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Canon EOS 20D User Review (2004)

The Successor to the Canon EOS 10D That Packed Some Serious Image Quality

Canon EOS 20D Review

The way I see it, the Canon EOS 20D Digital SLR was somewhat of a milestone in photography. When I was just using film a few years ago, I stuck with a camera no matter what was released. No matter how many new shiny buttons and gizmos a new release had to tempt me with. I just wanted to improve my collection of Canon lenses and my techniques.

Before the days of the Canon EOS 20D and other Digital SLR's, a quality camera like the Nikon F3 or F5 or the Canon EOS 1 or 3 had (and still have) all the ingredients needed to produce high quality 35mm photography. Once you had one of these cameras, it could last forever.

Does kit matter?

I am a believer that it is the photographer and not the equipment that makes a good photograph. To an extent!

The quality of your equipment does play a big part in photography, especially if you are looking to sell your photos or earn a living from it.

I mean you only see the top pros turning up to events with nothing but the highest quality equipment. The pictures, for example, may need to be enlarged many times. Perhaps the photographer may be out in all conditions and needs that waterproofing. He may simply need the robustness that the professional cameras have in order to deal with the sheer amount of use and abuse that the camera will get.

To expand on this a little bit before I actually talk about the 20D, I want to make a point!

Yawn! Go on then….

Heard of Michael Schumacher? Over the last few seasons around the turn of the millennium, he was considered to be (and has been) the number one racing driver of modern times. He won 6 F1 world championships. I don't want to take this away from him by any means. However, it is quite noticeable that with the introduction of new rules in the 2005 season, the Ferrari team took a back seat somewhat.

Other skilled drivers began to shine as the new rules detached the drivers from their respective teams a little. This meant the actual driving abilities count for more. I say bring back the clutch and gearboxes too!

My point being that, although an incredible driver, his performance has much to do with the:

  • 1
    The team
  • 2
    Equipment
  • 3
    Technology

...behind him! Maybe give them all a Ford Fiesta 1.1L and let them loose at Silverstone and see what happens.

OK. the Canon EOS 20D

I used the EOS 5 many years ago. Then I moved to the Canon EOS 10D on release and actually thought the 10D felt small. However, when I bought the Canon EOS 20D last year, it felt positively tiny in my hands. Obviously this will differ depending on how big your hands are! I found it a bit fiddly.

The purchase and attachment of the BG-E2 battery grip soon remedied this. I then felt I had a decent bit of kit in my hands. The Canon EOS 20D looks and feels as good as a professional camera. Once you learn your way around the functions, it becomes like an old friend. With the grip attached, I find it very easy to switch to and from vertical and portrait mode. this is because it has the necessary shutter release and compensation buttons on the grip too. Am I sounding a little biased here?

Having worked:

  • In a camera shop in my early years
  • As a photographer’s apprentice after that
  • For Nikon UK a long time after that

...I have held quite a few cameras in my time. I used to use Nikon (F3, F5) but converted to Canon with the invention of eye-controlled focussing. Gimmicky but handy. The main things about the Canon EOS 20D that makes it stand out from the crowd for me are these;

Features

  • Tough - Although not as weatherproof or durable as its bigger brothers (EOS 1D MKII and EOS 1Ds MKII), it has a magnesium alloy frame which is suitable for most daily usage. I have used it in light rain and had no problems.
  • Features - Without going into all the details you can find on other reviews, the functions that the Canon EOS 20d has should keep you in "creativity mode" for quite some time, whatever type of photography you are into. My only gripe was that the ISO didn’t stretch to 50, although the noise levels at ISO3200 are fairly low and produce images that are quite usable, especially if enhanced with Neat Image or some other software. The review and zoom functions are also very handy.
  • Speed - Probably for me, the best assets of this digital SLR are the start up speed, lack of shutter lag, bulb-8000th/sec shutter speeds and 5 FPS (frames per second) firing capability. I always leave the camera switched on as it will enter sleep mode automatically after a couple of minutes, but a quick press of the shutter gives you almost instant start up!
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    Accessories - As it will accept all the major Canon lenses you should never have to worry about not "reaching" anything. It also accepts and is compatible (dedicated) with the Canon and Sigma range of speedlights. Other handy accessories include remote release controllers, remote software for your PC, battery grip for ease of use and extended (much extended) battery life.
  • check
    File sizes - Yesterday, I received confirmation of the acceptance of 89 out of 91 photographs sent to my stock library for submission, all taken with the Canon EOS 20D. The 2 not accepted were due to file sizes being too small due to over cropping. The 8 mega pixel sensor and lack of noise in images, produce incredible quality files that match that of film SLR’s. I have had many prints made up to A3 and A1 canvas, and the quality has stunned all of my clients.

Conclusion

There is not too much reason for anyone to be swayed by new features, gadgets and gizmos that Canon decide to release in the near future. I am leaving myself open to ridicule here but... If the files produces by this camera can be blown up to A1 with great clarity and colour reproduction, why would any serious amateur or even semi-pro need to upgrade too quickly in the near future? The speed is there. The build and file quality are there and the features are there. Now you just need to spend money on decent lenses and get out and shoot some pictures!

You can see a full and detailed review of the Canon 20D at DPreview.com.

If you are looking at buying the Canon EOS 20D, I would say not to hesitate or wait to see what is around the corner. It will more than suit your requirements for at least the next 5 years (of course this is in my opinion).

Take a look at the Canon EOS 20D and/or its successors at Amazon (20D is discontinued now). They have the best prices and you can be assured of a reputable dealer, guarantees and speedy delivery.

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