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|| News Item: Posted 2000-11-21

D30 Q &A
By John Mabanglo (as told to Brad Mangin)

Photo by John Mabanglo/AFP

Photo by John Mabanglo/AFP
SPORTS SHOOTER: There has been a lot of talk (especially on Internet forums) on the D30's auto-focus performance. How does the D30 Auto-focus?

JOHN MABANGLO: It is slower than the professional film cameras. I think it's on par with my Canon A2. It doesn't track as well as the film camera and I find myself using manual focus. I think the Canon DCS 520 focuses and tracks better than the D30. I found that using the center focus point works best. Very important: turn off the auto power (because the camera will sleep in between pictures) and also turn off the review (the camera appears more responsive with this feature turned off).

S.S.: How is the shutterdelay on the D30?

J.M.: If you are using the rear button for auto-focus, keep the shutter button slightly depressed. By doing this it doesn't have the shutter delay when you press the button to take a picture. However, if you are using the shutter button for auto-focusing it doesn't seem to have the same problem. It doesn't have as long a shutter delay as the DCS 520 when using the method I described above if any at all.

S.S.: Another hot topic concerning the D30 is the number of frames you can shoot in a burst. Just how long a burst can you get with the D30?

J.M.: For sports I use large/fine mode. This mode gives me the largest file with the lowest amount of jpeg compression, which is 2160 x 1440, which gives me about a 1.3 megabyte jpeg which opens up to about 8.9 megs. I tend to get anywhere from 5-8 frames in a burst at this setting, then it starts writing to disc.

Photo by John Mabanglo/AFP

Photo by John Mabanglo/AFP
It seems that my Lexar flash memory is faster than my IBM Microdrives. The DCS 520 gives me more frames in a burst, usually about 12. When using the D30 for sports I find myself being more selective and not motoring every sequence of the action so I have some frames left over to shoot the reaction or celebration after a touchdown or a big play.

S.S.: How is the image quality with the D30?

J.M.: Overall it records color very well. The images appear softer than the DCS 520 but Canon left it up to the user to apply the sharpness in the camera via the camera,s default or in Photoshop with unsharp mask. The D30 files give you a higher resolution than the DCS 520.

S.S.: And your overall conclusion of the D30 is?

J.M.: It's not an ideal camera if it is only going to be used for sports. I've only tried it on basketball and football and I was able to get by. If you are used to firing off your motor with your film camera you can,t compare that experience to the D30- it,s not fair to make that comparison. Historically Canon tests out new features with a "pro-sumer" model before adding features into their professional models. Based on the feedback that photographers are giving to Canon on the D30, I would expect the new Canon pro digital camera to meet the needs of the working pro.

(John Mabanglo is a freelance photographer based in San Francisco. His clients include AFP.)

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