Canon EOS Kiss Digital demo on display

On Aug. 20, Canon announced the new EOS Kiss Digital (EOS Digital Rebel in the US and EOS-300D in other areas) digital SLR camera to be available for sale from Sept. 20.

The camera is now on display for you to touch and feel at Canon Service Stations in Japan.

I went to the Ginza branch (Tokyo) and tried out the camera for the first time. It was light and compact, much more so than the EOS 10D. Very impressive. Finally, a D-SLR for the rest of us. This camera definitely ushers in a new era in digital SLR cameras. Rival makers (especially Nikon) will have to come up with entry-level models of their own because that’s where the market and money is. But technology-wise (CMOS sensor, optimized lenses for D-SLRs, USM, etc.), Canon already has a leg up on everyone else, so it’s going to be tough for Nikon, etc.

Being an entry-level, affordable digital SLR, it completes Canon’s digital SLR line-up which already includes the top-of-the-line EOS-1Ds for pros and the midrange EOS 10D for advanced amateurs.

The lightweight and compact Kiss Digital boasts a 6.30 megapixel CMOS sensor (22.7 x 15.1mm) and compatibility with all Canon EF lenses and EOS accessories. The new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens (equivalent to 29-88mm) developed and optimized especially for the Kiss Digital will also be available together with the camera in an optional kit. The street price in Japan for the camera and lens is expected to be around 140,000 yen. Also, complementing the EF-S lens will be the new EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6II USM lens (40,000 yen retail) to be marketed at the same time.

With the milestone Kiss Digital, Canon hopes to entice more users to buy or switch to a D-SLR to greatly expand the digital SLR market. It also aims to claim a 50% or larger market share for D-SLRs.