The new Canon EOS 30D digital SLR is a meaningful upgrade of the widely admired and immensely successful EOS 20D model. The EOS 20D was among the first mid-priced DSLRs to gain broad support, not just from advanced amateurs and serious photo hobbyists, but from a wide range of working professionals: wedding and portrait photographers, journalists, sports shooters, press organizations and newspapers. It was number one in its category virtually from start to finish over its 18-month market life, an outstanding accomplishment for any digital SLR in this highly competitive time.1 Its biggest rivals turned out to be other EOS cameras, first the Digital Rebel XT, which was priced below it, and then the more expensive EOS 5D. Now, new adversaries have emerged and the time has come for Canon to move on.
The reasons for the EOS 20D's success are not hard to figure out. First, it produced exceptionally high quality images, particularly at ISO 400 and above. The EOS 20D delivered accurate color and excellent detail with speed and precision, even in adverse lighting conditions. Without this, obviously, nothing else would matter. Next, it was both compact and rugged. Its handling was fast and easy, with logical controls and many custom functions for tailoring the camera to particular situations and tastes. Finally, the price was right. At $1,499, its introductory price was sensible for the many pros who have to pay for their own equipment and for the equipment pool managers who have to stay within budgetary limits. Many EOS 20Ds have been "ridden hard and put away wet," only to serve loyally the next day. The EOS 30D is a thoughtfully conceived and meticulous "rev up," an exciting new model that retains the best core features of the 20D while improving virtually all other camera functions.
Canon is a company with immense technological prowess. In 2005, it was second among all corporations in the number of patents granted to it by the U.S. Patent and Technology Office.2 As great an achievement as this was, it was no surprise to those who know about such things. Canon has been in the top 3 for the past 14 years, consecutively, and Canon is number 2 overall for total number of patents received in the past 10 years. Aside from manufacturing the CMOS sensors in Canon DSLRs, as well as the equipment that manufactures those sensors and the tools which maintain and adjust that equipment, Canon truly controls every step of the way in the image creation process, from optics to sensors to image processors to software to printing devices. Canon is in the highly
unusual position of being able to listen to the comments and requests of EOS camera users and to respond with precision.
The EOS 30D retains the best of the highly acclaimed basic functions of the EOS 20D: an 8.2 MP CMOS sensor, the DiG!C II Image Processor, 5 fps fast continuous shooting, a multilayer LPF (low pass filter), high-precision 9-point AF, a durable magnesium alloy body, a multi-controller and vast system compatibility. Some changes are shared with other EOS models, such as the 2.5-inch LCD monitor with a wide viewing angle, Picture Style settings and automatic noise reduction, while other enhancements appear for the first time, including the Print/Share button, extended PictBridge functions, enhanced auto-rotate functionality and improvements in Canon-to-Canon device linkage. Additional new feature such as 3.5% spot metering, a tougher and more durable shutter, increased burst rate, more shots per battery charge, a low-speed drive mode, numerous improved shooting, recording and playback functions and faster startup all derive, at least in part, from user feedback.
After reviewing the feature improvements of the EOS 30D, it becomes apparent that Canon has managed to make this new camera far more suitable for professional applications, while at the same time maintaining its strong appeal to advanced amateurs. Whereas the EOS 20D could reasonably have been described as the "big brother" of the Digital Rebel XT, the EOS 30D is truly the "little brother" of its higher-priced sibling, the EOS 5D. This makes the 30D a compelling proposition for a wide range of customers, including:
• Digital Rebel or 20D owners who want to step up to the 30D's improved features
• 5D or EOS-1 class owners looking for a professional quality backup camera
• Wedding and portrait photographers looking for exceptional image quality and professional features in a compact, lightweight package
• Photojournalists, other professionals and anyone else looking for outstanding performance at an affordable price
The EOS 30D has one more feature that is sure to make it even more appealing: an introductory price of $1,399 for the body only, $100 lower than the EOS 20D's first price, and hundreds of dollars less than its competition. Remember, too, that Canon includes not only the battery pack and charger, strap, video and interface cables, but also a software package of great quality, completeness and usefulness. Canon does not expect its customers to purchase options just to make their cameras work.
1 According to NPD Intelect Market Research.
2 Source: http://www.uspto.gov
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