Canon has launched the EOS 450D digital SLR, which features a 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, EOS Integrated Cleaning System,a 3.0-inch LCD with Live View mode and a new 9-point AF system.

The EOS 450D employs features taken from Canon’s professional EOS-1 series cameras, including the DIGIC III image processor and a redesigned menu system that enables features such as direct control of Speedlite flash units from the camera LCD. A choice of 13 custom functions allows the photographer to customise the camera to their shooting style.

The camera’s specially-designed 12.2-megapixel sensor employs Canon’s high-sensitivity, low-noise CMOS
technology to produce richly detailed images with minimal grain, according to the company. The DIGIC III processor ensures superior image rendering and rapid response times, with a 0.1-second start up. I

The model is housed in a compact body that weighs less than 475g and features an improved grip design that aims to provide anatural, ergonomic fit with the user’s hands. A large, bright viewfinder makes image composition clearer and more comfortable. The menu system inherited from professional EOS cameras uses a simplified tab structure that does away with scrolling.

Several custom functions are available to optimise the quality of photos captured in a range of situations. Highlight Tone Priority boosts the dynamic range at the highlight end, providing better tonal detail from wedding dresses, cloudy skies and other bright objects. The new Auto Lighting Optimiser corrects brightness and contrast during image processing, while improving skin tones in portraits by ensuring correct exposure for faces. Photographers can also enable additional
noise reduction for shots captured at high ISO speeds.

Live View mode makes it easier to shoot from awkward angles, such as ground-level macro shots or when shooting from a tripod. The image from the Live View mode is displayed as a smooth, 30fps video feed on the three-inch LCD, which is 50 per cent brighter than the screen of the EOS 400D. A grid line display and live histogram can be selected to help with shot composition and exposure.

While focusing, the photographer can zoom in on specific details with up to 10x magnification of the image displayed on the LCD screen. Two types of auto focus are available: Quick AF flips the camera mirror momentarily to engage the AF sensor; Live AF uses the image contrast data to focus - a method familiar to anyone upgrading from a compact digital camera.

The viewfinder now displays all key exposure information including ISO speed. The addition of spot metering (4% of viewfinder) allows for greater control over exposure in tricky lighting conditions. PictBridge functionality has been expanded so that photographers can correct horizons and add picture effects before printing. A new high capacity battery extends shooting time on a single charge to a maximum of 500 shots.