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Canon EOS 550D review

18MP sensor and full HD movie mode at a keen price - so what is the catch?

canon eos 550d

Despite lacking the tough alloy frame of the 7D, the build quality of the EOS 550D is pretty good.

The plastic chassis manages to feel stiff and sturdy without being heavy, and the EOS 550D is certainly lighter and easier to lug around than a more pro-spec'd camera.

The ergonomics and menu layout are generally good too. The three-inch rear LCD is easy to read and manipulate in all but the poorest light, coming as it does with a resolution of 1,040,000 pixels.

eos 550d

This rear LCD is also a big help when recording and previewing moves in Live View mode. The top viewfinder is a bit small in comparison to the rear LCD; we had to squint through it a bit, and it's not the greatest aid to composition if, like this reviewer, you are cursed with a big nose.

Otherwise the various dials and buttons are well laid out and easy to manipulate, and it's nice to have a dedicated ISO button.

The EOS 550D strikes the perfect balance between the ease of use of an entry level Canon SLR and a more pro-spec'd model like the 7D; we're impressed.

canon eos 550d mode dial

The top mode dial looks a bit crowded, mainly because Canon's still insisting on squeezing on all those dumbed-down exposure presets that you get on beginner DSLRs (portrait, landscape, and so on). We reckon the boffins have got room for about three more icons before the whole wheel fills up!

It's not a big problem, but the clutter makes it easy to fail to notice the movie mode icon at the end and the extra CA (Creative Auto) mode, introduced with the EOS 50D.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution18 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
Product FamilyEOS
ColourBlack
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameCanon
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)530 g
Maximum Image Resolution5184 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate50 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Display Screen TypeLCD
Total Camera Resolution18.7 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody Only
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height97.3 mm
Width128.8 mm
Depth62 mm
Autofocus Points9
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesManual, Auto
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product Model550D
Product NameEOS 550D Digital SLR Camera
Product LineEOS
Manufacturer Part Number4463B016AA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.canon.co.uk
Marketing Information

Capture your story in stunning detail with the EOS 550D. With the creative freedom to capture the decisive shot, see all the detail of your holiday sunset or follow action in the local football match. Ideal for those who want to create large, poster-size prints or crop images without losing any of the detail necessary for printing EOS 550D's 18MP CMOS sensor is outstanding in low light, and produces images with incredibly low noise.

Display Resolution1040000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year