Canon EOS 20D (with 18mm - 55mm lens)
Manufacturer: Canon Part number: 9442A008
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as of 04/15/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $1,775.00
- Reviewed by: Aimee Baldridge
- Reviewed on: 11/18/2004
- Released on: 10/01/2004
The good: Excellent low-light performance; fast and responsive; straightforward controls; nice balance of features for both experienced and learning photographers.
The bad: No spot meter; pop-up flash casts shadow with some lenses; viewfinder provides only 95 percent view; average battery life; 1.6X lens-conversion factor.
The bottom line: Though its performance has been surpassed by subsequent models, the Canon EOS 20D remains a top semipro dSLR choice.
Fantastic camera, Great for the digital enthusiast
by captainsquash on June 21, 2005
Pros: Produces excellent shots (quality, color, noise, etc.), Joy to work with (intuitive and instantaneous)
Cons: Pop-up flash isn't too powerful, should have a kit lens that really shows off the camera's power, pricey
Summary: The Canon EOS 20D certainly breaks a lot of ground when compared to older digital SLRs (especially the EOS 10D). I closely compared this with Nikon's D70(s) and ...
Summary: The Canon EOS 20D certainly breaks a lot of ground when compared to older digital SLRs (especially the EOS 10D). I closely compared this with Nikon's D70(s) and Canon's Digital Rebel XT (350D) and I can say that this is the current 'top gun' of prosumer digital SLRs. The shots I take with the Canon EOS 20D always show excellent color reproduction and the perfect exposure. The EOS 20D also produces very nice photos at very high ISO speeds (ISO 1600 is fantastic, images begin to get grainy at ISO 3200) with very little noise. Unfortunately, it still carries a hefty pricetag at this point (roughly $1450), which makes it difficult to justify the purchase at first. After playing with this camera at a local camera store (swing by a camera store if you can!!), and after comparing it head-to-head with other DSLRs, I chose the EOS 20D because of the following...
* Best body design and best button/control layout (having an LCD on the front can be hard when you are working in the field), felt very snug in my hand, I like the set dial VERY much
* Fastest burst mode, 5fps (very nice if you take pictures of sports games or other fast-moving objects)
* Fastest response time (DIG!C II really shines on this camera)
* 9 focus points, can be crucial if you need AF and shooting macros or other delicate shots
* Extra manual controls (manual white balance, color temperature, custom functions)
* Body looks (and feels) much more professional than the Canon Rebel XT or Nikon D70.
At this point, I’m using the EOS 20D mostly for my own pleasure in nature photography and in experimental shots. I’ve also used it in weddings/prom shots, product modeling and the school yearbook, all of which it performs exceptionally. It is certainly an upgrade from my Powershot S30 and Nikon F2.
Miscellaneous annoyances with the EOS 20D
* The viewfinder shows only 95% of final image, if you are really into framing your shots (and don’t like to edit them) this can throw you off sometimes
* It has a fairly loud shutter
* Can’t take good candid/portrait shots due to its size
* Would have liked a Firewire option, but USB 2.0 works just fine.
The 18-55 EFS kit lens is very nice for the price (extra $100), featuring (roughly) a 2.5x zoom and decent macro capability (.28m/.9ft). To get the true 35mm equivalent, you multiply any lens by 1.6, so the kit lens is roughly a 28.8mm-88mm lens in 35mm terms (note: using old 35mm lenses can get tricky with the 1.6x conversion factor). The 18-55 kit lens doesn’t really show off all the camera has to offer, if possible, go with the 17-85 kit lens. The 17-85 also features Canon’s new image stabilizer feature, which works very well. The image stabilizer sometimes eliminates the need for a tripod.
The pop-up flash on this camera performs very well as a fill-in flash but it isn’t well suited for long-range nighttime shots. For the occasional night portrait, this flash should do the job. If it doesn’t, you can hook up your old flash via a PC terminal or accessory shoe (hotshoe).
If you still can’t decide what DSLR you want…
If you already have Nikon compatible (most AF lenses work) lens, go with the Nikon D70, if you have Canon compatible (most AF lenses), go with the EOS 20D.
If you are a creative professional or extreme hobbyist, the EOS 20D will never cease to please.
If you are in the photography business, something with a little more punch might be nice, you might want to try the Nikon D100 or the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. For wedding shots, assignment photography or journalism, the EOS 20D should be just what you’re looking for.
If you want superior quality images as well as impressive functionality, yet don’t want to drop lots of cash then you would want the Rebel XT.
If you’re still not sure, it can’t hurt to go to your local photo store and try them out. Reading reviews (like this one) can help quite a bit, but it’s probably a wise idea to take some shots with the different cameras and play around.
Image Stabilizer - http://www.canon.com/technology/detail/digi_video/shakecorrect_shift/
EOS 20D Product page - http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=139&modelid=10464
Reviews I Used
21 out of 21 users found this user opinion helpful.
Worth the money. Period.
by excelguru on June 14, 2005
Pros: Robust feel, sturdy construction, easy and fast to manipulate settings, very fast, see full review below.
Cons: Not inexpensive, nicer lenses can be pricey if you're accustomed to cheaper cameras, uh... that's about it
Summary: I chose to buy the body only and purchase a different lens than was available in the kit. I chose Canon's EF 100mm f/2 lens which is awesome ...
Summary: I chose to buy the body only and purchase a different lens than was available in the kit. I chose Canon's EF 100mm f/2 lens which is awesome for portrait shots (I can't afford the EF 50mm F/1). But this is a review for the camera, not the lens.
The construction and sturdiness are the first things you'll notice. As soon as you hold it, you understand why it costs $500 more than the Rebel XT (have you ever held a Rebel XT?). This camera fits my hands much better than the Rebel and definitely feels stronger and more robust.
Start-up time (or wake-up time if it's in stand-by mode) is awesome. Rapid fire is so fast you have to remind yourself that this thing is snapping off 8.2-megapixel images! Seattings for things like ISO, drive mode, AF mode, etc. are quickly accessed and changed in mere seconds. This is very handy when you're trying to capture "the moment" and "the moment" doesn't wanna wait for you to browse through menus.
But what's really astounding (and I do mean astounding) are the low-light capabilities. Even at ISO1600 with no flash, images didn't show unsightly grain and small details are clearly visible with virtually no noise at all!!! I'm just blown away by it, really.
My last camera (Canon S40) was a wonderful point-and-shoot which I paid about $400 for three years ago. This time around, I thought twice about spending $2000 (remember, I bought an expensive lens separately) to upgrade to a professional-grade camera. At this point, I'm glad I bit the bullet. The camera is worth the money.
20 out of 21 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great camera - except for the pop-up flash performance
by hholdham on March 4, 2005
Pros: Excellent detail and color.
Cons: Pop-up flash is VERY weak!
Summary: This is an excellent camera for all shots except those where you rely on the pop-up flash for the primary light source. I cannot belive how under-powered the pop-up flash ...
Summary: This is an excellent camera for all shots except those where you rely on the pop-up flash for the primary light source. I cannot belive how under-powered the pop-up flash is. My Digital Rebel's flash is much more powerful. Can't believe Canon made this mistake.
11 out of 14 users found this user opinion helpful.
Love this camera!
by meanoldmom on July 10, 2005
Pros: Fairly easy to learn to use. Multiple preprogrammed camera settings with ability to program your own frequently used ones. Fast shutter, fast write to card (w/ high speed CF).
Cons: The high cost of good lenses to take full advantage of the camera's capabilities.
Summary: I bought this camera in January to mainly use as the "official" photographer for my daughter's high school show choir. Getting good pictures of dancing, singing teenagers from the ...
Summary: I bought this camera in January to mainly use as the "official" photographer for my daughter's high school show choir. Getting good pictures of dancing, singing teenagers from the back of a darkened auditorium required fast shutter speed, quick write time to allow for multiple frames per second, good low light capability for crowd shots and the ability to do wide angle and long distance zoom. I have not regretted the money that I invested in this camera and the two additional lenses, 75-300mm & 28-135mm. To avoid missing any shots, I, also, purchased a second battery and two Lexar Pro CF cards, 1Gb & 2Gb. Despite all I have read about the battery life in other reviews, I have never had to resort to my second battery, even when taking pictures off and on from 6am to midnight. To accomplish this I did turn off the LCD screen, preferring to view the complete set of pictures during upload to my computer. The lenses are easy to change, making the switch from short to long distance a snap. For my long distance pictures in the auditoriums I mounted the camera on a monopod. It maintains the stability needed to eliminate shaking of the camera by my hands during the longer shutter speeds for full zoom, slower shutter in the auditorium, plus the monopod is easier to carry around all day. This summer I have been using it for taking pictures during bass tournaments. It performs like a dream outdoors. Even in the pre-dawn light I am able to get good pictures of the fisherman waiting to climb in their boats and go racing across the lake. The image stabilization of the Canon zoom lenses works so well with this camera, that the pictures of wildlife creatures and other fishermen that I have taken while on the rocking boat come out crisp and clear.
For taking pictures in multiple lighting and motion settings this camera is a must.
I love my Canon 20D!
7 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Best Camera I've Ever Used, a film killer!
by LJCameraGuy on April 10, 2005
Pros: Speed, Build Quality, Customizability, Image Quality
Cons: You pay a premium to have the best in it's class. The shutter is a little loud, but it shoots faster bursts than anything in its class.
Summary: Camera Setup:
Canon 20D w/
3- 1gb 80x lexar cards (80+ picture burst at 5fps in jpeg!!)
4gb microdrive, gives me 7gb of total capacity in case I get silly. ...
Summary: Camera Setup:
Canon 20D w/
3- 1gb 80x lexar cards (80+ picture burst at 5fps in jpeg!!)
4gb microdrive, gives me 7gb of total capacity in case I get silly. About 60x write speed with the 20d
17-85mm IS USM lens. Good lens, the IS is very handy and generally nixes the need for a tripod for everyday use. My only complaint is that I have 2 pieces of small visible dust inside the lens that do not affect image quality. I just don't like to see it. This complaint is about the lens, which is otherwise pretty good, not the camera.
70-200f4 L USM lens. The best deal in image quality in the Canon line, MTF chart rivals $5000 lenses just not as fast wide open but much lighter. A great telephoto lens to carry along if you're not rich enough to have someone else haul your stuff around for you.
Canon 420ex flash. The 20d has all the controls you generally need for the flash. I may purchase a 580ex just to have a slave option and a slightly more powerful flash.
This is probably the most satisfied I've ever been with a major purchase. This camera is very fast and has great battery life. I have 3 batteries and I generally change one after a couple of weeks of snapshooting. However if I shoot all day the batteries hold out all day. The image quality is mind blowing and being able to customize controls makes the camera feel like a natural extension of my hand.
Some have criticized the lack of a spotmeter on the 20d, which is a legitimate complaint. However, the Nikon D70s spotmeter has been calculated as a 5 degree spot while the 20d's is 6 degrees. Being that the 20D smokes the D70 in every respect pretty much kills that 1 degree advantage. My friends with the D70 just can't keep up in terms of speed and high ISO image quality. Plus I have 2 million more pixels!
I can shoot beautiful, crisp images and print them at home. I have shots taken at iso 400-800 which I have been jokingly accused of ripping out of national geographic, including shots of a hawk taking off on a very dim and gloomy day. Shooting in a poorly -lit church I've been able to shoot individual and group portaits at ISO 800 and even 1600 when necessary and used the included software to perfect them by controlling any noise and finetunning the developed raw file in the included Photoshop Elements.
Overall, this is a great camera and in every way outperforms any camera out now or rumored to be coming out now including the Fuji 12megapixel DSLR.
6 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Canon has another winner in its ranks.
by Chiatzu on June 27, 2005
Pros: Fast start-up, fast fps, excellent image quality and outstanding lens options.
Cons: LCD display could be larger, 95% viewfinder, rather loud shutter sound
Summary: No, this isn't your pocket point and shoot camera. This is a camera that says it's all about the pictures. The body is extremely well-built, and the weight ...
Summary: No, this isn't your pocket point and shoot camera. This is a camera that says it's all about the pictures. The body is extremely well-built, and the weight of the body alone lets you know it. The grip is large and secure to handle, though with larger lenses you'll be better off to hold it centered than by the grip alone.
Image quality of the EOS 20D is excellent. Much will depend on what lens the camera is paired with, of course. But that's the beauty of SLRs, the ability to swap lenses as needed. If you've never used a prosumer camera like the Canon EOS 20D, you'll be startled by how fast this camera can capture and process images, thanks to its large buffer. Camera off to on start-up time is virtually immediate, with the only delay being brief communication with the compactflash card. Battery life is excellent and promises anywhere from 600-1000 pictures depending on number of times internal flash and LCD is used.
The only caveat I can offer is don't expect your photography investment to end here. You'll want more and better lenses, a hot shoe flash unit, a camera bag, a couple 1GB compactflash cards, a sturdy tripod, and more. Like the camera indicates, it's all about the pictures.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
The best value for the money. OUTSTANDING images!!
by shepseal on April 22, 2005
Pros: 5 FPS, Excellent ergonomics, Pro-level build, rugged. Great batt. life. Flip-up flash, ability to shoot B & W, and filetr just like film.
Cons: No pro-level "seals." Viewfinder a little dim, menu screen too dim and the screen has too little resolution and is too small.
Summary: I have read hundreds of reviews of this camera. It is time to put my 2 cents worth in the hopper. I have shot photojournalism, weddings, etc., etc. for over ...
Summary: I have read hundreds of reviews of this camera. It is time to put my 2 cents worth in the hopper. I have shot photojournalism, weddings, etc., etc. for over 45 years. was a Nikon film guy for all those years. Bought a Canon G-1, then a 10D and now the 20D. For the money NOTHING out there can equal this body. NOTHING. Canon has FAR better R & D than Nikon (and it hurts me to say that too). You get what you pay for!!! I shoot PROFESSIONAL level images and my customers are THRILLED with the images! If you nit-pick, yeah, a 16 megapixel camera is better. Your customers will not see the difference -- only the wine and cheese "artists" will "see" the difference. You want MORE camera, then fork out eight grand for the top of the line Canon. Until then stop expecting something for nothing!!
ALL camera companies need to expand the dynamic range of the sensors. We have enough megapixels for now.
6 out of 9 users found this user opinion helpful.
Incredible camera & very durable
by zero74 on November 1, 2005
Pros: magnesium body, interchangable lenses, 5fps, long battery life, low noise, & many other features
Cons: not a full frame, not weather sealed, mediocre kit lens.
Summary: I have owned this camera for about 1 year now. Everytime I pull this baby out and start firing it always brings a smile to my face. The speed and ...
Summary: I have owned this camera for about 1 year now. Everytime I pull this baby out and start firing it always brings a smile to my face. The speed and the quality that you get when using the 20d is incredible. The 5fps is more than enough to take great sequence shots of fast moving objects. I'm glad nikon released the d200, maybe now it will cause canon to reduce the price of this baby so more people can afford it. If you have never used a dslr before, I can highly recommend this one without hesitation. Pair it with a good tamron lens and like the 17-35mm and WOW!!!
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
"Ignore the D70 Dino's going extinct"
Pros: Very easy to use for a DSLR. No metering problems. No freeze ups. No color problems. No focus problems. Don't understand why some feel the flash and shutter are too loud- must all be bitter D-70 users. My wife, a camera novice, has no problem using
Cons: It is a little pricy. I waffled between the 20 D and the D 70 until I realized that the D 70 was old technology and was out of date. Is a little heavy, but it is packed with pro features. Could have come with a higher zoom but if I need it I'll get a d
4 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
good camera Bad service
Pros: 8.2 meg pix
Cons: Bad service no accountabilty when something goes wrong. All I receive for canon was excuses why they could not fix my camera in a timely manner.
4 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Canon
- Part number: 9442A008
- Description: The EOS 20D is the semi-professional digital SLR to deliver all the speed, precision and flexibility synonymous with high-end film SLR cameras - plus a whole lot more. A rugged magnesium alloy body provides the first clue that the EOS 20D is no ordinary camera. Canon's award-winning CMOS technology delivers outstanding image quality and 8.2 Megapixel resolution. The DIGIC II architecture drives blistering 5fps continuous shooting with a maximum burst of 23 frame JPEG images, class-leading color rendition accuracy, quick start-up times and rapid display and zooming of images during in-camera review. JPEG and RAW files write simultaneously with no loss of performance. 9 auto focus points are carefully distributed across a wide area of the frame for fast, accurate focusing, even with off-center subjects and particularly with 'rule-of-thirds' compositions. The E-TTL distance-linked flash algorithm takes factors such as lens distance information and ambient light readings into account for accurate flash metering, even in circumstances such as recomposed shots, or where high or low reflective objects appear in the frame. The camera is compatible with the entire EX-series Speedlite flash range. This includes the 580EX, which transmits color temperature information for improved color stability and auto zooms to match the camera's APS-C sensor size. The EOS 20D is compatible with more than 60 Canon EF lenses, including Canon's EF-S lenses. Built with the EOS 20D photographer in mind, the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM cover popular wide (approx. 16-35mm) and standard (approx. 27-136mm) ranges in the 35mm equivalent. An extreme high (3200 ISO) setting extends the camera's wide 100-1600 ISO speed range. Both sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces are supported. Digital Photo Professional image processing software permits high-speed processing of lossless RAW files. The EOS 20D's USB 2.0 Hi-Speed connection enables fast download of images to the computer. PictBridge compliant, the camera supports direct printing to any compatible photo printer. It takes both CF and CF-II cards, including cards of over 2GB capacity.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Digital camera - SLR
- Resolution 8.2 megapixels
- Optical Sensor Type CMOS
- Total Pixels 8,500,000 pixels
- Effective Sensor Resolution 8,200,000 pixels
- Optical Sensor Size 15.0 x 22.5mm
- Optical Zoom 3 x
- Digital Zoom 3
- Image Processor DIGIC II
- Auto Focus TTL phase detection
- Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty 9
- Digital Video Format JPEG
- Image Recording Format JPEG,
RAW + JPEG
- AV Interfaces Composite video
Exposure & White Balance
- Light Sensitivity ISO 3200,
- Exposure Metering Partial (9%),
- Exposure Metering Zones 35
- Exposure Modes E-TTL II program flash,
- Shooting Programs Sports mode,
- Special Effects Monotone
- White Balance Automatic,
- White Balance Presets Daylight,
- Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 sec
- Min Shutter Speed 30 sec
- Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range, in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
- Auto Exposure Bracketing 3 steps in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
- White Balance Bracketing Yes
- X-sync Speed 1/250 sec
- Exposure Range EV 1-20 ( ISO 100 )
- Type 3 x x Zoom lens - 18 mm - 55 mm - F/3.5-5.6
- Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 17 mm
- Focus Adjustment Manual,
- Min Focus Range 11 in
- Max View Angle 74.3 degrees
- Zoom Adjustment Manual
- Lens Construction 9 groups / 11 elements
- Lens System Mounting Canon EF-S
- Camera Flash Pop-up flash
- Guide Number (m / ISO 100) 13
- Flash Modes E-TTL,
FP flash (high-speed synchro),
- Features Ratio control,
Flash +/- compensation,
- Effective Flash Range 11.5 ft
- Continuous Shooting Speed 5 frames per second
- Self Timer Delay 10 sec
- Flash Terminal PC terminal,
- Status LCD Display Illumination Yes
- Status LCD Display Information Photo quality,
White balance indicators,
Manual focus mode,
- Additional Features Display brightness control,
Depth-of-field preview button,
RGB primary color filter,
Auto power save,
Camera orientation detection,
USB 2.0 compatibility,
- Viewfinder Type Optical - Fixed eye-level pentaprism
- Viewfinder Color Support Color
- Field Coverage 95%
- Magnification 0.9x
- Dioptric Correction Range -3 to +1
- Viewfinder Frames Autofocus frame
- Viewfinder Information Exposure compensation,
Flash charge completion,
- Type 1.8 in LCD display
- Resolution 118,000
- Display Features Built-in
- Microphone Operation Mode Mono
- Connector Type 1 x Composite video/audio output,
1 x USB
- Software Adobe Acrobat Elements,
Drivers & Utilities
System Requirements for PC Connection
- Operating System Support MS Windows 98 SE,
Apple Mac OS X 10.3,
MS Windows 98,
MS Windows XP,
MS Windows 2000,
Apple Mac OS X 10.2,
Apple Mac OS X 10.1,
Apple Mac OS 9.0 - 9.2,
MS Windows ME
- Peripheral Devices USB port,
- System Requirements Details Windows 98/98SE/2000/ME - Pentium - 150 MHz - 128 MB,
Windows XP - Pentium - 300 MHz - 256 MB,
MacOS 9.0 - 9.2 - PowerPC - 128 MB,
MacOS X - PowerPC - 256 MB
- Included Accessories Battery charger,
- Body Material Magnesium alloy
- Supported Battery 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 1390 mAh ( Included )
Memory / Storage
- Memory Card Slot CompactFlash Card
- Supported Memory Cards CompactFlash,
- Image Storage Fine JPEG 3504 x 2336 - 3.6 MB,
Normal JPEG 3504 x 2336 - 1.8 MB,
Fine JPEG 2544 x 1696 - 2.2 MB,
Normal JPEG 2544 x 1696 - 1.1 MB,
Fine JPEG 1728 x 1152 - 1.2 MB,
Normal JPEG 1728 x 1152 - 0.6 MB,
RAW 3504 x 2336 - 8.7 MB
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 5.7 in
- Depth 2.8 in
- Height 4.2 in
- Weight 1.5 lbs
- Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
- Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
15.0 x 22.5mm,
15.0 x 22.5mm,
28 - 135mm F/4.0,
15.0 x 22.5mm,
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (for Canon SLR Cameras)
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens
- Tamron AF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 LD for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
- Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM
- Epson Stylus Photo R2400
- Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD 1:2 Auto Focus Macro Zoom Lens with Hood for Canon EOS