Canon today announced its newest digital SLR camera, the Canon EOS 20D. Replacing the immensely popular EOS 10D, Canon has made minor upgrades with the new 20D including a higher resolution 8.3 megapixel chip, faster shooting speeds, faster shutter speeds, all rolled into a smaller and lighter body. One of the features the Canon doesn’t upgrade on is the price; the 20D is predicted to be roughly the same price as the EOS 10D at MSRP $1,499 (body only).
With the introduction of their newest EOS digital SLR (spec sheet) Canon is hoping to target advanced amateurs, as well as professionals. According to Canon spokesperson Rudy Winston the new Canon EOS 20D will be appealing to portrait and wedding photographers because of its improved CMOS sensor (containing more pixels), and its 8.2 megapixel capabilities (as opposed to the 6.3 megapixels offered by the 10D). The camera produces stills at 3,504 x 2,336 pixel resolution.
The strongest competitor to the EOS 10D in the past has been Nikon’s D100, both priced around $1,500. The 8.3 Megapixels of the EOS 20D strongly beats the now fairly old 6.1 Megapixels offered by the D100. Although the raw pixel count of the EOS 10D now beats Sigma’s SD10 even more, only testing will tell if the high resolution chip is able to replicate the color production of the unique Foveon color technology (offered by Sigma), which produces stills at a 3.4 Megapixel resolution.
A major upgrade of the EOS 20D over the EOS 10D is faster burst shooting modes. The EOS 20D will also demand attention from professional photojournalists with its shooting speed of 5 frames per second at bursts of up to 23 full quality images in a row. This almost doubles the 3 frames per second speed of the EOS 10D and more than doubles the limit of 9 images in a row. ****
Further catering to the professional market, the EOS 20D offers faster shutter speeds; with a top speed of 1/8000th as well as flash sync at 1/250th of a second (a step up from the 1/200th on previous Canon models). This compares to the top speed of 1/4000th on the EOS 10D.
Appealing to the increasing demand for smaller and lighter digital cameras, Canon has reduced the size of the new EOS 20D 10% by volume and 13% by weight. Canon has however maintained the layout on the 20D and is using the same magnesium allow exterior as the previous EOS 10D.
Unlike the EOS 10D, the EOS 20D is now compatible with all Canon EF and EFS lenses, unlike the previous 10D. Canon is also making available a kit for approximately $1,599 which includes an 18-55mm f/3.5-f5.6 EFS lens that can be stopped down to F/22.
In addition to upgrades on the camera itself Canon also added to their software package. Included in the 20D bundle will be Digital Photo Professional, a high-end RAW file processing program (previously only available with the Canon EOS Mark 1D), as well as Canon’s Remote Capture, EOS Viewer Utility, Photo Stitch, and Adobe Photoshop Elements.
The Canon EOS 20D has a 1.8 inch LCD screen, optical viewfinder with dioptic adjustment, and offers both manual and automatic focusing. It offers an ISO sensitivity range of 100-3200 and shutter speeds ranging from 30 seconds to 1/8000th of a second. It uses Compact Flash Type 1 and 11 storage cards and has USB 2.0 for transfer.
**Accompanying the Canon camera announcements is the introduction of brand new Canon accessories including a battery grip, two new EFS lenses, and a high-end EX speed light.
The VGE-2 Battery Grip is physically smaller than previous grips offered by Canon. Designed to fit the simultaneously announced Canon EOS 20D, it is not compatible with older Canon digital SLR cameras. The new grip will house one or two rechargeable batteries, but it should be noted that two batteries will double the battery life. There is also an included tray that holds six AA batteries if desired, but this method does not produce the same level of performance.
To add to the existing digital EFS lens series Canon is announcing two lenses that are compatible with the EOS Digital Rebel and the new Canon EOS 20D. At a price of $599 consumers can purchase a 17-85mm lens, which acts as a 28-135mm lens on a 35mm camera scale. This new lens has a maximum aperture setting of F3.5-4.5 and has image stabilization capabilities.
Canon is also adding a 10-22mm ultra wide angle lens to their EFS line. This lens, which has a 35mm equivalent of 16-35mm, offers the same F3.5-4.5 maximum aperture setting as the 17-85mm EFS lens. According to Rudy Winston of Canon, this lens’s ultra wide coverage is targeted for the serious end of the digital camera market. The mechanical construction is said to be smooth, solid, and professional, hitting the market at $799.
In addition Canon is announcing a brand new speed light to the EX line, which replaces the existing 550 EX. The 580 EX speed light exhibits some significant improvements, but is very similar to its predecessor. The 580 EX is slightly smaller, lighter, and has a more efficient circuitry internally; resulting in a greater maximum power, and 25% faster recycle time.
The new 580 EX speed light has the capability to relate lens conversion when the camera’s zoom is adjusted. According to Canon representative Rudy Winston the 580 EX "recognizes what the imaging sensor sees and converts it so light is not wasted around the outside of the image area." This results in faster recycling, more flashes per battery set and more efficient use of light.
A new feature offered by the 580 EX is the ability to recognize white balance information based on the amount of power the flash thinks it will need. The speed light communicates with the camera (if set to automatic white balance or flash pre white balance) to make appropriate color adjustments.
The EOS 20D will be available in September for $1,499 (body only) and approximately $1,599 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-f5.6 EFS lens. The 17-85mm EFS lens will hit stores at $599 and the 10-22mm EFS lens will be available for $799.