Comparing the Canon 20D to the Nikon D70:

For in-depth reviews of these cameras I recommend you log onto:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews

... and click on the names on these cameras in the menu on the left side of the page. I found both reviews to be excellent and helpful. Printed out, they make great supplements to the user manuals for the cameras.

As outstanding as these reviews were, I didn't get much a feel for the differences between how the cameras felt in-hand. That's what this page is for: to provide a side-by-side comparison of how the cameras look and feel. (Note: these are strictly my impressions from handling the two cameras at the same time.)

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What was compared.................Nikon D70..........................Canon 20D

appearance.......................more complicated, bulky,.........slightly smaller, simpler
......................................more professional looking

In-hand feel....................much more comfortable grip.......Grip too small, fingertips
................................. ...both weigh about the same........jam slightly into body

On/Off switch.................Close to the shutter release......Very poor placement, must
....................................comfortable, natural access......use two hands to turn on,
......................................................................................awkward design

F-stop and shutter...........Both same size, shape, and........each differently shaped
speed controls...............horizontal near shutter release.......and positioned, much
.......................................very easy to confuse..............clearer which is which

Main mode dial....................Larger, turns smoother,......Subtle gritty feel when turned
.............................................better detents

Rocker control switch............Larger, easier to use..........Very small, harder to locate

Full-auto shutter lag time...........1/4-1/2 second.............Almost imperceptibly slower

Full manual shutter lag time....Almost instantaneous.............Maybe slightly slower

Shutter release sound.............softer, lower "click"..............Louder, sharper "click"

Recovery time......................Almost instantaneous..........Too close to tell difference

LCD screen..........................same size, resolution..............same size, resolution

Cost, body only............................$800.00..............................$1300.00

Cost, in kit with lens.....................$1000.00.............................$1400.00

Kit lens................................18-70 zoom, looks............18-55 zoom, looks and feels
.........................................good and feels solid.............cheap, floppy front lens, ................................................................................cheapens entire camera

Effective pixels........................6.1 megapixels.......................8.2 megapixels

 
Conclusions: All-in-all I'd have to give the nod to the Nikon D70 as having a slightly better feel, though the similar shape and orientation of the shutter speed and aperture controls makes them easy to confuse. When considerations of cost are included it is the clear winner, especially if you're going for a kit because the Nikon's kit lens is much better than the Canon's. The Canon's higher pixel count may only be important to someone making a lot of very large prints (16 x 20 or larger) or people doing a lot of near microscopic photography where much of the frame will be cropped away. (The big advantage the Canon may have for this last use is that Canon makes a 5X macro lens.)

Two of the nice features of the Sony DSC F-707, 5-megapixel camera, my last camera, was that the lens could be tilted relative to the body to place the view screen in a convenient viewing angle and that you could use the LCD screen as a viewfinder so that you see how the exposure changed as shutter speed and aperture were adjusted. While I acknowledge these would be difficult to design into high-end cameras like the Nikon and Canon and still retain the use of an optical viewfinder, they would be great features to have.

 

 
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