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News Archives - February 2006
February 25 2006
: Spot The Difference
Back in August of 2004, Canon announced they soon would be releasing a new model in their range of professional digital SLR cameras. Shortly after this announcement I put some hard-earned cash down for one of these new cameras (an EOS 20D) and just before Christmas I was lucky enough to be allocated a camera as part of the first shipment to hit Australia.
At the time I didn't really have a reason for owning a camera of such calibre (or cost!), but it's been a fun way for me to learn a lot about photography. Although I haven't really put many photo galleries up here on Pants yet, looking at my site logs seem to indicate a lot of people appreciate my Clipsal 500 photos, especially the super high-res ones.
And I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Clipsal grid girls or all those women in bikinis... :)
A few days ago Canon announced the 20D's successor, which they'll be calling the EOS 30D. The picture above shows my current camera on the left (the 20D) and the new 30D camera on the right. Just looking at the two side-by-side, you can probably notice that there's not much difference between the two. That's common though - normally it's the innards that change most.
I realise most of the people reading this site aren't camera buffs like I am, so the specs may not mean much to you, but they basically say that the inside of the camera hasn't changed much either! This is not only extremely surprising news, but it's also very happy news for me & others.
So why is this good news? As with most of the 'digital' markets, the technology often evolves so fast that it's hard to keep up. We've probably all been on the vicious carousel of endless PC upgrades before. You know, as soon you get the new hardware out of the box it's already been superceded by something even newer and even faster...
Similarly I've been stung (in more ways than one) with my iPod purchase...
With this in mind, I had been dreading Canon's announcement for some time now, because I (like so many other Canonites) were totally expecting the 30D to be revealed as some über DSLR which would make the 20D seem prehistoric. I couldn't believe my luck as I read their press release though, because it just seemed to get better and better the more I read.
The first and most critical point is that the CMOS sensor in the 30D is exactly the same as what's in the 20D. The sensor is basically the most important part of any camera, and it's why the Canon DSLRs are so stupidly expensive. By keeping the same sensor, it means that the 30D performs exactly the same as my 20D - ie. same megapixel rating, but more importantly same ISO performance, signal-to-noise ratio, speed (frames per second) and basically everything else that makes the EOS range the most popular series for pro photographers worldwide.
Just knowing that the sensor —the nuts & bolts of the camera— was no different to my 20D, that alone made my day. The fact that all the "improvements" the 30D offers was all stuff I didn't need, that just made it even better. That's not to say there weren't improvements, just that the combined sum of new stuff doesn't provide enough incentive to upgrade to the 30D body, which is why I and many other 20D owners (and our wallets) are all sighing with relief today.
So what sort of new things will I be missing out on if I don't switch to the 30D?
Realistically, the single biggest 30D improvement is that they've increased the rear LCD screen from 1.8-inch (diagonal)/118,000-pixel to a 2.5-inch/230,000-pixel screen. That's a fairly decent improvement, but considering you don't use the LCD as you're actually taking photos, it's not a deal maker for me and I'm more than happy to stick with my 20D for a bit longer.
Although I started half-mocking Canon near the end of this lengthy rant, I'm not upset with them in the slightest and I'm actually happy that the 30D isn't as innovative as I thought it would be. Now I can spend another year or two using my (effectively) current-gen equipment without the fear that there's hordes of people* out there with better cameras than mine!
* (Ignoring the $15,000+ EOS 1Ds crowd. *Sniff* - I'm sure I'll get one of those one day... :)
February 17 2006
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