30D first impressions and rapid shooting tests

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jcolwell, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. As I said a few days ago, I just picked up a new 30D to be my second
    dSLR. My first dSLR is a 20D, which still works well, but needs a
    partner to reduce how often I change lenses, plus to be a digital
    backup. I figure it may have been the first one sold in North
    America, as I bought it at 08:30 Atlantic Standard Time on Friday -
    did anybody in Newfoundland get one on Friday morning ? Anyway, here
    are a few of my initial thoughts, and an informal test comparing
    continuous shooting and fast shooting performance between the 30D and
    20D. For those who think these throughput tests have no real world
    value, you should try shooting rugby and soccer games from the
    sidelines. The 20D does a great job, but you frequently miss
    important opportunities while the stinking buffer is being cleared.
    My tests suggest that the 30D will not be limited in this way.

    <p>Overall impression: I'm completely satisfied. For me, the 30D
    enhancements are worth the extra cost in comparison with buying a new
    20D (of course, the 20D prices will probably drop further for a
    while, before they're all gone). The 30D layout and controls are
    basically the same as the 20D. The first difference I noticed was the
    larger and brighter LCD screen on the back of the 30D. The on-screen
    content is basically the same as the 20D (but better-arranged in a
    few places, such as file quality), and so the text and symbols are
    proportionately bigger and easier to read.

    <p>The 30D ISO setting is graduated in finer increments that the
    20D. For example, the 20D has three settings from 100 to 400 (100,
    200, 400); while the 30D has seven (100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320,
    400). Also, you can see the ISO setting in the finder while in the
    change-ISO mode. Maybe Canon is listening, sort of...

    <p>As advertised, the 30D uses all of the same accessories as the 20D
    (BG-E2 grip, remote shutter release, body's battery compartment door,
    etc.) I did a walk-around yesterday in downtown Halifax with the two
    bodies and three lenses (17-40/4L, 70-200/2.8L IS, 300/4L IS) and it
    was absolutely wonderful. It significantly reduced the number of
    times I had to change lenses and made it much easier to get the shots
    that I wanted. I've often used the same lenses with an Elan 7 as
    backup, but I only used the 7 when there was just no time to change
    lenses on the 20D. To me, it made no nevermind which lens was on
    which body (20D vs 30D). But it will when rugby season starts up
    again (soon), and here's some throughput tests that show why.

    <p>The following tests were performed with a 70-200/2.8L IS lens set
    at f/2.8 on manual focus with IS turned off, and shooting an outdoors
    daytime scene in Av mode with shutter speeds of 1/2000 sec and
    faster. Cameras were set to ISO 100 with RAW files only being saved
    (except for one test shown at the end). Each test was performed
    three times, with identical results each time. Elapsed time was
    counted in my head (one thousand, two thousand, ...), in a consistent
    and repeatible cadence which is probably quite close to real time.
    All tests were performed with the same Sandisk Ultra II 1 GB CF card
    and same BG-E2 grip & batteries. The CF card was erased before each
    test. BTW, the 30D erases in-camera images much faster that the 20D,
    which is great for running multi-shot tests, but probably has no
    direct payoff in real life; however, it is indicative of the 30D's
    overall better file handling performance. The 30D has firmware
    version 1.0.4, and the 20D has 2.0.3

    <p>The number of shots shown below is how many you can take before
    the write-to-CF-card buffer saturates, and the camera stops shooting
    until the buffer clears.

    <p>continuous shooting, RAW only:
    <br>30D 5fps = 11 shots (10 sec to clear buffer completely,
    continuous write activity)
    <br>30D 3fps = 12 shots (11 sec to clear buffer completely,
    continuous write activity)
    <br>20D 5fps = 6 shots (16 sec to clear buffer completely, sporadic
    write activity)

    <p>fast shooting, RAW only:
    <br>drive on single shot mode, take 2 shots, wait 2 sec, take 2
    shots...
    <br>30D = probably all day (lost interest after 25 pairs of shots)
    <br>20D = 10 shots (5 groups of 2 shots)

    <p>fast shooting, RAW only:
    <br>drive on single shot mode, take 3 shots, wait 3 sec, take 3
    shots...
    <br>30D = probably all day (lost interest after 19 triplets of shots)
    <br>20D = 10 shots (3 groups of 3 shots + 1 shot)

    <p>fast shooting, RAW +fine.small.JPG:
    <br>drive on single shot mode, take 3 shots, wait 3 sec, take 3
    shots...
    <br>30D = 20 (6 groups of 3 shots + 2 shots)

    <p>Ciao for niao, Jim

    <p>P.S. I turned off the AF to eliminate shutter lag, and turned off
    IS to avoid repeated on/off IS cycles during the shoot-some, wait-
    some tests, as the wait-time between bursts of two or three shots was
    long enough for the IS to time out (i.e. turn off), and it then has
    to turn back on for the next burst. In real life, I would have both
    servo-AF and IS turned on, and the camera would probably already be
    in focus with IS running before firing and while firing repeated
    rapid shots - the relative buffer performance between the 20D and 30D
    should be the same.
     
  2. Wow....I use manual cameras and can take the same pictures as you can...
     
  3. Outstanding tests James! Thank you very much for posting this.

    You've definately got a winning combo!

    Ralph Raymond
     
  4. Niced report James.
    (and to PN super newbie Leon, typical dribble from him)
    (Leon, one more thing, no one uses a Leica on the sidelines, so Leon, stick to what you know)

    James, post a sample representative image? Not that it would be all that different from a 350D or 20D image, but just to be first I guess.
     
  5. Ralph & Ken, thanks for the kind remarks. Here's a shot I took yesterday at an indoor Sport & RV show just before the crowd was let in. I spend too much on you-know-what to buy one of these, but they sure are pretty. Taken with EOS 30D and EF 24/2.8 at f/2.8 t=1/100 sec, hand-held, no flash. The EXIF shows "ISO Value - 32767 (other)", which is interesting, and the EXIF also reminds me to set my name in the camera. Now where did that USB cord go...
     
  6. oops, here it is (resized from the in-camera small.fine.JPG, no other processing)
     
  7. Nice work on the 30D review, James.

    I just had a look at your picture. It's true - who can afford a motorbike with a DSLR habit :) . By the way, I've read some pretty ugly reports of poor reliability with the Victory's. Heads up if that's the brand your interested in.
     
  8. Jim, thanks. I'm not in the market for a motorbike, but they sure make an interesting subject for photomatography. I was at the Sport & RV show to do a shift at the Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia booth. We're strictly people-powered. It felt a bit odd to be wedged in between the way-large Mercury and Kawasaki displays. My only hardware (aside from a pair of dSLRs) was a beauty original Chestnut canoe. Jim.
     
  9. James, any idea on the battery life on 30D vs 20D? The 5D only gets half the number of shots on the battery compared to the 20D. Now that the 30D got a bigger lcd I wonder if the battery might not last so long as before.
     
  10. Sitthivet, I don't know. I figure that they'll be about the same, but I'll post if I notice any difference. I suspect that I'll be swapping grips & batteries between the cameras often enough that I won't be able to keep track without a formal protocol, which I don't plan to do. Jim.
     
  11. James Colwell wrote "For those who think these throughput tests have no real world value, you should try shooting rugby and soccer games from the sidelines. The 20D does a great job, but you frequently miss important opportunities while the stinking buffer is being cleared. My tests suggest that the 30D will not be limited in this way."

    I have shot plenty of rugby and soccer from the sidelines James, and use the single precalculated moment shot method, not a motor burst in the chance of capturing something happening. My method ensures the buffer is always clear for that fleeting opportunity.

    Using a 10D and a non IS 70-200 2.8, I can get about five publishable shots per 36 frames that capture the action I intended to on average. So there are more than one ways to skin a cat. Kinder on the life of the camera too ;-)

    To me, it is much more fun to learn the cameras idiosyncrasies in the field, adjust to them, then take action pics rather than do tests, but each to his/her own I guess.
     
  12. Erin, I don't machine-gun fire with the camera, which is why I also did the shoot-shoot-shoot and then pause tests. I often shoot two or three photos in rapid succession, and then do it again as soon as the play makes it worthwhile. My tests suggest that this won't happen with the 30D, and so it is a better tool for me. I agree that you can get great shots at a predetermined focal plane, but this also makes it difficult to catch the events and especially facial expressions that occur before and after the play passes through the arbitrary plane of focus.

    <p> I prefer to select a tool that works the way that I want it to. My personal quota of tolerance for idiosyncratic camera behaviour is reserved for things like my Rollei 35 SE and Shen Hao 45.
     
  13. errata: I somehow deleted a sentence from the first para of the previous posting. It should have said:

    Erin, I don't machine-gun fire with the camera, which is why I also did the shoot-shoot-shoot and then pause tests. I often shoot two or three photos in rapid succession, and then do it again as soon as the play makes it worthwhile. With the 20D, I often miss opportunities while I have to wait for the buffer to empty. My tests suggest that this won't happen with the 30D, and so it is a better tool for me. I agree that you can get great shots at a predetermined focal plane, but this also makes it difficult to catch the events and especially facial expressions that occur before and after the play passes through the arbitrary plane of focus.

    <p>I prefer to select a tool that works the way that I want it to. My personal quota of tolerance for idiosyncratic camera behaviour is reserved for things like my Rollei 35 SE and Shen Hao 45.
     
  14. Great post James, thanks for the info.
     
  15. Dave, you're welcome. Also, thanks to you and all other responders for letting me know that people are interested. Jim.
     
  16. I don't pre focus on action games such as rugby James, I use A1 servo and go with the ball to keep up with the action.
     
  17. Hi James, an excellent effort which is greatly appreciated, I just hope the imaturity and senseless answer from Leon doesn`t deter. I would like to ask about the LCD; as well as being larger. Is it an inprovement on the 20d in bright light when viewing images?

    Thanks again well done.
     
  18. Chris, thanks. I'm not sure how well it'll perform in bright light, but it's likely to be better. Maybe I'll do a quick test some day. BTW, who's Leon and what's a Lyca ?
     
  19. very nice shot of them motorbikes ! used to be a motorbike racer when i was younger ( forget i said that). been crazy abt cameras since i was 16 yrs old. will probably live to keep saying i'm an amateur photographer. (dun like Leicas) can't afford them anyway.i'll stick to my old Rolleiflexes, they take great pics, even if i ain't behind them.oh! and my 6x9 Voigtlanders do the same (take great photos)got a 30D too and it does what i want it to do. know wha ah mean ? cheers ! PC
     

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