A first look at the details of the new Canon EOS 50D.
A little more information has leaked out from the (now removed) Canon China pages on the EOS 50D. The EOS 50D is an APS-C format (1.6x "digital multiplier") camera with a 15MP CMOS sensor. You can view the EOS 50D as an upgraded EOS 40D. It is not (as some have suggested) the long awaited full frame upgrade of the Canon EOS 5D. That's coming, but it's not the EOS 50D!
First, here are a couple of shots of the new Canon EOS 50D. Here's the view from the front:
And now here's the view from the back:
If you think it looks very similar indeed to the EOS 40D, you'd be right. The control placement and LCD size seem to be pretty much identical. There is a new symbol next to the "direct print" button at the upper left corner of the rear view, but I'm not yet sure what that indicates. Presumably the botton has a dual function. In a small image of the "top deck" of the Canon EOS 50D (as shown on the left) you can see that the mode control dial now has a shiny metalic top to it, and this is confirmed in the text. I doubt this is a feature which will excite too many people! The hotshoe appears to be following the current trend for Canon in that it's unpainted (like the 40D), so the paint doesn't scratch off after use.
In another small shot reproduced here on the left you can clearly the Canon EOS 50D with an EF-S 18-200/3.5-5.6 IS lens mounted on it. This lens was reported to be in development a few months ago and it looks like that rumor was correct. I would not be surprised to see the EF-S 18-200 offered as a kit lens with the Canon EOS 50D. I also suspect that there may be a kit with the EF-S 17-85, just as there is/was with the EOS 40D. Note that the 18-200 is an EF-S lens, which will only mount on APS-C sensor cameras such as the EOS 20D/30D/40D/50D and the Digital Rebels. It has the same angle of view coverage as a 29-320mm lens would have on a full frame DSLR like the EOS 5D.
Here are a few more excerpts from the Chinese Web Page, along with machine translations of the original Chinese text. Though you can get the overall sense of what is being said, machine translation clearly has some way to go!
Here's something about the AF sensors and operation:
The center AF sensor is clearly a cross sensor with a high precision mode when used with lenses of f2.8 and faster. This is pretty standard now. The high precision sensors should get AF within 1/3 of the depth of field. Standard precision sensors should get AF within the depth of field - but both are often even more accurate than that.
There will be 9 AF zones in the same diamond pattern as found in the EOS 40D. In other parts of the test it seems to suggest that all 9 zones are cross sensors, though in the text above there appears to be a suggestion that at f5.6 they may have a high sensitivity vertical mode. It's not entirely clear what is meant.
Pretty much as might be expected, the shutter is a 100,000 cycle unit with a top speed of 1/8000s and a flash sync speed of 1/250s.
The viewfinder layout of the Canon EOS 50D is similar to that of the 40D, with the same pattern of AF zones. the same 0.95x magnification and the same ~95% coverage. The eye-point (eye relief) is 22mm. It looks like an icon has been added to show when the "Highlight Tone Priority" mode has been selected, and that mode will operate between ISO 200 and ISO 3200. On the EOS 40D, Highlight Tone Priority can operate between ISO 200 and ISO 1600 and the viewfinder indiction is given by changing the "0" digits of the ISO display to "o", so that ISO 800 is normal and ISO 8oo indicates that HTP is selected.
This one is a bit trickier to understand, but it appears that there is an automatic brightness and contrast control option (with 4 strength levels), which can be tied in with the face recognition function to get better automatic exposure for faces in group shots.
There have been some translations of the camera specifications which have suggested that there is in-camera image stabilization. I think the root of this is that the Chinese pages talk about the image being stabilized in the camera VIEWFINDER, i.e. the image "being stabilized in the body". It looks like Canon might be trying to emphasize this to contrast with the in-body stabilization of Sony/Pentax/Olympus, which stabilizes the image by moving the sensor, but does NOT stabilize the reflex viewfinder image. So "in-body" stabilization would better be translated as "in viewfinder stabilization via image stabilized lenses". It would be nice if Canon offered in-body stabilization so we could have a stabilized system with fast primes, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon. Canon have too much invested in stabilized lenses.
So that's it for now. For a more extended discussion of the new features of the Canon EOS 50D and a complete specification list, please see the earlier Canon EOS 50D Preview article. As more information becomes available, I'll update these pages. I expect a full press release from Canon will be coming soon (probably on August 26th), which should clear up a few points which are confusing in the Chinese version. It might also reveal the expected street price and when the camera will be available. I'm guessing availability in mid to late September and a street price of maybe $1300, but those are both just guesses at this point.