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Canon EOS 550D Review




When the Canon 550D was announced last February, I thought it would have been a great dSLR for me had I not upgraded to the 7D earlier. Check out my review below and let me tell you why.

First, let me disclose that I am a long-time fan of Canon cameras. Ever since I got an Ixus 30 almost a decade ago, I’ve always used a Canon — upgrading from the 350D to the 40D and now the 7D. My impressions might be slightly biased but I try my best not to.

Also, my experience with other camera models is very limited but hopefully, that too will change in future reviews.

The Canon 550D unit that was lent to me came with a standard kit lens (18-135mm f/3.5-5.6). It’s pretty capable and can do much of regular shooting needs. The body feels solid despite being mostly build out of hard plastic. It’s not as rugged as my 40D or 7D nor is it as weather-proof (I dropped my 7D in the freezing [-2 degrees] streets of South Korea and it didn’t even felt it) but it’s more than good enough for an entry-level dSLR. It also helps that the entire set is relatively smaller and more lightweight.

Here’s the complete specs of the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D:

• 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
• Digic 4 image processor with ISO 100-6400 (expansion to 12800)
• Continuous shooting at 3.7 fps
• 3-inch LCD with Live View
• Full HD 1080p movie recording (manual control and selectable frame rates)
• iFCL metering system with 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor
• Exposure Compensation +/- 5 stops
• Supports high capacity SDXC memory cards

Canon added a bit more features and capabilities when it upgraded the EOS 500D to the EOS 550D:

Canon 550D vs. Canon 500D
18MP vs. 15MP
ISO 100-6400 vs. ISO 100-3200
3.7 fps vs. 3.4 fps
+/-5 vs. +/-2 Exposure Compensation
1080p 30fps vs. 1080p 20fps

Like its other earlier siblings, the Canon 550D supports all EF and EF-S lens mount with an equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens.

Canon has also continued using the SD/SDXC memory cards in favor of the big CF cards from the days of the 350D. This could be due to two things — smaller form factor and easy (less expensive) for consumers to shift to dSLR from point-and-shoot since both now uses the same type of storage cards.

The 550D inherits that same familiar control layout with very few cosmetic changes. The settings are displayed on the 3-inch screen and it doesn’t have that separate LCD beside the knob we normally see with the 50D and 7D. Nevertheless, controls are easy to find and navigate, especially if you have prior experience with other Canon cameras.

Image quality is great, even with the kit lens. Photos are crisp and colors are natural. I would not say they’re very impressive since a closer look of the sample photos show it’s not that super sharp and looks a bit smoothed-out (the lens used is also a factor here though).

Canon bumped the ISO rating to 6400 (can be extended to 12800) which is helpful in low-light situations. Couple that with a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens and you’re set to shoot the Women’s UAAP Volleyball games at The Arena in San Juan.

Nevertheless, the 550D didn’t fail expectations for an entry-level upgrade. You can see full set of photos in the gallery here. The large 3-inch LCD also helps the user to preview shots more effectively (oftentimes, photos looked sharp on the small screen but turns out to be blurred once transferred to the PC).

I think it’s in the video recording department that the Canon 550D did very well. Aside from the full upgrade to 1080p at 30fps, it can also do up to 60fps at 720p (great for capturing slow-mo shots).

Took this video footage using the 550D attached with a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens .

The Live View feature is very useful when shooting videos but the built-in mic can only record mono. Good thing there’s a port for external attachment of a stereo mic if you need to get good quality audio together with the video.

Here’ another clip using the 550D with an 18-135mm lens (pardon the crappy editing).

Since recording HD videos involves huge amount of data, it is best that the SD card used is in the vicinity of Class 6 for best performance (the one I used for this test was Class 2 and it barely manage to cope up with the file writes).

The 1500mAh Li-Ion battery lasts for several hundred shots but I think it easily drains when capturing video. I also noticed the battery (LP-E8) is also different form that of the 450D and 500D (LP-E5).

The Canon 550D is often referred to by a lot of people as the “baby 7D” because it inherited some of the 7D’s features while still allowing room for the budget-conscious buyers. The unit is best suited to those who are looking for good-quality dSLR that takes great stills and also has HD recording capabilities.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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36 Responses

  1. I just got one of these :)

    Feels great and shoots great. Definitely top of the line entry level.

    Couldnt get a 18-135 as they were all out of stock and on order basis from Japan. All I could find was on the grey market and one for sale at a Canon Concept Store (expensive). Had to settle for the 18-55.

  2. Teknisyan says:

    for 45k the 550D is a good buy.. I sure hope that I can get my unit soon.. so I can start shooting.

    but nikon fanboy are debating that D5000 is far better camera than 550D.

    which one is the winner? not sure.

    checkout the chart that I made between 550D, 500D and Nikon D5000

    http://www.teknisyan.net/2010/06/canon-eos-500d-vs-canon-eos-550d-vs.html

  3. poche says:

    45k? around 39k pababa lang yan.

  4. Euan says:

    Sir Yuga, what are Class 6 SD Cards?? Ngayon ko lang kasi narinig na merong class ang mga SD Cards. How will I know if the SD card I’m buying is a Class 6? Where do I need to look?

  5. 36k ata for body lang
    42-45k with 18-55 kit
    maybe about 55k-60k for 18-135 kit

  6. Fleeb says:

    @Euan, yung classes ng SD card defined yan ng SD association.

    Rating – Write Speed in Mbits/s – SD Class

    13× 16.0 2
    26× 32.0 4
    32× 38.4 5
    40× 48.0 6
    66× 80.0 10
    100× 120.0 15

    http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/speed_class/

  7. citroen says:

    I’m planning to buy either canon 550d or nikon d90, but there are rumors that nikon will release new cameras. Is it true? Since according to reviews nikon d90 is way better than canon 550d in terms of picture quality. They are just increasing the pixels but the sensors are still the same, is it also true? tnx!

  8. rene says:

    like @citroen very much interested to know which is better the nikon d90 or canon 550d, are they of the same class? thanks!

  9. Fleeb says:

    It’s D90 vs 50D.

  10. android_fanboi says:

    this quotes bothers me

    …oftentimes, photos looked sharp on the small screen but turns out to be blurred once transferred to the PC..

  11. yuga says:

    @android_fanboi – holds true with most camera with smaller screens.

  12. oky says:

    wowh this is cool.. i wanna it…

  13. Efren Sy says:

    Please give some advise

    some store is offering me this package for the Canon 550d

    550D twin lens kit w/18-55mm/55-250mm IS lens – P 50,600

    Is this already a good deal or is there some other retailers where I could get the same package more affordable?

    I know its already a basic kit to get the 18-55mm lens

    is it still recommended to get the 18-135mm or its better to go with the 55-250mm?

    Please help

    thanks in advance

  14. adam says:

    Do you really like canon brand or maybe want to try canvasing first for other brands like nikon and olympus. I think this model is expensive.

    Download Plants vs Zombies full version free

  15. adam says:

    I would prefer Nikon D90 instead.

  16. ben david says:

    if you want to buy cannon or nikkon just read the forrum cannon vs nikkon,. you can see that cannon has the small edge againts nikkon,..,.ask the store at hidalgo, near raon. they also sell the most cheapest price for this cameras. and they can give you good advice regarding this cameras,,

  17. Elwin says:

    hi,
    do still rent out your 10-22 lens? where can i get intouch.

    thanks
    elwin
    09189080800

  18. Wendy says:

    Hello, I’ve read your review, thanks! This gave me a relief and made me feel better and happy that I bought mine :-)

  19. Marky says:

    Hello there…:)

    I’m using Canon 450D since March this year and i want to upgrade it to Canon 550D.. I’m wondering is there any way that i can swap it or trade it and just add a little amount so that i can get Canon550D?

    Or since my DSLR had been used for 5 months now, can i find a place or a store where they are buying second-hand DSLRs?

    Thanks! :)

  20. I love this camera.It has unique features and perfect for a newbie or a professional photographer.

  21. Zsolt Huszar says:

    Nice review.I love canon camera too.It has unique features.I do believe that this camera is one of the top brands in the market.

  22. maree says:

    @mark, how much for your canon 450D, im interested..want to upgrade from my canon IXUS too..

  23. jpspade28 says:

    may nikon d7000 na.i much prefer nikon.

  24. annlou says:

    hi im planning to buy too DSLR camera. how much kaya ito sa hidalgo? any idea guys? thanks

  25. Al Sap says:

    question mga guru’s, i recently had a motorcycle accident wherein i was carrying my 450d – damaged talaga sya like natuklap yong lenses don sa mount area…

    question is – on the assumption that it is far more expensive to repair it – what can i ‘salvage’ from my broken cam? fyi, it can still be turned on so i guess battery and memory card are the ones ready for salvaging.

    any more thoughts?

    TIA!

  26. butch says:

    dear friends where can buy the accessories of the eos 550D especially the lens, best regards……………..

  27. mrguy101 says:

    Avoid Jessie Atillas of prudent outsourcing business development corp. kuno! They will totally waste your money 100%! just a warning.

  28. tnx. are ther 550d canon for yuo mach.

  29. Robert says:

    The 550d is a good camera and if used with quality lenses, the results are great whether for video shooting or photography. We always bring with us the 550d when shooting property videos using a ultra-wide Sigma. The only negative point is the overheating issue especially in warmer climates. Let us hope the future 650d will address the issue of overheating.
    http://www.balivillarent.com

  30. gino says:

    tanong lang po san po ok bumili ng 550d na may warranty on parts and service.. thanks

  31. ayse says:

    süper makina en büyük hayalim

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