I thought long and hard about why did I buy a 20D when I could have bought a 400D (10 Mega pixels, self sensor cleaning etc). To tell the truth, the most important factor was the fact that 20D felt much better in my hands than 400D. Xti or 400D felt too small and flimsy in my hands. Of course it is an excellent camera, but me being someone who prefers cf cards over sd cards cause they feel better in my hands, I found 20D feels just right in my hands.
Another factor was speed. 20D had great reviews about its 5fps shooting. Though I am yet to use that kind of burst, I decided its better to have that.
Then the most important factor. High ISO performance. 20D is known to have a good performance at high ISO. My shootings are generally done during the evening. Low light situations are a fact of life for me. So I decided to test the performance of my 20D and at the same time test my 50mm F1.8 cheapie too. So here goes
ISO 100, F1.8 (Full size image can be found here)
ISO 400 F1.8 (Full size image can be found here)
ISO 800 F1.8 (Full size image can be found here)
ISO 1600 F1.8 (Full size image can be found here)
As you can see clearly from the images above, even ISO 1600 is usable, it just needs a good whipping through the noise reduction software. Actually you can get perfectly usable images for 8×12 prints. BTW, all the shots in the test were taken on a tripod, captured in RAW, resized to 8×12 and white balance corrected in CS2 and saved for web. No NR and no sharpening was applied.
Lets continue with the images taken at different aperture. At this point, I have no doubts about ISO performance, I am just checking at what aperture my 50mm is sharp.
ISO 400, F2.8 (full image can be found here)
ISO 400 F4.0 (full image can be found here)
ISO 400 F5.6 (Full image can be found here)
ISO 400 F8.0 (Full image can be found here)
Now, I have teh following two conclusions from my little test.
1. I do not have to worry about ISO performance. ISO 1600 is no problems for this baby. 😀
2. My 50mm gives a great background blur (*i don’t know what it is called*) and is quite sharp from F4 onwards.
One gripe I have with 20D is, I always smudge my LCD whenever I am taking photos. I would love to have a plastic protector like Nikon D80 has.
Anyone planning to buy a DSLR should look into refurb 20D units. If you check Adorama or B&H, you will get a decent canon refurb unit for @ $700. Obviously with the introduction of 40D a lot of 30D/20D are going to be sold and their prices are going to be affordable as well. All in all, Canon DSLRs buyers are going to have a lot of choices.