Sunday, May 1, 2005

Fire the Canons, the Canon EOS 20D, that is


By James Booth

For years, I've been adamant in my belief there was no way digital could compete with film, particularly medium format film. My recent purchase of a Canon EOS 20D has changed all that. High-end digital cameras are clearly superior to film, and I'll attempt to show you how and why in this coverage of the Canon EOS 20D.


The Canon EOS 20D pictured in Figure A, is an eight megapixel digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) that would best be categorized as a prosumer (professional consumer)/professional camera, falling somewhere between Canon's Digital Rebel and the EOS 1D.


The Canon EOS 20D Digital SLR. (click for larger image)

The image sensor rates at 8.5 total megapixels at 3600x2360, but practical output is actually 8.2 megapixels at 3520x2344. The camera utilizes Canon's EF lens mount, so will accept either EF or EF-S lenses, writes to a CompactFlash card in either Type I or Type II format or an IBM Microdrive, and records images in RAW or JPEG.

"I think it's the most awesome camera I've ever used."

The EOS 20D provides programmed exposure settings for Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, and Night Portrait, as well as Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Automatic Depth-of-Field, and full manual exposure, all utilizing nine auto-focus points. It offers a range of shutter speeds from Bulb and 30 seconds, up to 1/8000 of a second, synching at 1/250th of a second, and will shoot ISO equivalents from 100 to 3200.

With a start-up time in milliseconds, the ability to shoot at five frames/second, and a burst of up to 23 frames, the Canon ESO 20D can be ready at a moments notice, regardless of the situation. In addition, the EOS 20D features exposure compensation and automatic bracketing of up to +/- two full stops in 1/2 or 1/3 increments. As a matter of fact, virtually ever aspect of this camera can be adjusted to suit your personal tastes.

In fact, the EOS 20D comes with two standard color parameters already programmed, with space available for three more custom processing parameters (four items with five settings each), as well as a monochrome setting for custom black and white. You also have complete control over the white balance and color temperature, with +/- three steps in whole stop increments, and +/- nine steps in one-step increments respectively.

The EOS 20D comes with a pop-up, built-in flash, and both hotshoe and PC connections for external flash devices. While convenient for relatively close snapshots, the built-in flash isn't going to be much use beyond fifteen or twenty feet due its size and power level. One difference between the EOS 20D and its predecessor, the 10D, is the height the flash extends to. In the EOS 20D, the flash pops up higher to reduce shadow from the lens.