Based on the popular EOS 20D camera and joining it as a companion model in Canon’s product line, the new EOS 20Da digital SLR specifically addresses the needs of astrophotography with features such as a live preview on the LCD monitor and a modified low-pass filter
optimised for photographing the night sky in brilliant detail.
The low-pass filter positioned in front of the EOS 20Da’s 8.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor has been modified to yield sharper and higher contrast images of various astronomical phenomena such as diffuse reddish nebulae. The modification increases the transmission of light at the wavelength of 656nm, known as the Hydrogen Alpha line, or H wavelength, by a factor of 2.5x compared to the standard EOS 20D digital SLR.
“The EOS 20Da digital SLR is a direct result of Canon addressing the specialised needs of the astrophotography market,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. “As an affordable digital alternative to their familiar film bodies, the EOS 20D offered semi-professional and serious amateur photographers digital photographic freedom. Now with the EOS 20Da, we also offer astronomy enthusiasts a new photographic opportunity, by providing an easier and more cost effective way to photograph the heavens.”
While traditional digital SLRs lack a live preview on the LCD monitor due to the reflex mirror and shutter, the EOS 20Da digital SLR resolves this issue by locking up the mirror and opening the shutter to display a magnified live view of the subject on the 1.8” LCD monitor. (This feature is effective for night viewing conditions only. It cannot be used in bright light.) To ensure a sharp focus, the central portion of the image can be magnified on the LCD by 5x (4% of the picture area) or 10x (1% of the picture area). The live view mode can also be viewed through a TV monitor while connected to the EOS 20Da camera’s video OUT terminal.
The EOS 20Da is compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses – the world’s largest selection of interchangeable autofocus lenses – including select image stabilised telephoto lenses. Photographers can also attach the EOS 20Da digital SLR to a telescope through the use of widely available T-mounts.
The EOS 20Da digital SLR features enhanced noise reduction for long exposures; achieved by incorporating an optimised CMOS control system. A custom function is also available for noise reduction, so users can enjoy the wide array of ISO settings ranging from 100-3200.
The EOS 20Da retains the same features that have made the EOS 20D a favourite among discerning photographers, such as Canon’s DIGIC II processor for low noise, high speed operation, and excellent image quality. Other features include an intelligent nine point autofocus system, full manual controls, five frames per second burst mode, and RAW, JPEG, and RAW+JPEG image recording capabilities. To reduce vibration at the start of the exposure, self-timer and mirror lock-up functions are integrated into the camera. The camera also features a backlit LCD display on top for easy setting adjustments in the dark.
EOS 20Da is supplied with Canon EOS Solution Disk 9.1, containing EOS Viewer Utility 1.2, EOS Capture v1.2 and PhotoStitch 3.1. Canon Digital Photo Professional v1.6 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 is included to allow comprehensive image manipulation when needed.
EOS Capture v1.2 is a remote capture and control application for when the camera is tethered to a computer. It provides automated sequential control of the shutter release and download of images to the computer. The EOS 20Da is supplied with the AC adapter kit ACK-E2 as standard to allow the camera to be operated for long periods on AC power.
Digital Photo Professional v1.6 provides high-speed processing of lossless RAW images, and allows real-time display and immediate application of adjustments to images.
The software includes a wide array of RAW, TIFF or JPEG image editing functions, which give control over variables such as white balance, dynamic range, exposure compensation and colour tone. The camera JPEG images can be recorded in sRGB or Adobe RGB colour space and the Digital Photo Professional application supports sRGB, Adobe RGB and Wide Gamut RGB colour spaces. An ICC (International Colour Consortium) profile attaches automatically to RAW images converted to TIFF or JPEG images. This allows faithful reproduction of colours in software applications that support ICC profiles, such as Adobe Photoshop. Image processing of various parameter changes can now be batched rather than carried out sequentially, vastly increasing the efficiency when applying a number of changes to the same images.
The EOS 20Da includes membership of Canon’s online photo album, CANON iMAGE GATEWAY with 100MB of space for image uploads and photo sharing.
To support the needs of astrophotography, Canon provides a full line of EOS system accessories compatible with the EOS 20Da digital SLR. For control over shutter release timing and to reduce vibration, Canon offers remote control solutions such as the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3, and Remote Switch RS-80N3. When the camera is attached to a telescope, low angles can make composing shots through the viewfinder difficult – Canon’s Angle Finder C attaches to the camera’s eyepiece allowing adjustment of the viewing angle while providing a 2.5x magnification. To increase battery life for even longer exposures, the optional Battery Grip BG-E2 uses two powerful Lithium-Ion battery packs. It can also be used with six AA batteries in the supplied
BM-E2 battery magazine.