At $1399 the new Canon EOS 50D has a whooping 15 MP of resolution. Compare that to the 10 MP of the model it replaces, the 40D, and you've got some notable improvement. What's most remarkable about the camera is that its ISO speed goes up to 12,800. It used to be that the highest ISO speed a camera would go to would be 3200. CNET has pointed out ISO 3200 is "now part of the ordinary range."
What you do have to remember is that like the 40D, the 50D does not have a full-sized sensor (the 5D has). It's sensor is 22.3×14.9 mm (a full-sized sensor is 36×24 mm). InfoSync has reported that the sensor has been improved. It uses "newly designed gapless microlenses over each pixel to reduce noise." Canon's also touting the fact that the camera has 14-bit conversion for smoother color tones and gradations.
Other notable features of the camera include: faster image processing, a 3-inch LCD screen with "smudge protection," automatic brightness correction, updated sensor cleaning system (the camera self-cleans its sensor using vibration), an auto lighting optimizer that makes dark subjects lighter.
The camera comes out in October.