New Canon 30D First Impressions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by law guy, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #1
    All right - as you know if you've been over on the "what DSLR thread do you use" thread, I acquired a Canon 30D on the first day they were available from my local camera shop (today!). I thought those working through the same type of decision might benefit from my experience with the new Canon 30D, so here goes:

    The road to DSLR has followed my typical obsessive path of trial and error. By way of background, I had only shot digital with a compact flash Canon p&s for the past three years and continued to use my indestructable (seemingly anyway) N80 film body, which has performed really well over the past six years.

    Five months ago, I really started digging in and began my research off and on on DSLRs - that is really started to spend too much time on DP review and all of the other sites. I had followed general developments, but that was the point when I really started looking at those comparison tables and spending way too much time with sample images.

    My first try had me end up with a D50 from Nikon. A great camera - wonderful design, ergonomics were really usable as was the menu system. I'd gone with the D50 based on Popular Photography magazine's (www.popphoto.com) review which gave it high marks and the general review comments out there re: improved sensor output. After a few days of use, I found I missed the direct control of the N80 a little too much and decided that perhaps the D70s was worth a look. That re-opened the search and I was more serious at that point in looking at the Canon 20D. Although I LOVE Canon P&S cameras (great construction, fantastic images), I was less keen on the DSLR design.

    The 30D is an updated version of the 20D announced around this year's PMA show in February. It keeps the same sensor, maganesium body, etc. and adds a 2.5" 230,000 pixle screen, spot metering, picture styles (which aren't modes but are supposed to represent various film types - Nikon users think Vivid, etc.) from the 5D, a shutter and flash rated for 100,000 uses and some other items. The 30D has been out for a few weeks in Austrailia, and for a week or so in the UK and Canada, but just hit some US shops this last Friday - Monday.

    Coming from Nikon, I've had a little bit of an uphill climb with the layout, although I am adjusting. I have the direct access buttons that I want, but they operate in a way that I'm not quite used to yet.

    Right off, I started with some test images to get a sense of the camera. (The larger shots aren't that much bigger than the thumbs - so it's not as great as having a closer-to-full-size image, but I'm trying to be reasonable in my file attachment size so Arn won't have to reserve more server space). The first is a portrait of my daughter that she was kind enough to let me snap while she played with her doll house. This was one of the very first shots out of the box today. It's an all auto green rectangle shot. What I was curious to see was how the camera's metering would generally work with indoor flash photography. I was pleased to see that the flash level was just right for the shot.

    The second test shot was a little later in the day as I started to work with the camera in manual mode. The shot is of some flowers lit from above with GE reveal incandesent flood lights; picture mode is standard (the film type setting I mentioned above from the 5D). Shutter 1/50, f5.6, ISO 100. Some already know my love of saturated colors and this result certainly appeals to me on that front.

    Again playing with colors - you'll see two cat on a chair photos below. Here I flipped through some of the "scene modes" to get a sense of the programmed differences. The first brighter picture is "portrait" and the second more subdued is "landscape".

    I went outside to a small farm field next to our house and took a few more shots - here I was again trying to get a feel for the metering. The shot attached below eventually goes over to the left to the setting sun - which as you might expect - is quite bright. The evaluative (Nikon users think matrix type) metering did a good job in my view reconciling the light levels from the shadows - closest to me, to the soft light out ahead and then over into the edge of the sun at the right.

    Finally, my last test shot is of some flowers. This was shot in a very dark dinning room - no lights. This gave me a sense of the af assist operation, speed and results.

    Overall, after less than 12 hours with the 30D, I am really enjoying what the camera is producing in my first test shots. The layout and ergonmics are taking some getting used to, but I'm so happy with many of the few hundred shots I've taken so far that my response to my wife's question: "are you going to keep it or take it back" was I really like the images, I think I can get used to the interface.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #2
    The other test shots I mention above:
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #3
    Looks like you're off to a good start with this camera!

    As a Nikon loyalist, I can't help wondering why before you make a final decision, you don't also play around with the D200 for a day or two?

    There you would have the advantage of familiar settings and easily accessible buttons and functions, as well as good image quality and excellent responsiveness....
     
  4. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #4
    hard to get a good look with such small photos, the links to the files aren't much bigger.
     
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #5
    Of course, the photos are fine.

    Whenever you use a Canon SLR, it's all about dealing with the unusual ergonomics.

    Good luck, whatever happens!
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #6
    The photos are nice, except those 2 cat photos. The 1st (brighter) cat photo is ok, while the 2nd (darker) photo makes the cat look like a "realistic" cat painting, but not an actual cat.

    But glad to hear that you're liking the photos from these cameras, though I think you'll find that pretty much all photos from all the dSLRs to be satisfactory. Why not take a look at the 20D? It's definitely the better value, though I don't even remember what the benefits of the 30D are over the 20D. Surely the 20D is cheaper.
     
  7. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    Yes the 20D is cheaper, but doesn't have the Picture Styles (from the 5D) or spot metering, or improved shutter and flash, or bigger and better LCD, or better battery life and bigger buffer. That said they are identical cameras. ;)

    Of which I really only care about spot metering and the battery life and buffer. I only use the LCD for the histogram, and to make sure my shutter speed was fast enough for what I was doing (I almost always use Av) And I shoot RAW 90% of the time so the picture modes don't matter.

    When will Canon be offering their rebate program again? That is when I'm going to pick up my next camera.
     
  8. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #8
    I plan on ordering my 30D this week. I'm glad you are having a good time with yours, as some people get frustrated with the transition of Nikon to Canon. One shop is offering it for $1249 which is only about $200 more than what the 20D is going for at most places.

    Canon's rebate program will mostly likely start April 1st.
     
  9. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    PM me that shop ;)
     
  10. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #10
    I saw that price on another forum - is that Robert's Imaging http://www.robertsimaging.com/? I don't know the place personally, but the other thread post noted that they liked the sales reps there. Looking at the website, I do like how they have a class advertised, and the info on rental equipment and photo lab services right on the front page. I might check them out in the future. EDIT - looking at the prices, I don't see the lower price that the person mentioned on the other forum; I wonder if there's some sort of price discount program.

    ANOTHER EDIT: The other forum says you can get the $1249 price but you have to call them to place the order (rather than on-line). I'm not sure if you have to request / ask about it as well or if that's just the price for phone / in-person.

    Thanks - well, it is different. It seems lots of folks have been successful in becoming proficient with both. Many of the photographers that work assignments for National Geographic shoot Canon and several used to shoot Nikon film. If they can do it after living so close with one system for years and now having to live so close with another, I think I can make the transition as well.
     
  11. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #11
    Yeah I'm with you, I've never seen the big deal with the different "systems". I like Canon's controls better, but it isn't like I couldn't pick up a nikon camera and shoot with it. The shutter button is in the same place eh?
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    The images look to be under exposed. Some digital cameras do this in an effort to avoid blowing out highlights. With Nikon the D70 has about .3 to .5 EV under exposure built in whereas the D50 does not. It's not unreasonable for the camera's meter to be set this way on a "pro" level camera. The assumption is that the photos will be adjusted later in post processing. With comsummer level camera the assumption is that people will make straight prints.

    Take for example the photo of your daughter. there is no pure white but there areas of pure solid black.

    What does the histogram display say about these files? Do you have "tails" slopping down at the ends. I'd expect to see the histrogram bunched up at the left end and stoppng just before the left edge. But I get tel much with reduced size files

    I think if you want to post or print unprocessed files you might want to 1/3rd stop orso of compensation.

    Also the software that created to reduced scale jpg files seems to blurred the images. Perhaps you could post a crop from the full frame.

    I recently bought an D50. (It was an easy decisionbecause I had quite a few Nikon lens that I can use.) When I compare the image quality of digital with 10 or 15 year old film based images. The film wins hands down and I'm using the same lens with film and the D50. It could simply be because digital is a smaller format that 35mm so of course it captures less detail. Digital however seems to have a better workflow
     
  13. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #13

    I think the "systems" concept is because most people buying cameras are NOT professionals working for the media, for NG or some other place where they're paid to use very expensive professional tools. The average buyer of a DSLR has to make some choices from the get-go because undoubtedly finances wlll dictate where he/she goes from there through the months and years to follow. If someone has loads of money, well, great, they can afford BOTH a Nikon DSLR and a Canon DSLR and lots of lenses to fit each, but most people aren't in that kind of position. They can afford to buy one good camera body and then gradually add some nice lenses as they go along....

    So the person buys, say a Nikon DSLR and maybe it comes with a "kit" lens, maybe not, but in any case the photographer will presumably buy additional lenses, either right then or later on as time goes on and finances permit. One gets used to the ergonomics of a particular camera body and also to the way the menu system works, and so it feels more famiiar and "natural" to stay with that line of cameras and lenses.... My Nikons always feel "good" to me and of course one reason is because I've long been accustomed to the ergonomics. I've picked up and handled Canons and they feel different to me. Doesn't mean anything as far as the quality of that camera body one way or the other, it just feels different and I prefer the way my Nikons feel in my hands. Someone who has been a longtime Canon shooter would have the opposite experience; he or she would pick up a Nikon and probably say much the same: "it feels different..." and that's perfectly OK. I'm sure that I could shoot just fine with a Canon and a longtime Canon user could shoot just fine with a Nikon. Both cameras and camera systems are very high quality and the photographer using them will be able to produce some excellent images. Beyond the camera gear, the more important element in good photography is the person holding that camera body and lens and what he or she does with it.

    After someone has made a substantial investment in lenses, it's hard to make the switch to a whole different system, but people can and have done this. Usually they take a hit on selling their former lenses and camera(s) but then they're free to move into the other system and start investing in the lenses and gear that goes along with that....

    In the end, it's the photographer more than the equipment that creates an outstanding image.
     
  14. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #14
    Yeah I was thinking this too, but didn't want to thread crap. I would generally recommend loosing the kit lens and getting something that costs around 200USD instead.

    Also, if I were you. I'd setup your monitor gamma for ~2.0-2.2 that could be a reason things look dark for us.
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    I think people think to much about the little suff, like where a button is located. What you have to remember is that these digital bodies are are like buying a big box of film. You use them a few years then get a new one. Very much un-like a film SLR body that you can continue to use for decades. I'm not saying it will break but it's like with computers the new models are so much better and at a ower price. When you buy into a SLR you are realy commiting to buying stuff you've not seen like whatever digital body thay will have in four years

    I always figure the reson someone posts pictures is so he can get some feedback. Just saying "nice pictures" is not helping. My honest opinion is (1) "not sharp and under exposed", (2) the cat photo is a great composition and "works" because you don't want a literal exposure and color in that shot. (3) These results are to be expected with pro-level camera set to auto mode and no post processing.

    As for settig the monitor gamma. It doesn't metter if these JPGs are straight out of the camera and unprocessed.

    I agree about the lens. When you budget out an SLR system you need to balance the price of the body with the glass. Most people who are serious about photography will spend more on the lens(es) then the body. If your budget is $2K you get the best images if you spend a bit more than half on optics. It's the same with buying an audiophile quality stereo system: About 1/2 the budget should go into the speakers. Any other split lke 20/80 or 80/20 results in lower overall sound quality.
     
  16. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #16
    Yes - those aren't critque shots, those are camera at different settings / contexts shots to get a feel of how the camera is processing for JPEGs. And they are a bit darker on a PC (here on a flat panel hooked up to a thinkpad at work) than on my Mac b/c I use the default apple gamma which is a bit lighter, which may be leading me to a view that exposure is better than it really is. It's interesting to me as I've noticed Nikon's to be a little darker and canon's to be a little lighter - a general impression. If the Canon is a little darker in its default, it is interesting to me. (DP noted this a bit in the review of the D50, noting that it was exposing lighter than the D70s).

    While the kit lens is not the be-all, I think the small JPEGs affect the sharpness you interpret. It's certainly a bit sharper than my Nikon film shots over the years. Now granted the nikkor 28-105 zoom that I primarily use can be soft at points, but even in the middle it was never as sharp as the first test photo. Although, that impression may also be the result of the digital cleaness.

    Interestingly, my D30 shots to date have been sharper than the D50 shots I took during my few day trial with both the Nikkor 28-105 (a $300-something lens) and a Nikkor 18-35 3.5-4.5 (a little over $500 lens)(both non-DX lenses). That of course, is just my comparison of default setting sharpness with no adjustment to that parameter or post. Two points there - one just defaults as noted, and two, Clix is going to get annoyed if it looks like I'm comparing the D50 to the 30D, so I'm not - just an observation.
     
  17. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    Generally I disagree with the idea of spending so much on glass. Every test I've seen and just looking I KNOW that my $400 Sigma 24-70mm is every bit as good optically as Canon's 24-70L, and for 1/3rd the price. Only thing missing is USM.

    In fact, I think it is probably the best zoom I have ever seen. Its very versatile, and would make the perfect starting lens.
     
  18. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #18
    Jared - thanks for mentioning the Sigma. What have you had good luck with in a little wider range?
     
  19. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #19
    Well, the choice for me was really between the D70s and the 30D, their was already streaching upward to get the 30D. I was really impressed with the photos I saw from the 20D and with the 30Ds extra bits were a nice addition to the 20D package.

    I would have spent some time with a D200 and maybe been swayed, but they just don't exist out in the camera shops right now so there is no way to handle one - at least around here (back ordered 'till who knows when) and at the major on-line places. I did spent a fair amount of time with the owners manual on-line in case I did come across one at the shop. I did the same for the Canons and found it helped me get a better feel for the difference approaches.

    The system did impact my decision a bit in the following way - the FF 5D is now at around $2900 and as of April 1 there are $300 off rebates - down to $2600 for a brand new FF. When the next FF favorite comes along, I may be able to pick up a 5D used for a low price.

    Some of my favorite photographers also influenced me a little bit (photo heros?)- most of them shoot with Canon and some had moved from Nikon film to Canon digital. I've found several 20D shots in Nat'l Geographic over the past two years, but looking back over the on-line archives for the past two years, Nikon use was very rare.

    My Canon P&S results also moved me in that direction a bit - having shot thousands of snap shots with a little 4MP CF Elph and having so many where I really liked the metering, the color, the clarity etc. gave me some confidence in going with Canon for a DSLR as well.

    I still like Nikon very much and will be focused on what they do in the future - they are certainly looked better posed to win back some prosumer market share from Canon with the D200.

    Someone above mentioned better glass and that serious interest directs on to a budget of half for a lens and half for a body. I certainly do want better lenses and will hopefully acquire the 17-40 L and 24-105 L and a few fast primes over the next two years. However, growing up with photography - a serious interest meant a few hundred bucks on a nice metal mechanical body with a built in light meter and a 50 mm kit lens and learning how to load film into a can, getting some dark room time, etc. and going out and shooting lots and lots and lots. I know the 30D kit lens is limited, but its a relatively small factor in capturing great photos from a photography standpoint in my view.
     
  20. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #20
    Wider as in bigger range? You mean a bigger zoom range or a having a wider end?

    Oh and jesus christ, if you've got the money for the 17-40L and 24-105L.... well I don't know what I would do.

    Most lenses with a zoom over 3x suffer optically. (The 24-105L is an exception to that rule.)

    Anyway, Sigma's 18-50mm f2.8 is better than canon's 17-40 f4L. http://www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/17401850 Its a very impressive lens, I considered it for a while, but like I said I never need wide end.

    As for an alternative to the 24-105mm.. Well there really isn't one. But you could get my setup Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 + Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro prime lens. http://www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/135v150

    I have my review of the 150mm on sailbyair.com . I haven't gotten around to the 24-70mm. Maybe today if I can get some things done and have time for it.
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #21
    Hey, Law Guy, no need to justify your choice and decisions to me! The really important thing is that you're happy with the camera and what it can do for you right now and in the future. I think you seem to have a clear plan in mind for where you'll be going in the future with regard to lenses, etc., and certainly you will have a lot of working with the 30D and your current lens(es). I think you made a good choice in going with the 30D rather than the 20D.

    Yes, that's a very good point you made, and one about which I'd forgotten, that the D200 is not yet readily available. As soon as a shipment comes into any camera store the cameras are snapped up. Stores still have waiting lists. I've had my D200 since mid-December, and I had placed a pre-order in November at my local camera shop. At Nikon Cafe, where I hang out a lot, many others had done the same, so it's easy to forget that although the camera is out on the market now, you can't just waltz into the local shops and pick up a D200 yet.... and, yes, especially since you were weighing pros and cons of both systems, if you were ready for a new camera now it would not have been a wise decision to have simply taken a chance and ordered a D200 without ever handling it first. As for the D70s, since now the prices are dropping on it, you could've saved a little money but the features available on the D70s may or may not be what you wanted and the 30D may give you more bang for your few more bucks.

    This morning at 6:00 AM I met up with some fellow shooters at Washington DC's Tidal Basin so that we could take photos of the beautiful cherry blossoms which surround the basin and the Jefferson Memorial. We all noticed, interesting enough, that when looking around at the many other photographers and their gear, that there were more Nikon DSLRs than Canons. Maybe Nikonians just get up earlier in the morning -- LOL!!! :D (Note: I am NOT a morning person -- this was an extraordinary event for me. The only other time in recent months that I've gotten up THIS early -- 5:00 AM -- was when I was in SF and wanted to see Steve Jobs in person at the MacWorld keynote speech.)

    Now, of course when you go to a sporting event and look around at the photographers, there's where you see the Canons.... I think most of us agree that Canon does a great job with their sports lenses. Not that Nikon doesn't, but it does seem that Canon has the edge there.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing what you'll be doing with that nice new camera!
     
  22. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #22
    Thanks Jared - i should be more clear - wider range on the wide end. The two lenses I mentioned are aspirational at this point - the 17-40 is MUCH closer to reality than the 24-105 just given the difference between $600 some and $1200 some. I'll check out the Sig 18-50, it certainly is fast - I appreciate the recommendation. Did you have a chance to check out the distortion (more worried about barrel dist at wide end) or have you read anything about how it performs? I was thinking about the 20-35 canon in the near term, but the wide end distortion has gotten a fair amout of criticism on-line, and I'd be using it at the wide end quite a bit.

    CP - appreciate your message; thought I should try to explain because I knew you were wondering a bit.

    I lived in DC for 8 yrs and I do miss having flowers out at this time - nothing like that will be sprouting in NE for awhile. Let me know what your shop is via PM if you'd like - it's good to know good photo shops to frequent down there.
     
  23. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #23
    Ya, the 17-40L, as with all L lenses are over priced. On Froogle I found it for ~650USD from a reputable place.

    From sigma4less.com you can get the 18-50mm EX DG DC for a mere 400USD.

    So if you pick the Sigma you gain a full stop of light, and pocket 250 bucks, and all you give up is USM and the Canon name. Which for me doesn't buy you anything but USM on more lenses. (SIGMA WHY?!? WHY WON'T YOU PUT HSM ON ALL EX LENSES?!?!)

    EDIT: Same goes for the Sigma 10-20mm DC vs. Canon 10-22mm EFS. Both have USM/HSM, the sigma is slightly slower though. But at least 200 bucks cheaper. Similar optics.
     
  24. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #24
    The 17-40 f4L is going for $629 on B&H using the psmar promotional code...and starting April 1st, there will be a rebate of $50 on it too, bringing it down to $580 which is a much more reasonable price. I'm also looking at the new Tamron 17-50 f2.8. However, If I could justify it, I'd be getting the Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS...but that is way more expensive.
     
  25. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #25
    How much do you know about the promo from Canon, cause thats when I'm gonna buy my next camera, as soon as they have a promo. If the price difference between 20D to 30D is 200-300 bucks I'll get a 30D. If any more difference the feature set just isn't worth it. I was hoping for a 10MP sensor, everything else is just right. Where is the new sensor though?
     

Share This Page