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Viewfinder

As you'd expect the viewfinder on the D30 is excellent, big and clear with a comfortable rubber eye piece and a dioptre adjustment wheel just above it.

Through the viewfinder you'll see the partial metering circle and three focus points (although they don't indicate the focus point themselves, they're just for reference). With plenty of exposure information along the status line there's little to complain about with the D30's viewfinder.

The rubber surround can be removed and the supplied eyepiece cover (on the shoulder strap) can be slipped over to stop stray light from entering the chamber during long exposures. The eyepiece will also take E-series dioptric adjustment lenses to further expand the dioptric correction range.

Because the D30 was built as a digital from the ground up the viewfinder view is not "cropped" but gives you an entire field of view which is 95% accurate to the frame the CMOS sensor will capture. I'm also glad to report that the ground glass focus screen is excellent and very accurate.

Here's an example of the status bar in use:

Again, as with the top LCD the status bar also changes its view to show other information such as data being processed, Redeye countdown, errors and "Busy" warnings.


Battery Compartment

The battery compartment on the D30 is in the base of the hand grip, behind a simple clip locked door (removable). The D30 takes Canon's excellent BP-511 Lithium-Ion battery packs (7.4V 1100mAh, 8.1 Wh). There's a tiny door on the inside edge of the hand grip where the cable from the supplied dummy battery exits (for running the D30 off the AC adapter). You'll probably also note the small backup battery (CR2025) compartment which keeps the clock running and camera settings when the camera is without a main battery.


Battery Charger / AC Adapter

The supplied CA-PS400 battery can charge up to two batteries simultaneously, a red LED above each battery indicates the current charge status; either one, two, three blinks or steady light to indicate a full charge. A full charge (from completely flat) takes about 90 minutes. Also supplied is a dummy battery on a 2 m cable which fits into the battery compartment of the D30 to provide a tethered power supply. Note that when the dummy battery / adapter is plugged into the charger it will no longer charge batteries.


Battery Grip (option)

The optional BG-ED3 battery grip gives the D30 the capacity to take two BP-511 batteries (the camera automatically switches to the second battery when the first is flat). The grip also gives you a vertical (portrait) hand grip, shutter release, command wheel on the front and AE/AF-lock and focus point buttons on the back. It's attached to the D30 by removing the battery compartment door (simple push of a sprung clip on the hinge), insert the connector into the battery compartment and screw the grip into the cameras tripod mount.

It's worth noting that the grip makes it considerably easier and quicker to change batteries (unless the camera is on a tripod where I couldn't get the battery compartment door to open fully). One slight oddity is that the tripod mount on the base of the grip doesn't exactly line up with the tripod screw on the top of the grip which means that the lens will be offset on a tripod when using the grip.

The grip gives the D30 a real Pro look and makes quickly switching from landscape to portrait easy, deep enough to fit into your palm comfortably and give a strong shooting grip. It's well built with a metal (yet lightweight) substructure, a metal tripod mount and a hand strap attachment in the base. The grip and two batteries adds 380 g (13 oz) to the weight of the D30 with one battery. This will probably become an almost standard item for Pro / Semi-Pro photographers.


CompactFlash Compartment

The CompactFlash compartment on the D30 is one the rear corner of the hand grip, the door itself has a small hole at the top through which the red CF activity light shows. Opening the door (pull back and flip open) you immediately notice the metal hinge structure and the fact that there's plenty of room around the CF card once it's ejected (easy to insert and remove).

A word of warning: don't open the card door while the activity light is flashing, especially if it's writing images out to the CF card, you'll lose any images in the cameras buffer and not yet written out to the card. Opening the CF door immediately powers the camera off. Switching the camera to the OFF position doesn't have the same effect, the camera will continue to write out images. Potential solutions (for Canon): Simple electromagnetic lock which only releases the door when all data has been written out, or, memory buffer contents remain, inserting a new CF card or just closing the door will continue the writing process.

Something really nice about the door (and a little difficult to describe, but I'll try) is how easy it is to close. Pop a new card in, put your hand on the grip as though you're about to hold the camera and the door will clip shut then slide securely to it's fully closed position. I'm not sure if Canon engineered this into it but it makes changing / accessing the card on the D30 extremely easy.


Connections

On the left side of the camera you'll find all the camera connections (well at least they're not sprinkled all over the body). First, behind a rubber door are the USB connector and video out socket. Directly below this behind their own caps are the flash sync (PC) terminal and remote control jack (N3). For review purposes I had the simple RS-80N3 remote which worked very well, simple but effective for taking long exposures.

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