Canon EOS 20D SLR Review

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Canon EOS 20D

Camera Features & Controls (cont.)

The Mode Dial is divided into the Basic Zone

  • AUTO - Fully automatic "point and shoot" mode
  • Portrait - blurs background
  • Landscape - sweeping scenery, sunsets
  • Close-up - closeup shots of small things
  • Sports - capturing fast-moving subjects
  • Night Scene - slow shutter plus fill flash
  • Flash Off - take natural looking pictures without the flash
and the Creative Zone
  • Program AE - camera selects best combination of shutter speed and aperture but the user may "shift" to other combinations. The user may select options such as drive mode, metering mode, focus point and more that are not available in the AUTO mode.
  • Tv - Shutter speed priority; you select shutter speed, camera matches appropriate aperture
  • Av - Aperture priority; you select aperture, camera matches appropriate shutter speed
  • Manual - you select both shutter speed and aperture
  • A-DEP - camera selects shutter speed and aperture for maximum depth of field as calculated between the near and far focus points.

Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

The controls on the grip side include a button to turn the LCD back light on and off, shown here illuminated. The dual function buttons along the top of the LCD let you change the AF mode-White Balance, Drive mode-ISO speed, Metering mode-Flash Exposure Compensation by using the Main Dial and the Quick Control Dial on the back. The controls located here are the "camera" controls. We'll cover the "digital" controls located on the back on the next page of this review.

The ISO speed is manually selectable from 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 (and 3200 if enabled in custom functions) when in the Creative Zone exposure modes. In the Basic Zone modes the ISO value is set automatically.

Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

On the front of the grip is the shutter release. The Main Command Dial is located just behind the shutter button.

Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

On the back of the grip are two buttons:

    The (AE/FE Lock) button lets you lock the exposure at a place different than the point of focus. Custom function options allow the focus and exposure lock actions to be changed. (in Play mode this is the Index/Reduce image button)

    The (AF Point) button lets you select the desired AF point when in any of the Basic Zone or A-DEP exposure modes. (in Play mode this is the Enlarge image button)

Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

Images are stored on CompactFlash devices. The 20D can use any capacity CompactFlash Type I or II card and is fully compatible with IBM/Hitachi Microdrives. The EOS 20D supports the FAT12/16/32 file systems and is fully compatible with CF cards over 2GB. The read/write data throughput is considerably faster than the 10D.

I recommended buying a BIG card for this camera, especially if you use the Raw+JPEG save option. Shown here is the Sandisk Extreme 1GB CF and the 2GB Hitachi Microdrive, both are big and very fast writing devices.

Approximate image file sizes:

  • Large/Fine ~3.6MB (3504 x 2336)
  • Large/Normal ~1.8MB (3504 x 2336)
  • Middle/Fine ~2.2MB (2544 x 1696)
  • Middle/Normal ~1.1MB (2544 x 1696
  • Small/Fine ~1.2MB (1728 x 1152)
  • Small/Normal ~0.6MB (1728 x 1152)
  • RAW .CR2 format ~8.7MB (3504 x 2336)

      Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

      On the left side is the high speed USB 2.0 Digital port (up to 54Mbps), Video Out (NTSC or PAL), on the bottom is a standard PC flash sync port and a connector for the Canon RS-80N3 remote switch, TC-80N3 timer remote or LC-4 wireless controller.

      Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

      The 20D is powered by the BP-511A 7.2v 1390mAh (with 25% more capacity than the previous BP-511) lithium rechargeable pack. At normal temperature (68°F/20°C) it's good for ~1000 pictures without flash or ~750 pictures if the flash is used 50% of the time. Battery life is incredible thanks to its low-power CMOS imager and power-saving DIGIC II processor.

      The supplied CG-580 (U.S. and Japan) compact charger requires 90 minutes to charge a fully depleted BP-511A battery pack. The red LED indicates the charge level.

      The camera can also be powered by a BP-511 or BP-512 battery pack or an optional AC Adapter Kit ACK-E2.

      Canon EOS 20D, image (c) 2004 Steve's Digicams

      The optional BG-E2 battery grip holds two BP-511A/511 type batteries and extends the battery life to 2000 frames w/out flash or 1400 frames with 50% flash use. It can also be used with 6-AA batteries and yields about 250 frames w/out flash, 120 frames with 50% flash use. The BG-E2 also adds a portrait grip with a vertical shutter release complete with an AE-Lock button, Focusing selector button and Main Dial. It automatically switches over to the second battery when the first one is exhausted.

      If you use big zooms or telephoto lenses then the BG-E2 should be considered as a "must have" accessory. It gives you a much more stable way to hold the camera and also acts as a counterbalance by shifting the center of gravity.

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