Canon has today announced the EOS 550D, an 18-million-pixel DSLR boasting 'Full HD' video and 'semi-professional' features, targeted at the enthusiast market.

Page Two: Canon UK confirms EOS 550D and UK price

Canon has today announced the EOS 550D, an 18-million-pixel DSLR boasting ‘Full HD’ video and ‘semi-professional’ features, targeted at the enthusiast market.

Canon EOS 550D DSLR: FULL SPEC HERE

AP’s Canon EOS 550D hands on preview HERE

AP video interview with Canon Europe about the EOS 550D

Safety fears prompted EOS 550D battery change

The EOS 550D is due in shops on 24 February priced £799.99 (body only).

The 550D does not replace the entry-level EOS 450D or the EOS 500D, but will sit above them in the range – below the higher-spec, £1,800, EOS 7D.

Both the 500D and 450D will continue said Canon Europe’s Photo Products planning manager Mike Owen.

In an interview with Amateur Photographer (AP), Owen said the EOS 550D is aimed at photo enthusiasts and the ‘top end’ of the consumer DSLR range.

Closing the gap

He said its launch will ‘blur the line’ between Canon’s entry-level and ‘mid-range’ DSLRs where, he admitted, there has in the past been a ‘gap’.

The EOS 550D houses a new 18MP APS-C size CMOS imaging which, says Owen, is similar to the sensor on board the semi-professional EOS 7D but with ‘fewer channels’.

It boasts a top burst rate of 3.7 frames per second for up to an, unconfirmed, maximum of 250 frames (depending on memory card). And it incorporates a Digic 4 image processor.

Canon has redesigned the body to include a rubber grip and a more textured feel.

With the inclusion of Full HD video (1,920×1,080 pixels) Canon will be hoping to attract punters outside the traditional photography arena.

There is a burgeoning interest in HD video, creating a potential new market for camera makers.

The firm revealed that its UK office receives up to five phone calls a day from budding filmmakers wanting to borrow the Full HD-equipped Canon EOS 5D Mark II professional-level DSLR for student and/or documentary projects.

‘It [HD video] will be a useful tool for many different photographers and creatives,’ said Owen.

Manual movie control

Using HD movie on the 550D, photographers can control the shutter speed, aperture and equivalent ISO – allowing control of depth-of-field, for example.

To aid handling, a ‘stop/start’ movie activation button has been added to the 550D, a camera that can record a maximum of 12 minutes of HD video at one time, according to Canon.

The EOS 550D has a built-in microphone and will be compatible with an optional external microphone (3.5 mm socket), according to Canon.

It also features a built-in HDMI port so that images can be viewed on an HD-compatible TV.

In a first for Canon, the 550D adds a movie crop function that records using the central ‘640×4890 pixel’ area of the sensor – to create an effective magnification of ‘approximately seven times’, according to the firm.

The 550D is also the first Canon DSLR to accept SDXC memory cards. It will also be compatible with Eye-Fi, a memory card that allows images to be transferred over a Wi-Fi [wireless] network.

Billed as an ?evolution from previous models? ? and another EOS first – the 550D allows the user to set a top ISO limit when using the automatic ISO mode in a bid to allow them to control over the maximum amount of noise they want in their images.

The camera’s 100-6400 ISO range is expandable to ‘12,800’.

And the 3in dot Clear View LCD screen features an aspect ratio of 3:2, designed to mirror the ratio of the sensor, said Owen. Canon has boosted the monitor’s resolution to ‘1,040,000’ dots.

Owen said that he expects a combination of camera features to attract buyers, rather than one single aspect. ‘Outstanding stills and movies bring convergence of technology closer together at a price point that people would not have thought achievable in the past,’ he told us.

Build quality differences over the camera’s EOS 7D (£1,799.99) sibling include a plastic body (the 7D has a magnesium-alloy shell), a slightly smaller grip and lack of weather-sealing.

The debutante borrows the 9-point AF system from the 500D, while technology trickling down from the 7D includes iFCL metering. This aims to use focus, colour and luminance information to determine ‘consistently exposed shots’.

The 7D’s technical superiority includes an 8fps burst rate and 19 AF points (ten more than the 550D), for example.

New metering sensor

A new metering sensor features 63 zones, arranged in a ‘dual layer’ – designed to combat overexposure that can result from metering sensors typically being more sensitive to red subject, explains Canon.

Armoury also includes Canon’s EOS Integrated [sensor] Cleaning System.

The newcomer measures 128.8×97.3x62mm and weighs around 530g.

A dedicated battery grip (BG-E8) will be available, compatible with AA batteries. This will cost £159.99.

Canon UK has confirmed that the EOS 550D will be available in two kits: one that includes an 18-55mm, priced £899.99 and another with an 18-135mm lens costing £1,099.99.

There will also be a ‘dual kit’ (18-55mm plus 55-250mm zoom), priced £1,199.99.

Canon EOS 550D DSLR: FULL SPEC, KIT PRICES AND MORE PICS HERE

AP’s Canon EOS 550D hands on preview HERE

AP video interview with Canon Europe about the EOS 550D

Canon EOS 7D launch news.

canon 550 imageCanon's Mike Owen with EOS 550D

Picture:Canon Europe’s Mike Owen with the new EOS 550D, an 18MP DSLR

Page Two: Full UK specification, kit prices and more pics

AP’s Canon EOS 550D hands on preview HERE

Canon EOS 550DCanon EOS 550D

Full specification, as supplied by Canon UK:

IMAGE SENSOR

Type 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS

Effective Pixels Approx. 18.0 megapixels

Total Pixels Approx. 18.7 megapixels

Aspect Ratio 3:2

Low-Pass Filter Built-in/Fixed with Self Cleaning Sensor Unit

Sensor Cleaning EOS integrated cleaning system

Colour Filter Type Primary Colour

IMAGE PROCESSOR

Type DIGIC 4

LENS

Lens Mount EF/EF-S

Focal Length Equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens

FOCUSING

Type TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated with a CMOS sensor

AF System/ Points 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at centre, extra sensitivity at f/2.8)

AF working range EV -0.5 -18 (at 23°C & ISO100)

AF Modes “AI Focus

One Shot

AI Servo “

AF Point Selection Automatic selection, Manual selection

Selected AF point display Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD monitor

Predictive AF1 Yes, up to 10m

AF Lock Locked when shutter button is pressed half way in One Shot AF mode.

AF Assist Beam Intermittent firing of built-in flash or emitted by optional dedicated Speedlite

Manual Focus Selected on lens

EXPOSURE CONTROL

Metering modes “TTL full aperture metering with 63-zone SPC

(1) Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points)

(2) Partial metering at center (approx. 9% of viewfinder)

(3) Spot metering (approx. 4% of viewfinder at center)

(4) Center weighted average metering”

Metering Range EV 1-20 (at 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens ISO100)

AE Lock “Auto: In 1-shot AF mode with evaluative metering exposure is locked when focus is achieved.

Manual: By AE lock button in creative zone modes.”

Exposure Compensation +/-5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB).

AEB 3 shots +/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments

ISO Sensitivity2 AUTO(100-6400), 100-6400 Expandable to H (approx 12800) in 1-stop increments

SHUTTER

Type Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter

Speed 30-1/4000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)

WHITE BALANCE

Type Auto white balance with the imaging sensor

Settings “AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White

Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom

White balance compensation:

1. Blue/Amber +/-9

2. Magenta/ Green +/-9″

Custom White Balance Yes, 1 setting can be registered

WB Bracketing “+/-3 levels in single level increments

3 bracketed images per shutter release

Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias”

VIEWFINDER

Type Pentamirror

Coverage (Vertical/Horizontal) Approx. 95%

Magnification Approx. 0.87x

Eyepoint Approx. 19mm (from eyepiece lens centre)

Dioptre Correction -3 to +1 m-1 (dioptre)

Focusing Screen Fixed

Mirror Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4 or shorter)

Viewfinder Information “AF information: AF points, focus confirmation light

Exposure information: Shutter speed, aperture value, ISO speed (always displayed), AE lock, exposure level/compensation, spot metering circle, exposure warning, AEB

Flash information: Flash ready, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation, red-eye reduction light

Image information: White balance correction, SD card information, monochrome shooting, maximum burst (1 digit display), Highlight tone priority (D+)”

Depth of field preview Yes, with Depth of Field preview button

Eyepiece shutter On strap

LCD MONITOR

Type 7.7cm (3.0″) 3:2 Clear View TFT, approx. 1040K dots

Coverage Approx. 100%

Viewing Angle (horizontally/vertically) Approx 160°

Coating Dual Anti-reflection, anti smudge

Brightness Adjustment Adjustable to one of seven levels

Display Options “(1) Quick Control Screen

(2) Camera settings”

FLASH

Built-in Flash GN (ISO 100, meters) 13

Built-in Flash Coverage up to 17mm focal length (35mm equivalent: 27mm)

Built-in Flash recycle time Approx. 3 seconds

Modes Auto, Manual Flash On/off

Red-Eye Reduction Yes – with red eye reduction lamp

X-sync 1/200sec

Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments

Flash Exposure Bracketing Yes, with compatible External Flash

Flash Exposure Lock Yes

Second Curtain Synchronisation Yes

HotShoe/ PC terminal Yes/ –

External Flash Compatibility E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wireless multi-flash support

External Flash Control via camera menu screen

SHOOTING

Modes Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, No Flash, Movie, Program AE , Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, A-DEP

Picture Styles Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)

Colour Space sRGB and Adobe RGB

Image Processing “Highlight Tone Priority

Auto Lighting Optimizer (Basic and Creative modes)

Long exposure noise reduction

High ISO speed noise reduction

Peripheral illumination correction”

Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self timer (2s, 10s+remote, 10s + continuous shots 2-10)

Continuous Shooting Max. Approx. 3.7fps. (speed maintained for minimum of approx 34 images (JPEG)3, 6 images (RAW)4)

LIVE VIEW MODE

Type Electronic viewfinder with image sensor

Coverage Approx. 100% (horizontally and vertically)

Frame Rate 30 fps

Focusing “Manual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)

Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode”

Metering “Real-time evaluative metering with image sensor

Active metering time can be changed”

Display Options Grid overlay, Histogram

FILE TYPE

Still Image Type “JPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.21 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0),

RAW: RAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition),

Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant “

RAW+JPEG simultaneous recording Yes (RAW + Large JPEG only)

Image Size “JPEG: (L) 5184×3456 (M) 3456×2304, (S) 2592×1728

RAW: (RAW) 5184×3456″

Movie Type MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)

Movie Size “1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)

1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)

640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)”

Movie Length Max duration 29m 59sec, Max file size 4GB

Sound Files “(1) Consecutive numbering

(2) Auto reset

(3) Manual reset”

OTHER FEATURES

Custom Functions 12 Custom Functions with 36 settings

Metadata Tag User copyright information (can be set in camera)

LCD Panel / Illumination Yes

Playback zoom 1.5x – 10x enabled in 15steps

Display Formats “(1) Single image with information (2 levels)

(2) Single image

(3) 4 image index

(4) 9 image index

(5) Jump Display”

Slide Show “Image selection: All images, by Date, by Folder, Movies, Stills

Playback time: 1/2/3/5 seconds

Repeat: On/Off”

Histogram “Brightness: Yes

RGB: Yes”

Highlight Alert Yes (Shooting information display only)

Image Erase/Protection “Erase: Single image, Checkmarked images, Unprotected images

Protection: Erase protection of one image at a time”

Data Verification Original image verification data can be appended to the image (OSK-E3 required for verification)

Menu Categories “(1) Shooting menu (x4)

(2) Playback menu (x2)

(3) Setup menu (x3)

(4) My Menu”

Menu Languages “25 Languages

English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese”

Firmware Update Update possible by the user

INTERFACE

Computer Hi-Speed USB

Other Video output (PAL/ NTSC) (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible), External microphone (3.5mm Stereo mini jack)

DIRECT PRINT

Canon Printers Canon Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge

PictBridge Yes

STORAGE

Type SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card

SUPPORTED OPERATING SYSTEM

PC & Macintosh “Windows XP (SP2/SP3) / Vista inc SP1 (excl. Starter Edition) / 7 (excl. Starter Edition)

OS X v10.4-10.6″

SOFTWARE

Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser

Image Processing Digital Photo Professional

Other “PhotoStitch, EOS Utility (inc. Remote Capture, Original Data Security Tools*), Picture Style Editor

* Requires optional accessory”

POWER SOURCE

Batteries 1 x Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8

Battery life “Approx. 440 (at 23°C, AE 50%, FE 50%)5

Approx. 400 (at 0°C, AE 50%, FE 50%)”

Battery Indicator 4 levels

Power saving Power turns off after 30sec or 1, 2, 4, 8 or 15mins

Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-E8, Battery charger LC-E8, LC-E8E

PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Body Materials Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber

Operating Environment 0 ? 40 °C, 85% or less humidity

Dimensions (WxHxD) 128.8 x 97.3 x 62 mm

Weight (body only) Approx. 530g (CIPA testing standard, including battery and memory card)

ACCESSORIES

Viewfinder Eyecup Ef, E-series Dioptric Adjustment Lens with Rubber Frame Ef, Eyepiece Extender EP-EX15II, Angle Finder C

Case Semi-Hard Case EH19-L

Wireless File Transmitter All EF and EF-S lenses

Flash Canon Speedlites (220EX, 270EX, 380EX, 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Macro-Ring-Lite, MR-14EX, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2)

Battery Grip BG-E8

Remote Controller/ Switch Remote Switch RS-60E3, Remote Controller RC-6

Other Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3

All data is based on Canon standard testing methods except where indicated.

Subject to change without notice.

1 With EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM at 50kph

2 Recommended Exposure Index

3 Large/Fine (Quality 8) resolution

“4 Based on Canon’s testing conditions, JPEG, ISO 100, Standard Picture Style.

Varies depending on the subject, memory card brand and capacity, image recording quality, ISO speed, drive mode, Picture Style, Custom functions etc.”

5 Based on the CIPA Standard and using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera, except where indicated