Canon's splashy announcements so far this year have all involved high-end products that are little more than eye candy for most people, but now the company's introducing something for the rest of us: the EOS Rebel T4i, or 650D in Europe. The new camera is physically virtually identical to the T3i (which will still be sold as a lower-end model in the lineup), but it comes with some important upgrades. The T4i has a new 18-megapixel APS-C sensor, plus Canon's Digic 5 processor — it's sadly not the blazing fast Digic 5+ in the 1D-X, but it's enough to let the T4i shoot up to five frames per second, and have ISO range up to 25,600. Some of the 5D Mark III's video enhancements have been added, like the on-camera audio leveling that made the Verge video team a happy bunch. Autofocus has been improved, and there are some new scene modes and filters as well. The Rebel lineup has always been geared toward buyers moving up from a point-and-shoot, and Canon reps said the T4i is more consumer-friendly than ever.
Another feature that's going to appeal to novice users is the new 3-inch, touch-enabled LCD on the camera. Reps couldn't stop talking about how good the touch experience is, and after spending some time with the camera it's hard to disagree — it's incredibly responsive and accurate, so even though Canon's menu is still filled with tiny icons you can still press them and move around accurately.
Canon also announced two new lenses, the first in the STM line. STM stands for Stepping Motor, and mean that the lenses focus quickly, smoothly, and silently. The pitch is no joke, either: even as we held the lenses to our ears, there's no sound coming out whatsoever. The lenses use both phase-detect and contrast-detect autofocus simultaneously to make focusing insanely fast on the T4i, and the combination allows for a Canon first: continuous autofocus during video recording. You won't get the hybrid autofocus on other cameras, though the STM lenses work on other Canon DSLRs. There are two STM lenses coming out along with the T4i — an 18-135mm at f/3.5-5.6, and a tiny 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens that almost feels like it's not even there.
The T4i will be out at the end of June. You'll be able to buy the body alone for $849, the body and the standard 18-55mm kit lens for $949.99, or the body and the new 18-135mm STM lens for $1199. If you're only shopping for lenses, the 18-135mm lens will cost $549.99 and and the 40mm will run you $199.99.