Canon 20D vs Nikon D1H
The Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D1H are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2004 and February 2001. 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 2.6 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D1H? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D1H is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures 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 Nikon D1H is considerably larger (57 percent) than the Canon 20D. Moreover, the D1H is substantially heavier (43 percent) than the 20D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1H is splash and dust-proof, while the 20D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 (D1H).
Concerning battery life, the 20D gets 700 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the D1H can take 1200 images on a single charge of its EN-4 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D1H has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the 20D, Canon provides the BG-E2N vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on ebay).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D1H||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 300D||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D2X||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D2H||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1070 g||2900||Y||Jul 2003||3,499||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D1||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 20D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 67 percent) than the D1H, 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.
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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 D1H 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 20D offers a higher resolution of 8.2 megapixels, compared with 2.6 MP of the Nikon D1H. 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 11.93μm for the D1H). However, it should be noted that the 20D is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 months) than the D1H, 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 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1H are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 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 D1H are ISO 200 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.
In terms of underlying technology, the 20D is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D1H uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|3.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the D1H 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 viewfinder in the D1H offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the 20D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 20D has a higher magnification (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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 20D and Nikon D1H in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D1H||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 300D||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D2X||optical||Y||2.5 / 235||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Nikon D2H||optical||Y||2.5 / 211||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Nikon D1||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||1.5/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 20D has one, while the D1H does not. While the built-in flash of the 20D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 20D and the D1H write their files to Compact Flash cards.
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 D1H and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D1H||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 300D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D2X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D2H||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the 20D and the D1H have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D1H was replaced by the Nikon D2H, 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 20D better than the Nikon D1H or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 20D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (8.2 vs 2.6MP) with a 76% higher linear resolution.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.53x).
- More compact: Is smaller (144x106mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 330g or 30 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (67 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D1H launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1H:
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 700) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2001).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Nikon D1H 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 20D or the D1H. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon D1H||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||4,499||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 300D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D2X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||4,999||ebay.com|
|15.||Nikon D2H||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jul 2003||3,499||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D1||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jun 1999||5,499||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 20D vs Nikon D1H
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||Nikon D1H|
|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 2001|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 4,499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D1H|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||2.6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||2000 x 1312 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||11.93 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||0.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||200 - 3,200 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 D1H|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||2.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||120k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D1H|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D1H|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||Firewire|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D1H|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||1200 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||770 g (27.2 oz)||1100 g (38.8 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.