Canon has announced the 50D, the successor of 40D, middle level DSLR, after some days when some news had leaked.
The body is practically the same of 40D (maybe some better sealing ribbons) but the features inside and the new LCD are interesting.

Here are the main updates and new additions:

  • new LCD with 3 inch diagonal but most of all 920K pixels (a little VGA monitor...), here Canon wanted to catch-up to better resolution from high level Nikon cameras (D300, D3 and D700 had already this type of LCD), the just announced Nikon D90 exhibits also 920K pixels;
  • 15.1 megapixels CMOS sensor. Again the megapixels race continues (unfortunately, in my opinion, since quality is not in megapixels). Canon states the new sensor has almost eliminated gaps between photodiodes microlenses so that light reaching the pixel is higher and thus noise is not increasing with the new number of megapixels (smaller pixels typically means more noise and also less dynamic range). Canon guys say that we can expect up to 1-1.5 stops less noise with respect to 40D, especially at high sensitivities. Very interesting, and to be tested (we''re waiting to see the famous in depth DPreview of this camera).
  • AF calibration: a very welcome addition for this range of cameras - you can micro-adjust focus of your lenses compensating for back or front focus (without giving the lens to Canon service).
  • forth version of the image processor: DIGIC IV (14 bit processing), said to be faster (more pixels to process) and with some more options: 2 RAW reduced-resolution formats (sRAW 7 megapixels and sRAW2 3.7 megapixels), more advanced exposure/brightness/shadow correction ("Auto Lighting Optimizer" with Canon''s name, similar/equivalent function is called "D-Lighting" by Nikon) and the new vignetting correction - note: on RAW files the correction is not done but data are written in the file so that Canon software DPP will do the correction (that means that you cannot use this function with thirdy party RAW developers like Photoshop/Lightroom). The DIGIC IV brings also the new menu system. Clean and nice looking.
  • face detection (priority to focus on faces) and contrast detect focus (slower but more precise than phase detection) in Live View. Now the Direct print button (the most unuseful button in my opinion on a mid level DSLR) can also activate Live View (a more useful task).
  • ISO range from 100 to 3200 (with expansion to 6400 and 12800 - Nikon has surprised all last year with extremely high ISO values in new full frame camera so Canon had to do something here...).
  • Burst rate of 6.3 frame per second. Same value of 40D but with more pixels, so a good figure.
  • HDMI connector to output images to HDTV;
  • support for UDMA (new fast) compact flash cards.

The camera will be sold with new versions of Canon softwares. Just an interesting point to mention: the AF point display function that was available only in ZoomBrowser will be available also in DPP (finally, since ZoomBrowser is not likely to be used for professional image processing).
The new 50D is expected to be available from October 2008 at a starting price of $ 1300-1400 in the US (body only).

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