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Canon EOS 20D

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200 207933 Dec 4, 2009
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,355.57
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.98
8.82
9.2
20d

Specifications:
- Second Generation 8.2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor with DIGIC II Image Processor
- Professional Level High-speed Continuous Shooting
- 9-Point High-precision AF with New Multi-controller
- Enhanced Color and White Balance Settings
- Rigid Magnesium Alloy Body for Outstanding Durability
- Advanced Viewing and Printing, Powerful Software
- Compatible with all EF/EF-S Lenses and Many EOS System Accessories


 


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artguy
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Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 103
Review Date: Jan 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well made, professional features and control, feels and operates fast like a good film SLR camera
Cons:
1.6 crop factor, viewer size - as related to film SLR bodies

Coming from the film world, art photography, and pro level Nikon equipment it was quite a leap for me to try this body.

My main complaints would be the small viewer compared to film and the 1.6 lens conversion factor.

That said, I'm very, very impressed with this camera. It allows for tremendous control of the image. Basic image quality seems determined more by the lens than the cmos sensor size. Nice SLR feel.

Professional level control of image creating is certainly available. For me this has been a hard (because of my 30 yrs of nikor glass mainly) but great move to Canon and I'm not looking back.

A really fine camera and I enjoy using it. 5/5 for me - and that's not given lightly.


Jan 7, 2005
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DamienB
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Registered: Jan 24, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 20
Review Date: Dec 29, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Speed
Cons:
Unreliable AF and assorted bugs

Used side-by-side with a D60 for an hour or so, and found the 20D massively disappointing for action work.

AF was unreliable; it was totally unable to lock onto a distant small moving target (which was high contrast, and on which the D60 had no problems), and on closer targets produced around 40% out of focus shots.

Exposure varied +/- 1/3 of a stop on an unchanging scene, which was very strange.

The speed of the thing in terms of FPS and how long it takes to fill the buffer in Large/Fine JPEG mode was highly impressive - it just kept going like a machine gun. But what's the point if half the images aren't useable?

Didn't experience any of the other reported problems - lockups etc. - but no doubt would have if I'd had it any longer!


Dec 29, 2004
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pbetancourt
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Registered: Dec 21, 2004
Location: Argentina
Posts: 10
Review Date: Dec 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1.50 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: 8.3 megapixels, 5fps, instant startup, build quality, brighter viewfinder in comparison to 10D, fast autofocus, battery life. Good value for money.
Cons:
Loud Shutter, lack of monitor protection, no spot metering, and the most important: poor quality noise in blue and red channels.

It was really dissapointing to find that 20d pictures are not as good as Nikon D100 images (despites the resolution).
Even at ISO 100 you can see the difference. Visualize blue or red channel and you´ll find that in dark areas the noise does not appear uniformly. Instead you can see horizontal lines and concentration of dots.
I mostly work in landscape and outdoor photography, and this effect results in unrealistic tones of the sky.
In all the other things, the 20D is the best camera in the market for its price.


Dec 28, 2004
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CTO-Photos
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Registered: Dec 2, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Review Date: Dec 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: With 17-85mm lens - 5x zoom with reasonable quality, instant on, 5 fps. Lots of control and easy operation. Good feel and balance for my hand size. Fast display for checking quality of shots.
Cons:
Noisy shutter, but see below.

I suppose the main point I want to make is about the shutter. I was used to 6x zoom and 5 fps and did not upgrade to a real DSLR, because of specs like 3x zoom and 3 fps. The 20D dealt with slow start-up, limited zoom at a moderate price and gave me the 5 fps that I wanted for quick candids, base-ball pitches and the like. If I had a choice of quiet shutter or 5 fps, I would pick the 5 fps. If I need quiet, I'll use the finepix and sacrifice quality. In public venue, I have had people annoyed by the shutter, so it is a problem. But every choice is trade-off and the 20D is a pretty good one.

On the lens, there is significant distortion and fuzziness when wide open, so it is not good enough for situations requiring spacial accuracy, but as a general purpose lens, it is much better than most. As a package deal, it was good enough to make me lay down VISA card and become a committed Canon user.

Now when will my 580EX show up? I borrowed a 420, but it simply does not cut it with this camera. Then there is the matter of the long L-Series for birds, etc.


Dec 28, 2004
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IraGraham
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Registered: Oct 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 622
Review Date: Dec 16, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: More accurate flash exposure, 5fps, B& W setting, longer battery life.
Cons:
Unreliable focus accuracy with fast lenses in particular such as 85mm 1.8, or Sigma 20mm 1.8. Lound shutter.

I wish they would have kept everything about the 10D and just added the better flash system, 5fps and B&W mode. I prefer a heavier camera like the 10D. I also prefer a more professional sounding shutter. I also have found the 20D to be inconsistant focusing when I am using my old reliable Canon 85mm 1.8 lens that I love so much. I just can't trust the focus on the 20D when shooting at 1.8 - 2.8 with this lens. I never had this problem with the 10D. And I know how to focus....................thank you very much! Yes the auto focus is faster on the 20D, but is it accurate..........I don't think so.

Dec 16, 2004
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Review Date: Dec 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ease of operation, professional build and feel, rich, *beautiful*, 8.3MP output, unreal high ISO performance, significant jump from the 10d.
Cons:
1.6x crop factor.

This camera definitely jumps the gap into the "things I could not possibly do with a film camera" realm. After having owned the 10d, and reading the reviews on this page, I feel like the jump in image quality is much more significant than others have noted. Maybe I never learned how to squeeze every last bit of performance of my 10d, but out of the box the 20d is a damn impressive professional grade camera for the money. For me it's the kind of camera that opens creative doors and sparks excitement about the development of technology.

Dec 15, 2004
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MiDu
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Registered: Jul 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 150
Review Date: Dec 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 8.2 megappixel sensor, user friendly, excellent construction, responsive, customizable and fast.
Cons:
Not quite the build quality of the Canon 1 series or the Nikon Pro Series, but considering the price difference, nothing worth complaining about. The small view finder tales a litte getting used to. Firewire port would be nice.

I have made my living exclusively from photography for nearly 15 years. Last year I jumped from a Nikon D1x to a canon 10d, and noticed that the files from the canon kicked the pants off the Nikon. (I loved my D1x, and had rented a D2h on occasion - both solid cameras - but Nikon isn't keeping up with Canon).

Since I buy all of my own gear, and as a rule only pay with cash on hand, the signifcant cost savings, and the reduced noise profiles of the Canon digital systems were of great appeal.

My expereince for the last year with the 10d was lovely. My clients all loved the files, and my local photo shop, Pro Photo Supply in Portand, OR blew up some of the digital files to 5.5 foot X 4 foot posters. After I used Fred's SI program for interpolation, the images looked as if they were shot on 4X5 film. The drum scan blow ups from some of my earlier film work were not nearly as crisp.

The 10d held up like a true pro camera even under difficult conditions.It appears to me the 20d will live up to the promise of its little brother.

Having just recieved my 20d I can report that it has some significant improvements. The 30% increase in file size is not "insignificant" in my book (imagine if the price had gone up 30%), the speed and buffer improvements are most welcome. I have heard some griping about the build quality of the BG-E2 battery grip, I have no complaints - and the additional back-up AA battery pack is a worth buying a new grip in itself (I work in remote locations frequently).

Like the 10d, I am able to modify the 20d to work with my high-speed photo system (Again something I was unable to do with the Nikon) that i use for photographing bats and such. This has been hugely important for me because the very nature of high-speed photography means you cannot often tell what happened (until after the film has come back). With the digital system- I know right away what I have got and if it worked - a HUGE improvement!

You can see some of my digital high-speed here: http://www.durmphoto.com/

The camera really performs for long exposures. I frequently work with the camera tethered to my laptop and the 20d gives me significantly increased file transfer speed, and it is ready for another exposure much faster than my 10d ever was.


With the 10d as a back-up, and the 20d as my new prime camera it would appear that my film cameras (and my D1x) will be collecting dust from now on - very cool!


Dec 11, 2004
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evilenglishman
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Registered: Jun 21, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3
Review Date: Dec 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Better buffer -makes use of faster cards. File size - not a great leap from the 10D but bigger is better.
Cons:
Size - should be the same as the 10D. Annoyingly loud shuuter - why? Viewfinder - hold it to the sky and look at the grain. Charger - some generic batteries will not charge.

I bought the 20D from pixmania.co.uk for £1020 - Canon will accept European bodies for waranty, but not american bodies. Beware!!
The first copy I had to send back and get a replacement. The replacement however is good. It came with firmware 1.0.5 pre-installed (an upgrade is out now).

Despite what someone on here said, the internal buffer of the 20D is a great improvement. I shoot 100% raw and with Lexar 80x pro cards it shows!
Before I would have to wait for the "busy" sign to clear many times during a shoot - now I don't see it. My primary reason for upgrading was because of the buffer and I'm not disappointed.

Focusing is fast, but I find that occasionally I need to re-focus as it doesn't focus on the right spot. I generally only use the centre AF point but with the addition of the new "twiddle stick" it becomes easy to select any of the 9 AF points on-the-fly which is great for not having to re-compose shots.

The noise level is okay up to 400 ISO. At 400 and higher it is well controlled but is of no use to studio work although I'm sure its great for sports shooters.

For some reason canon has decided to make the shutter button much louder. I'm not sure why but its a touch over the top and I don't seem to be able to find a control to turn it off Wink

The camera is smaller and lighter than previous cameras, which is a slight problem for me as I have large hands. With a heavy lens on it becomes a touch unweildy.
There must come a point with electronics becoming too small.
It would have been better if it was left the same size/weight as the previous model - but then you wouldn't go out and buy a new grip.

The charger is small and light but I have had problems with generic batteries - some just will not charge on the new charger.
Note to canon: please include a double charger with future cameras like the D60 had. Also please include the mains adapter (again like the one that came free with the D60) and stop charging £65 for one Sad

ETT-L II seems erratic at best but I haven't explored it a lot so will not comment further.

Would I recommend it to others?
If they have the money, yes. If money is a concern I would suggest the 10D or even a used D60. To me the only selling point of the 20D is the buffer. If you want or need the buffer get the 20D, otherwise don't.

I recently purchased a BG-E2 and have had no problems with it, its sturdy and solid. Maybe a newer model???


Dec 8, 2004
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DanSmedra
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Registered: Nov 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: Dec 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 8.2 mega-pixel, increased dynamic range, accurate exposure, fast focusing, USB 2.0
Cons:
Smaller size than the D30 (I have rather large hands) and the BG-E2 reportedly has poor build quality. I hope Canon addresses this issue...ASAP.

Upgrading from the D30 was a leap and well worth my wait. The D30 was a wonderful introduction to the realm of DSLR photography and much of what I learned carried over nicely to the 20D.

The Canon 20D is a more-than-adequate tool. If there's a weak link in MY creative process, it is now the 'display medium' and devoting more time to learning Photoshop CS.



Dec 5, 2004
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cmtaylor
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Registered: Aug 28, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 6
Review Date: Dec 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: For the money (and remember this is a budget Pro camera) the 20D is quite simply unbeatable and the best available on the market!!
Cons:
None serious enough that they're worth whinging about.

Reading through this forum, there seems so many posters that seem to whinge about this camera just for moanings sake. Come on guys this is a budget level prosumer camera, if you want perfection then order a 1Ds/11! Admitidley there are silly aspects which seem to have been overlooked at the design stage, but just really are not an issue in reality.

I'm a Pro Photographer. Most of us were once film users, why are we not transfering our experience and skill to digital? Who the hell really needs ISO in the viewfinder, I never have. Who needs spot metering, I know my exposures for most situations off the top of my head and when it's more critical I use a sophisticated electronic hand meter which I have always done. So what if the images need tweaking in PS, when did a film image ever print perefctly first time, remember hand prints? same thing! And then there's people moaning about soft images and it turns out they using poor glassware and expecting Hasselblad quality! If you are going to use digital, you need the best glassware possible, L series Canons in most cases, even some of them are dodgy - see these forums. Check and read lens reviews before buying, some Sigmas are leagues better than Canon for example!

This camera is superb, but to expect perfection straight from the camera, to have everything done for you, to use less than perfect lenses...

And if you want 5x4 or blad quality, get a 1Ds/11 or a Valeo back and a little PS knowledge and I guarantee you, you'll surpass the originals every time. After all we're all forgetting one thing film and trany was great but get a lousy scanner operator and...

Regards
Chris Taylor


Dec 3, 2004
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fletcher8969
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Registered: Jan 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Dec 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: "Faster" in almost every respect than my 10D - start up, Noise to ISO, fps, focus, read/write time. etc. Slightly smaller and easier to carry around. Better battery life - particually when using the built-in-flash. Can use also EF-S lenses. I really loved my 10D and the 20D seems to just be a little better across the board.
Cons:
The only thing that I feel could be improved would be the white balance performance. It doesn't seem improved over the 10D and it could be better compared to other cameras, in this category.

I shot with a 10D for about a year before selling it to my brother and getting the 20D which I've been shooting now for about 2 months. I was very excited to get the 20D as soon as possible in part because of how much I loved the 10D. Knowing what I know now I might not have upgraded. Like I said I love 20D and it's better than the 10D in many differnt ways but the improvements are refinements instead of a leap forward. I really feel like I'm using the same camera most of the time - and that's not a bad thing. The resolution difference is very minor between these cameras. The improved noise difference however is very noticable and I don't hesitate to shoot at 800 or even 1600 when I need to. On the 10D I tried to stay at 400 or below. Usually though I shoot at 100 and there is no noticable difference between the two.

To be clear I don't regret upgrading, I just think the 10D is about 95% of what the 20D is and I probably wouldn't miss the improvements too much.

Overall, I love this camera and I think it's the best camera in it's category.


Dec 3, 2004
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racoll
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Registered: Dec 1, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3012
Review Date: Dec 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,599.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very responsive, fast start-up/wake-up, 5 fps, much quicker and more accurate AF, low-light performance, low noise across entire ISO range, incredible review speed and write speed, pop-up flash is actually useful, great battery life, multi-controller
Cons:
Vertical grip feels too plasticky, no spot meter

I love this camera! Everything about it is fast and responsive, and I feel confident about using it for any situation. My 10D was a wonderful camera, but there were several areas I wanted Canon to make improvements in such as frame rate, flash performance, that eternal wake-up time (I missed a lot of bird shots waiting for it to wake up!), and AF accuracy. In the 20D Canon has addressed almost all of my wishes, with the exception of a spot-meter, which I only use maybe 20% of the time, but it would be nice to have it available. Some amount of weatherproofing would be good as well, and a more substantial vertical grip would be nice. I bought the kit as that was all there was available. The kit lens feels embarrassingly cheap, but what do you expect for a hundred bucks? These are the only shortcomings of the 20D IMHO. It gives me the same level of confidence that my 1V gives me; in fact it focuses quicker in low light than the 1V! The autofocus responds quickly, and locks on to subjects immediately, giving me a larger number of "keepers" than did my 10D. Coupled with E-TTLII the built-in flash works surprisingly well! This is the first built-in flash that I've ever enjoyed using. With the 580EX attached, the results are truly stunning, though I still have a lot to learn. The improved battery life is also impressive. Image quality is simply excellent. While an additional 2MP may not seem to make a lot of difference on the surface, it allows for cropping while retaining quality and adds detail to an already impressive image-making capability inherited from the 10D.
This is truly a superb camera. I initially wanted a 1DMKII, but it is really much more camera than what I would ever use or need. With the 20D Canon seems to have taken the best of the 10D, a lot of great features from the MKII and rolled them all into one amazing camera.


Dec 1, 2004
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teuchter
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Registered: Nov 30, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 83
Review Date: Nov 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Almost everything.
Cons:
Lens lockups.

My son and I both bought 20Ds about a month ago after being on a pre-order list for about two months. Both cameras arrived with version 1.0.5 of the firmware installed. Both were bought with 17/85s. I had pre-ordered a 10/22 that arrived about a week later.

After about 3 weeks of use one of the 17/85s started to show aperature 00 errors and lock up the camera. At first this occurred rarely, say once in 50 or 60 shots. I could be cleared by removing the lens with the power on or off, or by removing the battery(ies), by resetting the camera, or by powering the camera down. This problem became more and more persistent and eventually could not be cleared by any means. It occurred when the lens was on either camera and also on the demo cameras at the dealer. That lens was replaced under warranty and neither the other 17/85 nor the replacement has shown this behavior.

After about two weeks of use the 10/22 started to show the same behavior and was replaced under warranty.

Our other Canon lenses continue to work just fine.

Neither of the 20Ds has been replaced.

While I think the 20D is great I am beginning to wonder what is going on with Canon as I am discovering that this kind of problem goes back several years with other film and digital models.


Nov 30, 2004
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marksct
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Registered: Nov 3, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 245
Review Date: Nov 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: It has been covered before in previous posts. This is a very good value for the money.
Cons:
Three blatant issues: One, can't turn off camera till all images are saved to disk or you lose them. Second, Battery grip is a plastic piece of trash. I don't feel that comfortable in its construction at all. Last but not least, VERY VERY LOUD !!!!!
What where they thinking???? This is a great camera, But what stupid mistakes.

This is a very good DSLR with many inportant features that put it on the cutting edge.
This is a camera for all people who can shell out $1,500 for a camera.


Nov 30, 2004
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drummer
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Registered: Nov 23, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 23, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Generally well built and takes nice pictures when it doesn't lock up
Cons:
The program dial seems flimsy compared to the rest of the camer and I wonder if it will break like the old EOS5 ones sometimes did?

Just got the 20D four days ago, my first digital SLR and I seem to have got a bad one.

When it works it is great, but every so often it locks up; I then have to switch it off and remove the batteries to get it working again. Someone said it may need more time to write the buffer to the disk, so today I waited 15 minutes and it was still "busy", so a switch off was required again. I checked the Internet and saw that it could be a firmware problem, but alas mine was already supplied new with version 1.0.5, so I'm unlucky.

I will now send it back and ask for a replacement. Although the question is, should I stump up more money to get the EOS 1D Mark II if they are more reliable or just stick to the EOS3 and carry on scanning my shots?


Nov 23, 2004
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pelon
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Registered: Feb 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: instant on, instant shot, amazing low noise, no waiting for review or writing to card
Cons:
sometimes searches too long for focus even with IR transmiter (st-e2), add-on battery grip easlily comes loose, auto white balance occasionally misses

I shoot in concert halls and nightclubs. Very low light. I try to shoot without flash whenever possible. My lenses are 2.8 or lower Canon Ls. At iso 3200, with 50mm 1.4 This camera seems to provide it's own light. With a little help from Noise Ninja I can get very nice 8x10s in extremely low light.

During live shows with my 10D I had to shoot jpegs. After 9 raw shots the card would start reading and I'd miss lots of the action. With the 20D I can take 6 quick raw shots and then continue at one shot per second (or less) indefinitely. I use Sandisk Ultra IIs.

Most forum posts to the contrary, the 20D seems to have more trouble finding focus in low light than the 10D. This could be due to me shooting in lower light than was possible before. But, I expect the IR transmitter to work equally well on both cameras.

The low light seems to trick the AWB more so than the 10D. It's not normally an issue since I work in raw. But occasionally I don't have time to do all the proper developing and need ready made jpegs.

All-in-all an excellent camera. I soon plan to sell my 10D. I won't need anything else until Mark IIIs come out in the next couple of years..


Nov 20, 2004
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Canon EOS 20D

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
200 207933 Dec 4, 2009
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,355.57
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.98
8.82
9.2
20d


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