Canon raises the bar

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DUE to be launched on Monday August 20th to the press, and to reach the shops a month later, the new Canon EOS 40D anticipates some of the rumoured features of the Sony AA (Advanced Amateur) project also known as the A300. It also leapfrogs the more conversative rumours.

The specification of the Canon was leaked on August 19th through Amazon’s advance-order pages:

Edit August 19th 21.00 hrs: Amazon has taken the page down. Bob Atkins managed to copy the entire information here:

This is basically the press release which will be issued to journalists roughly 12 hours after I write this edit.

I will not repeat it all here, but the salient points are:

  • Live Preview, plus two Silent Modes which use the ‘LiveMos’ type CMOS sensor’s electronic shuttering ability (‘LiveMos’ it is not, since that is an Olympus trademark, but it’s a Canon equivalent).
  • Unlimited JPEGs or a substantial 17-frame RAW sequence at 6.5 frames per second.
  • Tethered shooting via Ethernet, remote shooting via Wireless (g), GPS metadata embedding, and shoot-to-HD on camera all enabled by add-on base unit/s.
  • Interchangeable focusing screens.
  • New CMOS focusing array including a high resolution crossed sensor with enough sensitivity work well with typical superzooms, f/6.3 maximum aperture at the long end.
  • An Auto-ISO function based on ISO 400 default and 100-800 range.
  • A standard ISO range limited to 100-1600 unless you use a menu item to get 3200.
  • A conservative 10.1 megapixels in a small 1.6X sensor format, as with previous amateur and semi-pro Canons.
  • A mode very similar to Hi200 on the Alpha 100, preserving highlight detail, but operating at 100-800 ISO instead of just one setting.
  • A 14-bit A to D converter and 14-bit sRAW file format.
  • 30 seconds to 1/8000th and flash sync at 1/250th.
  • A price of $1299 for the body only.

The rumours currently attending the A300/AA are:

  • That it has an APS-C 12.x megapixel sensor capable of 10 frames a second.
  • That it doesn’t, and really has a 14.8 megapixel 1.25X factor sensor capable of 5 frames a second.
  • That it has Live Preview.
  • That it doesn’t have Live Preview.
  • That it will have excellent noise reduction or noise levels, and the ISO range will go the 3200 as standard.
  • That Sony has used a clever arragement of sensor elements, which permits upwards interpolation to approximately 20 megapixel file size.
  • That actually this only refers to the ‘Flagship’ model which is rumoured to around 20 megapixels native resolution and full frame, and can be interpolated up to a staggering 40 megapixels!

Here is my considered opinion:

  • The A300 will be APS-C and 12.x megapixels, and 5fps unlimited with a substantial RAW capability like the Canon.
  • The ‘Flagship’ will be 1.25X and 14.8 megapixels, with a similar shooting speed and sequence capacity, and may perhaps include interpolation to 20 megapixels.
  • That both will have entirely new AF modules and focus motors, new focusing screens and finder designs, improved SSS, better metering especially with flash, and other improved functions we can’t guess.
  • That the AA/A300 model will continue to disappoint by not offering 1/8000th top speed or 1/250th sync.
  • That the feature set and price position of the Canon 40D will oblige Sony to launch the AA/A300 at $1099 or under.

And that it will be announced early in September, with two weeks of the Canon announcement, and go on sale one month after the Canon.

And maybe Amazon will have the full pre-order specifications up for everyone to see next week 🙂

– David Kilpatrick


  • Perhaps AS/SSS could be disabled for the very fastest shutter speeds? After all, you are unlikely to need it at those speeds?


  • Wow! I wasn’t expecting a reply with that much info – you cerainly do know your stuff! That’s a very good argument about the SSS, a shutter speed of 12/000th of a second certainly would inadvertantly fire the system.
    I hope that the flagship model is just fantastic. With amazingly high shutter speeds, sync speeds of 300th of a second, a 20 MP full frame sensor, live preview, everything! It would be great to think that sony will bring out the next 9000…oh the good old days!

  • I believe they will reserve the faster shutter for the flagship model, and that their original argument for not using the 9xi/9/7 shutter mechanisms in the 7D still applies – they have a very high energy requirement, causing a more sudden ‘jolt’ in the camera which tends to fire the AS/SSS mechanism inappropriately. This is the reason they gave me, directly, for using a low mass low energy shutter in the 7D. Since they have continued to use exactly the same shutter in every body including the A100, it’s likely to be in the A300. A second reason I was given by the Japanese designer of the 7D was that this shutter is rated for 140,000 cycles. At the time, Canon shutters were rated for only 50,000 cycles. Sure enough, there have been hardly any 7D/5D/A100 shutter failures and many Canon and Nikon failures – admittedly their cameras often get heavier use. The new Canon shutter is rated at 100,000 cycles.

    Also, they assured me that the question of a moving shutter slit in front of a moving (AS/SSS) sensor produced no exposure variation or image geometry artefacts right up to 1/4000th as tested. I am surprised it does not. Maybe 1/8000th definitely would show such artefacts.

    So a 1/4000th shutter with a 1/200th curtain transit time on 1.5X may well be best in class compared to a 1/8000th shutter with a 1/250th transit on 1.6X.


  • Hi David,

    As an avid Minolta 9000 fan, with many lenses, a Minolta 9xi and a Sony A100, I am wondering why you believe Sony has not put a 8000th or 12000th shutter speed on the soon to be launched Alpha? Times have rapidly changed in twenty two years and yet why would Sony use the same shutter speed as the 9000 had so many years ago? My 9xi which is hardly advanced technology these days has a 12000th of a second shutter speed and that was fifteen years ago! Maybe I am missing something, but to be honest, I would bet on an 800th of a second maximum shutter speed.
    Also, do you personally think that the new Sony Alpha (300, 10 etc) is going to be better than the Canon 40D or even the Nikon D200? In my experience, when something Sony comes out, it is usually the best in its class untill other manafacturers catch on. The same applied for Minolta.
    I anticipate that the new Sony will be good, no, very good but may wait a while for prices to settle.

    Good Luck Everyone,
    Yellow Balloon Photography

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