|A high-end, top-quality digital AF SLR camera featuring a 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 4 processor, and Live View shooting|
|Our September technical report introduces the new EOS 50D, which went on sale on August 26.|
|Photo 1: EOS 50D (with the EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens attached)|
· Creative Auto mode and Quick Control screen· Automatic image correction
· Auto Lighting Optimizer
· Auto correction of lens peripheral illumination
· New features that increase shooting and creative possibilities
· Better Live View shooting functionality
· Full HDTV support, HDMI output
· Retain the superior functions of the EOS 40D
Below we present a general survey of the EOS 50D, concentrating on the advances and improvements from the EOS 40D.
Advances in image quality, resolution, and digital functions
(1)Canon-developed 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor
The EOS 50D is equipped with a large CMOS sensor (Photo 2) developed in-house that has an effective sensor size of 22.3 x 14.9 millimeters and boasts 15.10 effective megapixels (15.50 total megapixels). We were able to build more pixels into the sensor without reducing the size of individual pixels by using a new photodiode construction, a new microfabrication process, and gapless microlenses. As a result, the sensor has a wide ISO range of 100 to 3200 (which extends to 6400 in H1 mode and 12,800 in H2 mode) with extremely low noise characteristics. The additions of an RGB color filter, a three-layer, high-performance low-pass filter with infrared blocking, and the newly developed high-speed, high-performance DIGIC 4 image processor give the EOS 50D remarkable image definition, picture quality, and natural color reproduction with rich tonality.
Not only does the DIGIC 4 handle the processing of the 15.10-megapixel images from the sensor at blindingly fast speeds, it also powers a variety of auto imaging processes and high-speed continuous shooting and is essential to the Live View face detection AF and the greater exposure control functionality.
|Photo 2: Large, 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor|
|Photo 3: Circuit board on which the DIGIC 4 is mounted|
(2)Auto Lighting Optimizer function
The EOS 50D's Auto Lighting Optimizer function automatically corrects brightness and contrast when the EOS 50D detects that a face in a photograph is too dark or that the overall contrast is low. On the EOS 40D, a similar function operated only in Full Auto mode (no face detection), but in the EOS 50D the Auto Lighting Optimizer function operates in all Basic Zone modes (with face detection) .
A custom function allows the user to set this function to Standard, Low, Strong, or Disable when using one of the Creative Zone modes.
(3)Lens peripheral illumination correction
Lens peripheral illumination correction is a function on the EOS 50D that automatically corrects captured JPEG images for lens vignetting. This function was first implemented in Version 3.2 of Digital Photo Professional (DPP), a standard EOS accessory software package.
· Registering correction data
The EOS 50D can hold lens peripheral illumination correction data for up to 40 lenses (the camera is shipped with data for 26 lenses, including the kit lens). EOS Utility, a bundled communications software utility, is used to add and delete correction data.
· Setting the peripheral illumination correction
Users can check whether is correction data for the current lens is registered and can enable or disable correction from the peripheral illumination correction menu (Figure 1).
|Figure 1: Peripheral illumination correction|
· Applying peripheral illumination correction
The EOS 50D will apply peripheral illumination correction immediately after each shot when correction data for the attached lens is present and the function has been enabled. The degree of correction is less pronounced than the similar function in DPP. This function only works with JPEG images, but correction can be applied to RAW images under the shooting settings in DPP.
(4)Faster noise reduction function
The continuous shooting performance dropped dramatically on the EOS 40D when High ISO speed noise reduction was enabled. On the EOS 50D, this function has been divided into four settings - Standard, Low, Strong, and Disable. The maximum burst during continuous shooting is not affected when High ISO speed noise reduction is set to Standard or Low. This improvement is the result of the DIGIC 4's faster image processing. The length of the continuous shooting burst will decline slightly when the Strong setting is used.
(5)Three-inch Clear View LCD monitor
The EOS 50D has a three-inch LCD monitor (Photo 4) with a wide viewing angle and high definition from 920,000 pixels, which is four times the resolution of the EOS 40D's monitor. The surface is coated with an anti-reflection/anti-smudging coating for a clear, easy-to-view monitor that resists dirt and grime. The monitor's brightness can be adjusted in seven levels.
|Photo 4: Rear panel of the EOS 50D|
(6)Appending copyright information
Using the EOS Utility, the user can set the ''Photographer'' and ''Copyright holder'' on the camera. These parameters are saved in the Exif data with each shot.
Advances in integrated sensor cleaning
The EOS Integrated Cleaning System was developed on the basic concept of ''don't make, don't collect, don't leave'' any dust in the camera. The EOS 50D adopts the following four-stage cleaning approach, which is still the standard EOS specification.
(1)Limit the creation of dust
(2)Limit the collection of dust on the surface of the imaging sensor unit
(3)Remove adhering dust with ultrasonic vibrations (Photo 5)
(4)Obtain and append Dust Delete Data to images/remove dust spots automatically in software
A new fluorine coating has been applied to the surface of the EOS 50D's low-pass filter, which improves the performance in stages (2) and (3) above.
|Photo 5: Self-cleaning sensor unit|
Advances in speed, comfort, and shooting functions
(1)High-magnification viewfinder and interchangeable focusing screens
The 50D's viewfinder (Figure 2) has the same basic specifications as the EOS 40D's - a magnification of about 0.95x (and a 26.4° viewing angle) for comfortable viewing. The EOS 40D's two interchangeable focusing screens can be used in the EOS 50D. The viewfinder adds a ''D+'' indicator that shows when the highlight tone priority has been set.
|Figure 2: Viewfinder information|
(2)Precise AF from nine cross-type AF points and a center AF point for f/2.8 lenses
The EOS 50D's AF is accurate, stable, and fast with nine cross-type AF points and the same f/2.8-sensitive center AF point that is sensitive to both vertical and horizontal lines found on the EOS 40D. A custom function (C.Fn III 7) allows for AF microadjustment, which fine-tunes the AF's point of focus for each lens. This feature was previously available only on Canon's top-end EOS-1D Mark III and EOS-1Ds Mark III models.
(3)AI Servo AF capable of 6.3 fps continuous shooting in bursts of up to 60 frames
Even though EOS 50D images contain 1.5 times the information of EOS 40D images, the 50D is still capable of shooting at almost the same speed, approximately 6.3 fps, while achieving a maximum burst during continuous shooting of about 60 JPEG (Large/Fine) exposures (up to about 90 exposures when using a UDMA CF card).
(4)Advanced Live View shooting functions
The EOS 50D features the following improvements over the EOS 40D.
· Live AF function
The EOS 40D had only one AF mode - Quick mode - in which the camera autofocused while Live View was temporarily stopped. The EOS 50D adds two new AF modes: Live mode, in which the image sensor is used to autofocus while Live View continues, and Live face detection (Figure 3), which adds face detection functionality.
Also Quick mode has been updated so that the camera automatically returns to the Live View screen after autofocusing.
|Figure 3: Live face detection AF|
· Live View settings accessible from the menu screen
The EOS 50D interface has been improved so that Live View settings can be made from the menu screen instead from a custom function.
· Live View Start button changed for greater operability
(This button also serves as the Print/Share button)
As a result, almost all functions and settings (Table 1) available during normal shooting are also available during Live View shooting.
|Table 1: Accessible functions and settings during Live Mode shooting|
Advances in operability
Canon continually conducts extensive consumer surveys of users (both at the time of purchase and after experience with products). We then tabulate and analyze user requests to incorporate feedback into new product development. Recent surveys have clearly shown a rising proportion of first-time digital SLR camera purchasers. In consideration of these new users, we have incorporated the following operational improvements in the EOS 50D.
(1)New Creative Auto mode
We added a new Creative Auto (CA) mode to the Mode dial in response to requests from beginning photographers who expressed a desire to move beyond the Full Auto mode and be more creative but who don't know just where to begin. Whereas in Full Auto all controls are left up to the camera and the user cannot make selections or adjustments, in CA - which is positioned between Full Auto and P on the mode dial (Photo 6) - the user can intuitively set the functions given in Table 2 while viewing setting tips (Figure 4).
|Photo 6: Top view of the EOS 50D|
|Figure 4: Creative Auto settings|
|Table 2: Settable functions in Creative Auto mode|
(2)Easy-to-use Quick Control screen
As on the EOS 40D, pressing the Info button cycles through Camera settings > Shooting functions > No display on the LCD monitor. While the shooting functions are displayed, pressing the ISO button or other control brings up the related function setting screen where the user can make settings.
Marking a further advance in intuitive operation, the EOS 50D has a Quick Control screen (Figure 5), which appears by pressing the Multi-controller button when the camera is ready to shoot. The Multi-controller can then be used to select functions and the Main Dial or Quick Control Dial to adjust settings.
|Figure 5: Quick Control screen|
Advances in playback functionality
The following new features and improvements have been made to the camera's playback functionality.
(1)Versatile slideshow function
The previous auto playback function played back all images. The EOS 50D allows the user to select: all images, a specific folder, or a specific date to play back. The user can also set the interval (1, 2, 3, or 5 seconds), and choose a repeat option.
(2)Display high-definition images on full-HD TVs
The EOS 50D can display full-HD images on a TV with an HDMI terminal by connecting the camera to the TV with a special cable. The output resolution is set automatically to match the TV's resolution. The slideshow settings are used when displaying images on a TV.
This concludes our presentation of the EOS 50D this month. Table 3 compares the main specifications of the EOS 50D and the EOS 40D.
We plan to introduce the EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens and new system accessories, which were announced at the same time as the EOS 50D, in the near future.