Canon today announced the EOS 20Da Digital SLR camera which fits the needs of astrophotography with features such as live preview LCD and a modified low-pass filter optimized to help photograph the clear night sky in superb detail.
The low-pass filter positioned in front of the EOS 20Da's 8.2-megapixel CMOS sensor has been modified from the EOS 20D to yield sharper and higher contrast images of various astronomical phenomena such as diffuse reddish nebulae. The modification increases the transmission of light at the specific wavelength of 656nm, known as the Hydrogen Alpha line, or Ha wavelength, by a factor of 2.5x compared to the standard EOS 20D digital SLR. Although optimized for astrophotography, the EOS 20Da can also be used for most conventional photography by mounting an optional filter on the lens in use.**
"The EOS 20Da digital SLR is a direct result of Canon addressing the specialized needs of the astrophotography market," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ). "By offering the EOS 20Da, we hope to make it both easier and more cost effective for astronomy enthusiasts to photograph the heavens, as well as events here on earth."
While traditional digital SLRs lack a live preview due to the blocking of the image sensor by a reflex mirror and shutter, the EOS 20Da digital SLR addresses this issue by locking up the mirror and opening the shutter to display a magnified live view of the subject on the 1.8" LCD monitor. (This feature is effective for clear night viewing conditions only.) To help ensure a sharp focus, the central portion of the image can be magnified on the LCD by 5x (4% of the picture area) or 10x (1% of the picture area). The live view mode can also be viewed through most TV monitors while connected to the EOS 20Da camera's video OUT terminal.
Photographers can also attach the EOS 20Da digital SLR to a telescope through the use of widely available optional T-mounts. The EOS 20Da is also compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, the world's largest selection of interchangeable autofocus lenses, including select image stabilized telephoto lenses.
The EOS 20Da digital SLR features enhanced noise reduction for long exposures, achieved by incorporating an optimized CMOS control system. A custom function is also available for noise reduction, so users can enjoy the wide array of ISO settings ranging from 50-3200.
The EOS 20Da retains the same features that have made the EOS 20D digital SLR a favorite among discerning photographers, such as Canon's own DIGIC II processor for low noise, high speed, and excellent image quality. Other features include a nine point autofocus system, full manual controls, up to five frames per second burst mode, and a choice between RAW, JPEG, and RAW+JPEG image recording capabilities. To reduce vibration at the start of the exposure, self-timer and mirror lock-up functions are integrated into the camera. The camera also features a backlit LCD display on top for easy adjustments of camera settings in the dark.
To support the needs of astrophotography, Canon provides a full line of EOS system accessories compatible with the EOS 20Da digital SLR. For better control over shutter release timing and to reduce vibration, Canon offers remote control solutions like Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3, as well as Remote Switch RS-80N3. When the camera is attached to a telescope, low angles make composing shots through the viewfinder difficult. Canon's response is the Angle Finder C which attaches to the camera's eyepiece. To increase battery life for even longer exposures, Battery Grip BG-E2 is available. It accepts two rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries or widely available AA-size batteries.
The Canon EOS 20Da will start selling next month for $2199.