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Canon EOS 20D, 30D, 5D or Nikon D200?

by Bob Atkins, 2006


Many potential buyers of a new Canon mid-range DSLR will now be wondering one of (at least) four things:

  • Is it worth upgrading from (or to) an EOS 20D to an EOS 30D?
  • Should I get an EOS 30D/20D or an EOS 5D?
  • Should I get an EOS 5D or Nikon D200?
  • Should I get an EOS 30D/20D or a Nikon D200?

These are difficult questions and depend a great deal on how you intend to use the camera and how much you can afford to spend. I should add that of course there are Pentax-Samsung, Konica-Minolta-Sony and Olympus 4/3 DSLRs too, but here I'm just looking at competitive Canon and Nikon DSLRs. The Pentax-Samsung and Konica-Minolta-Sony DSLRs all have lower pixel counts and the Olympus DLSRs all have physically smaller sensors. Not that either is necessarily bad, just different. Smaller, but high pixel count, sensors tend to be noisier and lower pixel count (but equal size) sensors tend to have lower resolution. Obviously not everyone needs higher resolution and lower noise but the cameras discussed here represent higher resolution, lower noise, options in the $1000-$3000 range.

Upgrading from (or to) and EOS 20D or 30D?
For those upgrading from a 6MP DSLR like the EOS 10D or original Digital Rebel both the EOS 20D and EOS represent a significant improvement. Both the 20D and 30D offer a higher pixel count, faster operation (including very fast "wake up"), better AF and overall better usability. While the EOS 30D is a better camera in terms of features, with the EOS 20D selling for around $300 less it's still quite a viable alternative. If money is tight and image quality is your major reason for upgrading, the 20D might just be an excellent camera for you while it's still available new. Both the 20D and 30D are worthwhile upgrades from the original Digital Rebel, EOS 10D, D60 and D30. Not only is the pixel count higher but camera operation is faster, AF is better, the shutters are more durable, the sync voltage is higher and they are generally nicer and easier cameras to use. Upgrading from a 20D to a 30D is principally a features upgrade. Both cameras are capable of yielding the same image quality as outlined below.

Canon EOS 30D or EOS 20D?
The EOS 20D is a very good camera indeed. I've been using one for over a year and I've been very happy with it. Good resolution, low noise, very good quality. Even though the 20D and 30D share the same digital sensor, the 30D does have some nice additional features. A larger LCD screen which, from my experience with the EOS 5D, is significantly easier to read (especially if your close vision isn't all that it once was!). The firmware improvement such as Picture Styles, and RGB histogram, tweaked AF etc. are also a definite plus, as is the addition of a spotmeter. Though these extra feature don't change the intrinsic image quality, they do make the camera easier to use and features like the spot meter and RGB histogram allow the advanced user to more tightly control and analyze exposure.

Right now the 20D is selling for around $1150. The 30D is expected to sell at $1400 initially. If I didn't already have an EOS 20D, I think I'd pay the extra $250 for the new Canon EOS 30D. Whether it's worth the expense of selling a 20D for maybe $900 and buying a 30D for $1400 is a different question. For some it will be, for some it won't. The image won't be any better, though the EOS 30D will be a nicer camera to use and it will have a full 12 month warranty plus a shutter good for another 100,000 frames!

Canon EOS 30D/20D or EOS 5D?
Whether you go for a 30D/20D or a 5D depends a lot on what you shoot and how large a print you want to make. If you don't need the 5fps of the 30D/20D and if ultimate image quality is your primary concern, the Canon EOS 5D is an excellent camera and is certainly capable of yielding higher quality images than the EOS 30D/20D. It's only bettered by the EOS 30D/20D if you're a wildlife shooter working at the limits of your telephoto lens. If you need to crop the EOS 5D images because your lens isn't long enough (and for wildlife shooters, no lens is really long enough most of the time!), then the EOS 30D/20D should yield better images due to the higher pixel density. However if you're shooting portraits or landscapes, or anything else where you aren't limited by the maximum focal length of your lens, and you are making large prints, then the full frame sensor and higher pixel count of the EOS 5D will yield better images, though it will cost you around $1600 more. For the average shooter, making prints from uncropped images no larger than 11x14, it might be difficult to tell much difference between the results from the EOS 5D and EOS 30D/20D, given the use of equal quality lenses. However for larger prints or prints from images which have been cropped, the larger sensor and additional pixels of the EOS 5D can yield higher quality images.

Another advantage of the EOS 5D is that, being full frame, it allows full frame lenses like the EF 16-35/2.8L their full wideangle potential. Those worried about the long term value of EF-S series lenses for APS-C sized sensors (like those in the 20D/30D) if Canon eventually go all "full frame" won't have that concern if they buy full frame lenses and own an EOS 5D.

Canon EOS 5D or Nikon D200?
This is a pretty similar question to the one above (20D/30D or 5D). The EOS 5D has the higher pixel count and larger sensor, so it has an inherent image quality advantage as well as the ability to fully utilize the wide angle potential of full frame lenses. On the other hand the Nikon D200 has a higher frame rate, better weather sealing, GPS compatibility and a higher pixel density. For most users the question will be answered by the equipment they already own. I think few will jump from Nikon to Canon or Canon to Nikon on the basis of a single camera body. The significantly higher cost of the EOS 5D ($2950 vs. $1700) will obviously be a big factor for those who don't already have an investment in Canon or Nikon systems and will certainly attract potential buyers to the Nikon D200.

Canon EOS 30D or Nikon D200?
The Canon EOS 30D vs Nikon D200 question is again difficult to answer. Most people is probably to stick with what you already have. If you're a Canon shooter with Canon lenses, then the EOS 30D is the way to go. If you're a Nikon shooter with Nikon lenses, then the D200 is the way to go. They are pretty similar cameras in many respects including sensor size, frame rate, sync speed etc, though the D200 does have an extra 2MP and additional features such as GPS support, weather sealing, a larger buffer and a tighter spot meter. On the other hand, tests (see Dpreview.com) have shown that the noise level of the EOS 5D (and the EOS 20D/30D) at high ISO settings is somewhat lower than that of the Nikon D200. The D200 is also around $300 more expensive than the EOS 30D ($550 more expensive than the EOS 20D), though it's $1250 cheaper than the full frame, 12MP EOS 5D.

If you have no investment in either Nikon or Canon a potential user should carefully look over the whole system (body features, available lenses, available flash systems and other accessories) to decide which best meets their needs. I don't think there is any right answer or any subjective way to say which is "best". Remember that DSLRs these days have around an 18 month life cycle, so committing to a system on the basis of any single camera body probably isn't a great idea. You really have to consider the whole system. Today the Nikon D200 certainly has more features than the EOS 30D and so can be considered a "better", more fully featured camera (albeit a more expensive on too), but by next year Canon may have something with more features then the D200 - and by the year after that Nikon may be back "on top" with their latest model.

Canon EOS 30D, EOS 20D, EOS 5D and Nikon D200 Compared

Below is a comparison of some of the features of the EOS 30D, EOS 20D, EOS 5D and Nikon D200

EOS 30D EOS 20D EOS 5D Nikon D200
Sensor Size and Type 22.5 x 15.0 mm CMOS 22.5 x 15.0 mm CMOS 35.8 x 23.9 mm CMOS 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD
Pixels 8.2 million 8.2 million 12.8 million 10.2 million
"Crop Factor" 1.6x (APS-C) 1.6x (APS-C) 1x (Full Frame) 1.5x (APS-C)
Image sizes (L/M/S) 3504 x 2336
2544 x 1696
1728 x 1152
3504 x 2336
2544 x 1696
1728 x 1152
4368 x 2912
3168 x 2112
2496 x 1664
3872 x 2592
2896 x 1944
1936 x 1296
Lens Mount Canon EF lens mount (All EF and EF-S lenses supported) Canon EF lens mount (All EF and EF-S lenses supported) Canon EF lens mount ( EF-S lenses NOT supported) Supports most Nikon F-mount lenses, with some limitations
Auto focus 9-point TTL 9-point TTL

9-point TTL plus 6 "invisible assist AF points" within the spot metering circle 11/7 area TTL
Multi-CAM 1000
AF range -0.5 - 18 EV -0.5 to 18 EV -0.5 to 18 EV -1 to +19 EV
AF assist Yes Yes No (external flash with AF assist required) Yes
Continuous speed 5fps/3fps 5 fps 3 fps 5 fps
Buffer Size 30/11 JPEG/RAW 23 / 6 JPEG / RAW 60 / 17 JPEG / RAW 37 / 22 JPEG/ RAW
Metering modes Evaluative 35 zone
Partial (8%)
Spot (3.5%)
Center-weighted average
Evaluative 35 zone
Partial (9%)
Center-weighted average
Evaluative 35 zone
Partial (8%)
Spot (3.5%)
Center-weighted average
Matrix
Center Weighted
2% spot
Metering Range EV 1.0 to 20 EV 1.0 to 20 EV 1.0 to 20 EV 0 to 20EV
2 to 20EV (spot)
ISO range ISO 100 - 1600 plus 3200 via CF ISO 100 - 1600 plus 3200 via CF ISO 100 - 1600 plus 50 and 3200 via CF ISO 100-1600 plus 3200 with boost
ISO display in viewfinder Yes No Yes Yes
Minimum ISO step size 1/3 EV 1 EV 1/3 EV 1/3 EV
Image parameters "Picture Style"
Standard
Portrait
Landscape
Neutral
Faithful
Monochrome
User 1
User 2
User 3
Parameter 1
Parameter 2
User 1
User 2
User 3
B&W
"Picture Style"
Standard
Portrait
Landscape
Neutral
Faithful
Monochrome
User 1
User 2
User 3
Normal
Softer
Vivid
More Vivid
Portrait
B&W
Custom image parameters Sharpness: 0 to 7
Contrast: -4 to +4
Saturation: -4 to +4
Color tone: -4 to +4
B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
Sharpness: -2 to +2
Contrast: -2 to +2
Saturation: -2 to +2
Color tone: -2 to +2
B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
Sharpness: 0 to 7
Contrast: -4 to +4
Saturation: -4 to +4
Color tone: -4 to +4
B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom tone curve
Color mode: I, II, III
Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
Hue: -9? to +9?
Viewfinder 95% frame coverage
0.9x magnification
95% frame coverage
0.9x magnification
96% frame coverage
0.71x magnification
Focusing screen can be changed
95% frame coverage
magnification approx. 0.94x

LCD monitor 2.5" TFT LCD
230,000 pixels
1.8" TFT LCD
118,000 pixels
2.5" TFT LCD
230,000 pixels
2.5 " TFT LCD
230,000 pixels

Histogram Luminance and RGB Luminance only Luminance and RGB Luminance and RGB
Flash sync 1/250 sec 1/250 sec 1/200 sec 1/250sec
Built-in flash GN 13/43 (m/ft at ISO 100) GN 13/43 (m/ft at ISO 100) None GN 12 (m @ ISO 100)
Exposure modes Auto
Program AE (P)
Shutter priority AE (Tv)
Aperture priority AE (Av)
Manual (M)
Auto depth-of-field
Portrait
Landscape
Close-up
Sports
Night portrait
Flash off
Auto
Program AE (P)
Shutter priority AE (Tv)
Aperture priority AE (Av)
Manual (M)
Auto depth-of-field
Portrait
Landscape
Close-up
Sports
Night portrait
Flash off
Auto
Program AE (P)
Shutter priority AE (Tv)
Aperture priority AE (Av)
Manual (M)
Custom
Program Auto [P] - flexible program possible
Shutter-Priority Auto [S]
Aperture-Priority Auto [A]
Manual [M]
Weather Sealing No No No Yes
Wireless Connectivity Yes (WFT-E1 ) Yes (WFT-E1) Yes (WFT-E1) Yes (WT-3)
GPS Support No No No Yes
Vertical grip BG-E2 BG-E2 BG-E4 MB-D200
Weight 700 g (1.5 lb)
without battery
685 g (1.5 lb)
770 g (1.7 lb) with battery
810 g (1.8 lb)
895 g (2.0 lb) with battery
830 g (1.8 lb) without battery
Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm (5.6 x 4.2 x 2.9 in) 144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
152 x 113 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
147 x 113 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
Price (est. street) $1400 $1150 $2950 $1700

Bob Atkins (www.BobAtkins.com)

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Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Mike Chrest , March 14, 2006; 05:29 P.M.

Lots of great points BOB, but you just managed to add more confusion to my choice!!!!!!

Doug Landrum , March 14, 2006; 09:32 P.M.

I recently compared prices at B&H between the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L and the Nikon equivalent and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS and the Nikon equivalent, the Nikons cost a hundred or two more. I am a happy 20D shooter with both of the Canon lenses mentioned.

Vladimir Anisimov , March 14, 2006; 11:12 P.M.

Good review. Might be worthwhile comparing 20d/30d to the 350D/Digital Rebel XT.

Olivier Gallen , March 15, 2006; 09:37 A.M.

Thank you Bob for this effective sum-up.

A side-note, though: "Smaller, but high pixel count, sensors tend to be noisier" and "the cameras discussed here represent higher resolution, lower noise, options in the $1000-$3000 range".
That's an approximation, at best. Strictly speaking, a smaller sensor generates slightly LESS Noise...
It's because comparisons tend to be assumed under a same f-number that the larger sensor gets a higher Signal, thus a better Signal/Noise Ratio. This also means smaller/cheaper lenses for the smaller sensor (ie: a 200mm f/2.8 on APS costs less than a 300mm f/2.8 on 24x36). If you do that kind of comparison, you can't factor out the lenses and consider the body alone.

That 'sensor centric' behaviour is widely spread and, unfortunately, also convey some strong bias toward larger sensors.
I wonder whether you could find some way to express all that in a more faithful way, Bob?

Best regards,

Ujwal Bhattarai , March 15, 2006; 11:00 A.M.

Comparing 20D and 30D with each other is one thing but can they be compared with the Nikon D200?? they are totally different beasts. The sensors are different, performance is different, their technologies and lensmounts are also different. Why compare them?

Like Nikon? Have Nikon ? get the D200...theres not better camera in the world ( considering price vs. performance + 1500$ extra for similar specs. 5D ) and to get similar performance you need the Canon 5D if you are already unlucky to be in the canon stable. Sorry. Spend 1500USD more for the 5D. Full frame ? is that an issue ? I dont think so. DX is there in Nikkors does great job at that department!

All cameras are excellent. No doubt. In real world, they are all capable of producing extremely high quality and big prints. Yea...some may give you one or two extra inch bigger print. But do you always prints 12x18 or 16x20 ?? Is the upgrade really needed ? I regularly print 12x18 with my Nikon D70s (with bicubic interpolation )nd they look fab! I regularly stitch more than 4 frames and I can get super duper 12x36 ( i could do that with a 2 MP camera as well ).

Sensor size is not always everything, Megapixels is not everything! ( 6 MP and 8 Mp is just abt 2 inches of print bigger ...one will give you gr8 12x16, another gives you 12x18...). 8 MP and 10 MP will have similarly less differnece. But D200 is better built, sealed and has superb i-TTL flash , its faster, it can do Multiple-Exposures, can also use the superb AIS Nikkors which can be had for cheap rates now(e.g. an AIS 300 2.8 costs abt 1000USD on ebay! ).Can you get such super glass for that rate for Canon ? I dont think so.

I dont agree with someone who said that buying a full sensor camera actually saves money or does any good thing....in fact a cropped sensor like those in Nikons save tons of cash. You only need to invest in one DX lens and you have saved money on telephoto glass. One can never have too long a lens! plus you save on weight too. a 70-200 f/2.8 is suddenly a 300 2.8 at the long end and your 300 f/4 is suddenly a 450 f/4! isnt that great?? and you probably thought you'd never be able to do any serious bird photography!!!

This time ....Canon's eating dust! I feel really sorry for those who switched to Canon. Truly....very sorry.

Ilkka Nissila , March 15, 2006; 03:19 P.M.

Inherent in the discussion over sensor size is the existence of vast collections of existing lenses for 35mm format. The cost of a single camera with a large sensor is insignificant with the cost of replacing all these lenses. Do they need to be replaced if one is to switch to a small, high-res sensor? Yes, they do, eventually. To me this seems wasteful of natural resources as well as money.

Bill Force , March 15, 2006; 05:18 P.M.

Personally, I think the D200, 30D are too new to make an intelligent comparison based upon the level of tested information available today. I am in the market for one or the other but will just shake the tree and see what falls through the cracks. After some consumer testing in the field, that will undoubtedly turn up a few quirks on both. I'll just wait a bit, thank you.

Daveed Vandevoorde , March 15, 2006; 05:18 P.M.

Since the table above mentions the 30D as having both 5fps and 3fps continuous shooting speeds, it should probably also mention all the continuous shooting speeds of the D200: 5/4/3/2/1fps.

An important aspect of a camera is its user interface. I think I like the Nikon approach slightly better in this regard (except for the location of the dials), but it's certainly a very subjective thing.

OTOH, the D200's autofocusing abilities aren't really on-par with Canon's 20D when it comes to sports action photography. In his preliminary conclusions about the Canon 30D, Rob Galbraith even mentioned that they've pretty much excluded the D200 from any more such assignments. Except for that, the D200 is a heck of a camera. (Too bad it's still not quite a match for Canon in the 800+ ISO range. It's getting closer, however.)

dr evil , March 15, 2006; 10:03 P.M.

As a 20D owner who thought long and hard about upgrading to a 5D before commiting to a complete underwater system for dSLR, my thinking was this. The 5D is obviously better than the 20D but its twice the price and its not twice as good as the 20D. The fact that there are many threads debating their relative merits indicates that the difference is not double. You can also avoid commiting to the APS sensor by sticking with the EF lenses. However on saying that, if I was buying a dSLR for the first time today and did not already own a 20D, I would buy a 5D. Does that make any sense?

Joar Haga , March 17, 2006; 04:07 A.M.

I am not capable of evaluating all aspects of the comparison, I just want to say that I sold my Nikon equipment (D2H + D70 with some pro glass) and bought the 20D and some pro glass, October 2005. Now I am sitting here with the Nikon D200 and a few great primes in my hands, feeling lucky again.

The reason is simple: I was not able to tweak out the skin tones I wanted with the Canon machinery, even with Raw-files and CS-treatment. Handling, noise levels were great. The colours, too, in all other areas but in the faces, at least how I saw them. During these months I found out that skin colours are much more fundamental to my own understanding of photography, than what I was aware of before.

This is probably just caused by my weak understanding of Photoshop or the failure to understand the cameras possibilities (I only shoot in Raw-format). But in the end I had to face that it was me, not the professional reviewers who was taking pictures. I have never heard of the problem with Canon facial colours before, but I did not like what I saw with the 20d.

The bottom line, for me at least, is to try the equipment at work. One should feel it as a prolonged arm or finger to ones artistic work. I don't think photography is (only) about reflecting reality, whatever that might be. Nikon D200 seems to give me what I want from the human face in digital photography. But it demands high quality glass...

terence mahoney , March 18, 2006; 01:17 P.M.

Since the first EOS Canon has led with innovative technology. Some, such as multi-point AF and IS, Nikon eventually found their way round patents to come up with their own versions. They still haven't in-lens focussing motors in all lenses, and they still haven't a d-SLR without a crop factor. Nikon buys-in their digital sensors, Canon make their own. I wouldn't imagine Nikon will ever be "ahead" of Canon in any significant way long enough to make it worthwhile to bother with Nikon. If I had a few Nikkor lenses I fancied I would buy some inexpensive adaptors and use them on my EOS until the urge had passed.

Harold Lassers , March 19, 2006; 02:17 A.M.

Thanks for the helpful comparison.

I have a thought on your note on the use of APS vs Full Frame for wildlife. I prefer 5d cropped an APS even with a slightly higher pixel density.

When I am going to crop to the APS size it is nice to be able to see around the cropped area (as I can in the 5d) vs seeing only the APS field (in my APS size sensor camera.) It easier to track and target the game. I seldom take the exact center of the frame when I crop. One has more time to be careful and picky about framing when sitting at home working in photoshop than I do while shooting moving animal in the field.

Is this alone worth an extra $1700? I doubt it, it's just one factor in considering the 30d vs the 5D.

hugh crawford , March 19, 2006; 12:08 P.M.

So where does a used Canon 1Ds fit in this ranking?

I have a Canon 1Ds and would love to get lower noise in my low light photos, and would not mind giving up some of the anvil like durability if some of the anvil like weight went with it.

I get the impression that the 5D is a better hand held low light camera than the 1Ds and would consider switching.

On the other hand I'm awfully interested in trying the new Sony DSCR1, since it is about as close to the digital equivalent to a Rolleiwide as there is out there.

So, how much difference is there in the image quality between the 1Ds and the 5D at high ISO ?

Steve Bingham , March 20, 2006; 10:04 A.M.

Hi, Bob. As usual a really fine article. I know you shoot Canon - and I shoot Nikon - so I won't get into that. However, I will say that the current crop of DSLR cameras are probably more than adequate for 99.99% of the shooters out there. I hear a lot of silliness in the forums about Canon vs Nikon but in truth they both produce excellent cameras. Now it's up to us as photographers to get the most from them.

Having this many different cameras that can produce outstanding 13" x 19" prints is thrilling. Another thing (as you mentioned) pixel count isn't everything. That's why I went from a D2x to a D200. Much smaller body, lighter weight, more fun to use (I am supposed to be a RETIRED pro!). Ergonomics and ease of use really is a factor that few consider - but should. It's a personal thing but you really do need to "fondle" the camera and play with the controls before you buy. Remember the old Argus C3? Fine camera but butt ugly and very awkward to use!

Scott Aitken , March 22, 2006; 11:25 A.M.

There is an ergonomic aspect to shooting with a 5D that isn't mentioned here.

I'm middle aged, and shot with 35mm film SLRs for 20+ years before the digital revolution. I went through a D60, then 10D, then 20D. Each one met my needs from a technical standpoint. They produced adequate images. But they all felt cramped to use. I'd grown accustomed to the feel of what a 50mm lens, or a 200mm lens (or whatever) behaved like on film SLRs, and I never was able to get fully used to the cropped sensor size. I had to buy a fisheye lens to get back any really wide angle. The lenses always felt wrong; the bokeh and depth of field was off, I had to back away farther to get proper perspective in the studio. The viewfinder was tiny. In short, the 1.6x crop factor always felt like a necessary compromise, not a desirable feature (I couldn't afford a 1Ds).

I bought the 5D last fall, and as soon as I started using it I felt such an unexpected sense of relief! Ahhh... My lenses all behaved as I was accustomed to. With the physically larger sensor, the mirror and viewfinder are also larger in the 5D. That is so much easier on the eyes, I can't tell you! (Especially if you are over, say, 40.) I was sitting around with a few photographers a week ago who had 10Ds or 20Ds. We started actually handling the different cameras. They were all agog over the larger brighter viewfinder in the 5D.

So while there is a technical advantage to the full frame 12.8 megapixel sensor, it was the ergonomic and user experience (and the viewfinder!) that really sold me on the 5D. It is really a completely different experience than shooting with any cropped sensor DSLR. I hope I'm never again forced to compromise and go back to a cropped sensor.

randy douglas , March 24, 2006; 11:40 P.M.

I noticed some Photo.net users (really nikon users) have busted on you for being a Canon officianado w/past stories, but this seems to be a straight, unbiased view of the current Canon midrange cameras out there vs. nikon's D200. When Nikon is competitive and up to date, you don't dis their bodies....

Andrea Lee , March 27, 2006; 05:41 A.M.

Quick capsule review of a newly acquired D200 from a die-hard Canon user; I'm still getting over the guilt of apostasy. I began with the 10D when digital looked like it was here to stay, and have recently been using the 1DMkII, and played with the 5D when it came out. I also believe in point-and-shoots because I think that if Cartier-Bresson were alive today that's what he would have in his coat-pocket.

If you couple the D200 with the 17-55 DX it's comparable to the 1DMkII in terms of startup time and focus speed; the build feels sturdy, somewhere in between the toy-camera feel of the non-pro Canons and the overkill of the pro models that are for photojournalists who need them as weapons to hit people with. Shooting RAW you get about 20 shots in 5 fps (actually a little less in practice), which should be more than enough for any sane person. The interface is excellent. I miss the wheel, but otherwise it's just a matter of unlearning Canon habits.

Here's the 'but' to all this. Other lenses can range from slow and to unacceptable (distortion), and this means DX or non DX, older and newer, and I've no clue which are good matches. What Canon did when it entered the market was to optimize its cameras for the existing lenses, and it's still leading the market on that strength (hence the return to full-frame); EF-S was left for the kids. Nikon has a winner with the D200, but they had better produce a line of good DX lenses and get them out there. (Oh, and VR is far inferior to IS).

Brian Mottershead , March 27, 2006; 01:11 P.M.

Concerning the absence of any Nikon D200 information in the "Where To Buy" section, this is because (at the time of this writing), the "where to buy" information is coming from amazon.com, and although the code is asking for D200 information from Amazon, at this time, Amazon is not providing any.

Brian Mottershead , March 27, 2006; 04:35 P.M.

Because I didn't want your links to compete with the site's links, which are a significant part of our revenue from these articles.

Andrew Robertson , March 27, 2006; 09:19 P.M.

"Remember that DSLRs these days have around an 18 month life cycle"

Wow, I must be lucky to have a 10D that still works just fine. It's already long dead according to Bob!

jim feldman , March 29, 2006; 12:38 P.M.

I think he was refering to RETAIL life cycle. That being said, the 20d vs 30d differences don't seem generational, as much as a evolution of a specific platform.

Vuk Vuksanovic , March 30, 2006; 12:21 P.M.

scott (aiken).

that's a very good posting and i appreciate fully what you are saying. along the same lines, what really annoys me about canon is that they've done away with aperture rings on lenses. i like to use a camera in fully manual mode (that includes focus) and it's all part of the ergonomic experience for me. ultimately, the sensor size and viewfinder issues are the top priority and it is nice to have an almost affordable camera out there in which this has been sorted out.

Brent Collins , April 07, 2006; 07:08 A.M.

In response to Ujwal Bhattarai who stated in a previous post, "An advice................DO NOT BUY A NIKON D70s.........it will break down so easily and without notice. I WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER NIKON IN THIS LIFE....unless its a Film camera. (I'll miss those optics ). I should have bought a Canon." And now a post from this topic, "This time ....Canon's eating dust! I feel really sorry for those who switched to Canon. Truly....very sorry." Please make up your mind.

Bob The Builder , April 08, 2006; 06:11 A.M.

Wow, just 11x14 max print size from a 20/30D eh. I think I will stick with MF for a while longer...

Manfred Feuser , April 09, 2006; 01:01 A.M.

To me this is all a bid like walking into London fog. Nothing comes up clear.

Michael A. Shapiro , April 12, 2006; 04:35 P.M.

Illka, regarding having to get new lenses: It truly is not necessary to buy new lenses for dx sensors. You may want to buy one new lens if you are a superwide shooter, but that's it. Generally,(and I don't want to start an argument) Nikon's top lenses are the 17-35, the 85 1.4, and the 80-200. They are optically wonderful, sturdy, and get the best "grades" from professional reviewers and photojournalists. If you have these lenses (for instance), why get new ones?

To the discussion regarding print size: you can certainly get as big a print from a 10MB camera as you can from 35mm. What more do you want?

Michael

Ilkka Nissila , April 13, 2006; 09:37 P.M.

Michael, considering that MF film cameras cost in the thousands and MF digital backs in the tens of thousands, the 35mm based DSLR needs to replace both medium format and 35 mm film, if film is to be replaced (because MF digital is out of reach for all but a few). 35 mm film quality was never any kind of standard to be replaced (it was the smallest acceptable workable solution for those applications requiring speed and compactness, that's all). And the D200 does not give even 35 mm quality for wide angles (Ý«ámy opinion). It is not sufficient that a replacement for film gives excellent image quality for long lens applications, which presently is the case.

Any lens shorter than 35 mm (which is normal on DX) gives distinctly lower quality images than longer lenses on the D200. The 17-35 is a digital-optimized lens, designed to go with the D1 and successors, the first wide angle with ED glass, so it is the replacement, not the lens to be replaced in the advent of digital. I use mainly prime lenses for a variety of reasons on film.

In any case, my point here is that if you have digital optimized lenses, which include 12-24, 17-35, 17-55, 28-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8, obviously no need to upgrade since these lenses give the best image quality DX can offer. However, these are all relatively new lenses and many of us bought the majority of our lenses (in my cases, all primes except the 70-200) many years ago. The prime lenses work great on 35 mm film and they were optimized to give good image quality also at wide apertures and in the edges/corners ofthe 35 mm frame, also they're compact and low in flare. With DX, they give inferior image quality compared to the newest "top" zooms because of various issues relative to the current sensor technology and size of the sensor (as well as the fact that they haven't been updated for ages). If this is acceptable to you, or you had these zooms to begin with (very difficult unless you're new at photography), great for you. For those who have optimized our lenses for quality on 35 mm film, that's just tough since the same lenses do not give the best quality on DX. I know, I've used the 12-24 (briefly), the 17-55 (again briefly) and the 70-200 (extensively), as well as almost every AF prime between 14mm and 300mm Nikon makes.

The worst of it is really that Nikon has yet to bring out wide angles that actually give remotely close to the quality of images that are obtained with telephotos on the D200. Until they do so, there is plenty of film to be shot in the wide angle department, which obviously for some complicates things.

Patrick (Washington, DC) , April 14, 2006; 09:36 A.M.

seems like a theory and spec piece to me...

the writer doesn't really take into account what type of shooting a photographer wants to do where characteristics like fast AF and noise levels at higher ISOs play an important role. Of the reviewed cameras, Canon 5D is the king of low noise at higher ISOs by a mile. In my experience Canon's CMOS sensor technology and algorithms beats Nikon CCD/algorithms at/above ISO 800 any day of the week. But then again, if you shoot at ISO 100-200 on a tripod this fact is pretty much a moot point.

Furthermore, why not comment more on the better shutter mechanism on the 30D? If you are a heavy user and have e.g. 50K clicks on your 20D it is totally worth flipping that machine now, take a $400 hit and get a improved machine like the 30D with guaranteed 100K click shutter, better LCD, spot metering etc. I would be very surprised if there isn't some under-the-cover improvements in the AF-speed/accuracy and the post-processing algorithms as well.

Also, the interface of the D200 lends itself to a slightly different type of shooting, features like the AF-ON button, ISO in the VF, the weather-sealing, buffer-size etc. are all pro-level features that haven't been available on sub $2K bodies before.

Additionally, no single body makes you transition between brands? Well not true, I know plenty pros that went Canon because of the 5D. Affordable FF and high ISO performance tips the scale (then again, if you don't really need that to get your shot/make an income there is no reason why the D200 shouldn't be everything you ever wanted from a prosumer DSLR)

Lastly, the review completely omits the toll the various cameras will take on your supporting equipment like CF cards and computing power. I don't think you can completely ignore that side of the equation when making a buying decision.

Scott Nelson , April 19, 2006; 11:58 P.M.

This:

" i appreciate fully what you are saying. along the same lines, what really annoys me about canon is that they've done away with aperture rings on lenses. i like to use a camera in fully manual mode (that includes focus) and it's all part of the ergonomic experience for me"

Is a very funny comment.

Firstly, I recognize that ergonomics matters and initially felt odd not adjusting aperture on the lens. Very quickly got used to the thumb-wheel, and now am refusing to buy a Digital Rebel for many reasons, one of which is the lack of it.

What I find funny is this:

"i like to use a camera in fully manual mode"

You cannot possibly use a modern SLR -- film or digital -- in fully manual mode. It's simply not possible.

When I first shopped for EOS gear, I remember commenting that the Elan IIe I was looking at didn't have an advance lever. Duh....nothing does. You need a motor drive. Your shutter is electronic.

So I accept the ergonomic argument, but if you really want a camera that you can use in "fully manual mode" I have a Canon F1n that represents a pretty good hybrid of electronic & manual modes -- camera works fine without a battery, although some shutter speeds aren't available.

Mark Heseltine , April 23, 2006; 02:26 A.M.

I am angry. I started out in photography 'borrowing' my older brother's or my older sister's 120 cameras. A professional photographer then let me borrow a wonderful 120 bellows camera (defective - but with a bit of effort I could get by), and later a neighbour let me use her 35 mm Canon SRL. This was the first time I used a 35 mm camera. I thought I went to heaven for no other reason than it had an interchangeable lens and I could set the focus. A few years passed, and I resolved to buy my own camera. I had a summer job. The camera shop let me try out lots of cameras. I liked the Nikon FM - its eyepiece was placed left of centre. I had not until then realised my left eye was dominant. I was hooked. So, I then watched the debate in the trade and consumer press. Nikon? or Canon? Or Minolta? Anyone truly worth their salt would say Minolta had great bodies. They went the way of the dodo. Nikon, however, tried harder. Their body was robust. And their lenses kept the faith. However, Canon, like Microsoft, had the marketing muscle. So much so that web sites such as photo.net carried on the creed. No true critical review. Simply, the party line.

It reminds me much of the beginning when there was the Contax S, in 1949. And God thought it was good. But then in 1959 the Nikon F1 were born. And God saw the F1 and said It Too Was Good. And ask only that its lenses keep faith. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Film and God said, Let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light, and said it was good. And later God saw the Minolta and was able to divide the light from the darkness and called this division competition and hoped Man would see the light. And out of the darkness came the D200 at a reasonable price. And God saw it was the future. But Man listened to the message of the Marketer and said It Was Good. And the Canon Adman was moved. And the Canon 30D was born. But as nothing true evolved but that which the Adman presented, Canon and PhotoNet said look no further as the 30D was the future.

The moral of the story? Some say religion. I hope only for Nikon. A world filled solely with Canon is a world dark as pitch. Objectivity ought to reign. Anger can't help. Let's rid ourselves of the debates and look to the merits of each camera. There can be no one winner. If that is the case, we all lose.

Mark

Anthony Peterson , April 24, 2006; 10:30 A.M.

I wonder if Bob meant the actual camera life or as far as technology advances by 18 month life cycle Andrew.

I had/have a 10D since it was originally released, I believe May of 2003 and I used it consistently and constantly until about two weeks ago when the shutter gave out. I have no idea how many actuations I have made, but I am sure it was far fewer than the 100K life they suggest for the 30D.

Incidentally, the 10D is having the shutter replaced ($237) currently and I am now shooting with a 30D. I feel as if I have upgraded from a Mazda Miata to a Porsche Boxer.

I was hoping to upgrade to the 5D but I was not ready to financial commit $3000 at this time.

I am bitter at Canon that Adobe was not provided information and equipment in order to create an update for CS2 to work with the 30D's raw files. At the moment I am stuck using the provided substandard software.

Ilan G , April 26, 2006; 10:46 A.M.

I'd like to hear more about viewfinders in comparisons.

I want to know if when I stick my eye in the viewfinder I'll have the impression of looking through a key hole (like I do with a Nikon D70 for example) or if it looks better (i.e. bigger).

That's in my opinion one of the most important parameters in lower price DSLR's today, given that picture quality of different models is similar.

There must be a scientific way to measure the perceived "size" of the viewfinder image (solid angle kind of thing?). If I spend a whole day with my eye stuck there, I want to be able to easily see what I shoot.

John Falkenstine , April 28, 2006; 07:12 P.M.

Bob's reviews are excellent. Hoping to stay away from a DSLR for a bit longer I now realize that for some photography that I've started to do again, my Olympus 8080 is simply not up to the task. Basically, its just too slow. So Bob's reviews have quite a bit of value for me right now as "decision day" won't hold that much longer.

Charles Watkins , April 29, 2006; 03:48 P.M.

Great review and very informative. I am very tahnkful for the 30D which has resulted in a price drop for the 20D models. I bought a new 20D body yesterday for $869.00. A wonderful price for a STILL wonderful camera. I have been playing with it all day, and I like it much better than my 300D.

Mark Skalinski , May 01, 2006; 03:04 P.M.

I was using D20 with 17-85, 75-300 and 10-22mm lenses, but recently all this was stolen in the train in Amsterdam. So now I am facing decision, where to go from there? D30 or D5 ? One of the factor are lenses. When I switch to the fuull frame D5, I am limited on lense choices? What does it mean that it doesn't support EF- S lenses ? What is difference between EF and EF-S lenses ?

Alexander Kraev , May 19, 2006; 10:59 A.M.

I am new to this forum, so please excuse me if I repeat something already discussed. All of these cameras really open new horizons to photography. However, this overview of the 'middle ground' DSLRs shows, IMHO, that photographic industry is more driven by traditionalist concepts than the current technology level allows. My personal 'jump' from Canon EOS 5 (non-D) to 20D was very easy because in a decade the controls layout did not change much. The smaller sensor is also an advantage in close-up photography of insects, my main venue. The longer reach of macrolenses does not feel 'wrong' in any way. However, I fail to understand why they continue using a moving mirror on those DSLR cameras. With such a wonderful sensor performance at high ISO why not make a semi-transparent fixed mirror the standard? It would have allowed to place lens elements deeper into the camera. However, instead of getting the likes of wonderfully compact Zuikos one has to deal with those wide angles in the range of around 10-12mm, ridiculous chunks of glass only because of the large lens to sensor distance and added autofocus, which is hardly necessary at this focal length range. Second, what prevents 'them' from using square 36x36mm sensors at least on higher end DSLRs? Would a camera with a square sensor and non-moving mirror break too many boundaries?

Andrew Robertson , June 02, 2006; 04:04 P.M.

Save your pity for us Canon users, Ujwal. Your hyperbolic post is great reading, but you ignore the reality that different photographers require different systems. What about the people who need a 24 f/1.4, 24 TS-E, 35 f/1.4, etc? For them there is nothing attractive in the Nikon DSLR lineup.

"You cannot possibly use a modern SLR -- film or digital -- in fully manual mode. It's simply not possible."

You are confusing manual controls with all-mechanical operation. Modern SLR cameras are pretty much all capable of operating in fully manual mode, whether or not the controls are mechanically actuated or electronically actuated.

Seth McKiness , June 06, 2006; 11:02 P.M.

Wow, well, if Ujwal is that concerned about quality, he evedently has never heard of Medium format. and if lenses are that big of a deal I am sure there is two german companies that could convince him to change camera type if he knew how to shoot without the little predone icon modes.

If Voigtlander made a 1500$ RF with a 6-8mp full frame sensor that would be my pick of the litter.. but the epson was over price, and did not do all that well, so I bought a DSLR, and in all fairness the Canons and Nikons development over the last 3 years has been quite amazing and both are superb cameras. so superb they have no real competition. Of course.. if I won the lottery , I have always wanted a Leica.. :-)

Also, nothing that has been mentioned that really struck me about the 30d.

the 30d is a digital Elan.. the first elans were great advanced amateur cameras, that had a shutter that aged like vinegar. my Elan is unusable in weather over 60-70 degrees cause the bumpers are all broken down. I love the feel of the camera though compared to a rebel. I am very happy the D70s I ordered was on backorder, so I bought the 30d instead.. and then I will buy a 17-40 f/4l and a 70-200 f/4l then save up for a full frame body.. cause wide angle is awesome :-)

unless an afforable digital rangefinder comes out..

Hint Hint Cosina!

Mark Michaelson , June 11, 2006; 12:19 A.M.

GPS compatability???? WTF? Tom-Tom, where is the naked model?

Chris Benton , July 02, 2006; 05:02 P.M.

From just perusing the specs the Nikon looks abetter choice other than the full size sensor, but since I currently shoot film Canon this would be an upgrade too far. If I were looking for a first dslr it would be the Nikon. BTW when I am doing a season series I use a GPS to make sure I have a shot from the same viewpoint for each season so it can be useful.

Rafael Reynaga , July 30, 2006; 06:21 A.M.

I have a Nikon D2x and it recently malfunctioned (the f stop wouldnt move from f2.8) I got it fixed at Nikon but the point is that when this happened I had to use a Canon 20D and a Canon Eos 1D mark II (8 megapixel) and a Rebel XT with a 70-200 f2.8 L and 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS and a 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS all Canon lenses. This is my expierence with Canon cameras: the first thing I tested was the legendary autofocus from Canon, all 3 cameras worked fine and very fast , but I was holding all 4 cameras (prime glass on the D2x too) and I felt that Nikon focuses better on backlight and poorlit conditions and it was very similar in normal conditions if not better than Canon. Also in the focusing department, I just hated Canons interface when I tried to select a focusing point, is just a nightmare! all tree cameras were diferent, the annoying 40 plus focusing points on the Eos 1D that was very , very slow to select a desired focusing point on the go... I just dont understand how sports photographers do it? with the D2x or the D200 (I have one now) you just move the -rock dial- on the back and select the desired bracket on the go and real fast, I shoot fashion and I use this a lot to let my model walk on ether side of the frame etc. also de 20D was realy slow on this, you press that little (very little) joystick kind of thing button in the back to select the desired focusing point, this is absurd!! I have regular to big hands and this botton or joystick or what ever that is , is just not good for me. Finaly the Rebel XT, in order to select the desired point I press the botton marked with the * and then at the same time use the dial on front (the one used to change f stop or speed, depends) until the desired focusing point lights up, that is after I went over the other 10 , line by line.. real slow..... I just dont understand how sports photographers do it! Canon Cameras are way to complicated! one button does 2, or 3 or even 4 functions, while in Nikon, buttons are ment for a single thing (much easier and faster).Another thing, only the Eos 1D had a button for selecting White Balance or Color temperature! on the 20D or the Rebel XT you had to go through the whole menu to finaly find the color temperature menu!! talk about slow! while the D200 and D2x have a quick access button for this, that is if you want to quick access this (again how can a photojournalist use Canon? dont they need this to be handy?) oh well to make a story short Canon interface is real slow in my opinion and I was stuck with Canon for like 3 months, but I paciently waited and bought a D200 to use a as a back up, for a moment I was angry with Nikon and thought about going to Canon (5D), but it was a great experience for me to try it, after all its your personal style that dictates which sistem to use so I used my friends Canon cameras to test drive them, I think in favor of Canon is less grain at high iso settings, and the full frame format, not beacause of its use with wide angle lenses, ( I dont shoot much wide angle) I shoot fashion so I look for -Bokeh-, and full frame format is beautiful with this, but besides this Ill stay with Nikon and will paciently wait for Nikons full frame camera, because when Nikon offers one, Canon lead on the market is going to be a thing of the past, autofucus speed is no longer an issue, TTL flash is far better with Nikon, VR is not as good as IS but is pretty good, and ok Nikon doesnt have a 24 tilt shift but then again I dont shoot wide much. I miss the good old days of 35 mm film when the difference was sharpness and optical quality, now its all megapixels and sensor size, I cant wait for Nikon to have a full frame even if its not a 16 megapixel one, I print catalogs just fine from 8 megapixels and up. Then we will talk about lens qualities again.

Image Attachment: canon vs nikonII.jpg

Scott Ditzel , August 13, 2006; 10:37 P.M.

Can't we all just get along?

Scott

richard braine , August 14, 2006; 08:39 P.M.

>>I think few will jump from Nikon to Canon or Canon to Nikon on the basis of a single camera body.<<

I left Nikon for Canon because of the 5D and I don't seem to be alone. I was in line to buy a D2x. I tested it with the best Nikon wideangles, saw that a 5D with a 200 buck wide lens (Zeiss) and adapter offered much better picture quality, and so spent a fraction of the D2x cost on a 5D and a couple of adapters.

All but my Nikkor 17-35f2.8 are sold now, and I am routinely getting better pictures than I have since before I switched to Nikon digital in the late 90's.

Nikon's noise problems are still not solved in the D200. I don't want always to have to shoot at 100-400 ISO. There is no sign that Nikon, who do not develop their own chips, are going to offer lower noise full frame cameras.

The EOS mount is shallow and broad, allowing for better wideangle design and the use of many alternative lenses with adapters, including Nikkors. Canon makes great teles too, as the white lenses at any sporting event will testify. Sports photographers also like high ISO if it looks good.

All this could mean that Nikon is a dying platform for us professionals, who have to be competitive about image quality. Nikon will not survive on a set of pretty good lenses, noisy Sony APS sensors and the D200. It may well be too late for them to start developing their own sensors as fabrication is an expensive business. Canon's next camera competitor will be Sony.

Anybody reading this article should be wary of the D200 and expenditure on DX glass for an increasingly uncompetitive platform. Better ergonomics are not enough.

This review seems to be scared of doing anything more than listing the published features of these cameras and saying if you need this or that, get it. It is completely uninformative. It would have been nice to see some actual comparisons of real images, and a recommendation that took real picture quality and platform longevity into account.

Rafael Reynaga , August 19, 2006; 04:17 P.M.

I must say I like Richards comment a lot

I think he is completly right about Nikons noise is not fixed in the D200 and about Nikon not doing their own chips, Canon is a far bigger company since they make copiers and faxes and printers etc, this makes (in my opinion) Canon a much more wealthy company (not to mention a strong position in the market with point and shoot digital cameras)providing them with money for investigation and research on sensors lenses etc. But I hope that posting comments and talking about each others defects and pros, will help so that camera companies get some insight about what us consumers think.

After all is good that Nikon Co-exists with Canon so that they have competion and us consumers get better products. I realy think that Sony may be a tough SLR competition (not with their current SLR camera though), that in the sensor arena but I think Sony will have a tough time trying to catch up to Nikons optics or Canons.

And I promise Richard that I will ask my friends for their Canon equipment again so that Ill post some pictures so we see side to side photos about the same subject. I have seen that ocacionaly.

There are many areas in comercial and artistic photography, like Fashion, Weddings, Product and table top photography, photojounalism etc at the end a camera can suit a purposse better or worse. In the company that I work for (Fashion Catalogs) there are 5 photographers 4 us use Nikon products mostly D2x, and only one uses Canon?s 5D and the only thing I envy from him is the full frame format that provides beautiful out of focus pictures even with the 50mm f1.8 lens! its simply beautiful.. in ocacions this makes me re-consider going to Canon. in other regards as noise at high iso, that doesnt concern us since most of us just dont shoot at higher iso settings than 400, and the posibility of using other optics on my Nikon besides Nikkor lenses does not exite me. I would never want to use a Zeiss or even a Canon lens on my Nikon even if I could, thats just not meant to be.

But since I have a considerable amount of money invested in Nikon equipment I sincerly hope that Nikon now that Canon is bragging about their full format capabilities in every Canon?s 5D or Eos 1Ds mark II add, this (I hope) will push Nikon to produce their own full frame format soon.

Competition at the end favors us consumers. So is good that Canon is out there, Nikon is out there and I will certainly welcome Sony in the fight, we are the benefited ones.

Don Roos , August 21, 2006; 05:33 A.M.

I am considering retiring early (from a life as a computer specialist) and take up photography as a paying job. I have been taking photo's since I was very young (Brownie days!), even made a bit of money doing wedding photo's before getting married. I then slowed down my photography for financila reasons (apart from kiddy snaps) until I bought a compact digital a few years ago. Since then I have been on a few international trips and taken quite a few travel photo's, many of them quite good according to critics.

Now, I have been trying to decide what to buy. I own a Canon A80 so I understand the DIGIC II processing software already so I have been leaning towards Canon. But the Nikon does seem to be a better camera. So my approach was to consider the long term prospects (as mentioned in the article). I soon hope to make enough money to be able to buy the best DSLR body. So far, there is only one contender - the 1DS MkIIN. So, I used this as my starting point. I will only buy equpment that will work with this body (or it's inevitable replacement). That means I should only but Canon EF lens mount glass.

At the moment I am trying to decide if I should buy the 30D with the 17-85 f4-5.6 IS USM and add the 70-200 f2.8 IS USM. I could possibly also sqeeze the 1.5 extender and the vertical grip. I could later add a 400mm lens or bigger and a wider lens as well. Your article has caused some doubt in my mind. Some of the statements I read indicate that it may be a better bet to get the 5D and wait a bit longer for the extra glass. I intend taking travel photos and wildlife photo's (I live in South Africa after all), but I also enjoy taking pictures of flowers, birds, insects and the odd bit of portraiture. That means I will need a wide range of lenses from macro to super zoom.

Now I am confused. I am still leaning towards the 30D with the glass and eventually adding the 1DS MK IIN body. Then I will have an APSc and a full frame sensor and could make optimum use of the glass. Any advice from people actually doing this for a profession? I have heard that some archives only take large format images (12 MegPixel and above) so I will be limiting my initial market.

G P , August 21, 2006; 09:42 A.M.

5D more camparable to D2Xs than D200

I think an important point that's been overlooked here is that the Canon 5D is more comparable to Nikons D2Xs than the 200D. The 5D has more resolution than the D2Xs, a full size sensor and a similar quality of build. I would like to see the D2Xs thrown into this review for good measure.

I've owned 3 Nikon bodies and 2 Canon bodies (20d and 5d) and have been smitten with each one. I now use the 5D as my primary; at £2350 with a 24 -105 L chucked in I think it's a bargain and well worth every penny. I really appreciate the full size sensor, extra resolution and large viewfinder. The 20d and 30d are both great cameras as is the 200d but in my opinion, quite a step apart from the 5D.

My feeling is that Canon still have the edge in terms of price:performance but the important thing is to really go with what is best for you and there's only one person who can give you the answer to that.

Esbjorn Bjarbo , August 24, 2006; 07:01 P.M.

Ok so please help a new guy...

"Remember that DSLRs these days have around an 18 month life cycle,.."

So if a buy a new camera, I can excpect it to brake and be useless in that time?? Or maybe I just read that wrong..

A Monty , August 27, 2006; 08:13 A.M.

i have the D200 and couldn't be happier. In relation to the noise factor. Yes the noise is definitely much more than I have seen with Canon BUT it is similar to film grain and very pleasing. I often even exaggerate in post processing.

Axel Cordes , September 01, 2006; 04:54 A.M.

Scott Aitken Thank you Scott - you said my words. Although not being in 'bussines' that long I have the same experience. I was used to my 50mm and now having a 10D this isn't the same - the viewfinder is so much smaller that I realy have problems to use it correct (I'm using glasses). The output is ok, but I like my 'old' EOS 30 much more. So I also consider this to be a major point which needs to be take in account. When I bought the 10D I did not think on the viewfinder size - next toy will be checked mostly for ergonomics (10D also has some buttons not on the point which would be good for me), and the pixel count is a minor thing. The viewfinder couldn't be large enough - is on thing , and the other - being used to some glasses makes the change from 1:1 to 1:1,6 difficult. Now using the 10D for more then a year I'm coming closer to using the toy in 'blind'.

Another thing: Some like the long glasses, some the short - the long lovers are happy with 1,6 , but I'm on the short side , and I' still thinking how to proceed on that - will we have 1:1 cheap soon, I don't think so, otherwise they wouldn't produce extra 1,6 glasses.

For now I will stuck on what I have and see what the time will bring.

Regards Axel

Tom Lau , January 22, 2007; 11:08 P.M.

I start of with a Nikon F801s and now I own a Canon 5D with 24-105 L IS and 70-200 L IS F4 and I brought all these goods at Hong Kong saving almost AUS$ 2000. I can get 3 lens with the Nikon D200 (or even 4 if I go for the 3rd party len), but I glad I go for the Canon for number of reasons:

1st, the 24-105 L IS F4 len are just soooooo dame good, it's really design for this camera. I used a Nikon D80 with the 18-200 VR len @ work, I find the image is a bit soft and I think the zoom lenght is a bit long.

2nd, because I took alot of weddling, you got to "look" good as well as your gear, believe me, the people whom attend the party hold "good" camera, not to mention Nikon D80 or even D200. I alway have my batties grid on (I know this weight a ton) and also with my Apple proBook connnected to a projector, so once I have shot enough, I'll download to the proBook and run the slide show on the screen, I have a lot of business because of these set-up, I think the best way to sell yourself is word-of-mouth.

3rd, forgot to mention I'm a graphic designer as well, I use Photoshop CS2 everyday, so noise is very important to me, I zoom-in every pixel as close I can, Canon's RAW file are far more sharper than Nikon's RAW file.

IF I add up the values above the "extra" money is worth to spend.

Vinicius Matangrano , March 31, 2007; 10:00 A.M.

After 1 year that this article has been around, I'm still left in the cold, as some others above (and probably many, many others that didn't express themselves here but are also in this same boat).

I'm an amateur, and I still shoot on film. Because I have an EOS 55 (Japanese Elan IIE) and a few "full-frame" lenses, including an EF 20mm and a Zenitar 16mm fish-eye. I invested a lot of money on these lenses (given that I don't make money back from them) and I have a fairly decent body. Now how can I go digital? The Rebel XTi is affordable (I didn't say cheap), it seems to be a great camera, but I'll lose the back control dial, and, worse than that, I'll have my wide-angles become boring (quoting Philip here) 25 and 32mm. Then I would need another wide-angle to replace them, the only option for me being the $700 EF 10-22(*), making the total around $1350. Out of question. The 30D solves the control dial problem, but not the lenses problem, and is much more expensive. The 5D would solve both problems, but I just can't imagine spending $2800 on a camera body. Besides, I would have to replace other accessories such as remote cords and controls.

To make matters worse, I live in the third world, and have to cope with expensive shipping, absurd import taxes and high exchange rates.

In summary, I believe most "advanced amateurs" like me (advanced here only means that I have some better equipment than the basic Rebel+Zoom starter kit) are still waiting for either an affordable (below $1000) full-framed camera, or an affordable (below $500) wide-angle lens with some quality (not the cheap zooms).

I still love Canon products, but I'm wondering if consumers like me will have a better option to go digital anytime soon.

Regards,

Vini

(*) I personally don't like the idea of buying third-party AF lenses in my country, because of the compatibility issues that arise every now and then when Canon launches new bodies. But that's another story.

Rafael Reynaga , April 02, 2007; 07:33 P.M.

Viny in my opnion you should stay Canon.. and get the 5D I also live in a 3rd world country and the best way to get your equipment is when a friend goes to the USA for tourism . ask him/her to get your 5D for you, no taxes, no hassels, keep your lenses and youll have a great full frame camera, when she or him comes back.

I am sure that the super human effort to save that amount of money for us in the 3rd world.. is worth it. It will give you an advantage over the competition, and you?ll have a long lasting camera considering how technology is moving fast now a days.

consider my opinion.. I am a devoted Nikon user and I am recomending you to stay Canon.

good luck!

Deirdre Ryan , April 27, 2007; 05:59 P.M.

i have an opportunity to purchase a canon 20D for $719. it's new, body only with everything that comes with it from b&h. in anyone's opinion, would this be a good purchase?

my nikon d100 is dead. i only have 3 lenses for nikon, so it's not like i had a huge amount invested. i work with what i have and it had served me well.

the reason for crossing into canon is the noise level is lower and canon appears to be more on the "go" in terms of higher pixel cameras these days.

thanks :)

Matthew Kerlin , May 07, 2007; 02:27 A.M.

Having just spent over an hour perusing the postings on this forum, I must say that I agree with several members in that I don't think I'm extracting a satisfactory answer out of all of this. It feels more like a religious debate: you believe in one or the other, but neither really has anything in its bag to win the day, but everyone is going to keep on debating anyway. All I'm looking for, coming in as a relatively new fish, is a decently straight answer (as I'm sure my fellow confused members will agree with).

From what I can tell, it seems that Canon, despite being the "evil" super-company, is the way to go. It has better lenses, a more certain future, better R&D, and less complaints in general. I'm looking at this as a long term investment, so I want to get the company right and avoid the whole restocking of lenses process.

Assuming this is right, the 5d seems the best way to go, despite the lack of fps. But since I can't afford that (and nearly got ripped off buying one ridiculously cheap online), I'm probably going with the 30d and some good glass. My primary interest, by the by, is wide angle shots.

Thumbs up or down?

Best Regards, Matt

Andre Stull , July 15, 2007; 05:02 A.M.

We must all come to grips with the fact that Canon will be pushing full frame bodies. Nikon and others have to make them in order to remain competitive. Once price points come down to under $2000 dollars it will be very difficult for people to pass on the benefits that full frame offers. Yes, we buy a system and the crop sized lenses such as the 10-22 do not make sense when it costs the same as a 17-40L for full frame. The 5D is the camera to choose for the long haul. The lenses will last longer and the body is amazing in design in terms of it housing a full frame sensor (inside 20/30d body). This comparison really marks the end of crop bodies so why invest in them. Save your money and invest it in the 5D or 5D II when it arrives and top quality lenses. The 5D is a bargain if I ever saw one compared to a 7000 dollar 1Ds.

Oh before I forget, that viewfinder on the 5D will have you asking, "How in the world do people look through a crop sized viewfinder".

Nigel Ashton , July 30, 2007; 03:57 P.M.


All I can say is that there is a reason why just about every camera at any sporting event is a Canon. The Nikons I have used feel clunky and the interface I found gawdy and PC like. And like computers, (such as comparing the vulgar XP GUI to the more subtle elegant OSX) it becomes a matter of taste. Canons for me are more comfortable and human. Also, I was 2nd shooter at a wedding last week. When the first shooter quit attempting to focus his Nikon at the reception I just set my 5d on H and kept on going. Canon is Mac. Nikon is PC.

Okon Umoh , August 04, 2007; 02:15 P.M.

Image quality first and foremost for me

As a beginner I took quite a blind plunge and bought the Canon 20D with the 17-85mm IS lens about 18 months ago. Then I began to read about the Nikon range. As someone who always wants the best for my money I was beginning to worry that I might have got the wrong item, (even though all my previous cameras - 35mm compact, SLR, have all been Canon)

For a beginner like me, it's image quality that matters most, and not some extra advanced features that I would probably only use once in a year.The more I read various reviews, the more relaxed I have become.

Canon appear to have the better image quality. Even those reviewers who awarded the D200 a higher overall score than the D30 award the Canon higher marks for overall image quality. The extra features that Nikon D200 brings are not going to make me change my mind, not if I have to pay even more for them.

So, as said previously by our useful contributors here, it boils down to what you need from the DSLR. For me at this stage its image quality first and foremost. So its Canon.

I have read about there being a price difference of about $200 between the two cameras. Well, that is if you go to both Canon and Nikon direct stores. If you shop around you would find the difference to be more than $300. I just wasn't convinced that such premium was justified for a camera with inferior image quality

Ujwal Bhattarai , July 16, 2008; 09:27 A.M.


Us and the blue sky. Canon 20D 17-40 L

I have a 20D, have been shooting with it for abt 2 years now, and invested in two L lenses and 580EX, and got a D80 a few months ago for peanuts...bought it, and i could use it without reading any manual. Wow....but i have sold it to pay for my new "white" lens.

I will use canon exclusively now......but my heart is still with Nikon and I always use my cameras in Manual mode. Unlike someone who said in earlier post...............it is possible to use a modern camera in Manual mode. I do it every time.... and get great and consistent results.

and Medium format is great....rangefinders are great! and everybody knows how good the german optics and rangefinders are. But the problem is...120 film is too expensive...so are scanners....digital backs are too exp.....too big heavy....slow.....needs expensive and powerful computers...lenses are expensive and I can do weddings+macro+portraits+l;andscape with an entry level Japanese DSLR and two lenses....all that for under 1500 bucks.

But can you do macro photography with them? do they have alternative to 70-200mm 2.8 lenses?

Mark Heseltine , July 29, 2008; 12:19 A.M.

Well, I believe I was right - Nikon has a vision. There is now the brilliant D300 and the spectacular D700. Nikon must have plans for other cameras in between.

Listen up, photo.net - there is more to photography than Canon. Give us a break and start giving more balanced reports.

Mark


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