Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Canon 50D DSLR reaches for the moon, grabs Comet D300

The rumors were completely founded, the 50D was on the fast-track, from rumor-leak to actual announcement. And without further ado, dive right in, a trio of d-preview previewers have posted a 12-page Canon 50D preview at d-preview!

This new mid-range DSLR (press release at Imaging Insider) will cost $1600 $1400 body only and $1600 bundled with the EF 28-135 lens. No pre-orders yet, but Amazon has a notification list. This does not guarantee a place in line, it simply emails you when they have a product update.

The estimated delivery is October, but DSLR fans like to be pleasantly surprised with earlier releases. After all, the 40D is still alive and kicking and under $1000.

Meet the Canon 50D
Canon did not want to be left behind in the post-apocalyptic megapixel world, so they have jumped from 12mp to 15mp. Jumped over the 14mp Sony A350 and Pentaxung K20d and GX20! But perhaps what Canon really wanted to scream is "Take that Nikon D300, D700 and D3. We got megapixelz than YOU 12mp foolz!".

The memory card manufacturers are for sure applauding the move, because a 25% increase in megapixels means you can now take fewer pictures with your current memory cards. More memory cards please (or more judicious use of the shutter click?)

Notable specs include 6.3fps machine-gun mode, and if you do the math, 15mp at 6.3 fps, that's almost 100mp/s throughput. The buffer is deep, assuming you have a fast UDMA CompactFlash card, up to 16 RAW and 90 large-fine JPEGs.

But Canon also shows a gentler softer side. Understanding that the new gigantic RAW files are not necessary for every photographic situation, they offer two smaller RAW formats. The two sRAW formats, aptly named sRAW1 and sRAW2 are at 7 and 3.8 megapixels respectively.

Autofocusing loves its nine (9) cross-type sensors, but at f2.8 or better, you have more options! And the micro-adjustment AF feature of the 1D-series finds its way here, in typical trickle-down cameranomics.

The ISO jumps to the moon - ISO 6400/12800 max. Meanwhile the "14-bit A/D" will give it some "spec cred" over "some" competitors.

In the acronyms segment, DiGiC 4 promises improvements and new miracles and wonders, while "ALO" is not a new cameraphone, but "Auto Lighting Optimizer". The dumb-intelligent mode gets a new skin, it's called "CA" for "Creative Full Auto". What happened to the "F"? :) No need to bother with shutter speeds and apertures, just "brighten the image" and "blur the background".

Those who wanted an improved LCD over the 40D will be thrilled to notice a 3" LCD with 920,000 dots (not pixels). Canon promises an improved Live View mode with a 35-face forward-looking face detection mode. What? No "head buried in hands" face detection mode? And I'm paying $1400 for this? :) Canon offers the traditional mirror-flip phase detection AF but also the sensor-based contrast detection. And they also "discover" grid lines in Live View, joining "Hello Kitty" and thousand other digicams/webcams in noticing the usefulness of this ;-)

Coverage on the Net
Canon-priority website The Digital Picture has assembled a collection of official Canon press releases and website links from around the world.

More details at DC Resource and Imaging Resource.

A brief spec comparison at the CNet Crave blog and a detailed analysis of the specs at Pop Photo.

The Canon UK press release at dpnow now. Yes, you can read it now at dp-now now! Now, now, no now-now jokes!

Beyond Photo Tips highlights what might be of interest to the advanced amateurs out there.

There's dozens and dozens of other websites and blogs covering the 50D announcement, but we can't post them all here.

Initial Reactions
Coming later today in a separate post.

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