Compared to...

We chose to compare the EOS 30D to its nearest 'other brand' competitor, the $300 more expensive Nikon D200. For the sake of a 'sibling battle' we have also included the 2.4x more expensive full 35 mm frame sibling EOS 5D.

Camera Body Price Sensor
Canon EOS 30D $1,399 8.2 MP CMOS (1.6x crop) -
Nikon D200 $1,699 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop) +24%
Canon EOS 5D $3,299 12.8 MP CMOS (FF) +56%

Lenses used

For direct comparisons we always use sharp prime lenses stopped down (typically to F9). For the 'cropped' sensor cameras we used 50 mm lenses (EF 50 mm F1.4 for the 30D and the Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 for the D200 and D2X) and for the full frame EOS 5D the EF 85 mm F1.8.

Nikon D200 in-camera sharpness

During the production of our Nikon D200 review we concluded that the in-cameras sharpness (either at Auto or Normal) was too conservative to deliver the detail captured by the sensor or to be comparable to other digital SLRs. Hence we provided comparisons with the D200's in-camera sharpness set to High (+2) which equalizes the difference in sharpening between it and other cameras. See this page of our Nikon D200 review for an example of the difference this makes.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Canon EOS 30D vs. Nikon D200 (High shp)

Camera settings:

  • Canon EOS 30D: Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard PS), Self-Timer
  • Nikon D200: Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Custom Parameters (High sharpening), Self-Timer
Canon EOS 30D
Nikon D200
2,847 KB JPEG (3504 x 2336)
4,586 KB JPEG (3872 x 2592)

As you can see we really did need to use a High sharpening setting on the D200 to get near to the sharpness level provided by the EOS 30D's "Standard" PictureStyle. The results here are exactly the same as we observed in our D200 review, that is a slight visible resolution advantage to the D200 but as we would expect there really is little to call between eight and ten megapixels.