Canon EOS 30D

      Photo Review 9.2

      In summary

      Plenty of worthwhile refinements to a popular semi-pro DSLR.While many observers expected a sensor upgrade when Canon announced this year’s first new DSLR, the new EOS 30D sticks with the EOS 20D’s 8.2-megapixel CMOS chip, while offering some noteworthy improvements over its predecessor. The camera body has been re-designed to accommodate the same 2.5-inch, 230,000-pixel rear LCD monitor as the EOS 5D and, although this makes the 30D slightly larger and heavier, it provides a bigger, better display with a much wider viewing angle. . . [more]

      Full review


      While many observers anticipated a sensor upgrade before Canon announced this year’s first new DSLR, the new EOS 30D sticks with the EOS 20D’s 8.2-megapixel CMOS chip, while offering some noteworthy improvements over its predecessor. The camera body has been re-designed to accommodate the same 2.5-inch, 230,000-pixel rear LCD monitor as the EOS 5D and, although this makes the 30D slightly larger and heavier, it provides a bigger, better display with a much wider viewing angle.

      The user interface has also been improved, starting with the viewfinder, which now displays ISO settings, so you can adjust them without taking your eye off the subject. ISO values are also adjustable in 0.3EV increments from ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (the top ISO setting of 3200 is reached via a Custom Function). Other EOS 5D features include the more durable shutter (which is rated for 100,000 cycles), the addition of a 3.5% spot setting to the 9.5% partial, evaluative and centre-weighted average metering modes, and an RGB histogram display. Camera error codes are now displayed on both LCD screens, along with details of the nature of the problem identified. The 30D’s viewfinder also includes a new Flash Exposure Lock indicator.

      Processing Improvements

      Canon has also tweaked the 30D’s image processor to deliver speed improvements across a range of functions. Camera start-up time is now virtually instantaneous and mirror black-out has been reduced to 110 milliseconds. The algorithm that controls autofocusing has also been refined, although the 30D misses out on the additional AF Assist points provided on the 5D. The 30D also offers auto noise reduction for exposures longer than one second – and the camera doesn’t lock up during noise-reduction processing!

      Another significant improvement is the replacement of the Parameters menu with the 5D’s Picture Styles menu. In addition, photographers who shoot in JPEG format can now disable in-camera sharpening if they wish. However, we suspect most users of this camera will shoot in RAW format – even for burst shooting. Without enlarging the 30D’s buffer memory, Canon has improved the way images are processed and it can now accommodate 11 CR2-RAW frames, nine RAW+JPEG files or 30 Large Fine JPEGs. You can also select between 5fps and 3fps burst speeds.

      The 30D also replicates most of the 5D’s playback options, including the ability to display the file size, RBG or brightness histograms, and the AF point selected for the shot. Playback zoom of between 1.5x and 10x is now available in Quick Review mode and you can use the Jump function to skip forward or backward in 10 or 100 image increments. A pre-set magnification and magnified position will also be maintained during image jump.

      In the 30D, up to 9999 images can be stored in each folder – and the folders are automatically numbered from 100 to 999. The standard continuous, auto reset and manual reset numbering options are provided.

      Direct printing can now be accessed via a dedicated button and new functions include contact printing via PictBridge, complete with file names. When connected to a Pixma printer, users can print up to 11 fields of Exif data per thumbnail and access new Brightener and Red-Eye Correction settings as well as contrast, saturation and colour tone adjustments (three steps in each direction). Colour balance is also adjustable via a similar grid display to the WB SHIFT/BKT control inherited from the 20D.

      Other processing enhancements include the addition of a new auto rotate option that rotates the image only when it is displayed in a compatible browser on a PC screen – but not on the camera’s LCD. The 30D also offers more efficient power management. Canon has duplicated the EOS 5D’s battery indicator in the new model, as well as boosting the number of frames/charge by 10%, compared with the 20D.


      The bundled Windows and Mac software includes Digital Photo Professional 2.1 plus a new image transfer and camera control application, EOS Utility 1.0. The former provides a converter for the CR2-RAW files and adds a new Tone Curve Assist function (for adjusting brightness and colour saturation) to the Edit Image control suite. Image printing facilities are also upgraded. EOS Utility 1.0 is a portfolio application that lets users download images to a PC, adjust camera settings, shoot photos remotely, monitor folders when the WFT-E1A wireless transmitter is used and view images as they are shot. It also supports automatic image transfer using the Print/Share button on the EOS 30D, along with selectable linked display in Digital Photo Professional and ZoomBrowser/ImageBrowser.

      Retained Features

      As well as a magnesium-alloy body and 8-megapixel sensor, the 30D retains most of the best features of its predecessor, including the TTL 9-point AF system and selectable One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, One-Shot /Predictive AI Servo AF switching and Manual focusing modes. It also sports the same 35-zone ambient/flash metering system and E-TTL II flash exposure control, and the pop-up flash has the same range and 1/250-second synch speed.

      Photographers wishing to move up from an entry-level Canon DSLR and professional photographers looking for an additional body will find the 30D very familiar to use, while at the same time appreciating its refinements. The new model is fully compatible with Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses, EX-series Speedlites and the MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite and MR-24EX Macro Twin Lite. It can also be used with other accessories like the BG-E2 Battery Grip, WFT-E1 Wireless File Transmitter and DVK-E2 Data Verification Kit as well as the RS-80N3, TC-80N3 and LC-4 Remote Controllers.


      With the bundled EFS 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens, the EOS 30D produced image files that looked sharp, detailed and colour accurate. Their dynamic range was also above average – even for a DSLR. Imatest showed this camera-plus-lens combination was capable of very high resolution, although not at all apertures and focal length settings. The best performance was achieved at a focal length of around 40mm with an aperture setting of f8. Image sharpness tailed off slightly towards the ends of the zoom range and with the lens wide open or fully stopped down, although it remained generally above average. At no time were images over-sharpened.

      We found slight barrel distortion at the 18mm setting with close subjects but distortion was negligible by 37mm. No pincushioning was observed at 55mm. Chromatic aberration was negligible and no coloured fringing was detected throughout the zoom range. Edge-to-edge sharpness was generally good, with very slight softening detected at the 18mm setting.

      Imatest revealed the default camera settings produced slightly elevated saturation from orange-reds through to cyan-blue. Some hue shifts were also revealed in this sector. However, whether these deviations would be visible in shots is debatable. In our tests that replicate general usage, the 30D produced consistently natural-looking colours under a wide range of lighting conditions. Its white balance system also turned in an above-average performance, particularly with the pre-set and custom (manual) settings. However, like most cameras, the auto white balance setting failed to completely compensate for colour shifts due to incandescent and (to a lesser degree) fluorescent lighting – although it came very close. Image noise was generally low up to ISO 1600, with no obvious softening from noise-reduction processing.

      The EOS 30D was very quick to power-up and shut down. We measured an average capture lag of 0.15 seconds when autofocusing was required; with pre-focusing the lag was too brief to measure. The camera’s high-speed burst mode recorded shots at 0.3 second intervals, while the low-speed mode recorded at 0.4 second intervals.


      Although few significant improvements have been made to its imaging system, the EOS 30D remains an important new addition to Canon’s line-up. We believe new DSLR purchasers will inevitably compare it with the very successful Nikon D200, and here there are some factors they should consider. For starters there’s cost: at $2899 for the body alone, the D200 is $600 more than the 30D body.

      If resolution is important, the Nikon’s 10.2-megapixel CCD produces larger files than the 30D’s 8.2-megapixel CMOS chip, although the actual difference in files is minimal in an A3+ print, which both cameras can deliver with ease. The D200 produced Colour Checker files with lower saturation and slightly better colour accuracy than the 30D in our Imatest assessments, although whether users would detect any difference is debatable. The 30D edges slightly ahead in handling and performance in low-light conditions. We found files captured at high ISO settings were cleaner and more colour accurate on the 30D than the D200, although both cameras deal with general subjects equally well.

      The D200 has slightly better burst shooting capabilities, with a burst depth of 37 JPEG or 22 NEF-RAW files, while the 30D accommodates 30 JPEGs or 11 CR2-RAW files. Flash capabilities are another area where the D200 really shines. The ability to configure and operate multiple Speedlights directly from the camera outstrips the 30D’s capabilities. However, the Canon’s direct printing facilities are better than the Nikon’s. [28]






      Image sensor: 22.5 x 15.0mm CMOS sensor with 8.5 million photosites (
      s effective)
      Lens mount: Canon EF and EF-S series
      Lens multiplier factor: 1.6x
      Image formats: RAW (12-bit), JPEG, RAW+JPEG
      Shutter speed range: 30-1/8,000 sec plus Bulb (max. flash synch at 1/250 sec.)
      ISO range: ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (selectable via Custom Function)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm (body only)
      Weight: Approx. 700g (body only)
      Focus system/modes: TTL-CT-SIR type. Wide area AF with 9 selectable focusing points. One-shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, One-Shot /Predictive AI Servo AF switching and Manual focusing.
      Exposure metering/control: Evaluative, Partial, Spot and Centre-weighted average metering; Auto, P, A, S, A-Dep and manual shooting modes.
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom and Colour Temperature.
      Flash GN (m at ISO 100): 13
      Sequence shooting: 5 frames per sec for up to 30 in a single burst.
      Storage Media: Compact Flash Type I or Type II standard (1 slot).
      Viewfinder: SLR-Type eye-level viewfinder with fixed pentamirror; 95% coverage; -3 to +1 dpt adjustment.
      LCD monitor: 2.5-inch TFT colour display with 230,000 pixels.
      PC interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
      Power supply: BP-511 rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.





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