Photography - New (to me) Canon EOS 20D camera

My new camera is a lot like my old camera in so far as they both take pictures, and they are both 8 megapixel cameras.

But after that they diverge a bit.

The Sanyo Xacti that I've been using for the last 1300 photos I've taken was gifted at me by someone (Thanks anonymous company) when I really needed a replacement because all the point and shoot digital cameras I've bought to make this blog (I think it's 3 now) fall over just after 5000 happy snaps.

5000 seems like a lot when I put it in print, but in terms of time, that equates to less than a year per camera.  Sure they cost less than AU$100, but I still want more than a year out of anything I buy.

This one that I've been using is still going strong, and does a pretty good job of it I suppose, but I found the interface very heavy going.

It has quite a few options and features, but all of them have to be accessed via a clunky multi-level menu system. That means that every time you want to do anything other than what it's set to do now, you have to explore a stack of menus to finally find what you need, and by the time you've found it, the ladybird has finished eating it's aphid, and flown away.

My new camera on the other hand is a zillion times better to work with. I've only had it for around 10 hours, but it already feels comfortable.

It's taken around 1200 pictures so far in it's life.

I have very greasy fingers.

I'm eating zucchini and haloumi fritters.


The new camera is a Canon 20D. It was originally sold for around AU$1500 (Australian dollar) in 2004, and was described as a "semi-professional" or "prosumer" camera at the time, which of course means substantially more than other imaginary words and their associated imaginary metrics.

But on the whole, the camera rocks.

That's my official rating out of 5.

It has a 4 GB CF memory card, which is the size of a bulky circa 2012 64GB mp3 player, and that cost around the same as a bulky circa 2012 64GB mp3 player. It takes a while to transfer photos, but it has very nice functionality, and best of all has an interface that works.

It also comes with some nice lumps of glass in the lens. It seems to be the lens that lets down lots of little point and shoot cameras. The quality of the photo's taken by my new 8 megapixel camera is a lot better than those I've taken with an 8 megapixel point and shoot style camera.

The second lens feels a bit like it might blow away, but at $10 it's a very nice thing to have around.

The camera came with a Canon 18-55mm f3.5 image lens, with image stabalizer. I've just discovered I love image stabalizing. Image stabalizing allows you to be a bit shakey, and have the lens do some stuff to fix it.

As I understand it, there are exactly two ways to do image stabilizing.

  • 1. Project an image onto the censor, so that the image is a little larger than the censor, and the image has some extra image in the margins. Then have the camera track your shakey projection, and then use magic or software or something to knit together a nice crisp image.
  • 2. Track some points on the image, and move the lens around a bit so that any given point on the censor always sees the same bit of the image, or move the censor to achieve the same thing.
  • 3. Use gyroscopes mounted on at least two axes to resist the movement of the entire camera. Things spinning around like to keep doing it. If you take the tire off your bike (stop first) and hold the axle while someone else spins it as fast as they can, it becomes difficult to change the angle it's on. This is why a spinning top (do they still have those?) stays upright, and is simply due to the universe being an amazing place.

The camera shows its age through it's 8 megapixelness, as at the time of writing, that's about 16 megapixels short of where it should be.

I bought it from a second hand camera store in Japan for $150 with the Canon 18-55mm zoom, and I got the second lens, a Tamron 100-300 zoom, for $10 from the bargain bin.

Thanks Tom.

Tom's a friend of mine.

He's really good at buying way too much camera gear from junk bins. His hobby includes buying those instamatic film cameras that were big in the 70s. He likes to buy them when they have rolls of film still in them so he can process the film. In some subtle way, that's slightly different from buying some old photos.

Which is nice.

For him.

He's kind of a time traveller, but he only gets to look, and doesn't get to choose what he looks at.

Mostly he gets to look at darkness.

Sometimes darkness, but with slightly mouldy edges.

Luckily, I don't suffer from collecting things other than my collection of odd people I know.

Tom's one of my favourites.

Thanks Tom.

120 Things in 20 years - One of the best parts about getting my new, second hand Canon 20D camera, was getting to look at the Japanese supermarket junkmail it was packed in. It's been 20 years since I was in Japan, and the junkmail paper is now of even better quality.


  1. I won a bet with a former boss who was so proud of his > $500 8mp camera. I told him my <$100 3mp several year old camera would take better photos for websites than his does.

    I won.

    Simple math will tell you that a 'standard' size photo at screen resolution is much closer to 1mp than 8mp. The 'better' 8mp image needed to have a lot of individual pixels blurred (subsampled is a better word, but blurred is the appearance to the eye) together to fit on the screen. My camera needed less blurring than his camera, so my photo looked sharper.

    His photo would enlarge much better than mine would, but I tossed down the gauntlet carefully and it was months before he tried to force me to concede that point. "But of course, that's the hole point of more pixels, silly" really took the wind out of his sails. Twice.

    Should I re-iterate it was a former boss? Probably not the best way to treat the guy who signs your paychecks, right? **grin**


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