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Canon Unveils Video-Recording d-SLR

Melville, N.Y. — Fast on the heels of arch rival Nikon, Canon introduced its first digital SLR capable of recording HD video.

The company also announced several fourth-quarter models in its G, SX and Elph model families.

The new EOS 5D Mark II joins Nikon’s new D90 as the only SLRs on the market capable of capturing HD video. Unlike Nikon’s model, which records video at 1,280 by 720, the 21-megapixel Mark II records 1,920 by 1,080 resolution video at 30 fps in the MOV format. It can also record VGA/30 fps video.

The 5D Mark II features both an internal microphone and an input terminal for external stereo microphones, as well as an HDMI output.

It features a newly designed full-frame CMOS sensor, Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor and a sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 25,600. It can burst at 3.9 fps for an unlimited number of full resolution JPEGs or up to 14 RAW image files (with a UDMA CF card). According to Canon, the new CMOS sensor incorporates an improved output amplifier and a more advanced color filter for better light transmission.

The camera offers a 15-point Autofocus (AF) sensor, a 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD, an optical viewfinder with 98 percent coverage and 150,000-cycle shutter. It will pack three live-view autofocus modes: Quick, Live and Face Detection Live modes. It also carries over several features introduced on the 50D last month, including peripheral illumination correction, auto lighting optimizer, a full creative auto mode and two new RAW file formats.

The d-SLR will ship in November. A body-only kit will retail for $2,699. A 5D Mark II bundled with a an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens will retail for $3,499.

In December, Canon will ship the new EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens for $1,699.

Canon also updated its high-end G series of compact digital cameras. The 14-megapixel PowerShot G10 features a 28mm, 5x optical zoom with optical image stabilization, a 3-inch LCD, manual modes and RAW file capture.

Thanks to the G10’s DIGIC 4 engine it offers a new Servo AF feature for maintaining autofocus on moving subjects. Canon also added a self timer feature to its face detection mode. When a face enters the scene, the camera will automatically snap a photo of it after two seconds.

The G10 ships next month for $499.

A new ultra-zoom will join the ranks of the company’s SX series. The 10-megapixel SX10 IS sports a 20x optical zoom lens (28 mm – 560 mm, 35mm equivalent) with optical image stabilization, a 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD and the ability to simultaneously capture still images while recording video.

The SX10 records VGA resolution images and features a new Voice Coil Motor (VCM) that Canon said enables faster focusing speed while reducing focusing noise.

Additional features include 24 shooting modes (including manual), Servo AF, intelligent contrast detection and face detection self-timer.

It will ship next month for $399.

Finally, a pair of new digital Elphs will join the company’s line in October. The SD880 IS Digital Elph cameras. Both incorporate the new DIGIC 4 engine and feature Servo AF, face-detection self timer and intelligent contrast control.

The 14-megapixel SD990 IS, for $399, features a 3.7x optical zoom lens and a quick-shot mode. It will sell in black or silver, with a limited-edition model available in red and sold exclusively through

The 10-megapixel SD880 IS sports a 4x optical zoom, wide-angle lens, a 3-inch LCD and motion detection.

It will be sold in two body colors — black and silver, or gold and brown — for $299.