March 2010

EOS Kiss X4

[ Japan:EOS Kiss X4, Americas:EOS REBEL T2i, Europe/Asia/Oceania:EOS 550D ]

This new entry-level digital AF SLR camera features excellent image quality and is equipped with a 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor, a DIGIC 4 image processor, Live View shooting, and Full HD movie capability.

Photo 1: EOS Kiss X4 (shown with the EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS lens)

Photo 1: EOS Kiss X4 (shown with the EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS lens)

In our March technical report, we provide the latest information on the new EOS Kiss X4, which was announced on February 9 and went on sale in Japan at the end of February.

Development objectives

The EOS Kiss X4 (Photo 1) is an entry-level digital AF SLR camera with excellent image quality. It was designed as a major upgrade and replacement for the EOS Kiss X3 with advanced and enriched features. The specific development objectives are outlined below.

Highest pixel density, image quality, and sensitivity range in its class
  • — 18.00-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • — DIGIC 4 for fine image detail and natural color reproduction
  • — Full-time ISO range of 100 to 6400 (with an extended ISO speed to 12,800)
Enriched core functions and higher performance
  • — Approx. 3.7 fps continuous shooting speed
  • — Widescreen (3:2) LCD monitor (3.0 inch, about 1.04 million dots)
  • — 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor
  • — Enhanced movie shooting features
Shares EOS Kiss X3’s superb core functions
  • — User friendly even for beginners
  • — Advanced auto image processing features
  • — Integrated sensor cleaning system

Let’s take a closer look at the EOS Kiss X4, noting in particular the improvements over the EOS Kiss X3.

Digital functions for fine detail and top image quality

Photo 2: Large 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor (actual size)

Photo 2: Large 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor (actual size)

(1) Large 18.00-megapixel CMOS sensor

At the heart of the EOS Kiss X4 is a large, highly sensitive CMOS sensor (Photo 2) with about 18.00 effective megapixels and an effective sensor size of 22.3 x 14.9mm. This sensor permits higher speeds, greater image detail and fidelity, and heavy-duty movie shooting thanks to a four channel/line readout.

Photo 3: DIGIC 4 circuit board

Photo 3: DIGIC 4 circuit board

(2) DIGIC 4 high-performance image processor

The DIGIC 4 image processor (Photo 3) provides the Kiss X4 with faster signal processing speeds and better signal processing. Not only does the DIGIC 4 accelerate image processing, it extends the sensitivity range while lowering noise, allows for more auto image processing functions, and boosts the performance of many digital image processing functions including face detection, Full HD video capture, and HDMI output support.

(3) Wide ISO 100 to 6400 range provides more shooting opportunities

The EOS Kiss X4 borrows the high sensitivity, low noise, and extended dynamic range technologies from our high-end models, such as the EOS 7D, for a full-time ISO range (100 to 6400) twice that of the Kiss X3. In extended ISO mode, the range is extended to ISO 12,800.

(4) Advanced auto image processing features
Auto Lighting Optimizer

The Auto Lighting Optimizer automatically corrects brightness and contrast when the camera detects that a photographed face has turned out dark or that the overall contrast is low. The Auto Lighting Optimizer has been upgraded to work with manual and bulb exposures, unlike the previous Kiss X3 model.

Peripheral illumination correction

This function automatically corrects JPEG images for lens vignetting. EOS Utility, a communication program that comes with the camera, is used to register and delete lens correction data. JPEG images are corrected in-camera automatically immediately after shooting. RAW images can be corrected later with a computer using Digital Photo Professional’s capture settings.

Noise reduction at high ISO settings

The noise reduction function has four settings — Standard, Low, Strong, and Disable. In settings other than Strong the noise reduction function has no impact on the maximum burst length during continuous shooting.

Highlight Tone Priority mode

As with previous models, the Kiss X4 comes with a Highlight Tone Priority mode, which prioritizes the reproduction of tonal information in highlights.

(5) Appending copyright information

The Kiss X4 has been upgraded so the user can set the “Photographer” and “Copyright” parameters from the camera’s setup menu. These parameters are saved in the Exif data with each shot.

Fast, comfortable shooting functions

Figure 1: Viewfinder coverage

Figure 1: Viewfinder coverage

(1) High-power viewfinder that’s easy on the eyes

The Kiss X4 uses the same bright, easy-to-read, 0.87x-magnification viewfinder (Figure 1) as the Kiss X3.

(2) Fast, precise nine-point AF

The Kiss X4 features a nine-point AF sensor. The center AF point is a cross-type sensor that is vertical-line sensitive at f/2.8 and vertical- and horizontal-line sensitive at f/5.6. The other eight points are EOS-standard f/5.6 sensitive. (The top and bottom points are vertical-line sensitive; the others are horizontal-line sensitive.)

(3) 3.7 fps continuous shooting speed

The faster CMOS sensor readout speed allowed an continuous shooting speed of approximately 3.7 fps (compared with about 3.4 fps on the Kiss X3).

Figure 2: AF frame in the Face Detection Live mode

Figure 2: AF frame in the Face Detection Live mode

(4) Advanced Live View shooting features

Where the EOS Kiss X3 offered Live View shooting in only a few shooting modes, the Kiss X4 has Live View shooting in all shooting modes. The user can select from the following three AF modes when Live View shootings.

Live mode

This is a contrast AF mode that uses the imaging sensor to detect contrast.

Face Detection Live mode (Figure 2)

This is also a contrast AF mode, but it focuses on faces detected in the frame. When multiple faces are detected, the camera analyzes the faces using face size and proximity to the center of the image as criteria and selects one face. The user can use the cross keys to select another face if the automatic selection is not desired.

Quick mode

This is a phase-difference AF mode that uses the AF sensor. Live View is paused momentarily while the camera auto focuses in this mode.

(5) Three-inch Clear View widescreen LCD monitor

The X4’s 3.0-inch, wide-viewing-angle LCD monitor (Photo 4) has a resolution of 1.04 million dots and a wide 3:2 aspect ratio. An anti-reflective and smudge-resistant coating has been applied to the protective cover surface, resulting in a clear, easy-to-view monitor that resists dust and fingerprints. The monitor’s brightness can be adjusted in seven levels.

(6) User-friendly controls (Photo 5)

The EOS Kiss X4 provides a Live View / Movie shooting button separate from the Print/Share button (these functions shared the same button on the Kiss X3) and adds a new Quick Control button. This eliminates the need to use the Set button in conjunction with other buttons. Other measures have been taken, such as using broader key tops, to make the camera’s controls easier to understand and operate.

Photo 4: Rear panel of the EOS Kiss X4, showing the three-inch widescreen LCD monitor

Photo 4: Rear panel of the EOS Kiss X4, showing the three-inch widescreen LCD monitor

Photo 5: Rear panel control buttons (partial view)

Photo 5: Rear panel control buttons (partial view)

Greater shooting and creative possibilities

(1) Enhanced movie shooting features
Exposure control while shooting movies

The X4 now allows the user to select either Auto exposure or Manual exposure from the camera’s menu for movie shooting.

Auto exposure
The camera automatically adjusts the exposure to compensate for the ambient brightness. The camera’s imaging sensor is used with the metering mode set to either center-weighted averaging or Program AE for movies. If the Face Detection Live AF mode is active, the camera will use evaluative metering linked to the AF frame activated by the face detection function.

Manual exposure
In this mode, the user manually sets the shutter speed and aperture before starting to shoot a movie. The user can also choose auto or manual for the ISO sensitivity (the manual ISO speed can be set between ISO 100 and ISO 6400).

Recording size and frame rate

The user can choose from the movie recording size and frame rate combinations given in Table 1. The Kiss X4 is the first EOS model to feature the Movie Crop function. Movie Crop (SD quality) records a rectangular 640-x-480-pixel block in the center of the sensor. Movie Crop is similar in function to a 7x zoom compared to normal shooting.

Recording lengths and audio recording

A 4 GB card can hold about 12 minutes of continuous movie recording in Full HD and HD, and about 24 minutes in SD and Movie Crop. Movie recording requires an SD card with a read/write speed of at least 6MB/second. Audio is recorded in mono with the built-in microphone. Stereo recording is possible by using an external stereo microphone. Sound level (recording level) is adjusted automatically.
Pressing the shutter button while recording a movie will take a still image (the still image uses the current still-image recording quality settings). Movie recording is interrupted for about one second.

Support for wireless remote controllers

The new RC-6 remote controller can be used to record movies as well as shoot still images. The controller can be used to start and stop movie recording in the two-second delay release mode and to shoot stills in the instantaneous release mode. The Kiss X4 also supports the RC-1 and RC-5 remote controllers.

(2) Movie playback
Playback on a Full HD TV (recommended)

Users can use the camera’s controls to play movies on a Full HD TV by simply connecting the camera to the TV with an HDMI cable. The camera selects the output resolution based on the TV’s capabilities so that the user can enjoy the highest image quality. Still images can also be enjoyed in stunning HD quality with this setup.

Playback on a computer

It is possible to play back movies on a computer using the bundled software (ZoomBrowser EX/ImageBrowser), but because of the data sizes involved a high-performance computer (Core 2 Duo 2.6GHz CPU or better, and 2GB of RAM or more) is necessary for smooth playback.

Simple movie editing (starting and ending cuts only)

The Kiss X4 has a function that lets the user make cuts to a recorded movie at the start or end in one-second increments with the camera controls. The edited movie file can be saved separately from the original file.

Enhanced core functions without sacrificing past functionality

(1) New metering sensor and algorithm

The Kiss X4 features the same 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor (Photo 6) found in the EOS 7D. The addition of color measurement functionality to the metering sensor enables the camera to minimize exposure errors and slight focusing errors caused by different light sources. The X4 also maps the AF points to the metering zones (Figure 3) resulting in more accurate, stabler exposure control.

Photo 6: 63-zone metering sensor

Photo 6: 63-zone metering sensor

Figure 3: Metering zones and AF points

Figure 3: Metering zones and AF points
*The metering zones are not actually visible

(2) Wider exposure compensation adjustment range

The Kiss X4 has been improved to give a ±5-stop exposure compensation range (compared to a ±2-stop range on the X3). This enables the user to have greater control over the final exposure, such as deliberately underexposing or overexposing shots for high-key / low-key photography or for night scenes with large brightness contrasts.

(3) Integrated sensor cleaning strategy

The X4 uses the proven EOS Integrated Cleaning System.

Greater system expandability

Figure 4: External interfaces

Figure 4: External interfaces

Figure 5: HDMI-CEC control screen

Figure 5: HDMI-CEC control screen

(1) External interfaces (Figure 4)

In addition to the RS-60E3 remote switch terminal, the audio-video output / digital terminal, and the HDMI mini output terminal (Type C), the Kiss X4 has a new external stereo microphone input jack.

(2) HDMI-CEC support

When the camera is connected to a TV that supports the HDMI-CEC standard, the TV’s remote controller can be used to control “Return,” “9-image index,” “Disp. shooting info,” “Rotate,” “Slide show,” and “Play movie” (Figure 5).

(3) Eye-Fi card support

Users can insert an Eye-Fi card (manufactured by Eye-Fi Inc.) to automatically transfer images via Wi-Fi to a computer as the images are being taken. The Eye-Fi card use must be checked beforehand, as its use is prohibited in some countries and regions.

(4) Power supply system
  • LP-E8 battery pack
    This new battery has greater capacity than previous models. The LC-E8 battery charger was developed along with this battery pack.
  • LC-E8 battery charger
  • ACK-E8 AC adapter kit
  • BG-E8 battery grip

Note: The LP-E5 battery pack is not compatible with the Kiss X4.

This concludes this month’s overview of the EOS Kiss X4. Table 1 compares the main specifications of the EOS Kiss X4 with those of the Kiss X3.

Item Kiss X4 Kiss X3
Imaging sensor Imaging sensor type / effective megapixels [approx. megapixels] CMOS / 18.00 CMOS / 15.10
Sensor size [mm] 22.3 × 14.9
Lens crop factor [35mm equivalent] Displayed focal length x 1.6
Dust removal system (EOS ICS) Yes
Recording A/D conversion [bits] 14
Recording media SD / SDHC / SDXC cards SD / SDHC cards
Recording pixels [approx. megapixels] Large, RAW 17.9 15.1
Middle 8 8
Small 4.5 3.7
RAW 17.9 15.1
Image processing Picture Styles Yes
Auto Lighting Optimizer Yes
Lens peripheral illumination correction Yes
Noise reduction Long exposures Yes
High ISO speed Yes
Highlight tone priority Yes
Color space sRGB / Adobe RGB
White balance Auto / presets / custom Yes / Yes (six) / specify image
Correction / bracketing Yes / Yes
Image processor DIGIC 4
Viewfinder Coverage [%] 95
Magnification (50 mm, infinity, -1 m-1 [dpt]) 0.87
Eye point [mm] 19
Focusing screen Precision matte
Dioptric adjustment [m-1 dpt] -3.0 – +1
Auto focus AF points 9
f/2.8 sensitive center cross-type AF point Yes
Focusing brightness range [EV] -0.5 – 18
Exposure control Exposure sensor zones 63 35
Metering modes Evaluative, Partial, Spot, Center-weighted average
Metering range [EV] 1 – 20
ISO speeds Auto 100 – 6400 (to 3200 in Basic Zone) 100 – 1600
Manual 100 – 6400, ISO extension mode: 12,800 100 – 3200, ISO extension modes: 6400, 12,800
ISO Auto Limit setting Yes No
Shutter Shutter speeds [sec.] 1/4000 – 30 (bulb)
X-sync [sec.] 1/200
Release time lag [ms] 0.09
Built-in flash G No. [ISO 100 • m] 13
Flash coverage [supported focal length, mm] 17
Drive Continuous shooting speed [approx. fps] 3.7 3.4
Max. burst [frames] JPEG Large/Fine 34 170
RAW 6 9
Live View shooting AF modes Live / Face Detection Live / Quick
Shooting modes that support Live View All shooting modes Creative Zone modes
Grid display types 2
Movie shooting Recording size (frame rate) Full HD 1920 × 1080 (24, 25, 30)* Full HD 1920 × 1080 (20)
HD 1280 × 720 (50, 60)* HD 1280 × 720 (30)
SD 640 × 480 (50, 60)* SD 640 × 480 (30)
Crop SD 640 × 480 (50, 60)* n/a
Manual exposure Yes No
File format / compression method / audio MOV / MPEG4 AVC (H.264) / Linear PCM
LCD monitor Screen size [inches]/Display dots [approx.] 3.0 / 1,040,000 3.0 / 920,000
Anti-reflection/smudge-resistant Yes / Yes
Brightness adjustment [levels] 7
Playback Display modes Single image No display / Basic info / Detailed info / Histogram Basic info / Image-recording quality / Info / Histogram
Index display 4 images/9 images
Histogram display / highlight alert Yes / Yes
Zoom-in magnification Yes
Slideshow options Interval setting / Repeat setting All images, Date, Movies, Still images Interval setting, Repeat setting
Original image verification data Yes
In-camera entry of copyright information Yes No
External interfaces USB Yes, Hi-Speed USB equivalent
HDMI output / CEC compatibility Yes / Yes Yes / No
Video output Video / Audio
Remote control terminal Yes
External microphone jack 3.5mm stereo mini jack No
Power source Acceptable batteries (capacity) LP-E8 (1120mAh) LP-E5 (1080mAh)
Shooting capacity (room temp.) No flash 550 500
Flash for 50% of shots 440 400
Size / Weight Dimensions (w × h × d) [mm] 128.8 × 97.5 × 75.3 (CIPA standard) 128.8 × 97.5 × 61.9 (Canon standard)
Weight [approx. grams] 530 (CIPA standard), 475 (unit only) 480 (unit only)

Table 1: Comparison of EOS Kiss X4 and EOS Kiss X3 specifications

Because of the EOS Kiss X4’s larger sensor and faster frame rate, the X4 specification is slightly lower than the X3 specification
*24: 23.976 fps; 25: 25.00 fps; 30: 29.97 fps; 50: 50.00 fps; 60: 59.94 fps