Canon EOS 550D


  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£750.00

Given its ‘baby EOS 7D’ credentials, the 18-million-pixel, video-enabled Canon EOS 550D could be the perfect choice for the enthusiast on a budget. We put it to the test

Dynamic range

A densely packed sensor can be a recipe for low dynamic range images, but Canon engineers have managed to crack this particular problem and the EOS 550D has a very respectable dynamic range of 12EV. Like all Canon’s recent DSLRs, the EOS 550D has both Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) and Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO) modes to boost the effective dynamic range of images by darkening the highlights and brightening the shadows respectively.

However, Canon has now decided that using both of these together can be detrimental to image quality, and as with the EOS 7D it is not possible to use HTP and ALO at the same time on the EOS 550D. Although HTP can be useful when highlights need protecting, it works by reducing the exposure and darkening the brightest areas. Consequently, many enthusiast photographers will find it better to reduce the exposure and use the ALO options (Low, Standard, Strong and Disable) to determine the degree of brightening to be applied to the shadows.

  • External mic: Yes
  • Video: 1920x1080pixels (at 30fps, 25fps or 24fps), 1280x720pixels (at 60fps or 50fps), 640x480 pixels (at 60fps or 50fps), MOV files with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3.0 to +1 dioptre, 19mm eye point
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, plus custom setting
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 13m @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC or SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: Penta mirror
  • Output Size: 5184x3456 pixels
  • LCD: 3in LCD with 1,040,000 dots
  • Field of View: Approx 95%
  • AF Points: 9 (with centre-cross sensor) individually selectable points, auto or manual selection possible
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes over 3 images
  • Sensor: 18-million-effective-pixel CMOS sensor
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/200sec
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.6x
  • Exposure Modes: Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, 6 scene modes and Creative Auto
  • Weight: 530g without battery or card/s
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion LP-E8 battery
  • File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus bulb
  • Drive Mode: 3.7fps for 34 large/fine JPEG files or 6 raw images
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Dimensions: 128.8x97.5x75.3mm
  • Metering System: 63-zone evaluative metering (linked to any AF point), centreweighted, partial (9%) and spot (4%)
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Compression: Two-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3EV or 1/2EV steps
  • RRP: £799.99 body only
  • Lens Mount: Canon EF-S (compatible with EF)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, automatic AF, continuous AF
  • ISO: 100-12,800
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Tested as: Entry-level DSLR

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