A Revolutionary Two Megapixel Camera

Canon EOS D2000 with a 85mm lens 1/50sec at f1.8 with ISO at 400

A little story about a camera that had a huge impact for photojournalists on daily assignments.

Ran across the above photo recently – an old one of mine from my shooting days at the San Francisco Chronicle. The year was 2001 and my assignment was a new jellyfish display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. When I looked at the metadata attached to the image, it brought back memories of a really great camera. The Canon EOS D2000, a 2 megapixel DSLR that changed the way we got our photos published.

As shooters for the Chronicle, we always had deadlines to meet. Deadlines to get our images back to the paper. Prior to this revolutionary DSLR, we were shooting film. Shooting film on deadline always meant an hour or more of work getting the film processed and the images edited, captioned and sent. Sometimes it meant packing a portable darkroom or if we were lucky, finding a nearby camera store where we would beg to get our film processed right away. It always added to the pressure of making deadline. So when a digital camera came along that allowed us to capture an image, see it immediately, and send it within minutes rather than hours, it was a godsend. It meant we could now spend more time shooting and less time processing our film.

From 1999 thru 2001, the shooters at the Chronicle were using the Canon EOS D2000. Although it was not our first DSLR, it was the first one given to each staff photographer. No more sharing the only digital camera at the paper. And each staff photographer was given 2 D2000s despite the camera body costing over $15,000. each. Imagine having $30,000. on your shoulders! The cameras served us well, allowing us to shoot, edit and send daily photos quickly when on deadline. I shot a few Super Bowls, and even the Olympics with this camera and was thankful I had it.

The D2000  was developed by Kodak on a Canon EOS-1N body. It was released in March 1998 and featured a APS-C sized CCD sensor that shot 3.5 frames per second. It had an ISO rating of 200-1600 although I remember trying my best never to use 1600 because it looked so awful. The camera recorded to a PCMCIA card, about twice the size and thickness of a compact flash card. I remember we had to be very careful with them as they actually were miniature hard drives with moving parts in them. You never wanted to drop one!

Canon’s first home-grown professional DSLR, the Canon EOS-1D, was launched in 2001 and we soon started shooting with them, happy to have the additional megapixels…all 4.48 of them!

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2 thoughts on “A Revolutionary Two Megapixel Camera

  1. Cool story. Like all things electronic, the quality gets better and the price goes down. Makes me wonder what things will be like in another 10 years!

    I seem to remember that you always shot jpegs when on assignment. Did this cause any special concerns when you were shooting?

    • Thanks Paul.

      Yes, at the Chronicle we always shot in jpeg rather than raw. Two reasons for it – speed for us shooters on deadline and for the Chronicle – less hard drive space. When shooting in jpeg mode, you just need to be more careful with exposure and white balance. Both of course can be corrected in post but not to the extent that you can with raw.

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