The Canon EOS 600D and 1100D DSLR cameras were announced, and they will be replacing the 550D and 1000D in the current lineup, respectively.
The 600D (Rebel T3i in the US market, Kiss X5 in Japan) uses the same 18-megapixel sensor found in the 550D, and adds a 3-inch articulated rear LCD screen and wireless external flash control capability. It also comes with the DIGIC IV image processor, 3.7 frames per second (FPS) shooting speed, 9-point AF system, the 63-zone iFCL metering system from the higher-spec 7D and high-definition 1080p video recording. The 600D also comes with the Basic+ and Creative Auto features for adding image-effects in camera. Read the 600D preview by Digital Photography Review here.
The 12-megapixel 1100D (Rebel T3 in the US market, Kiss X50 in Japan) is the smallest and lightest camera in Canon’s EOS line up and improves upon the 1000D with DIGIC 4 processing power, 9 AF points, 63-zone iFCL metering system from the 7D and 600D, ISO speeds up to 6400, and 720p HD video recording. The 1100D comes with Basic+ and Creative Auto features, like the 600D and 60D. Interestingly, the Japanese-market 1100D/X50 also comes in a red color, the first Canon DSLR to be in that shade. Read the 1100D preview by Digital Photography Review here.
To go with these new entry-level DSLRs, the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens has also been introduced. An affordable image-stabilized lens with a general-purposes focal length range ideal for those starting out in photography. Based on the spec sheet, the new lens is identical to the original version with features like a 4-stop image stablization, circular aperture diaphragm for smoother background blur (bokeh) and an aspherical lens element with Super Spectra coating that results in sharp high-contrast pictures with less ghosting and flaring. The product picture does show what seems to be a body texture similar to Canon’s L lenses, so the change seems to be more cosmetic in nature, unless Canon has made internal changes. This new version of the lens will replace the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS that has been bundled with Canon’s DSLRs for the past few years. Read more about it at the Canon Europe site here.
For the more advanced or professional-level Canon DSLR camera users, 3 new lenses were announced.
The supertelephoto-class EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS USM lenses received their much-awaited respective “II” versions. Both the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM feature redesigned optical elements with fluorite components for sharp and contrasty elements, and have improved Ultrasonic Motor (USM) autofocus performance. The Image-Stabilization (IS) systems in the lenses have also been improved and now have a third mode, which activates IS only on exposure, helping the photographer track fast-moving subjects better. Both weather-proofed lenses are made up of magnesium alloy and titanium components and are considerably lighter than their predecessors, much to the relief of wildlife and sports photographers who have to carry them around. Read more about the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM here, and the EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM here. Both links go to the Canon USA website.
The most intriguing of the new lenses announced was the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x. A supertelephoto zoom lens with the 200-400mm focal length range and a constant maximum aperture of f/4 is already very notable on its own and the addition of an image stabilization (IS) system will make this a very useful and desirable lens. But Canon didn’t stop there, and built a 1.4x teleconverter (an “Extender” in Canon nomenclature, usually an accessory sold separately) into the lens, which when used, turns this lens into a 280mm-560mm lens with a constant aperture of f/5.6. This lens is scheduled to be launched this year, and will be very much anticipated by many photographers amateurs and professionals alike. Read more about this lens at Digital Photography Review here.
Additionally, Canon also introduced two new Speedlite external flash units for the EOS camera line, the 320EX and the 270EX II.
The 320EX is used in still photography as a normal flash with a Guide Number of 32 at ISO100. It also has a tilt-and-swivel head for bouncing flash and can be controlled wirelessly. It looks to be a capable external flash but the kicker is that it has a built-in LED video light. This continuous light helps illuminate the subject in low-light subjects when using a DSLR for video capture. When shooting a movie with a 600D or 1100D in Auto Light mode, the LED light turns on and off automatically depending on the lighting present.
The 270EX II is a refresh of Canon’s 270EX Speedlite, the latter of which is a very compact and basic external flash which had a head that can be tilted up to bounce its light output. The 270EX II improves upon the old one by being capable of acting as a wireless slave, and by having flash settings settable in a camera’s menu.
The 320EX and the 270EX II also share a new Canon Speedlite feature called Remote Release, which allows a photographer to trigger his camera using the flash. This will save a photographer the time and effort of having to walk back to the camera after setting up lighting. Canon Japan MSRP for a 320EX is JPY25,000 and JPY17,000 for the 27oEX II, both slated for an April 2011 release. Read more about the 270EX II here, the 320EX here. Both links go to the Canon USA website.
Don’t want to carry heavy cameras, lenses and flashes? Canon also announced no less than five new compact digital cameras in IXUS and Powershot SX lines. Read more about the upcoming ultra-compact IXUS 115 HS, the premium ultra-compact IXUS 220 HS, the 14x superzoom compacts SX220 HS and the GPS-enabled SX230 HS, and the manual-control premium compact IXUS 310 HS. These links go to Digital Photography Review.
In summary, it’s been a pretty good round of announcements from Canon with something for everyone: the point-and-shoot user, the amateur DSLR user, DSLR videographers, and professional photographers. A good start to the year in terms of gear we can look forward to.
What do you think about Canon’s new offerings? Have your say in the comments section below!
Photos courtesy of the Canon Europe and Canon Japan website.