Canon EOS 20D

Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • 8.2 megapixel resolution, great value, instant startup


  • Small sensor multiplies focal length of lenses by 1.6

Bottom Line

The EOS 20D offers professional handling, quality and features at an affordable price. One of the best digital SLRs, for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Would you buy this?

Canon's EOS 20D is an 8.2 megapixel digital SLR which is aimed at keen amateurs and professionals.

The Canon has an 8.2 Mp sensor, delivering images with 3504 x 2336 pixels and sufficient detail to make A3 inkjet prints which look great. Crucially for professionals, there are now enough pixels for 10" x 8" reproduction at 300dpi (dots per inch).

Images are stored on CompactFlash cards, although, as with other digital SLRs, cards don't come with the camera. Files can be recorded in JPEG or RAW formats, and RAW files are recordable with matching JPEGs at any quality setting. Top-quality JPEGs measure about 3MB each.

The EOS 20D can take any Canon EF lens and, unlike its predecessor, is compatible with the growing range of Canon EF-S lenses. Like all digital SLRs in this price range, the sensor is physically smaller than a frame of 35mm film, resulting in the effective focal length of all lenses being multiplied by 1.6. So the new 17 to 85mm EF-S lens, for example, acts like a 27 to 136mm one.

The EOS 20D's tough magnesium alloy shell is well built, and will stand up to professional use. Its startup time is a fraction of a second, and the new nine-point autofocus system is fast. Continuous shooting is possible at 5fps (frames per second) with a 23-frame buffer.

In terms of exposure, there is a choice of Program, Auto, Manual, Shutter and Aperture Priority modes, along with five scene presets. Shutter speeds range from 1/8000 of a second to 30 seconds plus bulb, and sensitivity runs between 100 and 3200 ISO.

The EOS 20D is responsive and feels tough enough to handle anything; it's more like a pro body costing two or three times the price.

Picture quality is superb; the two extra megapixels provide considerably greater detail than 6 megapixel cameras, without any compromise in electronic noise levels.

The Canon EOS 20D may have the same 8.2 megapixel resolution as many high-end consumer cameras, but there's a big difference between their sensors. At 22.5 x 15mm, the EOS 20D's sensor has almost six times the surface area of the so-called 2/3" sensors in the latter category, and therefore physically larger pixels. These, in turn, result in much lower noise levels even at high sensitivities.

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