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Canon EOS 20D

By: Shawn Barnett and Dave Etchells

Slightly smaller and lighter upgrade brings greater speed and ease of use along with higher res and lower image noise.

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Page 2:Comparison with the EOS-10D

Review First Posted: 08/19/2004, Update: 11/19/2004

Comparison with the EOS-10D

Canon EOS-10 vs. EOS-20D Comparison
Camera EOS-20D EOS-10D
Sensor Type 22.5 x 15.0mm CMOS w/ RGBG filter 22.7 x 15.1mm CMOS w/ RGBG filter
Sensor Resolution (total) 8.8 megapixels 6.5 megapixels
Sensor Resolution (effective) 8.25 megapixels 6.3 megapixels
Sensor Improvements Incorporates improvements from the EOS-1D Mark II. Larger microlenses, size of gaps between microlenses reduced by 50%. Greater area of each pixel on the sensor sensitive to light, due to elimination of transistors in each pixel. Canon claims higher sensitivity, higher dynamic range N/A
ISO Sensitivity ISO 100 - 1600
(extendable to 3200)
Image Noise Higher sensitivity CMOS sensor and new second-generation on-chip 3-stage noise reduction circuit. Digital control circuit board has two dedicated ground layers and low-noise amplification. Noise is lower at all ISO ratings, especially above ISO 400. Canon claims ISO 1600 on the 20D is approximately equivalent to ISO 400 on the 10D, a two stop improvement. N/A
Noise Reduction New long-exposure noise reduction feature, using dark frame subtraction. Shoots a second identical shot after image capture with shutter closed, then subtracts this frame to remove fixed long-exposure noise. Can be enabled on exposures over 1 second with Custom Function 02-1. Power to the output amp and circuit-driving standard current is cut off during long exposures to reduce noise. N/A
White Balance Improvements Auto White Balance accuracy improved for more natural color. Auto white balance more stable, especially at high ISO settings. Skin tone accuracy and color reproduction of reds at low color temperatures such as tungsten improved. Variations in flash color temperature accounted for in color processing for Auto or Flash white balance. Magenta / Green and Blue / Amber white balance bias can be adjusted separately or in combination in nine single-level increments using the Multi-Controller. N/A
White Balance Bracketing White Balance Bracketing up to +/- 3 levels in 1-level increments. Bracketing sequence can be set with Custom Function 09. White Balance Bracketing can be used in combination with White Balance Correction and Auto Exposure Bracketing. No
Lens Compatibility EF and EF-S EF only
Reflex Mirror Improvements New high-speed mirror drive. New mirror swing-up mechanism and smaller mirror allow compatibility with EF-S lenses. N/A
Shutter Unit Improvements New APS-C sized high-speed compact shutter unit. Shutter blades have lower inertial mass, shorter travel distance and stronger magnets for better control. Semiconductor switch replaces traditional sync contacts, preventing scorching and frictional wear, and increasing acceptable trigger circuit voltage to 250V max. N/A
Shutter Speed 1/8000 sec. to 30 sec., bulb 1/4000 sec. to 30 sec., bulb
X-sync 1/250 sec. 1/200 sec.
Burst Speed 5 frames per second 3 frames per second
Burst Depth (Large / Fine JPEG) 23 frames 9 frames
Burst Depth (RAW) 6 frames 9 frames
Start-up Time (approx.) 0.2 seconds 2.3 seconds
Shutter Lag (approx.) 65 milliseconds 90 milliseconds
Viewfinder Blackout Time (approx.) 115 milliseconds 140 milliseconds
Autofocus Type TTL-CT-SIR with AF-dedicated CMOS sensor TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor
(TTL secondary image registration, phase detection)
Number of Focusing Points 9 points (1 cross-type, 8 single-axis). 7 points (1 cross-type, 2 horizontal-type, 4 vertical-type)
Autofocus Working Range (at ISO 100) EV -0.5 -18 EV 0.5 ~ 18
AF Point Selection Method AF Point Selection button, then Multi-Controller or Main Dial / Control Dial. If Custom Function 13-1 or 13-2 set, the Multi-Controller or Quick Control Dial can be used to select the AF point without using the AF Point Selection button first. AF Point Selection button, then Main Dial / Control Dial
Autofocus Improvements Central cross-type focusing point has two sets of vertical line-sensitive linear pixel arrays, and dual line vertical component with twice as many pixels for horizontal line detection. Uses a wider-baselength measurement system with f/2.8 or faster lenses. Triple the focusing precision with max apertures f/2.8 or larger, full cross-type performance with max. apertures as small as f/5.6. The 20D is the first camera to offer an f/2.8-compatible sensor outside of the EOS-1 and EOS-3 series cameras. Off-center focusing points feature a 30% longer baselength than the 10D, are sensitive to max. apertures as small as f/5.6. Focus system overall is more precise, more sensitive.  
Viewfinder Improvements Newly developed Precision Matte focusing screen with optimized microlens layout and curvature. Increases viewfinder brightness, reduces viewfinder coloration, makes it easier to distinguish precise point of focus, particularly with lenses f/2.8 or faster. AF Point Indicator LED on upper rear of pentaprism shines light through SI prism and pentaprism, then projected on reflective acrylic plate between pentaprism and focusing screen. Results in AF points being easier to see in all light levels. N/A
Built-In Flash Rubber stopper cushions flash pop-up. New latch mechanism reduces gap around flash when closed. Flash height is 18.6mm higher than the 10D's built-in flash at center-line, reducing red-eye and chance of lens blocking flash. Positions of reflector and xenon flash tube optimized, transparency of fresnel flash panel increased for wider 17mm field of coverage (27mm equivalent in 35mm) with same guide number as 10D flash. N/A
Flash Metering E-TTL II E-TTL
Flash Metering Improvements Incorporates improvements from the EOS-1D Mark II. Ambient light measurement before pre-flash and distance information from lens helps to identify and ignore highly reflective or specular objects, avoiding underexposure. N/A
Flash White Balance Internal flash and Speedlight 580EX send color temperature data to the processor each time the flash fires. This corrects for slight variations in flash color temperature due to battery condition, flash duration, etc.  
Image Processor DIGIC II DIGIC
Image Processor Improvements Incorporates improvements from the EOS-1D Mark II. New 4-channel 16MHz high-speed signal reading, new signal processing algorithm, lower power consumption. Canon claims "huge" increase in CompactFlash write speed, better handling of high saturation, bright subjects, improved auto white balance precision and stability (especially at high ISO), wider dynamic range in highlights. Direct Printing speed "significantly" improved. N/A
Data Writing Images written to CompactFlash simultaneously with image shooting, reducing buffer clear time. Buffer no longer needs to be empty for shooting to continue. Images written to CompactFlash after shooting stops. Buffer must clear before shooting can continue.
Control and Layout Improvements Direction and Assist buttons removed, replaced with eight way multi-controller with push-in central button function. Quick Control Dial switch gone, combined with main Power switch. Access lamp moved from inside battery compartment to lower right of Quick Control Dial. Top indicator LCD display icons rearranged, icons added for B&W (Monochrome) mode and White Balance Correction. N/A
Menu System Menu can be accessed while camera is writing to CompactFlash card. Camera ready to shoot "instantly" when shutter button is half-pressed in menu or playback. Three menu sections (Shooting, Playback, Setup). Tab (icon and color code) of current menu is shown at upper left of LCD. New indicator at upper right of LCD shows what will happen when the jump button is pressed. Menu cannot be accessed while camera is writing to CompactFlash card. Camera takes 0.28 seconds to return from menu or playback to being ready to capture an image. Single operating menu
Menu System Improvements Function to prevent shutter release when there is no CF card installed is now a menu item, not a custom function. White Balance Compensation feature added. Adobe RGB is now a separate setting, and can be combined with sharpening, contrast, saturation, or color tone adjustments. Image Review and Image Review Time settings from EOS-10D have been combined. Three new menu languages have been added. N/A
Processing Parameters 6, including B&W / Monochrome, with five filter effects (none, yellow, orange, red and green) and five color tone options (none, sepia, blue, purple and green) 5
Custom Functions

18 custom functions. New or changed functions are:

C. Fn-02, long exposure noise reduction, works with shutter speeds of 1 second or longer.

C. Fn-03, Flash sync speed in Av mode has had the flash sync speed changed to a fixed 1/250 sec.

C.Fn-05 on the EOS 10D, “AF-assist beam/Flash firing,” has been split in two, C. Fn-05 (AF-assist beam: Emits, Does not emit, Only ext. flash emits) and C. Fn-07 (Flash firing: 0: Fires and 1: Does not fire- that is, all flash units will not fire).

C. Fn-06, Exposure level increments, has been changed to 0: 1/3 stop and 1: 1/2 stop.

C. Fn-08, ISO expansion (to ISO 3200), off/on.

C. Fn-13, enables the AF point to be selected with the Multi-controller directly or with the Quick Control Dial / Main Dial.

C Fn-14, changes E-TTL II from evaluative metering to averaging of the entire image for flash metering.

C. Fn-18, adds original image verification data automatically, for use with the optional accessory Data Verification Kit DVK-E2.

Five Custom Functions deleted from the EOS 10D: Shutter release without a CF card, (moved to a menu setting); AF point registration and Assist button function, (the Assist button has been removed); RAW + JPEG simultaneous recording, (replaced by 13 Quality settings selected directly from the menu), Daylight fill-flash and auto reduction control of flash exposure (replaced by C. Fn-14, E-TTL II, evaluative or average.)

17 custom functions
Connectivity USB 2.0 USB 1.1
RAW File Format .CR2 (Canon RAW, Second Edition), as used on the EOS-1D Mark II. .CRW (Canon RAW)
Compliance EXIF 2.21, DPOF 2.0 EXIF 2.2, DPOF 1.1
Direct Printing Improvements In-camera image trimming possible (8 horizontal steps, 5 vertical steps). Direct Printing speed "significantly" improved. N/A
Power Source BP-511A, BP-511, or BP-512 main battery. CR2016 backup battery in main battery compartment. BP-511 or BP-512 main battery. CR2025 backup battery in separate compartment.
Power Source Improvements BP-511A has 25% more battery life than BP-511 or BP-512 (1390mAh vs. 1100mAh). Battery life is approx. 50% higher than EOS-10D as power to the output amp and circuit-driving standard current is cut off during long exposures. N/A
Battery Grip Compatibility BG-E2 (accepts two BP-511A, BP-511, BP-512 or six Alkaline / NiMH / Lithium AA batteries) BG-ED3 (accepts two BP-511 batteries only)
Bundled Charger CG-580 compact battery charger CB-5L compact battery charger
Size 144 x 105.5 x 71.5 millimeters 149.7 x 107.5 x 75mm
Weight 685 g, body only (thanks to smaller shutter unit, mirror box, main mirror, pentaprism, focusing screen and viewfinder optical unit, and 100 fewer parts than 10D.) 790g, body only
Finish Exterior paint pattern is finer than before. N/A
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