Canon EOS 20D Review
The EOS 20D features an all new E-TTL II pop-up flash, which raises much higher than the EOS 10D's unit which means fewer problems with lenses causing a shadow and will probably improve red-eye performance. The internal flash has a guide number of 13 (approx. 3.3 m @ 17 mm / 2.3 m @ 85 mm; ISO 100) and a wide angle coverage of 17 mm. Support for E-TTL II means that lens distance information is now used to calculate the required flash power. Flash sync speed is up slightly to 1/250 sec.
The EOS 20D also allows for FE-Lock (Flash Exposure Lock) which can be used to take a meter reading of the subject using the flash before taking the shot. This can be useful for recomposing the scene, with the flash up (or an EX flash attached) simply aim the center of the frame at the subject to be metered, press the * button and the camera will fire the flash and take a meter reading, the next shot you take will use this locked exposure.
Unlike the EOS D30 and D60 the EOS 20D doesn't have a dedicated AF Assist lamp. Instead it will strobe the flash which will assist the camera's AF system if required. The new AF system has a lowest light detection of -0.5 EV compared to the EOS 10D's 0.5 EV, it's likely that AF assist won't be as important on the EOS 20D.
|The EOS 20D's hot-shoe can be used with Canon and third party flash units (sync only). As with the internal flash the hot shoe supports the new E-TTL II metering which uses distance information from the lens to calculate flash power. This works with all Canon lenses (although distance information is only provided by lenses with ring type USM motors).|
Canon Speedlite 580EX
Introduced at the same time as the EOS 20D the new Speedlite 580EX which has several advanced digital features including zoom linked to sensor sizes (takes into account the FOV crop caused by a D-SLR sensor) and AWB switched to flash WB (causes the camera to switch to flash WB in certain circumstances). In addition there is also a new battery belt pack for faster recharge and longer life.
The EOS 20D has a standard metal EF / EF-S lens mount which means that it supports all Canon EF and EF-S lenses plus some older as manual focus and compatible third party lenses. Because the sensor is smaller than a 35 mm frame all lenses are subject to a field of view crop (sometimes called focal length multiplier) of 1.6x, thus a 17 mm lens provides the same field of view of a 27.2 mm. Interestingly to support EF-S lenses the mirror box and mirror are smaller than the 10D, this won't of course make any difference to the image as the imaging circle required for the sensor is smaller than 35 mm. It also doesn't appear to have had any detrimental effect on viewfinder brightness.
In all of our digital SLR reviews we now provide a sound recording of a continuous burst of shots. Below you can see waveforms of a recording made of the Canon EOS 20D, Nikon D70 and Canon EOS 10D shooting continuously for 30 seconds each. The cameras were set to manual focus, shutter speed 1/250 sec and aimed at our standard resolution chart.Image quality was set to eight megapixels JPEG Fine on the 20D and 6MP JPEG Fine on the 10D and D70. The CF card used was a SanDisk Ultra II 1 GB (Type I).
The Canon EOS 20D shot 36 frames at full speed (5 frames per second), dropped to 1.7 frames per second for 25 frames and then began a slightly erratic 'double shot' sequence for another 15 frames. The Nikon D70 shot 12 frames at full speed (3 frames per second) then dropped to 2 frames per second for 57 frames. The Canon EOS 10D shot 9 frames at full speed (3 frames per second), dropped to 1 frame per second for 24 frames, after that it slowed considerably.
What surprised me the most is how much more amplitude the 20D sample has compared to the D70 and 10D, it's shutter sound is a louder than both of them but does appear to be exaggerated in the diagrams below.
|30 seconds, total 76 frames (JPEG)|
|30 seconds, total 69 frames (JPEG)|
|30 seconds, total 34 frames (JPEG)|
* The results here are slightly different to those measured in our Nikon D70 review because we are now using a resolution chart as a target which has increased the size of the JPEG files being stored.
Not long after publishing this article we were asked if we could publish a recording of the EOS 20D shooting RAW continuously (not that I can imagine many people would want to). Here it is.
|30 seconds, total 27 frames (RAW)|
Supplied In the Box
The EOS 20D will be offered as body only (as shown below) or as a kit with the EF-S 18 - 55 mm F3.5 - F5.6 lens (same kit lens as the EOS 300D, a good enough lens if a little cheap feeling on an expensive body such as this).
The EOS 20D body only is supplied as:
- Canon EOS 20D Digital SLR body
- Eyecup Eb
- BP-511A Lithium-Ion battery pack
- CB-5L Battery charger
- Neck strap
- USB Cable
- Video Cable
- Canon EOS Solution Disk v8.0
- Digital Photo Professional v1.2
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
- Manuals / Reg. card
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 What's New
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Body & Design
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Operation & Controls
- 9 Displays
- 10 Menus
- 11 Menus
- 12 Timings & Sizes
- 13 Features
- 14 Features
- 15 Features
- 16 Features
- 17 Software
- 18 Software
- 19 Software
- 20 Photographic tests
- 21 Photographic tests
- 22 Compared to...
- 23 Compared to...
- 24 Compared to...
- 25 Compared to...
- 26 Compared to...
- 27 Compared to...
- 28 Conclusion
- 29 Samples