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Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

The Canon EOS 20D and the Nikon Df are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2004 and November 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (20D) and a full frame (Df) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 20D   Nikon Df
Canon 20D Nikon Df
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-12800 (50-204800)
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 5.5 shutter flaps per second
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
700 shots per battery charge1400 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 72 mm, 770 g 144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g

Body comparison: Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 20D and the Nikon Df. 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.

Compare Canon 20D and Nikon Df
Compare 20D versus Df top
Compare 20D or Df rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Canon 20D. However, the Df is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the 20D. It is noteworthy in this context that the Df 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 (Df).

Concerning battery life, the 20D gets 700 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the Df can take 1400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

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» 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Nikon Df« 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Canon 7D II« » 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 7D« » 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 50D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon 40D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 350D« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
Canon 10D« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Canon 300D« » 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Nikon D4S« » 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D750« » 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
Nikon D810« » 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D610« » 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D4« » 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D200« » 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 45 percent) than the Df, 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 Nikon Df

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 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 Df a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Df is 154 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon 20D and Nikon Df sensor measures

With 16.2MP, the Df offers a higher resolution than the 20D (8.2MP), but the Df nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 6.42μm for the 20D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Df is a much more recent model (by 9 years and 2 months) than the 20D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

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 Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800..

20D versus Df MP

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 Df offers substantially better image quality than the 20D (overall score 27 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 2.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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
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 Df« Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
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 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Canon 300D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon 300D
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
Nikon D750« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693Nikon D750
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
The Df offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 20D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 20D and the Df 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 20D, the Nikon Df, 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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 20D»optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
Nikon Df«optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n Nikon Df
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
Canon 350D« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Canon 300D« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
Nikon D750« »optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D750
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 20D has one, while the Df 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.

The 20D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

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 Df 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 Df«Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
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 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
Canon 300D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 300D
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
Nikon D750« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Nikon D750
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

The Df is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the 20D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 20D was succeeded by the Canon 30D.


Review summary: Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 20D or the Nikon Df – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 20D:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2004).

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Df:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (27 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1400 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).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 2 months of technical progress since the 20D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Df is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 4 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.

20D 04:11 Df

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 20D or the Df. 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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»-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D
Nikon Df«-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon 40D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 350D« »80/100HiRecrevrev- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Canon 300D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D750« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 20D:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon Df:
Check Amazon price

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 20D vs Nikon Df

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 20D Nikon Df
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2004 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 1499 USD 2749
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 36.0 x 15.0 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 2 EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.0 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 721 3279
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing n/a Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BP-511A power pack EN-EL14 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)700 shots per charge1400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 72 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
    144 x 110 x 67 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 770 g (27.2 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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