Canon 20D vs Nikon D610
The Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D610 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2004 and October 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (20D) and a full frame (D610) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 20D||Nikon D610|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||24.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)||ISO 100-6,400 (50 - 25,600)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|1.8 LCD, 118k dots||3.2 LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||6 shutter flaps per second|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|700 shots per battery charge||900 shots per battery charge|
|144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g||141 x 113 x 82 mm, 850 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon D610? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D610. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 D610 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon 20D. Moreover, the D610 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the 20D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D610 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (20D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D610).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 20D||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Nikon D610||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Canon 7D II||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon 6D||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon 60D||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|Canon 7D||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|Canon 50D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon 40D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Canon 30D||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Canon XT||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|Canon 10D||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|Canon Rebel||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D750||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D810||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon Df||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D600||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D200||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the D610, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 20D features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D610 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D610 is 155 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24.2MP, the D610 offers a higher resolution than the 20D (8.2MP), but the D610 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 6.42μm for the 20D). Yet, the D610 is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 1 month) than the 20D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D610 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D610 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 20D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches 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 Nikon D610 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D610 offers substantially better image quality than the 20D (overall score 32 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.2 bits higher color depth, 3.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D610 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 20D does not. The highest resolution format that the D610 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 20D and the D610 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 D610 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 20D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D610 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.56x), 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 D610, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
The Nikon D610 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 20D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D610 uses SDXC cards. The D610 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 20D only has one slot.
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 D610 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
The D610 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the 20D has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 20D was succeeded 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 20D or the Nikon D610 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 20D:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2004).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D610:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.2 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 72%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (32 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.56x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 118k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (900 versus 700) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 1 month of technical progress since the 20D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D610 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 3 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. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 20D and the Nikon D610 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 20D and the D610 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.
|Canon 20D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Canon 7D II||+||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon 6D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon 60D||+||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|Canon 7D||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|Canon 50D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon 40D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Canon 30D||+ +||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Canon XT||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Canon 10D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|Canon Rebel||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Nikon D750||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D810||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon Df||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Nikon D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D200||+ +||+ +||o||5/5||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 20D vs Fujifilm X-T30
- Canon 20D vs Leica M Typ 262
- Canon 20D vs Nikon D5300
- Canon 20D vs Sony A6600
- Canon 20D vs Sony A7R
- Canon 700D vs Nikon D610
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Nikon D610
- Nikon D2X vs Nikon D610
- Nikon D4S vs Nikon D610
- Nikon D610 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon D610 vs Panasonic GF7
- Nikon D610 vs Ricoh GR III
Specifications: Canon 20D vs Nikon D610
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 D610|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2004||October 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 1,499||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D610|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||24.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||6016 x 4016 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.42 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 2||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||94|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.9||25.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.0||14.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||721||2925|
|Screen Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D610|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D610|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D610|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 20D||Nikon D610|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||900 shots per charge|
144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
141 x 113 x 82 mm
(5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||770 g (27.2 oz)||850 g (30.0 oz)|
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