The EOS-10D's viewfinder is clear and the focusing screen is matte enough to use for manual focus. It has a removable rubber eye piece and a dioptre adjustment wheel. If you've never used an EOS-1Ds or an EOS film SLR then you'll find the view perfectly acceptable, if you have then you'll definitely notice that because of the smaller size of the camera's sensor the 10D's view is cropped.
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.
Through the viewfinder you'll see the partial metering circle and the seven focus points, the EOS-10D now features the same seven point AF as the EOS-30 (a considerably better system than that used in the EOS-D30/D60). In automatic AF point selection mode the AF points chosen by the camera are highlighted when you initiate AF (half-press shutter release / AF button), otherwise the selected AF point is highlighted *. In the example below all AF points are illuminated, this would only occur if you had pressed the AF point button with all points selected.
* One problem (which only affects AI Servo AF mode) has been noted by several early owners on our Canon SLR Talk forum and I concur with their observation; the AF point light illuminates as the shutter release button is half-pressed, just at the instant AF begins. This does NOT correspond with a focus confirmation (a good AF lock). Focus confirmation has its own indicator in the bottom right of the viewfinder display. What this can occasionally lead to is the photographer assuming good AF or an AF lock before it has actually occurred, in AI Servo mode shutter release takes priority and so it would be possible to complete the shutter release before AF has completed. In my opinion the AF point should only light in conjunction with the Focus confirmation indicator and should stay lit while this indicator is lit (or blink if no AF lock is made).
Notable improvements: Seven point AF.
The battery compartment on the EOS-10D is in the base of the hand grip, behind a simple clip locked door. The door itself is removable (to make way for the optional battery grip). Just like the D30 and D60 the EOS-10D takes Canon's powerful BP-511 or BP-512 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 the optional AC adapter). There's also the backup CR2025 battery (circular compartment in the camera base) which keeps the clock running and camera settings when the camera is without a main battery.
Battery Grip (optional)
The optional BG-ED3 battery grip originally designed for the EOS-D30 / D60 still fits and works perfectly with the EOS-10D. The only button now 'missing' in vertical grip orientation is the AF Assist button which is of course new to the 10D. The BG-ED3 provides additional power capacity as it can take two BP-511 batteries. It's attached to the EOS-10D 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. The grip and two batteries adds 380 g (13 oz) to the weight of the EOS-10D with one battery.
It's worth noting that the grip makes it considerably easier and quicker to change batteries (unless the camera is on a tripod in which case the door won't 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 battery grip. Note that there is a storage slot in the battery grip for the removed battery door.
Compact Flash Compartment
The Compact Flash compartment on the EOS-10D is at the rear corner of the hand grip, there is a red card activity light which shines through a small hole in the top edge of the door. 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). The EOS-10D takes either Type I or Type II CompactFlash cards and supports the IBM Microdrive, it also now officially supports FAT32 which means cards over 2 GB in capacity.
I was very surprised (and disappointed) to discover that Canon still haven't addressed a serious flaw in the operation of the CF door which we first noticed on the EOS-D30. As soon as you open the door the camera powers down. This means that if there are images still buffered to be written (such as a burst of images in drive mode) they will be lost as the write operation is immediately stopped. A simple fix to this would have been to implement an alarm as seen on the PowerShot G3, the camera completes its write operation but a loud continuous tone sounds if the door is opened.
On the left side of the camera are all of the cameras connections, these are protected by a split rubber cover (same as EOS-D60) which allows you to expose the PC sync and remote terminals while keeping the USB and Video out terminals covered. In summary from top to bottom: USB (1.1), Video Out, PC Sync (left), Remote terminal (right; N3 type). The EOS-10D has direct print support for CP-10, CP-100, S530D, S830D, i70, i450 and i470D.