Canon EOS 30D SLR Review
Features & Controls
The EOS 30D's top, front and rear covers are made of a very light
and strong magnesium alloy. Also, the left cover, where the USB port, video port and
other external interface terminals are located, is made of special engineering plastic
which also serves as an electromagnetic shield.
The main body is made of a stainless steel chassis and the mirror box is made of
high-strength engineering plastic. Also, the lens mount and imaging element are fixed
on the mirror box so that the flange focal distance does not change due to static pressure
caused by the mounted lens. The mirror box is fixed solidly on the chassis to attain a
body precision on a par with the EOS 20D.
The external paint is the same high-quality black satin leathery finish found on the EOS
5D. It suppresses fingernail scratches and the finer grain of the satin finish makes the
camera more comfortable to grasp.
Canon's large-area CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor captures images with exceptional clarity and tonal range, and offers the most pixels in its class. This APS-C size sensor (22.5 x 15.0mm) has the same 3:2 ratio as film cameras, enabling an effective angle of view that is 1.6x the normal EF Lens focal length. The EOS 30D has an extensive ISO range (from 100 to 1600 plus ISO 3200 in extended mode), which is selectable in 1/3-stop increments. The sensor features a newly developed set of narrow-gap microlenses and noise reduction circuits to improve performance at high ISO values, and optimized photodiode configurations for improved performance at all ISO values. This results in larger, clearer, sharper and more detailed photographs right from the start.
Second-generation on-chip noise reduction is enhanced for easier use with a choice of two modes: "Auto", to engage auto noise reduction when noise is detected; "ON", to engage noise reduction for all exposures of 1 sec. or longer. From smooth gradations and wide ISO speed range to effective suppression of false colors and ultra-precise white balance, this sensor matches the image quality found in the flagship model of Canon's EOS digital SLR lineup, EOS-1Ds Mark II. These refinements are the result of sophisticated DIGIC II imaging engine technology.
The DIGIC II Image Processor was designed specifically for Canon digital SLRs and enhances every aspect of image capture. Information captured by the CMOS sensor is processed and assembled into images of exceptional quality. With the DIGIC II Image Processor on board, photographers can expect natural color reproduction, precise white balance in any number of lighting situations and unparalleled clarity. The DIGIC II Image Processor employs sophisticated signal processing algorithms and works at greater speeds, all while consuming less energy. The entire processing chip - not just the software that drives it - is dedicated for use in a digital still camera.
The EOS 30D allows users to specify high-speed 5 fps or a new low-speed 3 fps continuous
shooting for more controlled shooting and/or to save space on the CF card. And it can
capture up to 30 JPEG and 11 RAW (or 9 RAW + JPEG) files in one burst. Whether it's the
0.15-second startup time, the high-speed mirror drive, the nearly instant 65-millisecond
shutter release lag time or the predictive AF focusing at speeds up to 5.0 frames per
second, the EOS 30D will amaze and delight photographers who don't want to wait for their
camera when they're ready to shoot.
Although the shutter release mechanism is the same as the EOS 20D's, the EOS 30D's
shutter button now allows the user to press it completely to take a picture, return it to
the halfway position and then press it again to take another picture. This
works the same way as with EOS-1 Series
cameras and the EOS 5D. The shutter release time lag is approximately
65 ms. (stop down within 3.5 stops of the maximum aperture) and the viewfinder
blackout time is approximately 110 ms. Both are equal to or shorter than times on
the EOS 20D.
The EOS 30D is compatible with all Canon lenses in the EF lineup, ranging from ultra-wide
angle to super telephoto lenses, and including Canon's EF-S series lenses, manufactured
specifically for Canon's APS-C sized digital sensor. Canon lenses employ advanced optical
expertise and micron-precision engineering to deliver unprecedented performance in all
facets of the photographic process. Aspherical optics and fluorite elements, for example,
are featured in the universally acclaimed L Series lenses, and Canon's Image Stabilizer
technology in select lenses minimizes the effect of camera shake.
Two NEW EF Lenses
The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM offers superb image quality, on par with L Series lenses. It has a large maximum aperture which, combined with higher shutter speeds, can minimize subject motion blur. Shallow depth-of-field for separation of a subject from its background is much easier to achieve. The f/2.8 maximum aperture allows a bright finder and extremely precise focusing with f/2.8-compatible AF sensors. The internal stabilization has a sharpness benefit equivalent to a three stop faster shutter speed. Combining f/2.8 with IS makes the new lens outstanding in low light.
As an EF-S lens, the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is
smaller, lighter and handier than a lens of similar specifications could be, but covers
the full 24 x 36mm frame. This new lens would certainly be the "best match" for the
EOS 30D except that it causes some vignetting when the built-in flash is used.
The EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is a revision of the EF 85mm f/1.2L USM lens introduced in 1989. Its enormous maximum aperture and handy focal length made it a favorite of wedding, portrait and sports photographers. While its image quality has remained a benchmark, general improvements in AF speed over its years of service make it an excellent candidate for an AF update. A ring USM drive, a high-speed CPU and optimized AF algorithms achieve a great increase in AF speed over the older lens (roughly 1.8x, depending upon camera and conditions). Lens coatings have been optimized as well, minimizing ghosting and flare. Distance information is now provided for flash exposure calculations. The new lens now has a round aperture that helps to produce a beautiful background blur. The new 85mm has the same optical system as its predecessor, 8 elements in 7 groups.
The ground aspherical element, in the third position from the front, minimizes
aberrations and provides superb image quality with high resolution and high contrast,
even at maximum aperture, true to its L Series heritage. The lens uses a floating
construction in which the final group (lens element 8) is fixed and the other lens groups
extend during focusing, suppressing aberration variations at medium and short distances
and achieving excellent imaging performance over the entire imaging area.
In sum, wedding, portrait and sports shooters (primarily), as well as fashion photographers
and anyone else with an interest in excellent and unique optics, will find the EF 85mm
f/1.2L II USM an alluring and sophisticated tool.
The specifications of the built-in flash are:
E-TTL II autoflash, Guide number 13/43 at ISO 100 in meters/feet, coverage compatible
with an EF-S 17mm wide angle lens (equivalent to an EF 28mm lens in full-frame 35mm
format), 91.93mm between the optical axis and the flash head center and maximum
flash sync speed 1/250 sec. To match the EOS 30D's improved shutter durability, a
highly durable Xenon tube is incorporated to increase the service life of the built-in flash.
Flash exposure compensation can be set in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments up to +/-2
stops. FEC for both the built-in flash and a Speedlite can be set with the camera.
The E-TTL II flash metering system is compatible with all EX-series Speedlites, the smarter E-TTL II captures the subject as a "plane" and ensures that images containing various colors and levels of reflection are captured accurately and optimally. The system compares the ambient light with the reflected pre-flash off the subject reported in all 17 metering zones and selects the areas with a small difference to be weighted for flash exposure calculation. This system also eliminates or under weights areas with large difference recognizing them as an extremely reflective object in the background or as a highly reflective subject, smartly ensuring it by considering the distance information data provided from compatible EF lenses.
E-TTL II features high-speed sync (FP Flash) with all shutter speeds from 30 sec. to 1/8000 sec. FE (Flash Exposure) Lock on the desired part of the subject - this is the flash equivalent of AE lock. Flash exposure compensation up to +/-3 stops in 1/3-stop increments. FEB (Flash Exposure Bracketing) is the flash version of AEB, flash bracketing can be up to +/-3 stops in 1/3-stop increments. E-TTL II wireless autoflash with multiple Speedlites provides all the above features. (Only with wireless-compatible Canon Speedlites.)
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