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Canon EOS D30 Digital SLR

Canon's first digital SLR packs 3 megapixels of CMOS sensor into a speedy, compact body! (Smallest/lightest digital SLR as of August, 2000)

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Review First Posted: 8/27/2000

Canon's EOS D30 can be looked at essentially as an EOS series SLR camera, it looks and feels very similar to the film cameras with which it shares the EOS name, and bears a particularly strong resemblance to the EOS Rebel G camera (known in Europe as the EOS 500N, and in Japan as the EOS Kiss). This similarity to the EOS line will make transition to digital much easier for photographers used to the EOS film cameras, without having to relearn much of how the camera is laid out. With a weight of some 1.7 pounds (0.8 kg) or so without batteries, lens or flash card, the D30 is some 9% lighter than its nearest rival the Fuji FinePix S1 Pro, and 47% lighter than Nikon's D1 (although the D1 has a portrait grip built-in, and the EOS weight does not include its optional portrait grip, which adds another 13.5 ounces (including the second battery). While it couldn't necessarily be described as "light", at the time of this writing (August 2000) the EOS D30 does take the title of "lightest interchangeable-lens SLR digital camera" — and the difference in weight with other SLR digital cameras is sure to be noticed and appreciated. Despite it's relatively svelte proportions though, the EOS D30 has a solid heft and conveys a strong sense of high build quality. The camera measures 5.9 x 4.2 x 3 inches (149.5 x 106.5 x 75 mm), also without the lens, batteries and flash. This is a touch (0.1") wider than the S1 Pro, but a hefty 0.7" shorter and about 0.2" slimmer. Nikon's D1 is 0.3" wider and deeper than the EOS D30, and a full 2 inches taller — but this again does not account for the D1's built-in portrait grip, and the D30's accessory grip adds about 1.75 inches to its height.

The front of the camera features a standard Canon EF lens mount. There's also the lens release button, a depth of field preview button (on the lower left of the lens mount), a flash popup button (on the upper left of the lens mount) and the redeye reduction lamp/focus illuminator light (the clear window on the upper right of the camera). (A side note: If you haven't seen one of these krypton-filled focus-assist lights, you'll likely be as amazed as we were: It's hard to imagine something that small putting out that much light!)

The top of the camera features the shutter button, mode dial and a small status display panel that reports most of the camera's settings. Also on top are the main dial and several control buttons (metering mode, flash exposure compensation, drive mode, AF mode and white balance). The top of the camera also contains a hot shoe for mounting an external flash unit. The hot shoe has the usual trigger terminal in the bottom, as well as four other contacts for interfacing to Canon EX Speedlite flashes, and a locking hole. Fixed neck strap eyelets are located on both ends of the top of the camera as well.

On the hand grip side of the camera, towards the rear of the handgrip there is a large door which opens forward, behind which the CompactFlash slot (which supports Type-I and Type-II cards including the IBM MicroDrive is located. Underneath the CompactFlash slot is a small gray eject button for removing the CompactFlash cards.

The opposite side of the camera features a hinged rubber door behind which are the digital (USB) and NTSC/PAL switchable video out sockets. Below this door are two more socket, the front of which has a screw-in plastic cover and is a PC flash sync terminal, whilst the rear socket is for an N3 remote control and features a push-in rubber cover. Neither of the covers for these two sockets is connected to the camera body. You can also see more clearly in this picture the depth of field preview button (bottom) and flash popup button (top) on the side of the lens mount.

The back panel of the EOS D30 is home to many of the camera's controls, as well as the large, bright LCD screen. Down the left-hand side are the main power on/off switch, as well as several buttons related to menus and playback, including the Menu, Info, Jump, Index/Enlarge and Playback buttons. Underneath the LCD screen is the Delete button, and to the right of the screen is the quick control dial, in the center of which is the set button. Above and to the left of the quick control dial is the quick control dial switch, which enables/disables the quick control dial. The LCD panel itself is located near the left center of the back of the camera, and directly above it is the optical viewfinder. On the top right corner of the optical viewfinder is the diopter adjustment knob, which is recessed slightly to prevent accidental changes to it, and features a knurled surface to give grip. Finally, on the top right corner of the camera are the AE/FE lock button and the focusing point selector button.

The very flat bottom of the camera reveals the metal tripod mount, as well as the cover for the CR2025 backup button battery, and the main BP-511 Lithium Ion battery chamber cover. The cover is removable, and when installing the optional portrait grip on the camera you first remove the cover, allowing the battery chambers in the portrait grip itself to be connected through to the main battery chamber. A small lever in the outside edge of the battery chamber cover serves to unlock it so that it may be opened. Due to the location of the battery chamber at the very right-hand edge of the camera in the handgrip, it should remain accessible with the camera on a tripod. The large surface area of the camera's bottom provides a stable mounting surface for use with a tripod.

An optional extra for the Canon EOS D30 is its portrait grip, which also doubles as a way of doubling the camera's battery life. Seen above from the front, the portrait grip is connected to the camera by way of the tripod socket. With the battery chamber cover removed, the "dummy battery" protruding from the top right of the portrait grip extends into the D30's battery chamber, allowing the battery contacts to be extended through to the grip's own battery chambers. The shutter button is just visible on the lower right corner of the portrait grip, and also visible is a knurled dial which is used to screw/unscrew the screw on the top of the portrait grip into the D30's tripod socket.

On the back of the portrait grip, we see the dual battery chambers, and the other side of the dial for locking/unlocking the portrait grip to the camera. There's also a slide switch which opens the battery compartment. At bottom right are duplicate controls for the AE/AF and focus zone selector buttons.

Finally, on the bottom of the portrait grip we see a metal tripod thread, allowing the camera to be tripod-mounted even when the portrait grip is being used. There's also another metal neckstrap eyelet recessed into the base of the portrait grip, allowing the camera to be hung around your neck portrait-style (a nice touch, we think!) The shutter button and a duplicated main dial are to be found on the bottom right corner of the portrait grip, and just above and to the right of these, tucked safely away on the inside of the bulge below the dummy battery is a switch which can be used to disable the controls on the portrait grip (which you'll find very useful the first time you leave the grip attached to the camera and revert to landscape shooting — were it not for this switch, you'd be driving yourself nuts taking photos of people's waists every time you bumped the shutter button on something!)

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