Spring is here, and Canon has announced a whole collection of new products:
- EOS 600D
- EOS 1100D
- Speedlite 320EX and Speedlite 270EX II
- EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM
- EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x
- Some new IXUS cameras, PIXMA printers and six new calculators…
The number 6 has appeared in a lot of the announcements today, the EOS 600D looks to be a smaller and lighter cut-down EOS 60D. The EF 600mm f/4L IS IS USM lens is 27% lighter than it’s predecessor and Canon has reached the production milestone of 60 million EF lenses less than 400 days since it passed the 50 million mark.
A new EOS camera to replace the EOS 550D already, well it is a year since the EOS 550D was launched and in the cut-throat entry sector of the market being the latest and greatest helps sales.
EOS 600D specifications at a glance
- 18MP CMOS sensor with added JPG image resolutions for 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios
- DIGIC 4 image processor
- 3.0″/7.7cm vari-angle LCD with 1.04M dots (as EOS 60D)
- iFCL metering with 63 zones (as EOS 7D)
- Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24, 25, 30 fps and 1280 x 720p at 60 and 50fps movie mode and there’s an external stereo MIC socket. You can now do a sensor based zoom in the movie mode, giving a variable 3-10x zoom while keeping full HD resolution
- Built-in flash that is also a Speedlite master (as EOS 60D)
In short it feels like this years EOS 600D is a 550D with improved LCD, metering and flash and I am especially pleased to see no increase to the megapixel count. I’d like to know how capable the built-in Speedlite master is, does it support A, B & C groups like the EOS 7D or only A & B like the EOS 60D? My money would be on the latter or they would be needing more power from the built-in flash to manage all the pre-flash pulses. The iFCL metering with 63 zones is a good step forward, the EOS 7D metering seems to err on the side of brighter rather than darker exposures in my experience, and for photographers getting the EOS 600D as their first DSLR, brighter exposures are not always a bad thing. If you already have an EOS 550D and want to add the EOS 600D to your collection then the batteries are the same LP-E8 and the battery grip BG-E8 is also the same.[UPDATE: my view was right, EOS 600D can only drive group A and B speedlites with ratio control, just like the EOS 60D]
It seems that in keeping with past years the new EOS 600D will be the main model and the EOS 550D will now be the supporting one so expect good deals to be had on it.
The EOS 1100D replaces the venerable EOS 1000D and adds many of the features needed in todays entry segment of the market. I’d be interested to see how good the 12MP CMOS sensor is in low-light, those pixels are obviously bigger than the ones on the EOS 600D so it would be very interesting to see the images it produces. In order to make a camera such as the EOS 1100D several elements have to be considered in terms of cost, and notably there’s no self-cleaning sensor fitted; but many owners will only ever use it with the kit lens. HD movies at 720p are provided at 25 and 30 fps, but no audio input. The iFCL metering is also ‘borrowed’ from the EOS 7D with all 63 zones intact and is a good partner with the 9-point AF system that’s fitted to the EOS 1100D.
Speedlite 320EX and Speedlite 270EX II
With the EOS 600D having a built-in flash master capable of controlling flashes in A and B groups it was time for Canon to make lower cost flash units available that work as slaves and so we have the new Speedlite 320EX and Speedlite 270EX II. The Speedlite 320EX has the distinction of being the first to have an LED video light built-in. I’m also thinking that might make a good modelling light for some situations. Maybe I can use it to find bits of equipment put down in the dark too!
The Speedlite 320EX has a guide number (GN) of 32m @ ISO 100 and features a tilt and bounce head that can be manually zoomed from 24mm to 50mm. As a slave it can be in any of the three groups A, B or C used in the Canon wireless flash system. The flash power output can be set manually from full to 1/64 power in 1/3 stop increments, sounds like this is a good choice for a first off-camera flash for EOS 7D, EOS 60D and EOS 600D owners.
Speedlite 270EX II has a guide number (GN) of 27m @ ISO 1000 and is an updated version of the Speedlite 270EX with the addition of slave flash functionality, though it seems that it will be a simple E-TTL only slave without manual power level control.
Both of the new flashes have a new feature to remotely release the shutter of a compatible camera. This works by the flash starting the cameras 2-second self-timer and then be part of the lighitng for when the picture is taken. It will be interesting to see how this works in practice.
EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM
In creating these new professional specification lenses Canon’s engineers have prioritised two main goals, lighter weight and better optical performance. The latter will have to be seen to be believed when the lenses are actually available to buy, but the weight loss is not just as few grammes. The EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lens has lost 1.4Kg in weight compared to the lens it replaces, that’s 27% less weight or about the same weight as an EF70-200mmf/2.8L IS II USM to make it the lightest lens in it’s class according to Canon research. (Canon market research December 2010). Not one to avoid a trip to Canon’s weight watchers class the EF500mm f/4L IS II USM is also lighter, 680 grammes lighter or around 17%. Using a combination of 16 elements in 12 groups both lenses also have two fluorite elements to deliver high resolution and high contrast images. With the four stop Image Stabilizer (IS) that is fitted it should be possible to handhold the EF500mm f/4L IS II USM at 1/30s – insane. Both new lenses also feature 3-mode IS with IS Mode 2 using a new algorithm for better panning performance and the new IS Mode 3 only stabilising the image while it’s actually being taken, allowing a photographer to see exactly what is in the frame as he rapidly recomposes.
Like last years EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses dust and weather sealing has been enhanced, fluorine coatings are applied to both front and rear elements to ensure the lenses are easy to keep clean from rain, dust and fingermarks. Now all four lenses; 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm have a Kensington lock so you can secure them when out in the field.
EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x
Not content with real products, the lens team have a new ‘unreal’ lens, the development of EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x lens has been announced today. It is one of the few gaps in Canon’s extensive lens line-up and a 200-400mm lens is available for other brands. With this lens Canon have taken the 200-400mm idea and added an integrated 1.4x optical extender – see the bulge on the side of the lens near the lens mount. So when your 400mm f/4L IS is not long enough switch in the 1.4x Extender and you now have a 280-560mm f/5.6L IS USM lens on your camera. I expect it will be expensive when it ships later in the year, but it could replace a whole bag of lenses and allow you to keep one lens on your camera in very dusty environments to avoid sensor spots.
If you still want more then over at EOS Network there’s a few more comments on the announcements.