Spot someone in the street with the EOS 30D and you'd have to try and sneak a peek at the logo because it's fairly difficult to distinguish from the EOS 20D or 10D. The main design changes are in the styling of the body, slightly rounder corners, a better blend between the body and viewfinder chamber. The biggest change has occurred at the rear of the camera with the addition of the new 'print / share button' (sorry, couldn't resist), actually it's the new 2.5" LCD monitor which dominates the rear of the camera and has caused the column of five buttons to be pushed closer to the edge of the body. It's a pity Canon still hasn't realized the advantage of large buttons (as Nikon have) and how much easier they are to operate (especially when wearing gloves).

Materials and build wise the EOS 30D is much the same as the EOS 20D, a two piece magnesium shell which makes up much of the front and rear of the camera which is well put together with no rattles or creaks, it feels very durable and purposeful.

Side by side

Below you can see the EOS 20D, EOS 30D and EOS 5D. Note the styling differences between the 20D/30D and the 5D. The EOS 5D takes its design from Canon's EOS 1D series with a more rounded viewfinder chamber and flatter shutter release button / top of hand grip.

In your hand

No surprises here, the EOS 30D almost identical to the EOS 20D, the only real differences from a grip point of view are a very slightly softer rubber compound and a slightly different profile to the lip at the top of the grip. The lens mount is still the same distance from the hand grip which means the same 'white marks' from fingernails. Overall though the EOS 30D is a nice camera to shoot with, it's comfortable, will be familiar to existing Canon shooters and easy to learn for newbies.

Design changes compared to the EOS 20D

Place your mouse cursor over either image below to compare the design of the EOS 30D to the EOS 20D. Subtle would be a good way to describe the changes.

LCD Monitor

"As is the trend these days" the EOS 30D gets a much larger 2.5" LCD monitor with 230,000 pixels (320 x 240 x 3). In use the screen is nice and sharp and fairly bright indoors although outdoors we did find ourselves having to increase the LCD brightness option in the menu. It's a pity Canon still haven't seen fit to put an anti-reflective coating on their LCD monitors.

LCD Panel

On top of the camera is a large LCD panel which provides a wide range of information about the current camera settings and exposure. The main numeric section of the panel doubles up to provide other types of information such as the 'Busy' warning, ISO setting and processing parameter set when these are being changed. The panel has an orange backlight which is illuminated by pressing the backlight button to the top left of the panel, the backlight stays on for approximately six seconds.

A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagrams below.