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Canon Presents 20D Successor: EOS 30D

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February 21, 2006 - Canon modified its fleet of digital single lens reflex cameras today with the announcement of the Canon EOS 30D. This DSLR succeeds the 20D but keeps many of the same core features. It has the same 8.2 megapixel CMOS chip and pairs it with a DIGIC II image processor. Both models have a fast 5 frame-per-second burst rate and a 9-point auto focus system. The 30D adds a larger 2.5-inch LCD monitor and borrows several interface and workflow oriented features from the freshly released Canon EOS 5D. The Canon EOS 30D will be available mid-March for $1,399 for the body only or a hundred dollars more when sold with the 18-55mm kit lens.

The Canon 20D has been on the market for nearly 18 months, but consumers still eyeing it as an option need not worry. "We recognize the enormous potential of the advanced amateur digital SLR market," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., in today’s press release. "To better support this audience, we will continue to offer the EOS 20D digital SLR at a slightly more affordable price point of $1,299."

The new Canon EOS 30D shares its core features with the 20D, but adds many other functions. The most noticeable is the LCD monitor upgrade. While the 20D had a 1.8-inch screen, the 30D has a much larger 2.5-inch LCD screen with 230,000 pixels and a 170 degree viewing angle. The new 30D’s menu interface and settings are borrowed from the pricier Canon EOS 5D.

Several other features are borrowed from the 5D, prompting Canon officials to call the EOS 30D "more like the little brother of the 5D than the 20D." The Canon EOS 30D has a folder management system that allows users to save up to 9,999 images in a single folder. That number was limited to only 100 in the 20D. The 30D also takes its spot metering function from the 5D. The 20D had a partial metering mode that measured from 9 percent of the frame. The new system measures from a much smaller 3.5 percent spot. Control is also increased on the 30D by offering 1/3-stop incremental adjustments to sensitivity from ISO 100-1600 with a 3200 extension, rather than the full-stop adjustments on the 20D.

The Canon EOS 30D appeals to the same general purpose type shooter drawn to speed. The 20D had a 5 fps burst mode that lasted for 23 JPEG shots and 6 RAW shots. The 30D shoots at the same speed, but can do so for longer with its improved signal processing. Now the 30D can take up to 30 pictures in JPEG and 11 in RAW. The 30D also adds a low-speed continuous burst mode that can shoot 3 fps for an extended 37 JPEG shots. The overall speed has improved in other ways too. The 30D can start up in 0.15 seconds, which is the fastest of any of the Canon EOS digital single lens reflex cameras.

The new digital SLR not only attracts professionals, but has a number of new features aimed at the increasing prosumer market. The Canon 30D has a Print/Share button and improved PictBridge functionality. A 13 x 19-inch paper size is added to the menu selection and in-camera editing for color balance, overall brightness, face brightness, contrast, cropping, and red-eye reduction is available. The direct printing is fully compatible with the 30D’s new Picture Style settings as well.

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The Picture Style settings – Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, and Monochrome – are the same as those on the EOS 5D and the EOS-1D Mark II n. Each mode allows users to adjust sharpness, saturation, contrast and color tone. The new Canon EOS 30D is marketed as a DSLR with professional quality that also offers "amateur accessibility."

"Canon focused the EOS 30D digital SLR on professional photographers who need to keep a close watch on their equipment budget and advanced amateurs who want to step up in class and capabilities," Hashimoto said. "As an accessible primary pro SLR or the affordable second body in the camera bag, the EOS 30D digital SLR provides photo professionals with the advanced features, fast, responsive controls, and exceptional image quality they demand, in a compact, lightweight yet ruggedly constructed stainless steel and magnesium alloy package."

Indeed, the 30D’s 5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9-inch body is cut from the same materials as the 20D. Its shutter is much more durable though, as Canon touts a 100,000-cycle lifetime. The Canon EOS 30D is more efficient than the 20D, even with its large 2.5-inch LCD monitor. The 30D gets approximately 10 percent more shots from the same battery. With its upgraded features and increased ease of use, the durable Canon EOS 30D will enter the market in mid-March.

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