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.
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.
Picture:Canon Europe’s Mike Owen with the new EOS 550D, an 18MP DSLR
Page Two: Full UK specification, kit prices and more pics
Full specification, as supplied by Canon UK:
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
Type DIGIC 4
Lens Mount EF/EF-S
Focal Length Equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens
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
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
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
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)
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”
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
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”
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
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
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
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”
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
Histogram “Brightness: 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
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)
Canon Printers Canon Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge
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”
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”
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
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)
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