It's been a high-flying week for your ever-lovin' Crave: One minute we're 31 stories up looking at the latest tellies, the next we're high above London's bustling Square Mile, with a special invite up to Canon Towers to try out the newly announced EOS 500D. This 15-megapixel camera fits neatly into the Canon range between the 450D and 40D and is the most affordable dSLR to shoot video so far.

We were pleased to see the video feature has been simplified. We're still mystified as to why video isn't placed on the 5D Mark II's mode dial, instead requiring a trip through the menus. The 500D gets a video icon on its mode dial and a dedicated record button, but it still could be simpler: you have to half-squeeze the shutter, then lock focus, and only then can you start recording.

But once you're away, shooting video with a dSLR is instant fun. Being able to zoom and focus manually gives you control over the effects on screen and allows you to be more creative than with many camcorders.

You can capture full high-definition footage, but it's at the slightly odd frame rate of 20 frames per second rather than the 24fps of cinema. For 30fps, you drop to a still-crisp 720p, or lower for Web sharing. Clips can last up to 29 minutes.

Click through our gallery for more of our hands-on impressions of the truly impressive 500D.

The high-resolution 76mm (3-inch) screen is beautifully crisp. The viewfinder includes a sensor that switches the live view screen off as you hold it up to your eye.
In low-light situations, you can select sensitivity levels from ISO 100-3,200. For an even greater boost, the Digic 4 processor will interpolate up to ISO 12,800.
Here's the mini-HDMI socket for punting your pictures and video to an HDTV. Cable not included, sadly.
This is the simplified creative auto screen, which strips down shooting options to make things simpler for newbies. Those slider bars allow for incremental adjustment of exposure.
The right-hand grip has been beefed up for a more comfortable grip.
The mode wheel now includes creative auto mode and video mode. Having to access video by diving into menus on the 5D Mark II made no sense to us so this move was a no-brainer, although focusing is still fiddly once you have selected video.
The 500D comes with this EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens...
...or body only, or with the EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, which is just out of shot.
The 500D records to SDHC card.
This is the tiny Speedlite 270EX flash. It's adorably dinky, and attaches to non-SLRs such as the G10 and SX1.
What's great about this flash is that despite its size, the head still swivels, so you can bounce the flash off walls or ceilings for better lighting.
The EOS 500D will be available from early May 2009 for £870, body-only. The 18-55mm kit will cost £970, while the 18-200mm kit will be £1,400.
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