Saluting General Specific (Canon 20Da)

So, I find this camera fascinating. Not for it’s specific features, but more for what it represents and means. Here is a camera, based on a popular DSLR, that just by tweaking a few things could target the fairly specific needs of an not-very-large target market. Now, if you read the reviews of the camera on the general photography sites, you might not understand how neat this camera is. But if you know someone who does astrophotography as a hobby (like my father), you would know different.

The review here can be helpful in understanding part of why this camera is so interesting. With the capability of taking images nearly as good as sensors costing 4 times as much, it’s quite a bargin. But that’s only the beginning. Because, you see, with those other sensors, you have to have a tethered laptop with you. Not only that, the images are stored in a proprietary file format that has some, well, annoying software that you have to use. I actually tried to help my father with some processing one evening and was tearing my hair out by the end of it. (Though, if you’re lucky, you can get the files into FITS format, in which case the FITS Liberator is your friend). Now, if you are picky enough to know that you just don’t want to deal with Bayer filter geometrical artifacts, those more expensive solutions are probably still for you. But for most, it is a hobby, and like most hobbies, you never get to spend enough time at it, and anything like the 20Da that saves you that much time and lets you have more fun is worth it.

What is interesting to me is that a large company such as Canon would not only stumble into having a general camera such as the 20D that had some nice properties for this hobby, but they would actually listen to their customers and add the now incremental improvements to create the market specific 20Da – and then listen a second time and make the camera available worldwide after a Japan-only initial release.

I think that’s kinda cool.