Questions about my (upcoming) new 20D

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by rmdavis, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Hey folks,

    The Fuji is dead, long live the Canon!

    I have just purchased a 20D from my local camera shop, and it should
    be arriving in about a week. I need some advice on certain
    accessories that go with it, excluding lenses- given what I spent on
    the 20D my wife has the bags half packed already.

    What I am really interested in is memory and power.


    1- I would like, of course, to buy the biggest baddest CF card ever
    made, but am leaving for china in 4 weeks so I have to preserve some
    cash for actually running around china. I will have basically 2
    weeks. How many gigs do I reasonably need? How many photos at max
    resolution will fit onto a 1 gig card?

    2-How important are the write speeds? My current digicam uses an X-D
    and is slower than FEMA disaster relief, so write speed isn't really
    an issue. Will a slow speed card reduce the numer of shots you can
    take in continuous drive mode? Or does the buffer handle this? In
    your experience, is the extra speed worth the extra money?

    3-Why shouldn't I buy a microdrive? (just kidding, I'll just wade
    through the 5 million posts about that already).


    1-How long does the fully charged battery last?

    2-what's the deal with the additional battery grip? Is this just a
    way for Canon to suck out more of my cash, or is it actually useful?

    Thanks in advance for your kind assistance, and let me assure you,
    although for most people it is the photographer and not the camera
    that makes the difference, in my case this 20D will not only instantly
    endow me with Dorothea Lange-like talent (a real bargain for $1500!),
    it will also whiten my teeth, increase my confidence, and make me more
    attractive to the ladies.

    Your humble Servant,

    Ryan Davis
  2. MY xt AND MY pro1 BOTH GET JUST UNDER 100 SHOTS PER 1 GB card in RAW mode. Both cams are 8 MP as is the 20D. An extra battery is waaay les than a grip, personally, i see no need for the grip, unless it takes AA batts but hey, chrge both batteries at night and shoot all day strong. as for "in my case this 20D will not only instantly endow me with Dorothea Lange-like talent (a real bargain for $1500!), it will also whiten my teeth, increase my confidence, and make me more attractive to the ladies." thats only true if you buy every "L" lens canon makes and you have to lug them all over china with you!
    good luck!
  3. Get an extra battery, 2 1 gig cards, and an extrenal storge device. I have the PD70X (BTW it was delivered in less than three days). You could fill both cards every day. I heard of external cd burnners don't know if they were battery opertated. Shoot all day and dumap at the hotel at night. For a trip like this you would probably need at least ten gigs of cards.

    I have the Sandisk Ultra II, the faster cards are really only necessary when burst more than 7 frames RAW or 26-27 jpeg. Still not sure if they download faster. I would assume that it's the speed of the PD70X hard drive that limits this. But, a full gig does download in lest than 2 minutes.
    1. Well, I can easily fill a 1GB card in a couple of hours of shooting (approx 100 to 110 RAW images), but I take those shots knowing that I'll be able to transfer to my Powerbook for review in the near future. If I was going on a two-week trip to another country, I think I'd be trying to figure out how to safely take my laptop or arranging another form of storage (e.g. the portable hard drive / screen / card reader deals, with which I have no experience but which would seem like a reasonable solution to this problem).
    2. I have a Kingston Elite Pro 1GB card, which is apparently slower than the top-tier (Sandisk Ultra II/III, Lexar 80x) but faster than the rest of the bunch (see the CF database). I'm currently shopping for another 1GB card, and I think I'll probably either pick up another Kingston or a Transcend "80x" 1GB from newegg. The price-premium on the true high- speed cards is just a little much for me to justify right now, especially with the reasonably large buffer on the 20D. (the Kingston claims to be a 50x card, FWIW). If I was doing sports or wildlife photography, I could see wanting a faster card; however, I've yet to have a problem with the 20d/Kingston combo being too slow.
    1. Without flash, the battery will last for quite a while for me. However, flipping up the built-in flash can kill it pretty quickly. Canon's numbers (i.e. number of shots with and without flash) are in the manual, which I don't have on hand. Lens choice will also have an effect--a slower telephoto that does a lot of hunting for focus will take a bigger chunk out of the battery than a better lens that doesn't.
    2. It changes the form factor slightly, which can be an advantage if you like to take portrait-format pictures; it also doubles the battery capacity and provides the opportunity to use AA's as an emergency backup. I plan to get one and a few no-name batteries from eBay prior to the start of winter, but I don't have one yet.
  4. Memory Cards: You are better off with multiple cards instead of one large card. If one gets lost, broken, corrupted, etc.. the hope is that you may not lose everything. I get just under 300 images per 1GB card shooting JPG large and superfine, just over 100 in RAW on average. I usually shoot JPG and carry three Lexar 1GB (two 80x, one 32x) cards. Shooting sports I can tell the speed difference between the 32x and 80x, but it is not a huge deal.

    Battery: One battery lasts me about 800 pictures without flash. I do not chimp and do not let subjects see the results, but every now and then I do look at a histogram or check to make sure I got a particular shot. I carry two Canon BP-511 and one BP-511A batterys with me. I do not think I have every used more than two in a single day, even shooting 700 plus pictures at DragonCon.

    Battery Grip: I bought on for the 10D way back because I shoot a lot of portrait oriented photos, but rarely used it. For the 20D I have not bothered with the grip. I do switch from hold the button on top to holding the button on the bottom to try to ease the wrist fatigue of holding the camera in portrait mode.
  5. Let me try out my rusty Mandarin - Wo xiang ni qu you (good times) zai zhong-guo - I think that you will have good in China.

    For memory #1, I also vote to buy two one gig cards and a storage device. I use the wolverine 60 gig drive. Much cheaper than buying memory cards! Generally works well - transfers around six-seven gigs on a charge. Just remember to the necessary power adapters. (and if I might suggest, since you have the space, shoot RAW...)

    memory #2-Unless you fill the buffer (something I rarely do, even when shooting RAW), write speeds will NOT affect the 20D's performance. If you plan to fill the buffer a lot, get a higher speed card. Check the database - I am fairly sure that the 40x (sandisk ultra II) speed cards are the fastest that the 20D can really use. The Extreme III/80x cards aren't helpful for the 20D. I shoot semi-profesionally and find the Ultra II is fast enough. 0

    power #1-How long does the fully charged battery last? with both of my 20D's, I usually get 900 shots per battery when shooting weddings if not more. I do not chimp very much, however.

    power #2 - battery grip. YEs, it's a way for canon to make money, but it also helps out wth the balance if you are using really heavy expensive lenses. I would definitely save your money and buy an extra battery and 1 gig memory card for the same cheers - conrad
  6. I recently came back from two weeks in Tibet. I took a 20D plus a battery pack (i.e. two batteries) plus two spare third-party batteries and a recharger (with mains power adaptor). Do not forget to pack this last item! Battery life is very good with this combo, but you will wear out your batteries faster if you are constantly viewing your shots on the LCD screen. You should have no problems recharging your batteries in Chinese hotel rooms.

    For storage, I took about 12GB of CF cards (one 4GB card, three 2GB cards and several smaller ones). Slightly overkill, but I would rather take too much storage than not enough.

    If I were going again, I would probably buy an Epson P-2000 photo viewer to download the cards and view images.
  7. Forget the grip and buy extra batteries. They are small enough to stuff a couple in your pocket. One battery + spare should be ample for a days shooting, but I'm paranoid so always carry two spares.
    This year in Central America I took an Epson P-2000 - awesome unit - to back up my CF cards (but then I am paranoid so keep both the CF cards and the Epson unit (& in different bags). I took 2 x 2GB and 6 x 1 GB for a 3 week holiday (did I mention I'm paranoid about backup?). On holiday I shoot Large/Superfine JPEG's rather than RAW [a) to reduce CF card space and b) reduce processing when I get the pictures home]
    Other thing that was great about the P-2000 was that I was able to copy some other folks photos (of myself and my wife - never take any myself!) from the tour group.
  8. As a slight counterpoint, I did get the battery grip and the extra battery. I like it, I have never run out of battery in the past 8 months and I am notoriously bad about remembering to charge up the night before. One big selling point for me was that the new battery grip has the AA battery adaptor in it. So when I do forget to charge and the batteries do run down I can get AA's almost anywhere and I can limp along. It does make for a relatively bulky package, but it helps to counterbalance some of the longer lenses.

    I have one 2G card (Kingston Elite Pro) and a couple of 1G (Sandisk Ultra II), but again it seems like the 2G never leaves the camera. These speeds seem to work well for me, again I have never been limited by them. I don't consider myself a professional even though I occasionally get paid for it.

    Enjoy the trip and the camera
  9. Thanks everybody for the info. I won't be carrying around a lot of expensive lenses, as at the moment (shamefully), I will have to be content with the kit lens, and hope that I don't meet any other serious photographers while on the road, or they shall mock me, and I shall have to hide my identity for shame, claiming to be either Phillip Greenspun or perhaps even Bob Atkins.

    The battery grip sounds like a good idea, particularly the availablity of AA batteries, but I will also put it off for the moment.

    I cannot overstress how tight cash is for me at the moment as a confluence of several events, fortunate (like a trip to China and possibly Burma, as well as the purchase of the 20D) and unfortunate (my wife's car suddenly needing several thousand dollars of repair work)prevent me even from ponying up for a decent Tamron.

    While travelling, I have no wish to carry around my laptop, and the Epson P-2000 is a bit on the high dollar side. I very much like the idea of dumping into a portable storage device- but since I am not much for chimping, is there a less expensive one that perhaps lacks a way to view the pics until you get back to home base?

    As far as memory cards go, I rarely fill the buffer. I do mostly street/doc. So I guess I will go with a slower card. If the "stats" on the CF cards are relatively alike, are their performance differences between brands otherwise? That is to say, will a Kingston be more inclined to crap out than, for example, a sandisk?

    Also, what is the likihood of finding a place like an internet cafe to burn photos to in China? This is what I did during my trip through central europe last year. I ended up taking about 1000 photos, but letting a few go due to space issues.

    I would like to be able to carry 1500-2000 photos, in JPEG at max res (I don't usually bother with raw yet, with the kit lens, what's the point?)

    Once again, thanks for the good advice from the folks with experience.

    On a side note, is it worth spending $20 on the magic lantern 20D guide, or is that strictly for the rubes?
  10. For extra batteries look on Ebay, I bought 2 1400mAH batteries for 21.00 total and they work great. Unless you are taking a laptop or someother device to upload pictures you will need a lot a memory for that trip. Look at NEWEGG.COM they have excellent prices on Flash memory and excellent service. They have a Kingston Elite Pro 2gigs 50x speed for 109.00 with 3 day delivery not the fastest but not slow either. Slow cards effect how fast your camera can read and write to it. 50x is fast enough that you wont feel like your always waiting on it. Buy two of those and shoot some pics in jpeg and you should be fine.

    BTW I have a battery grip and love it, but it does add weight.

    My photography teacher said the camera you use doesn't matter its the eye that makes the photograph not the camera. Which is true but I.m sure Henri Cartier-Bresson's pictures look better with his Leica versus using a disposable.
  11. As for the Magic Lantern Guide, I bought one because the one that went with an earlier camera was so good...this one? Don't bother, nothing much in there if you already know how to take pictures, and the manual that comes with the camera is better than usual.

    You thought you would shoot JPEG because of not having fancy lenses...even more reason to shoot RAW, at least then you can retrieve blown out highlights and make other corrections. If you are serious about your photography, I think you should try to be serious about processing! Just my opinion of course.
  12. Again regarding the portable storage, the PD70X from comes in several capacities. The 40gig is $211, 60gig = $241 and 80gig = $272. These units get good reviews all around. They don't have a nice screen on them like the Epson P-2000 but they are much cheaper for the same storage. I would not take less than 10gigs of storage per week but that's me (I'm actually taking 20G/week for my upcoming vacation). Have a great trip!
  13. Thanks for the heads up on the magic lantern guide Louise, I haven't gotten a chance to look at the manual, so its good to know that it is up to scratch. Quite a few manuals are less than informative.

    I would much prefer to shoot raw, but it really is a question of storage. I will have to get a whole new set of memory cards, and shoting raw with only 2 gigs of storage can be alittle bit limiting over a period of 2 weeks, unless I find some way of emptying the cards.
  14. I like 2GB cards and a laptop. ou can pickup a Celeron laptop for $399 at CompUSA and it can backup CF cards (with $10 PCMCIA card), watch DVDs on the flight to China, and double backup to CDs or DVDs, and you have a Laptop to boot. I looked into those backup portable hard drives, but my laptop made the better sense to me. I bought 3 batteries and an extra charger for $30 on Ebay. I have the battery grip, but I'd leave it at home for a vacation to save weight and size. Good luck

  15. A long-time canon digital pro advised me to eventually invest in a high quality storage device (he has the Epson) instead of investing in multiple 1 or 2 GB CF cards. For example, have no more than 1 or 2 1GB CF card total (or, just a few 512 CF cards), and put the cost savings instead into the storage device. Carry it with you, and download when needed.

    Another means to save on your CF card's overall memory is to carry the 20D's supplied cord that lets you to hook it up to a TV for a quick review of each image. It is my observation that most decent hotels in Asia will have a Video In plug somewhere on your room's TV. You can edit your shots in this manner first, and delete the worst shots off the CF card, whether or not you later download them to an external storage device.

    One way I am extending my 20D's battery life is to turn off the screen video so it doesn't show for even 4 seconds after the shot. Other than checking for 1 - 2 test shots, I assume that I and the camera are doing what we're suposed to be doing corretly. For example, when you are/were shooting 35mm film, did you have the luxury of checking each and every shot as soon as you took it? No, but you assumed the final results would be OK after the lab processing.
  16. Mark and Steve,

    thanks for the info. I am going to go with 2 1g cards, as a friend of mine offered to lend an old portable storage device to me. It has no viewer, but its free. Eventually I will probably get the more advanced epson, or something like it (the laptop, though cheap, is just too cumbersome).

    For those of you who hve experience with the kit lens, just how bad is it? I have never owned a canon SLR before, nor used thier lenses (my film cameras consist of a pentacon and an Electro 35). Also, do you know if it is possible to get an adaptor to allow me to mount my medium format 80mm Biotar on the 20D? The lens is a bit cumbersome for a "35mm" SLR, but it is awfully sweet.
  17. Firstly good choice in getting the D20.

    You can get batteries from
    at a very reasonable price.

    I find that shooting with the kit lens, the photo's look a bit soft.


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