Review of the Canon EOS 30D
Canon continues its dedication to the CMOS sensor, and the 30D contains the same version as the EOS 20D, with 8.2 million effective pixels, out of a total 8.5million. The sensor is also APS-C size, which offers a 1.6x shift in focal length on 35mm format lenses. Speaking of lenses, the camera continues to use the Canon EF mount, which means any Canon AF lens may be used, or similar from the independent lens makers.
So, what sets this camera apart from the 20D? Basically the camera has been updated to take advantage of some of the newer features Canon has been including in recent cameras. To start with there’s a larger LCD screen, with 2.5 diagonal inches of viewable area, 230,000 pixels and a quoted viewing angle of 85° from most directions. Actually this is a little confusing; most manufacturers would refer to this as a 170° viewing angle, which sounds better, but also I think gives a better illustration of how easy it is to see the screen at obtuse angles.
Introducing a new camera with a large screen is nothing new of course; Nikon did the same with the D70s, and Canon followed up the EOS 1D Mk II with the ‘n’ version and an added half an inch. But, like the Mk IIn, there’s more that has been added to the 30D. Canon has added its Picture Style software to the camera. We’ve covered this in reviews of recent digital cameras, but I’ll briefly recap. Picture Style provides a sub menu to allow you to add in-camera digital optimisation for popular subjects such as portraits or landscapes. There are various curves and settings for vivid, neutral or natural images, as well as black & white options. And you can download more options from the web, or build your own custom effects. It’s like scene modes on steroids and works well. If you’re shooting in RAW you can add the effect or delete if you’re not happy. The other major upgrade incorporated into the EOS 30D is the frame rate, which has been increased from 5fps over 23 frames on the 20D, to 5fps over 30fps. This increase in buffer size may not be that significant to most, but if you’re interested in sport or wildlife it could save your photographic life.
In other respects, there’s much the same as before. The camera has a DIGIC II processor, magnesium alloy shell and the same shutter speeds as before. The AF system is the same as the 20D too, with a nine-selectable point system, enabling easy and fast focusing on off-centre subjects. Similarly the cameras share the same metering system, including AF linked evaluative metering, 3.5% central area spot metering and good old-fashioned centreweighted metering.