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The only change on the front of the camera is a badge saying 50D, rather than 40D, and in fact a more detailed look around the camera doesn't give many more clues. The top of the mode dial is now silver, rather than deep gray and features a new, 'CA' (Creative Auto), mode. But there is another change - and one we're quite pleased to see - the addition of a useful purpose to the 'direct print' button. The much maligned print button now doubles-up to give direct access to live view.

The construction and materials percolate down from the previous EOS x0D cameras, with a two piece magnesium shell making up much of the front and rear of the camera. This time, however, Canon says it has improved the manufacturing tolerances, to ensure closer shut-lines and a greater degree of protection against the elements.

Side by side

Placed alongside the 40D, it's hard not to wonder whether it would have been faster to use PhotoShop than to photograph them alongside one another. We've heard few complaints about the 40D's design, however - perhaps Canon's decision not to make changes simply for their own sake is justifiable.

In your hand

In your hand the EOS 50D is exactly the same as the EOS 40D and, as we said about that cameras, it feels solid, reliable and 'well sorted' from an ergonomics point of view. (Much more so than the Rebel line of cameras below it).

LCD Monitor

One of the most striking differences is the provision of a greatly improved LCD. The size remains unchanged at 3.0" but the resolution rises from 230,000 dots to 920,000. This is effectively a change from 320 x 240 RGB pixels to 640 x 480 RGB pixels, putting it on a par with the latest high-end Nikons and Sony A700. It also features a three-layer anti-reflective coating that seems pretty impressive, compared to the other cameras in the office.

LCD control panel

On top of the camera is a large LCD control panel which provides a wide range of information about camera settings and exposure. The main numeric section of the panel doubles up to provide other types of information such as the 'Busy' warning, AF point selection etc. The panel appears to be identical to the one found on the 40D.

A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagrams below.