Canon’s successor to the EOS40D is now a matter of public record.

The most important issue for me as an EOS40D owner is the degree of light sensitivity the new model camera offers; the 40D goes to ISO 1600 and will “push” to ISO 3200. The 50D goes to ISO 3200 and will “push” to ISO 12800, which is a huge improvement, particularly for wide-field astro photography which is an interest of mine, but also for low-light shooting in general. Higher ISO capabilities extend the range of situations any lens can be used in, a very welcome upgrade.

Among the sample images is one of a race car that was shot at ISO 1600; examining the dark areas of the shot, much less noise is evident than I would have expected based on my experience with the 40D. This is hugely encouraging.

The leak exposed a number of photos and diagrams that relate directly to the EOS50D; you can view those here, in a new flickr group I’ve created to support the camera and its users.

I hope that the leak is an indicator that we don’t have too long to wait for this camera; the nature of the leak was a full set of web pages describing many aspects of the camera in Chinese; all manner of details on the sensor, features and more were displayed in what appeared to me to be ready to market form. Now, my Chinese is poor, especially when I try to use it in a non martial arts context; so there were many things I wasn’t able to understand. However, one thing was clear, and that was that the pages looked to be describing a feature-complete product.

With Photokina coming soon — September 23rd, 2008 — in Cologne, Germany, and with Nikon figuratively biting at Canon’s heels with the superb D700, I would not be even a little bit surprised if the camera was publicly announced on or before the show.