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Canon 20D vs Nikon D100

The Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D100 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2004 and February 2002. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 20D   Nikon D100
Canon 20D Nikon D100
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 200-800 (200-1600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 118k dots 1.8" LCD, 118k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
700 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g 144 x 116 x 81 mm, 780 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D100? 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 Nikon D100

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 20D vs Nikon D100
Compare 20D versus D100 top
Comparison 20D or D100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D100 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Canon 20D. Moreover, the D100 is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the 20D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 20D nor the D100 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. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (20D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D100).

Concerning battery life, the 20D gets 700 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D100 can take 370 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 20D» 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Nikon D100« 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
 
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon XT« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon XT
 
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 20D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the D100, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 Nikon D100

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 D100 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (20D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 20D and Nikon D100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 20D offers a higher resolution of 8.2 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the Nikon D100. 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 6.42μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the 20D is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the D100, 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 20D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 20D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 17.5 x 11.7 inch or 44.5 x 29.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14 x 9.3 inch or 35.6 x 23.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 11.7 x 7.8 inch or 29.7 x 19.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 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 Nikon D100 are ISO 200 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-1600.

20D versus D100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon 20D» APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Nikon D100« APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
 
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
 
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
 
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon XT« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon XT
 
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Neither the 20D nor the D100 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 20D vs Nikon D100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the D100 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 D100 (0.56x vs 0.53x), 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 Nikon D100, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 20D»optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Nikon D100«optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
 
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
 
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 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 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 D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 20D and the D100 write their files to Compact Flash cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 20D vs Nikon D100

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 Nikon D100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 20D»Y-----1.1---Canon 20D
 
Nikon D100«Y-----1.1---Nikon D100
 
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
 
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« »Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
 
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon XT« »Y-----2.0---Canon XT
 
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 20D (unlike the D100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 20D and the D100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the 20D was followed by the Canon 30D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.


Review summary: Canon 20D vs Nikon D100

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 20D and the Nikon D100? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 20D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (8.2 vs 6MP) with a 17% higher linear resolution.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.53x).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 370) on a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2002).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 20D is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

20D 08:01 D100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D100 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 20D or the D100 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Canon 20D vs Nikon D100

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon 20D»-+ +-o- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
 
Nikon D100«-+ +oo- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Canon 7D II« »+84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
 
Canon 60D« »+79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
 
Canon 7D« »+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 50D« »+ ++ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
 
Canon 40D« »+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D« »+ ++ +oo- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
 
Canon XT« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon XT
 
Canon 10D« »-+ +-o- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« »-+ +-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Nikon D90« »+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Nikon D300« »+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »+ ++ +o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 20D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D100:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 20D vs Nikon D100

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 20D Nikon D100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2004 February 2002
    Launch Price USD 1499 USD 1999
    Sensor Specs Canon 20D Nikon D100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 3008 x 2000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 7.85 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 1.63 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 200-800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 721 ..
    Screen Specs Canon 20D Nikon D100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 118k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 20D Nikon D100
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations50 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 20D Nikon D100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 1.1
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 20D Nikon D100
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack EN-EL3 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 72 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
    144 x 116 x 81 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 770 g (27.2 oz) 780 g (27.5 oz)

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