For several weeks now, whenever someone wrote to me about buying the Canon 20D, I encouraged them to wait and see what the new camera will be like.

Here are the basics from the press release.

* 8.2 Megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor
* 5 fps and 30 large JPEG frame burst
* 2.5”, 230K pixel, 170º wide viewing angle LCD screen
* Picture Style image processing parameters
* Spot metering and High Precision 9-point AF system
* DIGIC II image processor with 0.15 sec start-up time
* Digital Photo Professional RAW processing software
* 100,000 cycle shutter durability and rugged magnesium alloy body
* Simultaneous RAW and JPEG recording
* Wide 100-3200 ISO range
* E-TTL II Flash
* PictBridge compatibility
* Complete compatibility with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites
* USB 2.0 Hi-Speed and Video Out connectivity

Most of the features on this list are already in the Canon 20D so the 30D is basically a “tweaking” of the Canon 20D with essentially the same sensor, file size, and image quality. The 20D already has separate RAW and jpeg recording of the same image, 100-3200 ISO range, and the DIGIC II image processor.

True upgrades in the 30D include the spot metering, larger LCD on the back, and “Picture Styles” (taken from the Canon 5D), and a bigger buffer, and more rugged shutter. This camera could have been called the “20D plus”. A few of the bells and whistles have been improved over the 20D, but once you press the shutter button, the image you get is the same.

If you already have a Canon 20D, I don’t see a really compelling reason to upgrade unless you simply must have spot metering, a bigger LCD on the back, and a bigger buffer. I don’t consider the Picture Styles to be a big improvment. On my Canon 5D, Picture Styles is almost always set to “Faithful” (more here) since some of the other settings can cause image degradation.

If you are thinking of upgrading from the 10D or Digital Rebel, you have a choice, get the 30D at a little less than the 20D used to cost, or save a lot of money and buy a 20D as the prices drop. The 20D and 30D are both tempting upgrades. So which should you get? I would suggest you wait until DP Review has a full review comparing the two cameras, and then make your decision based on features and the price differential. I will let you know when a full review is available.

One bit of really good news about the 30D is for people who want a 20D. If you’ve been wanting to get a 20D and price has been an issue, now is your chance. As the 30D becomes available, the “new” 20D price will drop dramatically and used 20D bodies will drop further in price as a result.

As for me, I have a 20D that I still use on a regular basis (especially with long lenses due to the field of view crop) and I don’t plan on upgrading to the 30D any time soon.

I will post links when the 30D is available for pre-order.

Canon’s official info is here.

UPDATE: DP Review’s full review of the Canon 30D.