In the lead-up to the huge Photokina 2008 trade show, there were a number of big new camera announcements—more megapixels and better image quality, and in the spirit of convergence, HD video makes the leap to still cameras!
Canon EOS 50D
9-Point AF System. The AF system is the same as the EOS 40D’s, with all nine AF points working as cross-types with lenses of ƒ/5.6 or faster. A unique diagonally oriented central sensor provides enhanced precision with lenses of ƒ/2.8 or faster. Brought over from the pro EOS-1D Mark III is an AF Microadjustment feature that allows you to fine-tune focus for individual lenses.
Quick Shooting. The EOS 50D records those files from the 15.1-megapixel sensor at up to 6.3 per second, in bursts of up to 90 Large/Fine JPEGs using a UDMA CF card (up to 60 JPEGs with a standard CF card) or up to 16 RAW images.
New 15.1-Megapixel CMOS Sensor. Canon has been producing its own CMOS image sensors since before the EOS 10D, and the one in the EOS 50D features 15.1 megapixels—that’s 50% more pixels than the EOS 40D’s sensor on a chip that’s just 1.1% larger. Improved technology, including gapless microlenses over each pixel and advanced noise reduction, allows for ISO settings to 12800, two stops more than the EOS 40D’s top rating of ISO 3200.
Two sRAW Formats. Along with full-resolution RAW (4752x3168 pixels) and three JPEG sizes (each at two compression levels), the EOS 50D lets you shoot in sRAW 1 and sRAW 2 formats. The reduced-resolution RAW formats (3267x2178 and 2376x1584 pixels, respectively) are handy when you don’t need 15-megapixel resolution and want the benefits of RAW files. You also can shoot any of the RAW formats plus Large/Fine JPEGs simultaneously.
EOS Integrated Cleaning System. The EOS 50D incorporates Canon’s Self-Cleaning Sensor unit, which uses ultrasonic vibrations to remove dust from the low-pass filter in front of the image sensor each time you switch the camera on or off; it can be activated manually when desired. The EOS 50D also employs a new fluorine coating on the low-pass filter to minimize dust adhesion. You can have the camera map any remaining sensor dust and append it as Dust Delete Data to each image from that point on, then remove the spots automatically during postprocessing with the provided Digital Photo Professional software.
Live View. The EOS 50D’s 3-inch Clear View LCD has 920,000 dots and provides three AF Live-View modes, as well as manual focusing. In Quick Mode AF, the camera’s standard quick phase-detection AF is used, great for action and low-light shots. In Live Mode AF, compact-camera-style contrast-detection AF is used, ideal for tripod-mounted work. In Face Detection Live View AF, the camera can detect up to 35 faces in a scene and adjust focus to get them as sharp as possible. There are now two Live-View grid displays. With the optional WFT-E3A wireless file transmitter, you can view the image on a computer monitor and operate the camera remotely in Live-View mode. You now can activate Live View merely by pressing the Print Share button on the camera back.
DIGIC 4 Image Processor. Canon’s new DIGIC 4 image processor makes for speedy operation, along with finer image detail and more natural colors than the highly regarded DIGIC III predecessor. Like the EOS 40D, the EOS 50D provides 14-bit A/D conversion, which can recognize 16,384 colors or brightness steps, four times as many as 12-bit conversion.
Specifications Image Sensor: 15.1-megapixel (effective) CMOS Resolution: 4752x3168 pixels Sensor Size: 22.3x14.9mm (APS-C), 1.6x AF System: 9-point (all cross-types) Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄250 sec. ISO Settings: 100-3200, also 6400 and 12800 Continuous Firing Mode: 6.3 fps (high-speed), 3 fps (low-speed) Recording Format: JPEG, RAW, sRAW 1 (small RAW), sRAW 2 Metering: 35-zone evaluative, 9% partial, 3.8% spot, CW Storage Media: CompactFlash (CF I and II) Dimensions: 5.7x4.2x2.9 inches Weight: 25.7 ounces Power Source: Rechargeable BP-511A lithium-ion battery Estimated Street Price: $1,399 Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com
Beginning with the EOS 10D in spring 2003, Canon has introduced a new mid-range D-SLR model every 18 months—the EOS 20D (a major upgrade of the 10D) in fall 2004, the EOS 30D (a lesser upgrade) in spring 2006 and the EOS 40D (another major upgrade) last fall. So, it was a bit of a surprise to see, just a year later, the EOS 50D, a major upgrade of the 40D, with 50% more resolution, a new image processor, ISOs to 12800, a fourfold increase in LCD monitor pixel count and much more. The EOS 40D will remain in Canon’s lineup.