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Canon 20D versus Canon 100D

The Canon EOS 20D and the Canon EOS 100D (labelled Canon SL1 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2004 and March 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 20D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixel, whereas the 100D provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 20D vs Canon 100D

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Canon 100D. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 20D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 20D vs Canon 100D
Compare 20D versus 100D top
Compare 20D and 100D rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 100D is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon 20D. Moreover, the 100D is substantially lighter (47 percent) than the 20D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 20D nor the 100D are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 20D gets 700 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the 100D can take 380 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 20D» 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i
Canon 100D« 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i
Canon 200D« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon 1200D« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 700D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i
Canon XT« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899- i
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 100D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the 20D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 20D vs Canon 100D

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 100D is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 20D and Canon 100D sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the 100D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixel, compared with 8.2 MP of the 20D. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 6.42μm for the 20D). However, it should be noted that the 100D is much more recent (by 8 years and 7 months) than the 20D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

20D versus 100D MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 20D» APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162
Canon 100D« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Canon 1200D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
Canon 700D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659
Canon XT« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 100D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 20D does not. The highest resolution format that the 100D can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 20D vs Canon 100D

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the 100D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 20D and Canon 100D along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon 20D»optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Canon 100D«optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 1200D« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n
Canon 700D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Canon XT« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n

Both the 20D and the 100D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 20D was replaced by the Canon 30D, while the 100D was followed by the Canon 200D.

Review summary: Canon 20D vs Canon 100D

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 20D or the Canon 100D – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 20D:

  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2004).


Advantages of the Canon EOS 100D:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 48%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 118k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 363g or 47 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the 20D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 100D is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

20D 04:09 100D

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 20D and the 100D in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 20D»-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i
Canon 100D«Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Canon 1200D« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 700D« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon 40D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i
Canon XT« »80/100HiRecrevrev- Feb 2005 899- i
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i
Canon Rebel« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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