Canon plays catch-up with EOS 450D

Canon today launches its latest D-SLR, the EOS 450D. Featuring a 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, EOS Integrated Cleaning System, 3.0” LCD with Live View mode and a new 9-point AF system, it marks Canon’s move away from 10 megapixels to compete with the Sony Alpha 700 and Nikon D300 – or, at least, with their cheaper successors everyone expects to see using the same size sensor.

Canon EOS 450D with grip

The EOS 450D employs features already proven in Canon’s professional EOS-1 series cameras, including the DIGIC III image processor and a redesigned menu system that enables features such as direct control of Speedlite flash units from the camera LCD. A choice of 13 custom functions allows the photographer to customise the camera to their shooting style. There is no top plate LCD display – Canon enters the 21st century…

“The EOS 450D bears the fruits of more than 20 years of ongoing investment into EOS,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging, Europe. “This camera continues Canon’s policy of taking technologies proven in the professional arena and putting them within reach of a wider market of amateur photographers.”

The EOS 450D features:

* 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor
* Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System
* 3.5 frames per second
* 3.0” LCD with Live View shooting
* 9-point wide-area AF system with f/2.8 cross-type centre point
* Picture Style image processing parameters
* DIGIC III image processor
* Digital Photo Professional RAW processing software
* Compact and Lightweight body
* Fully compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites

The EOS quality advantage

With all key components developed and manufactured in-house, EOS offers photographers a unique quality advantage. The EOS 450D’s specially designed 12.2 Megapixel sensor employs Canon’s high-sensitivity, low-noise CMOS technology to produce richly detailed images with minimal grain. The DIGIC III processor ensures superior image rendering and rapid response times, with an almost instant 0.1 start up. Image data is processed at 14 bits for Delivering a burst rate of 3.5 frames per second, the DIGIC III processor works with the image buffer to handle up to 53 JPEGs (6 in RAW) without interruption (Canon’s own words). There does not appear to be any provision for 12-bit processing to gain a frame rate competitive with others (5-6fps) or unlimited JPEG shooting (our words).

Built for better photos

The EOS 450D is designed to make photography a fluid experience for photographers of all levels and experience. Housed in a compact body that weighs less than 475 grams, the camera features an improved grip design that provides a natural, ergonomic fit with the user’s hands. A large, bright viewfinder makes image composition clearer and more comfortable. The menu system inherited from professional EOS cameras uses a simplified tab structure that does away with scrolling. It includes a user-defined My Menu tab for instant access to frequently used settings.

Several custom functions are available to optimise the quality of photos captured in a range of situations. Highlight Tone Priority boosts the dynamic range at the highlight end, providing better tonal detail from wedding dresses, cloudy skies and other bright objects. The new Auto Lighting Optimiser corrects brightness and contrast during image processing, while improving skin tones in portraits by ensuring correct exposure for faces. Photographers can also enable additional noise reduction for shots captured at high ISO speeds.

(These features are clearly designed to match the similar functions in Sony, Nikon and Olympus models – especially Auto Lighting Optimiser, which is similar to DRO, D-Lighting etc. One requirement of this type of adjustment is a very good basic dynamic range without noise – Canon may have opted for 14-bit depth, and relatively low fps, to ensure their reputation for low noise is not damaged by adding this feature – DK).

The EOS 450D Body only is priced at £599.99 RRP inc. VAT / €899.99 RRP inc. VAT
The EOS 450D 18-55mm kit is £679.99 RRP inc. VAT / €999.99 RRP inc. VAT
Both are available from March 2008.