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First Impressions of Canon 20d

I picked up my Canon EOS 20d last week and have had a couple of opportunities to shoot with it under relatively tough conditions. I’m only beginning to go through images so I can’t discuss that yet, but operationally I’m starting to get a feel for the camera.

So far, it’s been a delight!

When I turn it on or wake it up, it’s ready to shoot. The 2-3 second delay on the 10d has been eliminated. This is great!

The autofocus system is supposed to be improved relative to the 10d. I can’t speak to the accuracy of AF yet, but it certainly is capable of acquiring focus in lower light levels than the 10d could.

I’ve played around with the built-in flash and used my 550ex extensively shooting a parade at night and indoors and E-TTL II appears to be a big step forward in getting reliable flash metering (without resorting to FEL).

The camera writes to compact flash much more quickly than the 10d. Sometimes I felt like I was watching paint dry waiting for the 10d to finish writing. The 20d is so much faster that if I don’t look for the red light, I’m not even aware of when the write happens when shooting a single frame.

Image review is quite snappy and the multicontroller makes navigating around zoomed images (and selecting focus points) a whole lot easier.

The shutter release is quite sensitive. I kept my 10d on multi-shot and could reliably take one frame. I can mostly do the same on the 20d, but sometimes my touch is a bit heavier and I fire off two or three frames before I know it. Not a bad thing but I’ll have to retrain my shutter finger to be a tad lighter.

The initial impressions for image quality are good. High ISO noise appears visibly reduced compared to the 10d (which was no slouch). Can’t say much more than that yet.

The only real operational backward step is that the 10d had two settings for image review. One for when you pressed the ‘play’ button and another for the
immediate playback when taking photos. I would keep mine set to full-size with ‘play’ and the show the histogram with taking a shot. The 20d only has one setting that applies to both. It’s not hard to change back and forth, but having each setting separate was nice.

Mirror slap is somewhat louder than the 10d. The 10d was pretty quiet for an SLR. I guess the faster speed (5fps vs. 3fps) is a worthwhile trade,
but I did like the relative quiet on the 10d.

Overall, I’m thrilled with the way the camera handles. I should have more to say on image quality in a few days.

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