updated 05:35 am EDT, Mon August 20, 2007
Canon's new EOS 40D dSLR
Following the leak earlier this month, Canon on Monday officially took the wraps of the much-anticipated EOS 40D Digital SLR Camera with many of the features from its higher-end EOS-1D Mark III dSLR as well as a unique Wi-Fi transmitter/remote. Canon also announced a new entry-level, image-stabilized EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. Due in stores in early September, the "prosumer" EOS 40D offers a 10.1-megapixel CMOS imaging sensor and the DIGIC III image processor as well as a "completely redesigned" autofocus sensor, a larger 3-inch LCD screen, support for sRAW, a redesigned AF sensor, and fast, 6.5 frame-per-second (fps) continuous shooting capability (for bursts of up to 75 Large/Fine JPEGs or 17 RAW images).
Canon attributes the speed of the EOS 40D SLR comes from its DIGIC III processor, DDR SDRAM high-speed memory, four-channel-per-line sensor readout, and two separate motors for shutter and mirror operation. The Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR is scheduled for early September delivery and will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated selling price of $1,300. It will additionally be offered in a kit version with Canon's EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens at an estimated selling price of $1,500.
The larger 3-inch a screen is a boost from the EOS 30D's 2.5-inch screen, offering a higher brightness, a broadened the color gamut, and a narrowed viewing angle (down from 170 degrees to 140 degrees). The screen can also used in "Live View" mode to frame and capture subjects, while a new Custom Function allows autofocus during Live View by pressing the camera's AF-ON button and magnification options can zoom the image by five or ten times. Canon also said that the Live View shooting mode helps to reduce vibration by lifting the reflex mirror out of the optical path well in advance of the exposure, improving image quality at slow shutter speeds. Live View mode also reduces release time lag and operational noise by leveraging a new electronic 1st-curtain shutter function.
The "significantly improved" 10.1-megapixel CMOS APS-C size image sensor, according to the company, utilizes larger microlenses over each pixel to reduce noise and expand sensitivity up to ISO 3200. It also offers 14-bit Analog-to-Digital (A/D) conversion process to recognize 16,384 colors per channel--four times the number of colors recognized by the EOS 30D SLR's 12-bit conversion. The EOS 40D also incorporates the optional Highlight Tone Priority and High-ISO Noise Reduction functions first introduced earlier this year with the EOS-1D Mark III Professional Digital SLR.
Canon said that the redesigned nine-point AF sensor provides cross-type AF measurement at all nine focusing points for maximum apertures up to f/5.6, and for the first time in any EOS camera, the central AF point offers enhanced precision for both vertical and horizontal subject contrast when using EF or EF-S lenses featuring maximum apertures of f/2.8 or faster. The company said that AF calculation speed with the EOS 40D camera is 30 percent faster than the EOS 30D model.
The EOS 40D also features an upgraded viewfinder that increases optical magnification from 0.90x to 0.95x, expands the viewing angle from 251 degrees to 264 degrees; it also raises the eye point from 20mm to 22mm. In addition, the EOS 40D delivers upgraded dust and weather resistant construction--particularly around the camera's connection ports, battery compartment and single-slot compact flash memory card door, the company said.
The Canon EOS 40D camera offers ISO speeds from ISO 100 to ISO 1600 in 1/3-stop increments as well as a high-speed setting of ISO 3200. The 40D model also adds a new Auto ISO capability in Creative Zone exposure modes, which adjusts the ISO speed to the optimal setting based on low light or shaky shooting conditions. Additionally, the EOS 40D provides full-time display of the active ISO speed setting, both in the viewfinder as well as on the top LCD data panel.
The EOS 40D SLR retains many of the features of the EOS 30D model, including its fast 0.15-second initial start-up, its durable shutter (rated up to 100,000 cycles), its top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec and 1/250 maximum X-sync flash shutter speed setting. It also retains the model 30D camera's 1.6x focal length conversion factor (compared to full-frame digital image sensors or 35mm film) and is compatible with the full line of Canon EF lenses as well as its affordable EF-S lenses created specifically for Canon Digital SLRs with APS-C size image sensors.
The camera supports Canon's Picture Style Editor (PSE) 1.0 software, which allows photographers to input their own preferred style, color and tone curves; it also ships with Photo Professional 3.1 and EOS Utility 2.1, which now support the camera's Remote Live View and Dust Delete Data functions, as well as incorporating a broad range of additional improvements designed to improve image quality and speed up workflow. ZoomBrowser EX 5.8 and ImageBrowser 5.8, also bundled, offer browsing, viewing, printing and archiving for Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows XP, as well as Mac OS X systems.
New Grip, Wi-Fi Transmitter
Canon also announced new accessories for the EOS 40D SLR: the redesigned high-capacity Battery Grip BG-E2N facilitates high-volume shooting and easier vertical shooting and is compatible with up to two BP-511A battery packs or a set of six AA-size batteries--to double the number of shots that can be taken. The updated grip is also compatible with the EOS 20D and 30D models.
Designed exclusively for the EOS 40D SLR, the new Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E3A (yet to be approved by the FCC) permits wireless transfer and back-up, as well as remote control of the camera in Live View mode. It can also be connected to various GPS receivers or Hi-Speed USB 2.0 external storage devices such as flash drives or high-capacity hard drives with much larger storage capacity than the memory cards in the camera for instant back-up as images are captured. Compact and affordable, the WFT-E3A wireless transmitter also doubles as a vertical grip and requires its own BP-511A battery pack in addition to the battery installed in the camera body.
New Canon Lenses
Canon also announced a new entry-level optically image-stabilized lens in response to consumer demand: the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS standard zoom lens delivers the same wide-angle to mid-range zoom flexibility of its non-IS predecessor, while adding true lens-shift image stabilization system for up to a full four stops of image-shake correction.
The higher performance provided by Canon's lens shift IS system includes the ability to optimize the lens performance for specific shooting situations such as low-light, long-zoom or movement while shooting (or virtually any combination of the three). The image stabilization effect is available to photographers from within the viewfinder for more steady, more accurate framing and composition.
The optional EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens is compatible with the EOS 40D SLR and any other EOS SLR that takes EF-S lenses including the EOS 30D, EOS 20D, EOS 20Da, EOS Digital Rebel XTi, EOS Digital Rebel XT and the original EOS Digital Rebel camera. The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens is scheduled to be in stores in October for $200.