With Sony launching the 10.2-megapixel Alpha DSLR-A100 and Nikon announcing the 10.2-megapixel , Canon's 8.0-megapixel EOS 350D and 8.2-megapixel EOS 30D were starting to look underendowed, at least in the resolution department. Not any longer, though -- Canon has gatecrashed the double-digit party with the EOS 400D, a 10.1-megapixel dSLR that looks set to take over from the best-selling 350D.
The 400D is similar in size and weight to the 350D, but has been significantly upgraded in other areas. As well as the increased resolution, it offers a larger 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD and more autofocus points. It also has the Picture Styles first seen on the EOS 5D, making it easy to adjust the sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour to suit your subject.
The most significant new feature is the EOS Integrated Cleaning System, which makes its debut in the EOS 400D. Like similar systems seen in Olympus' E-series SLRs and Sony's Alpha DSLR-A100, it's designed to deal with the problem of dust getting on to the sensor when you change the lens, resulting in grey blobs on your photographs where the light can't get through. Canon's system aims to reduce the amount of dust entering the camera, repel dust particles using an anti-static coating on the sensor and then remove any dust that does settle by vibrating the sensor when you turn the camera on (if you're in a hurry to take a picture, pressing the shutter button cancels the cleaning cycle). There's also a software-based Dust Delete System which can be used to map the locations of any stubborn particles and automatically remove them from your photos when you load them into Canon's Digital Photo Professional application. The Integrated Cleaning System is untested as yet, but if it works, it'll be a significant step forwards for Canon.
The EOS 400D should go on sale in September, priced at around £650 body only or £720 with an 18-55mm lens. -ML