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  Reviews by: shadesofafrica  

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Canon EOS 20D

Review Date: May 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Responsiveness, High ISO/Noise Performance, Build and Layout, Burst Rate, Focus Point Selection Joystick, Viewfinder compared to other 1.5/6 x Crop Cameras
No spot meter :(, shutter noise, no RGB histogram

I think you can tell from my "cons" panel that the 30D is exactly what I was after when I bought this camera 6 months ago. Unfortunately it didn't exist at the time! In every other respect this is a great camera. I have used it to get some truly amazing shots.

When I was considering the purchase (last camera was a film EOS 5/A2e), I was looking at the 20D vs 350D. After comparing them, there's no way I could go with the smaller viewfinder of the 350D, and the 350D's body is just too small for my large (though not huge) hands. In fact last night I looked through the viewfinder of a Nikon D70, and it was similar to the 350D - it seems Canon did a great job to make the 20D's viewfinder so much bigger. I can manually focus (important for closeup work) on this, but not a chance with a smaller finder.

High ISO quality is incredible, though I ideally shoot at 100-200 ISO. Coupled with the 17-85mmIS I have a shot backlit by a single bulb at ISO 3200 at 1/8second that is sharp and relatively noise free after raw processing in ACR.

When I bought it, I thought all it needed to make it perfect (for this price point anyway) was a spot meter and RGB histogram. Enter the 30D.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: May 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Focal Length Range, Image Stabilisation!, Build Quality, Sharpness at Long End, Full Time Manual Focusing!
Sharpness at Wide End, Barrel Distortion at Wide End, Focus Changes with Zoom

I bought this lens as part of the 20D kit six months ago, and have been using as my sole lens up till now. As a single lens solution I believe it still is the best all round offering there is for the Canon 1.6 DSLRs - nothing else has the zoom range + IS. Mated to the 20D's superb high ISO performance it has enabled me to get some tremendous low light shots - one series outdoors at night, backlit by a single bulb at 1/8 of a second at 85mm, handheld with elbows supported on a table came out beautifully sharp - I was ecstatic with my purchase that night! IS is truly worth its weight in gold.

I have had some great sharp results from this lens at the long end, viewing at 100% crop. In comparison though, the wide end has been lacking and sometimes frustrating. The pronounced distortion also becomes very evident when straight lines (ie. horizon!) are in shot.

Because of the wide performance I'm now looking towards a two lens solution - probably the 10-22mm for WA (IS not an issue that wide), and ideally 70-200LIS for the long - I'm totally sold on IS after my experience with the 17-85! It is a more costly, weighty solution though - for allround use the 17-85 is still a good lens.

After using FTM focussing (with CF4 on the camera), I'm never going back to a lens that can't allow instant focus overide at any time - a very valuable addition to any lens.