Click here for our Main Menu

Canon EOS 30D SLR

Review posted 5/1/2006

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon EOS 30D SLR.
Click to take a QTVR tour of the EOS 30D

The EOS 30D Digital SLR is the much anticipated update to Canon's popular EOS 20D. It takes the same 8.2-megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor and mates it to the more powerful DIGIC II Imaging processor for fast 5 fps performance. The EOS 30D takes photographers closer to the level of Canon’s pro digital SLR line, incorporating features and innovations from the EOS 5D and the EOS-1D Mark II N Digital SLRs, at a fraction of their respective prices. Whether your job is covering a wedding, a hot news story or capturing the fine details of a portrait, the EOS 30D has got you covered.

The major improvements of the EOS 30D vs. the EOS 20D are:

  • A rugged new shutter, fully rated up to 100,000 cycles;

  • A brilliant 2.5-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD monitor (that a 92% increase in viewing area compared with the EOS 20D’s 1.8-inch monitor); and

  • A new spot metering capability that covers approximately 3.5 percent of the viewfinder area at the center while maintaining the 20D’s 35-zone metering sensor (raising the EOS 30D’s available metering modes to four).

Increasing the camera’s flexibility and ease of use, the ISO speed can now be set from 100 to 1600 in 1/3 stop increments, rather than full stops (and can be pushed to 3200 with ISO expansion). What’s more, users can see the ISO setting in the viewfinder while changing it (and not simply on the monitor display as on the EOS 20D model), which in turn permits photographers to keep their eyes on their subject.

The EOS 30D continues its predecessor’s fast shooting rate of five fps but, thanks to improvements in signal processing algorithms, the burst rate has increased from 23 to 30 consecutive frames in JPEG L/F mode and from 6 to 11 consecutive frames in RAW mode.

Canon enhanced several basic functions for easy, efficient use that make the EOS 30D even more responsive than previous models, including:

  • An initial startup time of 0.15 seconds (the fastest of any EOS digital camera on the market);

  • A much-improved recovery from the camera’s auto power off mode. Where previously the only way to restore operation was by depressing the shutter button half way, the EOS 30D permits users to awaken the camera by pressing the Playback, Menu or AE Lock button as well; and

  • A single shot AE/AF lock, which retains settings for subsequent shots simply by keeping the shutter release half-pressed after taking the first shot.

The EOS 30D retains the 9-point Wide-Area AF system, originally introduced on the EOS 20D. This AF system features a diamond-shaped layout with a dual-precision central AF point that provides full cross-type performance with maximum apertures as small as f/5.6, yet achieves up to three times the standard focusing precision when used with EF lenses featuring maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/2.8. A convenient Multi-controller provides fast and easy AF point selection.

While using the same 35-zone metering sensor as its predecessor, Canon has added a spot metering capability that covers approximately 3.5 percent of the viewfinder area at the center. As a result, there are now four metering modes offered: Evaluative (set automatically in the Basic Zone modes), partial (approximately 9 percent), center-weighted average and spot. AF-point linked Evaluative metering, E-TTL II autoflash and 12 exposure control modes (11 AE modes plus manual) are unchanged from the EOS 20D.

First introduced on the EOS-1D Mark II N and EOS 5D cameras, Picture Style is an improved approach to selecting the presets for sharpening, contrast, saturation and color tone that most closely reflect the needs and intent of the user. Similar to selecting the film type in order to achieve a desired result, the Picture Style feature offers six setting choices – Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome – with an additional three user defined settings available.

Among the enhancements most immediately noticeable is the large 2.5-inch LCD screen with 230,000-pixel resolution, wide 170-degree viewing angle, and LED-backlight for improved visibility. Like the EOS 5D, the EOS 30D’s full-featured INFO screen includes files sizes, a choice of brightness and RGB histograms and AF frame displays. In addition, Quick Review images are now enlargeable making it quicker and easier to check the focus of a shot immediately after taking the shot.

You can now access direct print and direct download functions simply by pressing the print/share button on the back of the camera. Further, when connected to a PictBridge or other compatible printer, the user can select paper sizes, cropping, and even some special effects.

In addition to its standard PictBridge features the 30D supports additional direct printing features exclusively when the camera is connected to one of the new Canon PIXMA Pro9500 or PIXMA Pro9000 desktop photo printers. These features include:

  • Full support for Picture Style settings: Photographers can print images according to their preferences for sharpening, contrast, saturation, and color tone, as well as monochrome and other special effects;

  • Fine adjustment of other image quality settings such as color balance, overall brightness, face brightness, and microcontrast levels as well as a red-eye correction function; and

  • Expanded paper selection, including a range of fine art paper stocks available in a variety of sizes up to 13 x 19-inches.

EOS 30D Major Features

  • Lightweight and durable magnesium alloy body

  • Canon EOS (EF/EF-S) lens mount, 1.6x focal magnifier

  • 8-megapixel, CMOS image sensor, low-noise / wide dynamic range

  • Recording choice of 6 levels of JPEG, CR2 RAW, or RAW plus JPEG (choice of 6 different levels of JPEG)

  • 2.5-inch color LCD with wide 170-degree viewing angle

  • 9-point AF unit with high precision cross-type center sensor

  • Ultra-fast start-up time of 0.15 seconds, only 65ms shutter lag time

  • Adobe RGB and sRGB color space selection

  • High-speed mirror drive allows a major reduction in viewfinder blackout time

  • Picture Style feature offers six setting choices – Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome – with an additional three user defined settings

  • 12 shooting modes, seven Basic Zone modes (Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-Up, Sports, Night Portrait and Flash Off) and five Creative Zone modes (Standard Program AE, Shutter-Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE, Manual and Depth-Of-Field AE)

  • 35-zone TTL metering, Evaluative, Partial, Center-weighted average, or 3.5% Spot metering

  • White Balance: Auto, six presets and Manual color temperature (2800-10,000°K in 100° increments) and can be corrected for blue, amber, magenta or green.

  • Continuous mode capture: 5fps up to 30 frames (11 frames in RAW mode)

  • Shutter speeds: 30 to 1/8,000 seconds, 1/250 sec. flash sync

  • Eye level TTL viewfinder with diopter adjustment, illuminated AF points, depth-of-field preview and detailed information display.

  • AE bracketing and White balance bracketing

  • Playback histogram and up to 10x image zoom

  • ISO Range: 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,600 (3200 with ISO speed extension)

  • 18 Custom Functions with 50 settings available

  • Built-in E-TTL II popup flash with red-eye reduction.

  • Hot shoe for Canon EX Speedlites and standard PC flash sync

  • CompactFlash Type II card slot, Microdrive and FAT32 compatible

  • High-speed USB 2.0 interface for fast image downloads

  • Video Out with selectable NTSC or PAL timing

  • Powered by BP-511A Li-ion battery, CG-580 rapid charger included

  • PictBridge, CP Direct and Bubblejet Direct printing

  • Optional BG-E2 Battery Grip doubles battery power and adds vertical grip, shutter release and controls

Physical Views

Canon EOS 30D

Canon EOS 30D

Canon EOS 30D Canon EOS 30D

Canon EOS 30D

Canon EOS 30D

Canon EOS 30D

Canon EOS 30D

The EOS 30D and the EOS 20D for comparison.

UK visitors Hahnel BatteryGrip HC-40D Infrapro for Canon 40D / 30D & 20D

£ 99.49 at

Continue on to
Features & Controls

EOS 30D Specifications

  Imaging Element
Type High-sensitivity, high-resolution, large single-plate CMOS sensor
Pixels Effective pixels: Approx. 8.20 megapixels
Total pixels: Approx. 8.50 megapixels
Aspect ratio 3:2
Color filter system RGB primary color filter
Low-pass filter Located in front of the image sensor, non-removable
  Recording System
Recording format Design rule for Camera File System 2.0
Image type JPEG, RAW (12bit)
simultaneous recording
File size
(1) Large/Fine: Approx. 3.6MB (3504 x 2336 pixels)
(2) Large/Normal: Approx. 1.8MB (3504 x 2336 pixels)
(3) Medium/Fine: Approx. 2.2MB (2544 x 1696 pixels)
(4) Medium/Normal: Approx. 1.1MB (2544 x 1696 pixels)
(5) Small/Fine: Approx. 1.2MB (1728 x 1152 pixels)
(6) Small/Normal: Approx. 0.6MB (1728 x 1152 pixels)
(7) RAW: Approx. 8.7MB (3504 x 2336 pixels)
* Exact file sizes depend on the subject, ISO speed, Picture Style, etc.
File numbering Consecutive numbering, auto reset, manual reset
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Picture Style Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Def. 1 - 3
Interface USB port (USB 2.0 Hi-Speed): For connection to a personal computer and direct printing
Video OUT terminal (NTSC/PAL)
  White Balance
Type Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent light, flash, custom, color temperature setting
Auto white balance Auto white balance with the image sensor
Color temperature compensation White balance correction: ±9 stops in full-stop increments
White balance bracketing: ±3 stops in full-stop increments
*Blue/amber bias or magenta/green bias possible
Color temperature
information transmission
Type Eye-level pentaprism
Coverage Vertical/Horizontal approx. 95%
Magnification Approx. 0.9x (-1 diopter with 50mm lens at infinity)
Eyepoint Approx. 20mm
Built-in dioptric adjustment -3.0 - +1.0 diopter
Focusing screen Fixed, precision matte
Mirror Quick-return half mirror
(Transmission:reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4L IS USM or shorter lens)
Viewfinder information AF information (AF points, focus confirmation light), exposure information (shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, AE lock, exposure level, spot metering circle, exposure warning), flash information (flash-ready, red-eye reduction lamp-on indicator, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation), white balance correction, maximum burst, CF card information
Depth-of-field preview Enabled with depth-of-field preview button
Type TTL secondary image-registration, phase detection
AF points 9 AF points
Metering range EV -0.5 - 18 (at 20?/68?F , ISO 100)
Focus modes One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)
AF point selection Auto, manual
Selected AF point display Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD panel
AF-assist beam Small series of flashes fired by built-in flash Effective range: Approx. 4.0m/13.1ft. at center, approx. 3.5m/11.5ft. at periphery
  Exposure Control
Metering modes 35-zone TTL full aperture metering
· Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)
· Partial metering (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)
· Spot metering (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder at center)
· Center-weighted average metering
Metering range EV 1-20 (at 20?/68?F with EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100)
Exposure control Program AE (Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash Off, Program), shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, depth-of-field AE, manual exposure, E-TTL II autoflash
ISO speed Basic Zone modes: ISO 100 - 400 set automatically Creative Zone modes: Equivalent to ISO 100 - 1600 (in 1/3-stop increments), ISO speed can be expanded to ISO 3200.
Exposure compensation Manual: ±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments (can be combined with AEB)
AEB: ±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments
AE lock Auto: Applied in One-Shot AF mode with evaluative metering when focus is achieved.
Manual: By AE lock button in all metering modes.
Type Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter
Shutter speeds 1/8000 to 30 sec. (1/3- and 1/2-stop increments), bulb X-sync at 1/250 sec.
Shutter release Soft-touch electromagnetic release
Self-timer 10-sec. delay
Remote control Remote control with N3 type terminal
  Buit-in Flash
Type Retractable, auto pop-up flash
Flash metering E-TTL II autoflash
Guide No. 13/43 (ISO 100, in meters/feet)
Recycle time Approx. 3 sec.
Flash-ready indicator Flash-ready icon lights in viewfinder
Flash coverage 17mm lens angle of view
FE lock Provided
Flash exposure compensation ±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments
  External Speedlite
EOS-dedicated Speedlite E-TTL II autoflash with EX-series Speedlite
PC terminal Provided
Zooming to match
lens focal length
  Drive System
Drive modes Single, High-speed continuous, Low-speed continuous, and Self-timer (10 sec.)
Continuous High-speed: max. 5 shots per sec., Low-speed: max. 3 shots per sec.
Maximum burst JPEG (Large/Fine): Approx. 30, RAW: Approx. 11, RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): Approx. 9
* Based on Canon’s testing conditions with a 512MB CF card for high-speed continuous shooting.
* Varies depending on the subject, ISO speed, Picture Style, CF card, etc.
  LCD Monitor
Type TFT color liquid-crystal monitor
Monitor size 2.5 in.
Pixels Approx. 230,000
Coverage 100% with respect to the effective pixels
Brightness adjustment Five levels provided
Interface languages 15
  Image Playback
Display format Single image, shooting information, 9-image index, magnified view (Approx. 1.5x - 10x), autoplay, image rotation, and Jump (by 10 or 100 images, by date)
Highlight warning In the shooting information mode, any overexposed highlight areas with no image information will blink.
Histogram Brightness, RGB
AF point display Enabled
  Image Protection and Erase
Protect Single images can be erase-protected or not.
Erase One image or all images in the CF card can be erased (except protected images).
  Direct Printing
Compatible printers PictBridge, CP Direct, and Bubble Jet Direct-compatible printers
Printable images JPEG images (DPOF printing possible)
Easy Printing feature Provided
  DPOF: Digital Print Order Format
DPOF Version 1.1 compatible
  Direct Image Transfer
Compatible images JPEG and RAW images
* Images to be used for wallpaper on the personal computer screen must be JPEG images.
Custom Functions 19 Custom Functions with 53 settings
  Power Source
Battery One Battery Pack BP-511A, BP-514, BP-511, or BP-512.
* AC power can also be supplied with the DC Coupler.
* With Battery Grip BG-E2, size-AA batteries can be used.
Battery life
[Number of shots·approx.]
Shooting Conditions
No Flash
50% Flash Use
At 20° / 68°F
At 0° / 32°F
* The above figures apply when a fully-charged Battery Pack BP-511A is used.
Battery check Automatic
Power saving Provided. Power turns off after 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, or 30min.
Date/Time battery One CR2016 lithium battery.
Startup time Approx. 0.15sec.
  Dimensions and Weight
Dimensions (W x H x D) 144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm / 5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9in.
Weight Approx. 700g / 24.7oz. (body only)
  Operation Environment
Working temperature range 0°- 40° / 32°F - 104°F
Working humidity 85% or less
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

Continue on to
Features & Controls

Return To Our
Reviews Menu


Note: All photographs and page content
Copyright © 2006 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.

Nothing on this page may be used, distributed or
copied without the author's prior permission.