Canon finally announced a pair of entry-level (presumably) solid-state pro camcorders, which are probably meant to compete with models from Sony and Panasonic that have been out for a long time--and the Canon models won't be available until the first quarter of next year.
I say "probably compete" because without even ballpark pricing information, it's impossible to figure out where these models fit in the market, but I'm guessing somewhere in the $2,000 to $3,500 range. Following on the heels of Canon's equally tardy-to-market XF300 and XF305, the XF100 and XF105 are essentially compact single-chip versions of those three-chip models, albeit with a different lens and other sacrifices to size.
Here's how they compare with their more expensive siblings:… Read more
A week after announcing an image sensor with a whopping 120 megapixels, Canon revealed Monday it's created another boundary-pushing prototype: a chip with a light-gathering area measuring a vast 202x205mm.
The huge sensor is 40 times larger than even Canon's largest commercial image sensors, the full-frame chips measuring 36x24mm used in high-end SLRs. Indeed, it's a lot larger: big enough to swallow most of the surface area of the 300mm-diameter silicon crystal out of which it's made using a CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) process.
Notably, it employs new circuitry Canon had to develop to pump data off the processor fast enough to keep up with video.
One reason to build larger sensors is to increase their light-gathering area, and Canon delivers the goods here. It can record 60-frame-per-second video with light levels of 0.3 lux--about what a full moon overhead produces by some measurements. … Read more
Just after Canon announced second-generation 300mm and 400mm telephoto lenses for its SLRs, the Japanese camera maker also said Friday that it will show prototypes of revamped supertelephoto lenses with 500mm and 600mm focal lengths.
The two prototypes, officially called the EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM, are second-generation successors to the current products introduced in July and September 1999, respectively. They'll be on display at the Photokina show in Cologne, Germany, later in September, at which the spotlight shines brightly on high-end gear.
Canon was characteristically reserved about the prototypes, saying release dates and specifications haven't been decided, but the company appears to be applying the similar revisions that it brought to the 300mm and 400mm lenses: better image stabilization, better image quality, and lighter weight.
"The EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM are being developed as L (Luxury)-series lenses equipped with a high-performance image stabilization system," Canon said. "Employing fluorite and other special optical materials to correct for a variety of aberrations, the lenses aim to realize high-resolution, high-contrast imaging performance in a lighter-weight body design." … Read more
As it seems with every other generation of Canon dSLRs, the EOS 50D was a solid, if somewhat uninspired follow-up to the extremely well-received 40D. Now it's the 60D's turn to be the interesting model. It combines some of the best elements of the T2i and 7D in an updated--and occasionally frustrating--redesigned body. I, along with a few other reviewers, got a chance to shoot with the camera--as per our policy CNET footed the bill for my trip rather than Canon--and have sample photos and some preliminary analysis of the photo and video quality and ergonomics of the camera.
The most notable enhancement over the 50D is, of course, video capture, and the 60D offers the set of frame rates and manual exposure controls that have made Canon's dSLRs a favorite among the small but vocal group of indie filmmakers. The built-in microphone is mono, but has a stereo mic input; it has a wind filter and the same sound controls as the 5D Mark II. The 3-inch articulated LCD is also a great boon for shooting video. While it's a very nice LCD, though, I frequently had trouble viewing it in direct sunlight.
Of more interest to straight photographers, the 60D gains an improved autofocus system--better than the 50D but not as good as the 7D--as well as the advanced iFCL metering system of the T2i and 7D and a built-in wireless flash controller like the 7D. Canon's provided a welcome update to the scene modes, making them a little less rigid; they're less automatic, allowing you to adjust some parameters. Though the camera still only supports a 3-shot bracket, the range has been expanded to 3 stops. And at users' request, the company has added a 3:2 aspect ratio setting. Although the sensor resolution is the same for all the current midrange cameras, the T2i and 60D have 4-channel readouts rather than the 8-channel readout of the 7D's imager, making it slower. Despite rumors to the contrary, the 60D incorporates the same Digic 4 image processor that's been around for the last few years.… Read more
Canon has crammed 120 million photosites--13,280x9,184 pixels--onto a 29.2mm by 20.2mm (APS-H size) sensor. Why? I'm not sure. To use a sensor that dense would require lots of light, so perhaps there are some medical imaging applications that might benefit from the high resolution and be able to supply the controlled illumination.
According to the press release, the sensor can output 9.5fps HD frames from any subsection of the sensor. That might present some cool video possibilities.
(Via Rob Galbraith)