Surprise: Canon EOS 50D and Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS

I wasnt planning on upgrading to another 1.6x crop body.. I figured I’d just keep my 40D as my 1.6x and get a full frame later on down the line. Even then, I didnt expect Canon to update the 40D so soon. Odd that when consumers demanded the 30D be upgraded, Canon stuck to an 18 month lifecycle back then. You can definitely give Nikon the credit for pushing Canon to update the XXD body so soon.

I think Canon is ready to play ball.. and what makes me say that? 15.1 megapixels. We’ve long known that megapixels is all for show (marketing).. but hey, thats what sells. With Nikon’s D90 coming in at 12+ megapixels, I think its a rather strong statement from Canon to “skip” that game altogether and move right on up to 15.1 megapixels. Think about that. Its 50% more pixels than the 40D. The largest jump in pixels ever, I’d guess. Also with the 50D comes the new Digic 4. That means the Digic 3 was rather short lived. Hell, the Digic 3 is in their 2 flagship models, the 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III. So its a pretty huge step to introduce the Digic 4 so soon. Also take a page from Nikon’s playbook, Canon will be stuffing a 3″ 920k pixel screen in the 50D.. its about freakin time. ISO 12,800 (also from Nikon’s playbook) is mostly marketing hype, but its the hype the sells.

I’ll admit I gave some thought to dumping my 40D.. I cant help it. But I dont think it’ll happen this time. Unless the 50D has MUCH better AF tracking, I dont think I need it.. thats mainly what I’d want at this point.

Another surprise is Canon has FINALLY made the 18-200mm lens. It’ll be an EF-S, but thats probably where its needed the most anyhow. I was actually looking at the Sigma version of this range as a “Disneyworld” lens (as much as I’d like to pack my 24-70 and 70-200, its just not worth it). At $699 MSRP, I’m not so sure I’d bite. But if Canon’s last few offerings are any indication, the 18-200 EF-S will probably sell for around $500 (or less) on the street. That might be do-able.

In the meantime, here’s what B&H had to say about the 50D:

Canon’s newest entry into the fall season Olympics is the EOS 50D, which sports an impressive 15.1-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor that takes full advantage of Canon’s new DIGIC 4 image processor.

The EOS 50D can knock out up to 90 Large/Fine JPEGS or 16 RAW images at burst-rates of up to 6.3 f/p/s. If you often find yourself shooting under low-light conditions, the new camera can be set for ISO ratings up to 12800, which means you can not only photograph people standing in near darkness, you can also photograph what they’re thinking about. (Just joking folks… don’t get alarmed)

To keep noise under control and maintain optimum image quality at higher ISO ratings the EOS 50D allows you to choose from four levels of noise reduction – Standard, Weak, Strong, and None. The camera’s DIGIC 4 image processor also features in-camera peripheral illumination correction, which can automatically smooth-over uneven blue skies and other large areas within an image that can benefit from smoother tonality. This feature, along with other image enhancing tools such as Auto Lighting Optimizer can also be performed post-exposure using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DDP) software, which is included with every camera.

Image viewing has also been improved via a greatly enhanced 3″ LCD that employs 920,000 pixels for breathtaking clarity. Canon also tweaked the Live View function by incorporating a ‘Quick Mode AF’, ‘Live Mode AF’, and ‘Face Detection Live Mode AF’ that can detect up to 35 individual faces within the camera’s frame.

Other features of the Canon EOS 50D include an Integrated Cleaning System for preventing dust and other forms of airborne schmutz from gathering on the sensor’s low-pass filter and a choice of two smaller RAW formats (sRAW1 and sRAW2) in addition to the 50D’s standard RAW mode.

The Canon EOS 50D will be available in October as a body only, or in kit form with a Canon EF 28-135/3.5~5.6 IS USM zoom lens, which covers the field of view of a 44.8-216mm lens on a full-frame 35mm camera.

Check out some Canon 50D sample pics here