A new digital SLR offers strong sensor performance
By Rob Sheppard
The megapixel wars have most people thinking that sensor size is everything. In our experience at OP and PCPhoto magazines, we've learned that while sensor size is important, other elements go into a quality image, especially if sizable enlargements are desired from the file.
The Canon EOS 20D sports 8.2 megapixels, impressive for a camera of its size and price. But image quality is strongly influenced by the sensor design itself, as this affects noise,color and tonal range. In extensive shooting with this camera, I've been very impressed with the actual image files coming from the sensor. The camera offers one of the cleanest image files available from any digital camera, let alone on eat this price.
This presents some real advantages to the photographer. First, standard ISO settings, such as 100, create files that enlarge extremely well. You can get quality 16x20-inch prints that will match 35mm film. That said, it's important to note that this only will occur with attention to detail. This is a small-sensor digital SLR (with a magnification factor of1.6x), so it's necessary to shoot on a tripod when possible, use quality lenses, stop down the lens for appropriate depth of field and use proper exposure to get images of which the camera is capable.
It's interesting that this camera offers exceptional images at higher ISO settings because its sensor has such low noise. At ISO 400, you'll hardly notice a difference from 100, and it gives excellent images at ISO 800 and 1600.Photographers now have new possibilities for using lighter, slower lenses or zoom lenses with smaller maximum apertures.
The EOS 20D includes the Canon DIGIC II chip for internal processing of images, which makes the camera faster (5 fps) and enables smart processing of images from the sensor to JPEG files. You'll also find a newly designed nine-point AF system, a 0.2-second start up time and a magnesium-alloy body. The Canon EOS 20D is a distinct upgrade from the EOS10D, yet it's smaller, at 5.7x4.2x2.8-inches and 24 ounces (body only), and costs the same (street price: $1,499, without lens). It handles all EOS EF lenses, including the small-format EF-S designs.
[ Specifications] Effective Resolution: 8.25 megapixels (3520 x 2342 pixels); actual recording pixels: 3504 x 2336; approx. 8.2 million Lens Mount: Canon EF and EF-S Viewfinder: Eye-level penta prism LCD Size: 1.8 inches Media Type: CF cards Shooting Modes: Program, Shutter-and Aperture-Priority, Manual, plus 8 additional program modes Exposure Compensation: ±2 stops in 1/2- or 1/3-EV steps Metering System: Evaluative metering, partial (9%), center-weighted Focus Modes: One-Shot AF, Predictive Al Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual Shutter Speeds: 30-1/8000 sec., plus B ISO Equivalency: 100-3200 Power Source: Proprietary Li-Ion Size: 5.7x4.2x2.8 - inches Weight: 24.2 ounces Street Price: $1,499 (without lens)
1 8.2 effective megapixel sensor with very low noise characteristics