Check out our test images photo gallery.
How to Read a Camera Test
• A big 2.5-inch screen and a real spotmeter, finally!
• Kick-butt burst mode.
• Tougher shutter.
• Clumsy custom WB setting.
• Eyeglass-wearers may not see full finder.
• Wireless TTL flash controller costs extra.
• "Multicontroller" nub not so handy.
Who's This For?
• Advanced amateurs who want a durable, fast-shooting camera besides great image quality.
• EOS Rebel XT owners looking to trade up.
• Canon pro DSLR shooters looking for a lighter-weight backup.
The Competitive Set
($1,700 street, body only)
Nikon's D200 costs $300 more than the 30D, but you get what you pay for: resolution 300 lines higher than the Canon, better noise suppression, a rough-tough body better sealed against the environment, and AF that works down to a ridiculously dim -2 EV. Other Nikon advantages: wireless TTL flash triggering via the pop-up unit, and a 2 percent movable spotmeter. The cameras are even-up in color accuracy, shutter life, burst rates, and battery options. Canon's advantage: faster AF at EV 0 and above.
Olympus Evolt E-500
($585 street, body only)
Currently the bargain of 8MP DSLRs, the Olympus delivers equal resolution, slightly lower color accuracy, and somewhat higher noise than the 30D at $800 less, and nearly equal image controls. Its well-made body, while not quite as tough as the 30D's, is very compact and lightweight. Other Olympus advantages: self-cleaning CCD, 2 percent spotmeter. But the Canon 30D smokes the Oly in AF speed, burst mode, and, overwhelmingly, lens and flash catalog.