Previous page Next page

Canon EOS 20D Review

November 2004 | By Phil Askey
Buy on From $1,599.00

Review based on a production EOS 20D, Firmware Version 1.0.5

It's been four years and four months since they revealed the EOS D30, the first digital SLR which amateur photographers could really afford. So here we are, 52 months later with the latest incarnation of that original design, the eight megapixel EOS 20D. Not since February 2002 (the EOS D60) has Canon increased the resolution of this line of digital SLRs, in the EOS 20D we have a 1.9 million effective pixel increase, a new AF system, 50% faster continuous shooting and more than double the buffer space.

First impressions of the EOS 20D are good, it feels far less 'prosumer like' and instead feels more like a 'baby EOS-1D' (as described by one of our team). Gone are some of the annoyances of the EOS 10D, the 20D now switches on virtually instantly and focuses quickly, it feels very solid and yet weighs slightly less than the model it replaces. So far so good.

Model line history

Model Announced Effective pixels AF Continuous (JPEG)
EOS D30 April 2000 3.1 million 3 point 3.0 fps, 3 frames
EOS D60 February 2002 6.3 million 3 point 3.3 fps, 8 frames
EOS 10D February 2003 6.3 million 7 point 3.3 fps, 9 frames
EOS 20D August 2004 8.2 million 9 point 5.0 fps, 23 frames

A summary of new features and improvements can be found on the third page of this article.

Two new EF-S lenses

In addition to the EOS 20D Canon has also announced two new EF-S lenses which are clearly aimed at the EOS 20D buyer. The EOS 20D will be offered as a body only or a kit with the EF-S 18 - 55 mm F3.5 - F5.6 lens we first saw in the EOS 300D kit. In my honest opinion the 17-85 mm lens is a superb companion to the EOS 20D, it offers a great range of focal lengths and image stabilization in a fairly compact package.

EF-S 17 - 85 mm F4.5 - F5.6 IS USM
(27 - 136 mm equiv. FOV, 5x zoom)
EU: €649, US: $599
EF-S 10 - 22 mm F3.5 - F4.5 USM
(16 - 35 mm equiv. FOV, 2.2x zoom)
EU: €899, US: $799

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 1024 x 768 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2004 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

Previous page Next page
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums



The main thing I want from camera performance is to not notice it, and the Canon EOS 20D passed that test. It shot when I wanted to shoot, focused when I wanted something sharp, and let me look through images quickly when it was time for a break. With the 20D, I never had to waste time and miss shots waiting for the camera.