28 May 2008

Canon 30D - review after two years of use

After two years of using Canon 30D I can write down some observations. What kind of photographer am I? Well - I use all photo equipment with care and I don’t shoot all what I see. And I don’t use shutter button like young boys behind computer games :-) and this result to 13.000 clicks in two years of normal hobby photographer use.
The Canon 30D is well build and has good ergonomics. I won’t compare it with camera other manufactures, but in my hands camera has good grip and simple ergonomics. I don’t use a battery grip at this moment, but grip is very nice addition and if you are in doubt – just buy it.
Body can be used in normal weather, and if there are just some drops of rain, you can use it further. But body isn’t water resistant and it is better to take it from rainy place. In my case I use camera on very dusty car and motor events and everything was fine – after cleaning.
Today 8 Megapixels are on the low side, but when 30D was introduced, it was as good as other competitors. But the image quality is really good and here Canon has done a great work. You can raise ISO up to 1000 (or even more) and you won’t have any problems. Yes, there is noise, but this is another story. If you need, you can also use 3200 and work with that, but there will be much more noticeable noise. I always shoot in RAW, so I use what sensor can capture. I can’t comment about JPG shooting, but what I read, 30D works good. Everybody can adjust camera for own needs over custom functions. There are many of them with simple user interface.
Exposure is well balanced, maybe little underexposured – especially with flash. But as I understand Canon technical team, is this normal. The reason is simple – if picture is overexposured, then there you can do nothing with overexposured area. There is higher possibility to get something useful from underexposured picture. That is ok, we can use histogram to check exposure.
I use AI Servo mode what can help me if something is happen quick. In RAW mode camera make 5 frames per second (11 consecutive frames). But I rarely use this feature.
The lowest price is 700 EUR in Germany and 900 EUR in Slovenia. The successor’s (40D) price is 870 EUR (Germany), but you can use Canon Cashback (-150 EUR), so you can buy it for 720 EUR. There is no dilemma – take 40D. Buy 30D if you are on the low budget and are buying used camera. It can be very good purchase.
Overall – 30D is great camera for advanced photographers with low budged. The minus list is short (some issues are solved on 40D) and there aren’t big resentments. So look now on the minus side:

1. All buttons are on right places, but I have two remarks. Why for devil Canon 30D have a print button? I don’t know any of users who have used this button. The feature can be used from menu and there is no need for button. Instead of this feature there are many other options (mirror lock up button for example). Second is the quality of joystick button. It is not so smooth for using and can be done better.
2. One of the most annoying thing is changing all settings again and again (for example – if you are on the wedding there are some setting for church, other for outside, then you came to home and go to garden and take a macro ... uf, uf). Successor (40D) has saving custom setting.
3. Bigger, better and brighter LCD. 40D has better, but it is still not as good as LCD on Nikon D300 (yes, for twice of price).
4. Live view is a nice feature for macro and 40D has this.
5. White balance isn’t the best. I use RAW and Whibal card, so I can always know what was the “right” temperature. In my opinion 30D has to cold color. You can change this in setting and recalibrate the White Balance.
6. I miss AF button. I use * for focusing and shutter button for exposure reading ans shooting. But with this custom function (it is great otherwise) I lost Flash exposure lock. 40D has it.
7. Sensor cleaning missing – maybe sensor cleaning in 40D isn’t enough, but it is better than nothing. So this is a nice feature.
8. Belt over neck are bad. It is raking up and holds skin. You can buy better one (from thirty-part), but it is shame for Canon.
9. I really missed zoom in “preview after shoot was taken”. When I take a shoot, camera shows me a picture (you can set for how long). I often want to check picture at bigger zoom – but I can’t. It works only, when you leave this “aftershootpreview” and press Preview button. Then it works.
10. Viewfinder should be brighter (and bigger). STOP.
This is my point of view after two years after two years. You can have your own comments, maybe I forget something.
In one sentence – 30D is great camera with some small minuses. Successor is better and 30D can’t compete with today features in many things except one – image quality. Image quality is very good and if you have good lenses and can find 30D in good condition, this can be a bargain.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree the 30D's Image quality is superlative to the 40D's I think.

I have both and my 30D is stuck to my 70-200 F2.8 IS because it can reveal so much more detail with it than the 40D can - I love it.

If I had the option I'd pay an extra £50-100 over the 40D price to see the same or better Image quality and sharpness I get from the 30D.

Iztok Grilc said...

Interesting info. I already heart about this, but I didn't make any tests.