Canon EOS 20D Camera First Impressions (Battery / Features / Lenses)

This 2020 blog post is about my first impressions of the old 2004 Canon EOS 20D camera.

A photo of a Canon EOS 20D camera


I’ve recently purchased a 20D. I already own many other cameras, including a Canon EOS M, a couple of PowerShot A1400s and as well as two PowerShot G6 cameras.

Many people will be thinking with the EOS M, why did I want to buy the old 20D? I have four reasons:

  1. It gives my fiancée and I a second camera to use with a growing collection of non-Canon lenses, enabling us to use different non-Canon lenses at the same time and not take it turns.
  2. I wanted to have a Canon camera that natively took the EF/EF-S lenses.
  3. My fiancée and I wanted to use items that we used with the PowerShot G6 with an EOS.
  4. I’ve wanted to use a 20D for ages!

The rear of a Canon EOS 20D camera

Canon EOS 20D versus Canon EOS M

So let’s get the unfair part of the blog post out of the way! It’s not really a good idea to compare these two cameras, but I will give it a go!

A photo showing the Canon EOS M and Canon EOS 20D cameras

The Canon EOS M is far lighter than the 20D, takes different memory cards, doesn’t have an in-built flash, doesn’t natively use EF/EF-S lenses and has a higher resolution for photos. There are also many other differences, such as the Canon EOS M being able to use the incredible Magic Lantern firmware.

The 20D however is cheaper, has a viewfinder and whilst I think the 20D doesn’t work as well in low light, I think the in-built flash is nice.

Canon PowerShot G6 versus Canon 20D

So I’ve already compared a EOS to a M, but I think a more realistic comparison is a PoweShot G6 to Canon EOS 20D. Both these cameras came out in 2004 and both share the same battery and memory card type.

A photo of two memory cards

The G6 is 7.1MP, whereas the 20D is 8.2MP and both can shot RAW and JPEG. Whereas the G6 can use both it’s LCD display and viewfinder for live preview, the 20D can only use a viewfinder.

Both the G6 and 20D have in-built flashes as well as a hot-shoe option, but after this I feel the differences start to become obvious. Let’s begin with weight, the G6 is a lot lighter at 467g, with the 20D being noticeably heavier at 685g without a lens! The G6 not only is a lot lighter, but noticeably smaller and easier to travel with and the G6 has an in-built lens. I think the ISO and shutter are better on a 20D.

A photo of Canon PowerShot G6 and Canon EOS 20D cameras

You can fit an additional lens ‘on top’ of the native G6 lens. and the ability to put EF/EF-S lenses directly on the camera or many other types, such as the M42 or Praktica bayonet with adapters, which the G6 can’t, makes a huge difference to the type of photos you can take. If you’re willing to lug around a few lenses, then the 20D offers more variety.

I’ve taken many photos with a G6 and sold some of them and even in 2020 I quite like the G6, especially the ability to use the LCD as a live preview, which helps me with lower level photos.

I do view the 20D as an upgrade to the G6, but it all depends on what type of photos you wish to take and for many people, their mobile phone might actually be a better option!

Even in 2020, I quite like putting the G6 in my backpack, along with a couple of spare batteries and not worrying about using up my mobile phone’s battery for taking photos, but I am increasingly becoming frustrated with the lens limitations on a G6.

I’m not done with the G6 yet, but with the EOS M and Canon 20D, I’m increasingly using other lenses with adapters and taking photos not possible with my G6.

Canon PowerShot G6 items being used with a 20D

I own two G6 cameras and I really like the flip-out LCD display on the G6. My Canon 20D didn’t arrive with a camera strap or memory card, both of which I’ve taken from one of my G6 cameras.

The Canon 20D also uses the same battery that the G6 does, so whilst my 20D turned up with one third-party battery, I can use my Canon BP-511A batteries in both cameras.

A photo of batteries

So I’m using a camera strap, batteries and ‘CompactFlash’ from the G6 on the 20D!

Lenses for the Canon 20D

A while back I purchased another Canon camera for £10 GBP at a charity shop. That Canon camera uses film, but it had a Canon 35-105mm AF lens attached. I didn’t want the camera and already own other film cameras, so gave the camera back to charity, but kept the lens, which I’m now using on the Canon 20D.

A photo of a Canon EOS 20D with a a Praktica Bayonet lens attached using an adapter.

I also purchased an old Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm lens which has a Praktica Bayonet mount, but with a small adapter, it easily fits on the Canon 20D.

I’ve recently purchased a M42-EOS EF lens adapter, but it hasn’t arrived. When I finally manage to get a M42 adapter for my 20D, I will then be able to use some other old lenses I own, which I purchased very cheaply.

So as you can see there are a lot of lenses which you can put on a Canon 20D, either natively or by using adapters.

Final thoughts

There are many cameras that can take superior photos to a 20D. There are many times when even my mobile phones are a better or easier choice for taking a photo. I do like using the 20D and I intend to use the camera for at least a couple of years.

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