TODO alt text

Canon EOS 550D review

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

Our Verdict

For

  • Quality build
  • High-res 18Mp sensor
  • Superb ISO performance
  • Improved intelligent metering
  • Full HD movie recording

Against

  • Plastic body only
  • Cheap and basic kit lens
  • Cramped optical viewfinder
  • Cluttered top dial
  • Clunky movie autofocus

550D

Even though it was only announced fairly recently, we're already seeing the EOS 550D discounted to around £740 with the 18-55mm kit lens, which makes it an extremely good buy.

While the lens is pretty basic, the camera itself is built to an extremely high standard, and is replete with helpful features that you normally only get on DSLRs costing several hundred pounds more. Remember also that the camera will be available with a range of lenses, so you are not just restricted to the 18-55mm kit lens.

We liked:

It's worth buying the EOS 550D just for the astonishingly good high ISO performance and sophisticated full HD movie recording; throw in cutting-edge metering and a quality 18-megapixel sensor capable of recording exquisitely detailed shots, and you've got a killer deal.

While the EOS 550D is a great upgrade from an entry level DSLR, it would also make a great first SLR, as it's very easy to use. Considering how much camera you're getting for the money, we predict it will convince a lot of Nikon and Sony DSLR users to make the switch.

We disliked:

The lens is a let down after the camera, but you can't have everything for just over £700.

It's not necessarily a bad lens, just cheap and basic, and it doesn't do the rest of the camera justice. Apart from this we're struggling to come up with many downsides.

OK, HD movie recording could be slicker, the top dial has more icons than a Greek Orthodox church and the optical viewfinder is cramped, but these are niggles rather than deal breakers.

Verdict:

The EOS 550D is something of a triumph. Shoot in RAW, invest in some decent back-up lenses and spend time studying the various exposure modes and options, and the EOS 550D will reward you with pro-quality images at a mass-market price.

And you'll be able to record quality HD home movies too. What's not to like?

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
Flash ModesFlash ON, Flash OFF, Red-eye Reduction, Auto Flash
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