Canon has brought ‘Full’ High Definition video and a 15.1-million-pixel imaging sensor to the EOS 500D, a new digital SLR targeting the photographic enthusiast.

The 500D boasts a newly designed APS-C size CMOS imaging sensor, Live View, and an equivalent ISO of 100-3200, expandable to 12800.

The 500D has been ‘designed from the ground up’, said Mike Owen, photo products team leader at Canon Europe’s Planning Division.

Key features include the option to shoot movies at a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels and a top continuous still image burst rate of 3.4 frames per second.

Owen explained that the 500D can shoot Full HD video at 20 frames per second.

The maximum file size for video recording is 4GB which allows Full HD movie clips slightly longer than 12mins, he said.

Consumers can also choose to shoot movies at 30fps using a lower ‘HD’ resolution of 720×1280 pixels.

Positioned above the EOS 450D – but ‘not replacing’ it – the 500D sports a 3in LCD screen carrying a resolution of 920,000 pixels. This screen technology is borrowed from Canon’s higher-end 50D and 5D Mark II models.

Also inherited from its higher-end siblings is Peripheral Illumination Correction, a type of vignetting control that allows the camera to detect the type of lens attached to the body and make adjustments accordingly. This feature can be upgraded using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional raw processing software which comes bundled with the camera.

Priced £869.99 body only, and due in shops from ‘early May’, the 500D deploys the same nine point AF (with cross type centre point) system and 35-zone TTL metering as the 450D model. It also uses the same battery and is compatible with the same optional battery grip.

In the United States the camera will carry a body only price of ‘$799.99’, according to the US press release.

Trumpeted as ‘compact and lightweight’, the camera measures 128.8×97.5×61.9mm and weighs 480g.

Also on board is Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System and Digic 4 image processor.

The EOS 500D features a redesigned sensor but Canon Japan has so far remained tight-lipped on the technical details.

However, Amateur Photographer readers will be able to read more about this in the printed version of the magazine due out later this week.

The camera will be out in the UK body only and, initially, in two kits. One outfit includes an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, priced £969.99; and the other kit includes an 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, priced £1399.99.

NEWS UPDATE 30 March 2009: Canon responds to rip-off Britain claims over 500D camera

Click here for What Digital Camera‘s video preview of the Canon EOS 500D

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