed microlenses on the image converter and a new noise reduction circuit help to achieve – according to Canon – an “excellent signal-to-noise ratio” despite smaller pixel sizes compared to the EOS 10D. Since the sensor has remained the same size, the specified focal length must still be multiplied by 1.6 when mounting the interchangeable lenses in order to calculate the 35mm equivalent. As with the EOS 300D, the new feature of the EOS 20D is its compatibility with the EF-S series lenses. The EOS 20D has also become faster compared to the EOS 10D. It was equipped with a new, faster autofocus system that responds to even scarcer light and also features a new, diamond-shaped measuring field arrangement (nine AF fields). There is also more speed when the camera is switched on (0.2 s), at continuous shooting speed (up to 23 consecutive shots at a frame rate of 5 fps), during data transfer (USB 2.0 High Speed) and with the shutter (min. 1/8000 s, flash sync time min. 1/250 s).

The DiGIC II signal processor is responsible for the new speed, among other things, which also ensures performance in the professional EOS-1D Mark II bolide, and this also in terms of image quality and battery life. The image parameters can be set even more conveniently so that the image quality of the EOS 20D can be optimized even further and even more images can be teased out of one battery charge, and the BP-511 variant with a higher capacity and 1,390 mAh BP-511A is used as the current supplier. The EOS-1D Mark II also incorporates E-TTL-II technology, which in the current second generation takes the distance to the subject into account when metering and controlling flash exposures. This also applies to the use of the camera-internal miniature flash (LZ 13), which now keeps even more distance to the optical axis when jumping out, thus further reducing the risk of red-eye and providing better illumination (up to 27 mm corresponding to 35mm). The menu structure and some cosmetic and ergonomic details on the housing (including new or newly designed control and operating elements such as a jog dial) have also been revised. In general, the case has shrunk by a few millimeters and has also become lighter.

Canon 20D Review

Canon 20D Review

What else is new about the EOS 20D? If the JPEG files were previously (i.e. with the EOS 10D) embedded in the RAW file during simultaneous JPEG+RAW recording, the two file formats are now still recorded simultaneously, but separately. The color space settings were also separated. Previously these were linked to the image parameter settings, now you can adjust the color space and the image parameters individually. Also new are a b/w or monochrome mode with color filter option, the option to adjust the white point in an extra menu with the jog dial towards red-green or blue-yellow for white balance, the option to intervene in long-term exposure noise suppression, support for the PictBridge direct print standard, a smaller mirror, a new viewfinder mat, menu tips and more convenient access to the histogram display.

Canon 20D Review

There are also a lot of new accessories for the EOS 20D. These include the new BG-E2 battery handle, the new Speedlite 580EX system flash unit and two new lenses. The battery handle is adapted to the new dimensions of the camera body and can accommodate either six standard AA/Mignon cells (disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries) or two lithium-ion batteries (BP-511 and model variants). It also improves the hand position for portrait photography and has a second shutter release. The most important feature of the new Speedlite 580EX system flash is the ability to provide the camera (EOS 20D or EOS-1D Mark II) with information about the colour temperature of the flash just fired, so that the camera electronics can correct the white balance accordingly. In addition, the 580EX now supports E-TTL II, is more powerful (LZ 58 at ISO 100 and 105 mm focal length) and faster (the flash repetition time was shortened by 25 %) than the previous top model 550EX, has 14 individual functions as well as a particularly bright AF auxiliary light and comes with a new and improved operating concept. The new lenses EF-S 17-85 mm F4-F5.6 IS USM (27-136 mm corresponding to 35mm) and EF-S 10-22 mm F3.5-F4.5 USM (16-35 mm corresponding to 35mm) are tailored for the EOS 300D and EOS 20D. Both lenses feature an ultrasonic motor for fast and silent focusing, and the EF-S 17-85 mm lens also includes an optical image stabilizer. It remains to be mentioned that the Canon EOS 20D is compatible with the longer available Data Verification Kit. This software can be used to prove the authenticity of the captured images (e.g. in court or for expert opinions).

Canon 20D Review

 

Ergonomics And Processing

At the latest after you had the EOS 20D in your hand for the first time, you realize again that you are (again) in the (D)SLR world. “Naked” and with the battery inserted, the EOS 20D already lets the counter of our scale jump up to the 786 gram mark, and – depending on the lens mounted – the 1 kilo limit is barely to loosely exceeded. And that despite lightweight materials such as polycarbonate and magnesium for the “shell”. However, the “core” of the EOS 20D, i.e. the underframe, such as the mirror box, are made of stainless steel and underline not only the weight, but also the robustness of the EOS 20D. Nevertheless, it is smaller (144 x 106 x 71 mm) and lighter than its predecessor, the EOS 10D, and is by no means one of the heaviest cameras in the (D)SLR class. The camera also lies very well and firmly in the hand. With wet hands it has no problems thanks to the rubber armouring on the handle; however, if it gets wetter or wetter, the EOS 20D must remain dry due to the lack of splash protection.

Canon 20D Review

The fact that the EOS 20D also has external differences to the EOS 10D cannot be seen at a glance. But if you take a closer look, you will find some cosmetic differences. However, the operation has remained largely the same. In general, the design and operating concept of the EOS cameras (whether analog or digital) has only changed in detail over the years, and anyone who has ever owned or held an EOS will quickly find their way around the EOS 20D. Characteristic for the EOS 20D are above all the fusion of the main switch and the setting wheel lock (against the accidental input of an exposure correction) as well as the small “knob” above the setting wheel, which can be moved in all directions and also pressed. The latter is particularly useful when selecting the AF area, for white balance (where a diagram can be used to set the white point precisely and combine it with a white balance row), and for moving the virtual magnifier in playback mode. The remaining control elements are clearly arranged and can be found in the usual places. Of course, all important settings for the recording can be made without any trip to the camera menu and are summarized on the monochrome liquid crystal display on the top of the camera. The amber backlight can be switched on at the push of a button so that you can also read them at night.

Canon 20D Review

 

 

 

 

 

Of the thoroughbred professional models (1D, 1D II, 1Ds, 1Ds II), Canon has adopted the “Scroll Down” menu of the EOS 20D, which is divided into colours. The 1.8″ color screen with 118,000 pixels, on which the images are displayed in playback mode and the menu, is not one of the largest and most high-resolution of its kind, but it is sufficient to check the sharpness of the image afterwards using the magnifying glass function and to keep track of the functions and settings. The page by page scrolling through the menu as with the EOS 10D is no longer necessary. If the continuous turning of the control dial is not fast enough for you, you can use the JUMP button to take the shortcut to the beginning of each menu section (shooting functions, playback functions, basic settings).

The SLR viewfinder is, besides the interchangeable lens compatibility, probably the most decisive reason why one buys a SLR camera like the EOS 20D at all. In contrast to the “economy model” EOS 300D, the EOS 20D, like the EOS 10D, has a real prism viewfinder. The deflection of the image captured by the lens to the eyepiece therefore takes place via a glass prism – and not via a mirror construction. This helps the EOS 20D to achieve, among other things, a brighter viewfinder image. The brightness of the viewfinder image is further enhanced by a newly developed, unfortunately non-replaceable viewfinder matt screen. The brighter the image in the viewfinder, the better you can control the depth of field when dipping down, although the EOS 20D naturally has a dipping button. The improved brightness of the viewfinder image is most noticeable with high-intensity lenses, and those who only use a relatively low-light lens such as the EF-S standard zoom 17-85 mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM may not even benefit from it. With an interpupillary distance of 20 mm, a magnification of the viewfinder image by a factor of 0.9 and an image field coverage of 95 percent, the EOS 20D’s viewfinder can definitely be described as comfortable – even for spectacle wearers. Those who prefer to look through the viewfinder without “vision aid” on their nose will find a diopter setting (-3 to +1 dpt.) on the EOS 20D. Despite good viewfinder quality, the EOS 20D’s viewfinder does not set any standards, and in the same price/performance class there are cameras with equally good, if not better viewfinders. Especially the viewfinder image coverage could be even better, since there is no live preview on the LCD screen and any subsequent cutting away of disturbing image parts that were not captured by the viewfinder amounts to a loss of precious pixels.

Canon 20D Review

 

Optics

The EOS-20D owner has an enormous array of lenses for a wide variety of applications and requirements. This primarily includes the EF series lenses as well as compatible lenses from other manufacturers (e.g. Sigma, Tamron or Tokina). With Canon alone, the entire range of lenses covers a focal length range from 10 to 1,200 mm (nominal focal length), whereby with the EOS 20D one has to multiply the focal length indication on the lens by 1.6 in order to calculate the focal length corresponding to the angle of view with 35mm ratios. Various technologies are used in the Canon lenses (and partly also in the foreign lenses). The abbreviation USM stands for lenses with a fast and whisper quiet ultrasonic motor, whereby in Canon’s lens range only the higher quality USM lenses are equipped with the ring USM motors, which allow manual intervention in the focusing process without flipping the AF/MF switch. The abbreviation IS on some Canon lenses indicates that an optical image stabilizer is built in. Canon also offers TS-E lenses (TS stands for Tilt-Shift) with correction options for the focal plane and/or perspective, DO lenses (DO stands for Defractive Optics) with special lens technology for more compact and lighter lenses and – not to forget – the renowned L series, which represents the highest quality class for Canon lenses.

And then there is the so-called EF-S series. The lenses that can be recognized externally by their designation, the silver ring (on which the focal length values are indicated for zoom lenses) and the white touchdown mark celebrated their debut with the EOS 300D and are characterized by a special design. In the case of DSLRs, where the dimensions of the oscillating mirror are adjusted quite exactly to the dimensions of the CMOS image converter, lenses can be used whose image circle was also adapted to the size of the oscillating mirror and the image sensor. On the camera side, this is currently only the case for the EOS 300D and EOS 20D (the EOS 10D, for example, is not EF-S compatible) and on the lens side for the EF-S lenses. The smaller image circle allows the reduction of the lens diameter and a generally lower effort in the production of the lenses. The best example of this is the EF-S 10-22 mm F3.5-F4.5 USM (16-35 mm corresponding to 35mm), which was presented together with the EOS 20D. Another characteristic feature of the EF-S lenses is the so-called “Short Back Focus” construction (hence the ‘S’ in the name ‘EF-S’). Here, the lens mount protrudes a little deeper into the camera body (which requires appropriately built cameras such as the EOS 20D and 300D), further contributing to the above features and also allowing the optical center to move closer to the image plane (i.e. the image sensor). This, at least theoretically, results in a stronger bundling of the light rays with a right-angled beam path. Olympus pursues a similar concept with its “near telecentric design”, and both ensure that the light information yield of the individual pixels is as constant and high as possible, or that shading phenomena (corner shading) are counteracted.

Canon 20D Review

 

 

 

 

 

But even an EF-S or L lens is no guarantee for good image quality, as there are quality differences within these lens families and the image quality of digital SLR cameras varies from case to case or depending on the camera/lens combination. For example, a lens on a 6-megapixel camera like the EOS 300D can still deliver quite respectable results, while the same lens on a 16.7-megapixel full-format sensor camera like the EOS-1Ds Mark II only delivers mediocre image quality. More is often less, because with increasing resolution and/or sensor size the demands on the lens also increase. The right combination of lens and camera has to be chosen with prudence if you want to exploit the full performance potential of the EOS 20D, and those who already own EF lenses may not be able to avoid buying a new one.

The new 9-point autofocus was specially developed for the EOS 20D. At least the number of measuring fields and their diamond-shaped arrangement are new; all other digital SLR cameras from Canon make use of AF sensors that have already been used in the same or slightly modified form in 35 mm SLR cameras of the analog EOS series. The precision and speed (see table of measured values) with which the EOS 20D detects the position of the main subject in the image and focuses on the corresponding spot is typical of DSLRs (especially in conjunction with USM lenses) and is not comparable with the AF performance of compact digital cameras. Thanks to the DiGIC II signal processor, the EOS 20D is significantly faster than the 10D and is also fully suitable for shooting fast-moving subjects such as sports photography. Even for subjects with a speed of 100 km/h or more, the EOS 20D will focus on virtually any image in AI servo mode (focus tracking with focus prediction); AF outliers are only found in the rarest cases. As a check, you can keep an eye on the active AF fields in the viewfinder and the focus on the viewfinder mat screen, because that’s what the viewfinder is for. If you don’t want to leave the choice of AF fields to the “artificial intelligence” alias AiAF system of the camera, you can also choose the fields manually by turning the wheel or navigation “Knubbel”. As an alternative to the AI servo mode, there is also the one-shot mode (single focusing) and the AI focus mode, in which the camera automatically switches between AI servo and one-shot operation. The sensitivity range of the autofocus system is from IL -0.5 to IL 18 at ISO 100 for the slightly more sensitive cross sensor in the centre of the viewfinder; perfect autofocus function is only guaranteed with a lens aperture of F5.6 (F2.8 for the central field of view) at full field number. This is a bit less good than Nikon, where this is traditionally the strength of Multi-CAM AF sensors. If the light or the subject contrasts are not sufficient, the flash must be flipped up, which provides enough light for focusing with a flash salvo – this is neither practical nor discreet. At least the EOS 20D supports the red light measuring beam of external flashes (such as Canon’s Speedlite-EX series system flashes), which is much less disturbing.

Canon 20D Review

 

Flash

The fact that a built-in flash also makes sense with an advanced camera underlines the existence of such a flash with the EOS 20D. The “miniature light dispenser” integrated in the viewfinder box jumps out of the rest position when required (automatically or at the push of a button, depending on the exposure program or setting) and, with a guide number of 12, has sufficient flash power to be classified among the potentiometers of its kind. One of the many differences between the EOS 10D and its predecessor is the increased distance to the optical axis, which further reduces the risk of red-eye and shadowing effects when using more voluminous lenses. It is advisable to switch off the small “spotlight” (lamp between lens and handle), which serves as a red-eye reduction device, in the menu and to switch it on only when there is an acute need for it, as it destroys any attempt to take spontaneous snapshots with its lack of discretion. In general, the internal flash shows no weaknesses: Shadowing effects only occur with oversized lenses, the flash cover is otherwise very good, and the color temperature of the flash light is absolutely neutral. Functions and settings are also available. In addition to the red-eye correction function mentioned above, there is also a flash exposure correction setting and a long-term sync function – the latter of course with sync on the 1st or 2nd shutter curtain.

With the EOS 20D, the second generation E-TTL flash metering and control, previously reserved for the professional class and the analogue EOS 30v, is celebrating its entry into the digital middle class. E-TTL II makes flash exposure more precise. Even with normal E-TTL technology, the camera uses one and the same measuring cell to measure ambient light and flash light. The result is a much more natural match between the two light sources – especially in flash long term synchronization. For this purpose, the camera emits an ultra-short (invisible to the human eye) measuring flash directly in front of the main flash. The metering cell, which is actually dedicated to measuring ambient light and has just measured the ambient light, then measures the flash reflected from the subject, determines the correct flash exposure and adjusts it to the exposure for the ambient light – all before the actual exposure begins. This of course requires a perfect synchronization of camera and flash as well as a fast processor, which is able to evaluate all information milliseconds before exposure. The E-TTL-II technology goes one step further and includes the distance information transmitted by the (EF) lens in the calculation of the optimal exposure. This prevents false exposures in motifs with above- or below-average reflectivity (e.g. windows, reflective stripes on warning vests or school satchels, light-absorbing fabrics); Canon ironically takes the opposite approach from Nikon, where first the inclusion of the distance between the scene mode and only recently the “fusion” of matrix measuring cell and flash measuring cell into the flash system was incorporated. The Nikon iTTL system is by the way also the only flash system, which is similarly efficient as E-TTL II, whereby however the backwards compatibility to older flash devices is zero with the Nikon system.

Another new feature when using the EOS 20D with the new system flash unit Speedlite 580 EX is that information about the colour temperature of the flash just fired can be obtained and evaluated from the flash unit so that the camera electronics can correct the white balance accordingly. Other special flash functions such as flash measured value storage (FEL), (power-reducing) flash sync and wireless E-TTL flash control have already been developed with the first E-TTL generation and will of course be retained in the second “expansion stage” of the E-TTL system. Unfortunately, wireless flash still requires a master device (550EX, 580EX, ST-E2 Transmitter) to control the other flash units or flash groups; the built-in flash of the EOS 20D has no control function. It should also be mentioned that the normal flash sync time is max. 1/250 s and that the EOS 20D also has a PC sync socket for connecting studio flash units, among other things. In any case, the EOS 20D’s flash technology is at the highest level and should also meet the highest demands.

Canon 20D Review

 

 

 

Picture quality

The EOS 20D is the first 8-megapixel camera that is not a compact digital camera. Although there are cameras with the same or higher resolution in the DSLR sector, these are either sinfully expensive thoroughbred professional models or “exotics” with special pixel calculations (Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro, Sigma SD9/10). Only the brand new Olympus E-300 has a similarly high resolution, but since there are no test values for this camera yet, the EOS 20D has to compete with the compact digital cameras for the time being. And there it demonstrates quite impressively the superiority of large-area sensors over the fingernail-sized image converters of the best compact digital cameras – especially with regard to low noise. Of all the digital cameras tested by us and our test laboratory so far, the EOS 20D is the most low-noise camera at ISO 100 and thus sets standards not only within its own family (it even rushes less than a much more expensive EOS 1D Mark II), but also in comparison to the entire competition. The brightness noise and the colour noise are in balance, and one can without hesitation fall back on higher sensitivities of ISO 400 or more. The fact that the image converter of the EOS 20D is a CMOS sensor and that the DiGIC-II signal processor is powerful enough to process even complex noise reduction algorithms certainly also plays a role, so that the low noise is not only due to the larger image converter. A further influence is exerted by the new microlens structure of the CMOS image converter, in which the gaps between the adjacent microlens elements are better filled.

A sense of proportion is not a very good measure when it comes to judging the image quality of a digital camera. Especially with regard to resolution or sharpness of detail, because only the final result is visible and the eye is not able to distinguish between the individual influencing factors (e.g. resolution of the lens, resolution of the image converter, sharpening and other electronic processing steps). Even laboratory measurements are only of limited informative value, but they provide certain clues on which one can orient oneself. For example, in our test configuration (EOS 20D + EF-S 17-85 mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM) there was a focal length-dependent edge drop in resolution (from very low to medium), which can definitely be attributed to the imaging performance of the lens. The fact that the resolution is more or less strongly dependent on the direction in which certain motif structures run, on the other hand, indicates a strong image processing. This is contradicted by the unusually low sharpness, which is only slightly more pronounced in bright areas of the image, but this clearly shows once again that the high art of camera-internal image processing is a book with seven seals for the uninitiated. For them, the resolution of the EOS 20D is simply good to very good – and the result is what counts for most people in the end.

Canon 20D Review

Canon has the Moiré formation under control somewhat less well. The EOS 20D shows distinct brightness moirés and visible color moirés with diagonal lines caused primarily by the demosaicing of color interpolation. There are further image errors in the form of a slightly bluish overexposure with overexposed edges, which in technical jargon is also called the “Blooming effect”. The low-pass filter in front of the CMOS image converter, on the other hand, does not produce any visible image interference. Compression artifacts are also not visible on the images, despite the strong compression factors that the EOS 20D uses compared to other cameras in its class. The very neutral and well differentiated color reproduction of the camera is exemplary; as far as the contrast coping capacity of the EOS 20D is concerned, the CMOS sensor can cope with a contrast difference of approx. 8.9 f-stops and is also quite capable of conveying this in the pictures. This, however, with not quite “rich” black tones, especially in the shadow areas of the picture. Paired with the extremely precise and stable exposure (with a DSLR-typical, slight underexposure) this leads to very balanced images. The AIM system (Artificial Intelligence Metering) of the EOS cameras, in which the multi-field exposure metering (35 fields on the EOS 20D) also takes into account the position of the main subject in the image determined by the autofocus, among other things, Canon has continuously developed and refined over the years, so that the manufacturer no longer needs to assert itself in this area.

The drop in resolution towards the image edges detected with the test lens is only one of the characteristic weaknesses of the EF-S 17-85 mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM. The strong to very strong distortion over the entire focal length range as well as the vignetting of almost 1.5 LW in the short focal length reveal that the typical image circle limitation of EF-S lenses may not be the final solution after all. Although this makes it possible to offer very inexpensive lenses with very short initial focal lengths, as explained earlier in this test, and the short-back focus construction may contribute to a certain extent to reducing corner shading effects, there are clear limitations in distortion and edge darkening. Although full-frame lenses are no guarantee for better imaging performance, they offer more “quality reserves” due to the larger image circle, as the image edges with weaker image quality are not covered by the image sensor of the EOS 20D anyway. A general recommendation for a certain lens type cannot be given here either, and thus the EOS 20D owner has no other choice but to carefully compile the optimal camera/lens combination on the basis of his own experiments or external recommendations (e.g. our  tests).

Other functions

Digital SLR cameras demand a certain degree of seriousness, and the EOS 20D is no exception. You won’t find any playful functions, and finding scene modes programs and a fully automatic system on the EOS 20D is by no means an issue, but it is a little contradictory to the semi-professional orientation of the camera. The A-DEP depth of field programme is also popular with semi-professionals. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to precisely determine the beginning and end of the desired focal plane by focusing twice, but it is now necessary to make sure that the focal range is covered by the entirety of the AF fields. Due to its architecture, the EOS 20D has no video function, but there is a video output for reproducing the recorded images on a television. It would have been useful if the EOS 20D could at least record voice comments, but unfortunately it can’t. But because even (semi) professionals want or need a print of their pictures quickly, the EOS 20D is PictBridge compatible. The printer is connected via the USB 2.0 high-speed interface of the camera, which is otherwise used for data transfer to the computer.

 

 

The EOS 20D offers advanced shooting functions in the form of an exposure bracketing function, selectable metering characteristics (matrix or multi-segment metering over 35 segments, center-weighted integral metering, selective metering to 9% of the image field), variable light sensitivity levels (ISO 100-1,600 or ISO 3200 after activation), various white balance settings (automatic, presets, manual in various ways) and a remote trigger function. Of course, the EOS 20D has a continuous shooting mode (see measured value table); at a low resolution, the camera processes the images so quickly that there is always enough space left in the – generous and efficiently managed – buffer memory for new images and one can thus practically speak of an “endless continuous shooting mode”. Very useful are the special functions for adjusting and/or selecting the image parameters (image contrast, sharpness, color saturation, hue, color space), for creating a JPEG image when shooting in RAW/CR2 format, for personalizing the camera via the 18 individual functions as well as for linking the spot measurement with the active AF field and for switching on the noise reduction.

What’s left to mention? It is possible to “shift” the exposure parameters using the program shift function, and in addition to the recording parameters (including histogram display and highlighting of the lights/shadows), a summary of the most important camera settings can also be displayed on the LC color screen. An almost stepless playback zoom allows closer viewing of certain image areas; the captured images can also be rotated (automatically if desired), deleted, protected, displayed as a slide show and printed or pre-marked for printing. If you like to shoot your pictures in black and white, you can look forward to a corresponding function in the camera menu. You can set the contrast and sharpness of the black-and-white images, and call up tinting effects (sepia, blue, violet, green) and filter effects (yellow, orange, red and green filters). A function for preparing the camera for manual sensor cleaning is also not missing; firmware updates can be imported if required. Despite the traditional reserve of digital SLR cameras in terms of function and setting scope, the EOS 20D has a lot to offer in terms of functions and parameterization options and is less reserved than the EOS 10D – and above all the EOS 300D with its poor functionality.

Canon 20D Review

 

 

Bottom line

The Canon EOS 20D turns out to be exactly what it pretends to be: a mid-range DSLR for advanced users or the highest amateur ambitions. If the EOS 300D is too simple for you and the EOS 10D is no longer good enough, you can find your luck with the EOS 20D. Despite numerous improvements in all areas (picture quality, function, equipment etc.) with the EOS 20D, EOS 10D owners should exercise prudence and not throw the 10D into the grain. Because no matter how good the EOS 20D may be – it is not a compelling reason to rush to change the camera. And even if the Nikon D100 looks “old” compared to the EOS 20D, the Konica Minolta Dynax 7D “only” has 6 megapixels, the new Olympus E300 plays in a different “league” despite the same resolution, the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro is comparatively expensive and Pentax also has no direct competitor, a system change is not absolutely necessary. Because these cameras also have their advantages and the EOS 20D is not superior to them in all respects. Ultimately, the DSLR novice or novice is not spared the “ordeal of choice”, but should his choice fall on the EOS 20D, he certainly makes no mistake. All that remains is to find the right lens that also matches the camera’s imaging performance, and all the conditions are met to be happy at least until the next DSLR evolution stage.

Canon Releases New Firmware (Version 2.0.2) for EOS 20D

To ensure a smoother interaction between the EOS 20D digital SLR camera and the EOS capture application, Canon has made corrections to the firmware of its mid-range DSLR. As of today, the corresponding data is available on the net, which allows the EOS-20D owner to replace the firmware of his camera with the new one. Anyone who has ever performed such an update knows that this operation is easier and cleaner to perform than an oil change on a car.

The malfunction corrected with the new firmware is an error that only occurred with the last known version of the EOS-20D firmware. This has the version number 2.0.0 and should now be replaced by version 2.0.2. Thus, the EOS capture application (for remote control of the camera from the computer) should work again without any problems if the quality settings of the camera are set to the simultaneous recording of RAW and JPEG images.

As with so many digital cameras, the update procedure does not require any special technical knowledge. After you have explicitly read the update instructions and the license agreement by clicking on the confirmation button, you will be redirected to the actual download page. There you download the appropriate update file for your operating system and decompress it by double-clicking on the program icon. This creates the actual firmware file with the file name 20d00202.fir, which is copied (either via an external card drive or via the camera-computer connection via USB) to the root directory of a CompactFlash memory card. After inserting the memory card, turn on the camera and go to the Setup menu to find the appropriate item to update the firmware. The update starts as soon as the user gives his okay.

As always, it should be pointed out that the update is carried out by the user on his own responsibility – also in compliance with the usual precautions (update only in mains operation or with fully charged battery). An interruption of the power supply, e.g. due to an exhausted battery, can, in the worst case, lead to a total failure of the camera, where only the customer service of the manufacturer remains as the last hope for a quick camera recovery. If the whole thing is too tricky for you and you don’t dare to carry out this – not entirely risk-free – operation yourself, you should only change the firmware when you really need it or have the update carried out by a dealer or Canon service center.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • familiar operation (EOS-typical)
  • consistent further development of the EOS 10D
  • sturdy workmanship
  • E-TTL-II flash exposure metering and control
  • White balance diagram
  • enormous choice of lenses
  • class-spanning
  • DSLR-typical image quality and responsiveness

Cons

  • no exchangeable viewfinder mats
  • A-DEP depth of field program now fully automatic only
  • no sensitivity specification in viewfinder
  • Viewfinder image cover and eyepiece size may be larger if desired
  • no color balance setting (R-G-B control)
  • no voice memo function
  • no wireless (E-TTL) flash control with built-in flash

Canon EOS 20D Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 22.5 x 15.0 mm (crop factor 1.6
)8.5 megapixels (physical) and 8.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 6.4 µm
Photo resolution
3.504 x 2.336 pixels (3:2)
2.544 x 1.696 pixels (3:2)
1.752 x 1.168 pixels (3:2)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard

Lens

Lens mount
Canon EF-S

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 9 sensors
Autofocus Functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Focus control Depth of field control, dimming button

Viewfinder and Monitor

Reflex viewfinder Reflex viewfinder (prism viewfinder) (95 % image coverage), 20 mm interpupillary distance, diopter compensation (-3.0 to +1.0 dpt), replaceable focusing screens
Monitor 1.8″ TFT LCD monitor with 118,000 pixels
Info display additional info display (top)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 35 fields, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/8,000 to 30 s (Automatic
)Bulb function
Exposure control Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Exposure compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 400 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 3.200 (manual)
Remote access Remote tripping
Scene modes various scene modes, landscape, night scene, close-up, portrait, sports/action, fully automatic, and one additional scene mode.
Picture effects B/W filter in yellow/orange/red/green, B/W tinting effects in blue/violet/green
White balance Auto, Clouds, Sun, White balance bracketing, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent lamp, Incandescent lamp, From 2,800 to 10,000 K, Manual
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 5.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 23 stored photos, RAW continuous shooting mode with up to 6 consecutive images at a frame rate of 5 fps
Self-timer Self-timer with interval of 10 s
Shooting functions Live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (hinged
)flash shoe: Canon, standard centre contact
Flash number Guide number 13 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Flash On Second Shutter Curtain, Red-Eye Reduction

Equipment

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
CF (Type II, Type I)
Microdrive
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Canon BP-511A (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 1,390 mAh)
Playback Functions Image index
Picture parameters Contrast
Special functions Orientation sensor
Ports Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High Speed
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous DIGIC II Signal Processor9-point autofocus
with automatic or manual focus point selectionAF frame
or AF focus trackingExposure Metering MemoryAdjustmentoffocus/image contrast/color tone possiblePlayback zoom
(2x to 10x)
Automatic
RAW/JPEG
simultaneous image alignment
possible18
Personalization function with 50 settings2
3 User memoryLC status display
Illuminated shock-resistant
metal housing (composite body), Aluminium/plastic/fibreglass substructure)

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 144 x 106 x 71 mm
Weight 786 g (operational)

Other

included accessories Canon BP-511A Special BatteryCanon
CB-5L Charger for Special BatteriesCanon
IFC-400PCU USB CableCanon
RF-3 (Housing Cover)
Canon VC-100 Audio / Video CableHama
150 cm Flash CableCamera Cover
RF3Shoulder Strap
EW-100DGRPicture Editing Software
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 for Windows and for MacintoshUtility
Software Canon Digital Photo Professional 1.1for Windows (2000/XP) and for Macintosh (System X/or higher)
Utility Software EOS Capture 1.1 for Windows and for Macintosh (System X/or higher)
Utility Software EOS Viewer Utility 1.1 for Windows and for MacintoshTwain
Drivers (98/2000)
Panorama Software PhotoStitch 3.1 for Windows and for MacintoshWIA Drivers
for Windows ME Image Authentication Software
Data Verification Kit DVK-E2
(optional)
optional accessory Canon BP-511A Special BatteryCanon
CG-570 Power AdapterPC Card Adapter
(for Notebook)
PC Card Drive Kit (for Desktop PC)
Battery Handle BG-E2Canon
EF Lens SystemCanon
EOS System AccessoriesCanon
Speedlite EX System Flash UnitsCamera PocketCamera CaseCleaning Cloth