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Author Topic: Is my 20D too old?  (Read 2450 times)
alex2074
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« on: January 31, 2013, 01:57:40 AM »
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I love this camera, but its seems that I am lucky if the pictues it produces are crystal clear.  I am using the standard 28-135 lens that the body came with, so it isnt the greatest lens, so maybe my expectations are too high.  I wonder if an L lens would create better pictures, or if the camera itself has issues. Does anybody have experience with the 20D?  Are your pictures crystal clear?  If so, what was the lens?  for some of the better sample pics I have taken with this thing, go here.
https://plus.google.com/photos/114335364654607654072/albums/5828698929951728209?banner=pwa
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 02:22:26 AM »
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I would suggest renting or borrowing  a camera/ lens combination and then see if it is worth while for you.

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francois
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 05:57:39 AM »
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I love this camera, but its seems that I am lucky if the pictues it produces are crystal clear.  I am using the standard 28-135 lens that the body came with, so it isnt the greatest lens, so maybe my expectations are too high.  I wonder if an L lens would create better pictures, or if the camera itself has issues. Does anybody have experience with the 20D?  Are your pictures crystal clear?  If so, what was the lens?  for some of the better sample pics I have taken with this thing, go here.
https://plus.google.com/photos/114335364654607654072/albums/5828698929951728209?banner=pwa

Renting some newer camera/lens would be ideal but I don't think that an L lens will greatly improve your results. I still have a 20D somewhere but IIRC using the 28-135 IS vs the 24-70 f/2.8 L wasn't like day vs night.
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Francois
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 08:33:11 AM »
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Your samples are quite good.
Are their better kits out there,you bet.
You will see improvements but at what cost.
Your kit is almost 10 years old (2004 model) and probably has a value today of under $500.00 (?)
Two of the top of the line models the D800 or 5D Mk III with a mid range zoom of some sort and those kits are $5,000+/ -
Of course their are many models in between.
Not being a canon guy I cannot suggest something in the middle for you. Maybe a seasoned Canon user will chime in.
I have the 36mp D800e and the 24mp NEX 7.
I have to admit I use the Nex a whole lot more then my D800e.
The Nex 7 with either my Zeiss 21 or 100mm macro lens is every bit as good as my Nikon with the same lenses.
Do not need a big DSLR today,tons of stuff to choose from.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 04:56:57 PM by Dan Berg » Logged

stever
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 09:06:19 AM »
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i still have a pair of 20Ds which i use underwater (on land i use a 5D3 and 7D - and have owned a 40D, 5D, and 5D2).  most of my underwater photography is macro with a flash which doesn't get printed larger than 13x19 and i'm quite satisfied with the images - as i was satisfied with images taken with a variety of lenses, 10-22, 17-85, 100M, 100-400 etc.

the newer crop frame cameras have dust removal and the 7D autofocus that is much better for action - and somewhat better high ISO performance -- but i don't think there's a big difference in IQ, particularly with most lenses. 

the 5d2 and 3 are at another level (the 5D's lack of dust removal is a problem) of resolution and high ISO performance with the addition of outstanding autofocus and some very helpful user features

in looking at images i've taken over time, i'd recommend LR4 (if you're not already using it) to process your RAW images before spending money on a new camera or lens if you want the most bang for the buck - i'm amazed at the improvement in my old 20D images.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 09:20:32 AM »
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Honestly I think it's the lens. The 20D was and is a great camera, even better with modern software.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 10:54:30 AM »
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I do not see anything wrong with your pictures, at least not as seen full-screen on a 24'' monitor.
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 12:01:56 PM »
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The 20D was a groundbreaking camera when it was introduced. It was and is capable of making very good images.

Unfortunately, the term "crystal clear" when applied to photography isn't very specific, and could describe a wide range of issues with different causes and solutions. The photos you posted on your site are good - perhaps you can post an example of what you don't like, or maybe give some more information. Things that could cause photos to be what someone might call "not clear" would include out-of-focus images, camera movement during exposure, atmospheric haze, UV light at altitude, poor image processing, something wrong with the lens (like a misaligned lens element), a really dirty lens or sensor, flare from a bright light source in or out of the frame, flare from using a crappy filter, and the list goes on. Given the age of your equipment, it's quite possible that there is something out of whack.

Although the 20D and your lens are capable of good images when they are in peak condition and used properly, I'm going to suggest that getting a new camera would be a good idea -- even if nothing is wrong with yours. The last nine years have seen a major improvement in digital imaging at all levels. In addition, there is an entirely new class of compact cameras with interchangeable lenses, which provide outstanding image quality while greatly reducing the size and weight of your kit.

If you provide more information about the kind of photography you do, and how you approach it, you'll get some good suggestions on what you might look for in a new system. For example, if you shoot landscapes for large prints, and you use a solid tripod and careful technique, a Nikon D800 would work well. If you shoot travel or documentary photography, and want something small and discreet, a Sony NEX or an Olympus EM-5 or one of the Fuji X-Pro cameras would be a good choice. Given what you already have, I don't think that you have to stick with Canon for a system, though if you do a 6D with the new 24-70 or the older 24-105 would make a nice kit (not sure your current lens will mount to a 6D.)

Hope this helps.
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scooby70
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 03:28:51 PM »
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I used to have a 20D and I was very happy with it at low to middling ISO's. I only really felt that things fell apart a bit at the very highest ISO's but even 3200 is usable with care, IMVHO.

I wonder do you shoot RAW or JPEG?

I ask because the 20D tends to produce rather flat looking JPEG's when compared with the more punchy JPEG's you get from more modern cameras. I think that you really need to shoot RAW to get the best out of it.

Could that be your issue?
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stever
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 07:55:58 PM »
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i'd rather have RAW files from a 20D than JPEGs from a new camera

i've really not shot the 20D above ISO 1600, but with LR4 ISO 3200 might be okay in some situations
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2013, 01:24:54 AM »
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This question regarding the 20D came up on another forum, and I answered by posting this link:

http://www.naturescapes.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=227822

I'm still trying to get my 30D to do this, but the birds keep flying away.

Glenn
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alex2074
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 01:52:08 AM »
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Thanks everybody for the great responses.  I'm a casual photographer and I much prefer being able to twiddle and tweak the controls to do what I want.  The 20D is light as far as DSLRs go, which makes it a great travel DSLR.  As an example of the lack of sharpness and clarity that I have been having, see this;
https://plus.google.com/photos/114335364654607654072/albums/5841367888460242961/5841368801732390690?banner=pwa

AE Av=3.5, ISO=400, Tv=1/200, WB=shade, EV -1/3, 28mm
This is typical.  I go out into the woods here in Oregon and nothing every comes out well.  I dont know what it is.  The light can be a bit low in the trees, which means the ISO has to go up, and I always have to shoot full aperture to overcome the low light, even though higher aperture is better, but that would cause a longer shutter delay which could blur the image.

I never shoot raw.  Mainly because I dont like post-processing anything.  However, if using lightroom on the raw files would be an improvement of the jpegs, I might give it a shot.

Im going to have both the camera and the lens cleaned to see if that helps.  But does anybody have any suggestions for shooting in the woods?  Even on a tripod with lens lock up it wasnt very good.
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francois
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 02:17:32 AM »
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Thanks everybody for the great responses.  I'm a casual photographer and I much prefer being able to twiddle and tweak the controls to do what I want.  The 20D is light as far as DSLRs go, which makes it a great travel DSLR.  As an example of the lack of sharpness and clarity that I have been having, see this;
https://plus.google.com/photos/114335364654607654072/albums/5841367888460242961/5841368801732390690?banner=pwa

AE Av=3.5, ISO=400, Tv=1/200, WB=shade, EV -1/3, 28mm
This is typical.  I go out into the woods here in Oregon and nothing every comes out well.  I dont know what it is.  The light can be a bit low in the trees, which means the ISO has to go up, and I always have to shoot full aperture to overcome the low light, even though higher aperture is better, but that would cause a longer shutter delay which could blur the image.

I never shoot raw.  Mainly because I dont like post-processing anything.  However, if using lightroom on the raw files would be an improvement of the jpegs, I might give it a shot.

Im going to have both the camera and the lens cleaned to see if that helps.  But does anybody have any suggestions for shooting in the woods?  Even on a tripod with lens lock up it wasnt very good.

Alex,
I'd try to shoot RAW, on a tripod, low ISO,  f/8 (also try f/5.6, f/4, f/11, etc) , mirror lock-up, timer or cable release, making sure that focus is accurate. I would then reassess the situation. Shooting in dark woods is not easy but you should get better results. If you don't use a tripod, more modern cameras that offer better high ISO performances might be a solution.

You can download a trial copy of Lightroom for your tests.
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Francois
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 07:00:36 AM »
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I think the images you linked to look sharp.  Is it possible that you are looking for support in the purchase of a new camera....looking for us to tell you that you need to buy one.... Grin?

Seriously, you probably would enjoy a newer camera and probably would realize some improvement in image quality over your 20d.  I never owned a 20d, but I have had a D30, D60, 10D, 40D, and now a 7D and loved the image quality of each one until I purchased the later model.  I never felt like I took a step back in IQ and never regretted the upgrade.
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k bennett
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 07:48:42 AM »
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Looking at your photo, and zooming all the way in, I do see a significant lack of details in the trees and moss. It just seems very mushy overall. This is probably the result of several different factors added together: hand holding, shooting wide open, and in-camera JPEG processing.

I'm afraid that any real improvement will come, not from a new camera, but from adopting the best technical practices of landscape photography. Start with a good tripod, using mirror lockup, ISO 100, and f/8 or f/11. You'll have shutter speeds in the 1/4-1 sec range in this dim light. Then get a good raw processing book, like Schewe's The Digital Negative, and learn how to process your raw files in Lightroom. Once you take complete control over the post processing, I expect you'll see a major increase in the quality of your final images.

Shooting on a tripod has the benefit of slowing down the entire process, which is really a good thing. It makes you think about what you are shooting and why.

After making these improvements, I expect you'll want a new camera and lens(es) within the next year or so.
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dhancock
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 07:01:39 PM »
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Yes, first, make sure you are using good photographic technique (http://danielhancockphotography.com/photography/the-quest-for-sharpness/). Then, if you have the money and still have the need, upgrade.
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graeme
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2013, 08:23:38 AM »
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I love this camera, but its seems that I am lucky if the pictues it produces are crystal clear.  I am using the standard 28-135 lens that the body came with, so it isnt the greatest lens, so maybe my expectations are too high.  I wonder if an L lens would create better pictures, or if the camera itself has issues. Does anybody have experience with the 20D?  Are your pictures crystal clear?  If so, what was the lens?  for some of the better sample pics I have taken with this thing, go here.
https://plus.google.com/photos/114335364654607654072/albums/5828698929951728209?banner=pwa

A Canon 60D is my main camera these days but I still use my old 20D from time to time.

As I see it them advantages of the newer camera are :

1. LIVE VIEW. ( You can focus super accurately, use depth of field preview in a meaningful way and actually see what the sensor is seeing - I'm sure that my 20D's viewfinder is slightly out of whack judging by the problems I had framing longer focal lengths.

2. Flip out LCD screen - great for tripod work.

3. Significantly better high ISO performance ( although the 20D seemed great after years of using film ).

4. Auto sensor cleaning.

5. I quite like the Quick Control Screen for setting various parameters.

6. 18 megapixels.

7. Video capability has been useful-ish for making quick reference movies during site visits. ( I just use the basic dumb settings - I have no serious interest in video ).

Despite the above points I still enjoy using the 20D more for hand held shooting - the 60D's controls don't fall to hand as easily and the 20D just feels more 'serious'. The 60D is a better tripod camera though.

My 70 - 200f4L provides great image quality with both cameras, although I'm not convinced about auto focus in Live View and manual fosussing is a little tricky because of the short turning rotation of the focus ring.

If you can live with the focal length and crap build quality Canon's little 50mm 1.8 will give you terrifically sharp picture when matched with your 20D.

Just to echo what some of the other posters have said here ( regardless of whether you're using your 20D or a newer camera ):

1. Steady camera support ( by whatever means ).

2. A half decent lens stopped down a bit.

3. RAW.

4.LIGHTROOM.

One from last summer taken with the 20D using the much derided Canon 17-85IS at 20mm ( the weaker end of it's focal length ). ISO200 f11 1/160th second. I have printed this out on glossy paper at A3+ ( 12 x 18" printed area ) and it looks fine.

Also a 100% detail for the peepers.

Enjoy your photography. ( Nice images BTW ).

Graeme
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2013, 10:23:13 AM »
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1.  I love this camera, but its seems that I am lucky if the pictues it produces are crystal clear.  

2.  I am using the standard 28-135 lens that the body came with, so it isnt the greatest lens, so maybe my expectations are too high.  

3.  I wonder if an L lens would create better pictures, or if the camera itself has issues. Does anybody have experience with the 20D?  Are your pictures crystal clear?  



Alex2074,

1. Everybody feels lucky if their pictures are crystal clear. Always assuming, of course, that crystal-clear pictures are what they are seeking.

2. If you are knowingly using a lens of less than excellent qualities, then no, your expectations are not too high: they are absolutely in line with what your expectations must have been when you bought a less than excellent lens. This is crystal clear to me, too.

3. Of itself, no lens would produce pictures at all; you’d still need a camera. In this particular case, nor knowing your camera, I can’t authoritatively state whether or nor your camera has issues, Some do and some don’t – probably to do with where and when they were made, but their problerms could also have been inherited. You know, it might be in the DNA.

I have no experience with the 20D but quite a lot with the D200 and D700 brothers, though I suspect these come from different families, so perhaps bloodlines count? To conclude: some of my pictures certainly are as clear as crystal, but some are not. Of course, I imagine that you speak from a digital perspective. Speaking for myself, on the few occassions when I had crystal clear negatives they turned into one of two things: absolute disasters or fine reproductions of black cats in unlit cellers.


Hope this helps. It has certainly helped me face up to the fact that I need a cup of tea. And, worse, that I shall have to go and make it myself.

Rob C

« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:26:03 AM by Rob C » Logged

Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2013, 11:09:22 AM »
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I never shoot raw.  Mainly because I dont like post-processing anything. 

I'm afraid there is your answer. I haven't seen jpgs from more advanced cameras but even the jpgs from the latest rebels used by most of my students are horrifically mushy compared to the same image shot in raw. You should have seen their faces when I showed them a side by side in class!
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RobertJ
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2013, 02:45:41 PM »
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I still make money with my 20D, thanks to old stock images that keep selling over and over again.

I only shoot RAW, process in ACR, shoot on a heavy Gitzo 5 series tripod with a RRS ballhead, and use only prime lenses (a mixture of Canon and Zeiss).  I think you need to improve your technique and learn more about optics and RAW conversion.

I get incredibly sharp and detailed images from the 20D, especially with a Zeiss 28 f/2.8.
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