Canon 20D vs XSi
The Canon EOS 20D and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2004 and January 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 20D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)||ISO 100-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|1.8" LCD, 118k dots||3.0" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||3.5 shutter flaps per second|
|700 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g||129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 20D and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 20D vs XSi
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Canon XSi. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon 20D. Moreover, the XSi is markedly lighter (32 percent) than the 20D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 20D nor the XSi 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 compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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.
|Canon 20D»||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Canon XSi«||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T4i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||n||Aug 2006||799||-||Canon XTi|
|Canon XT« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899||-||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D200« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The XSi was launched at a markedly lower price (by 47 percent) than the 20D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 XSi
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the XSi is 3 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.
Technology-wise, the XSi uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 3) than the 20D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the XSi offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 20D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 6.42μm for the 20D). However, it should be noted that the XSi is much more recent (by 3 years and 5 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.
The resolution advantage of the Canon XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inch or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inch or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inch or 36.2 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 20D are 17.5 x 11.7 inch or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inch or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inch or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 20D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 20D»||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Canon XSi«||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||-||21.9||10.8||692||61||Canon XSi|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T4i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3« »||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63||Canon T1i|
|Canon 50D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||-||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.3||703||64||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||-||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.0||664||62||Canon XTi|
|Canon XT« »||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||-||21.8||10.8||637||60||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D200« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
Feature comparison: Canon 20D vs XSi
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the XSi 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 20D has a higher magnification than the one of the XSi (0.56x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 20D, the Canon XSi, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 20D»||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Canon XSi«||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Canon XSi|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T4i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3« »||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i« »||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n||Canon T1i|
|Canon 50D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XTi|
|Canon XT« »||optical||n||1.8||115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D200« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
One feature that is present on the 20D, but is missing on the XSi is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 20D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the XSi uses SDHC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 20D vs XSi
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 20D and Canon EOS Rebel XSi and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 20D»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Canon XSi«||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 7D II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T4i« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 50D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XTi|
|Canon XT« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D200« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 20D (unlike the XSi) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 20D and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 20D was replaced by the Canon 30D, while the XSi was followed by the Canon T1i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
Review summary: Canon 20D vs XSi
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 20D better than the Canon XSi or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 20D:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.54x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2004).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 3 vs DIGIC 2).
- 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 (230k vs 118k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 246g or 32 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (47 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 20D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the XSi emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 20D and the Canon XSi place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 20D or the XSi perform in practice. 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.
Expert reviews: Canon 20D vs XSi
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 20D»||-||+ +||-||o||-||Aug 2004||1,499||-||Canon 20D|
|Canon XSi«||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799||-||Canon XSi|
|Canon 7D II« »||+||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon T4i« »||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3« »||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon T3|
|Canon 60D« »||+||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon T1i« »||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 50D« »||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 40D« »||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||+ +||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2006||1,399||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon XTi« »||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799||-||Canon XTi|
|Canon XT« »||80/100||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2005||899||-||Canon XT|
|Canon 10D« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||-||+ +||-||o||-||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Nikon D200« »||+ +||+ +||o||5/5||-||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 20D vs Canon XSi
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2004||January 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 1499||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||22.2 x 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||328.56 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||26.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||4272 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||5.19 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||3.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 2||DIGIC 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||21.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||721||692|
|Screen Specs||Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 20D||Canon XSi|
|Battery Type||BP-511A power pack||LP-E5 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||770 g (27.2 oz)||524 g (18.5 oz)|
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