Expert Review of Canon EOS 550D DSLR Kit EF-S18-135mm IS II Black
Canon has launched its new camera, the Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) which boasts to be the smallest and lightest DSLR of its group. Being no different from its predecessor in terms of build quality, this new camera is well assembled and has a solid body with a fine finish. Though it lacks weather proofing, it gives a comfortable grip and has well placed function buttons for suiting the user. The Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) employs a 9-point AF system arranged in a diamond pattern with red dots illuminating within the squares through the viewfinder to indicate which are active. The digital, single-lens reflex, AF / AE camera uses Canon EF lenses on the Canon EF mount. The CMOS image sensor helps capturing beautiful pictures in approx. 18.00 megapixels. The camera has an interesting dust deletion feature which has different modes like the Auto, Manual, Dust Delete Data appending. Similar to its counterparts, it allows the user to click pictures in different styles like the portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and monochrome. To balance the light there are different modes like daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, light, white fluorescent light, flash. If you are a novice at using a camera, you have an auto mode for almost all the settings to get you ready to start shoting in one go.
There is also function of automatic Image Brightness Correction, Auto Lighting Optimizer with Face Detection, Highlight Tone Priority, Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction! The Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) uses a eye level pentamirror as a viewfinder and quick return type mirror. The camera also boasts of other functions like exposure control, auto flash, AE lock etc. The camera has different shooting modes for still imaging and movie recording. It allows focusing in quick mode, live mode, Live face detection mode and manual. The camera has a LCD on which playback is possible of both movie and images. There is also an option of cutting and editing first and last scenes from the recorded movie. To browse images, one can browse one by one, jump by 10 or 100 images, jump by screen, by shooting date, by movie or by stills. The camera uses a digital terminal for personal computer communication and direct printing (Hi-Speed USB) , audio (stereo) / video output (NTSC / PAL) to establish a good user interface. It si Eye-fi card compatible and uses a Battery Pack LP-E8 for power.
Design and Build Quality
Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) is the smallest and lightest DSLR of its group, measuring 129x97x75mm (including the protruding flash head) and weighing 527g for the body including battery. In terms of build quality, Canon EOS 550D is no different from its predecessor, or indeed the model before that. All are well-assembled and fairly solid with no creaks or poor joins to worry about, although as you'd expect at this price point, there's no weather-proofing. The grip and thumb rest sport comfortable rubber grips which allow you to hold the camera securely, even single-handedly so long as the lens isn't too large. In terms of controls, Canon EOS 550D is essentially the same as its predecessor with only a handful of tweaks. The upper left side is again left bare, with the bulk of the controls located on the right side of the body. Starting on the upper right surface, there’s the main Command Dial, rotary power switch, dedicated ISO button, finger dial and shutter release button.
Focus and Face Detection
Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) employs the same 9-point AF system as the EOS 500D and the EOS 450D before that. These are arranged in a diamond pattern with red dots illuminating within the squares through the viewfinder to indicate which are active. The three AF modes also remain the same as before: One Shot for use with still subjects, AI Servo for moving subjects, or AI Focus which lets the camera decide between the two.
Lens and Image Stabilization
The EF-S 18-135mm IS is a good match for Canon EOS 550D. It delivers a very flexible range which takes you from wide-angle to decent telephoto, and is only out-gunned in this respect by the EF-S 18-200mm IS super-zoom model.
Screen and Menus
Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS)’s screen measures the same 3in as Canon EOS 500D, but is the first on a Canon DSLR to employ a wider 3:2 aspect ratio which perfectly matches the shape of its images. Previous Canon DSLRs and indeed most rivals used squarer 4:3 aspect ratio screens which meant images in Live View or playback had black bars above or below when the entire frame was viewed.
Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) is powered by a new LP-E8 Lithium Ion battery pack with a much higher 1120mAh rating than the 720mAh of the LP-E5 which powered Canon 500D and 450D. With approximately 50% more capacity, you'd expect a considerable boost in the number of shots you can take, but Canon quotes just 10% more than its predecessor: 440 under CIPA conditions with 50% flash usage.
Not a disappointment probably, Canon EOS 550D features nothing less than the same video capabilities of the high-end EOS 7D. So it's out with the disappointing 20fps 1080p mode of its predecessor and in with 1080p in the choice of 24, 25 or 30fps, along with 720p and standard definition options, manual exposure control, an external microphone input, and a brand new feature you won't even find on Canon EOS 7D, let us keep that a secret now.
Canon EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135 IS) features an 18 Megapixel CMOS sensor with gapless micro-lenses which delivers the same resolution as the high-end EOS 7D.
High resolution 18 Megapixel stills.
Adjustable HD resolution and fps with mic input.
Superb high resolution screen with 3:2 shape.
Confident 63-zone metering system from 7D.
Modest 3.7fps shooting and small RAW buffer.
Screen fixed in position, unlike several rivals.
Average 9-point AF system and viewfinder.
Compelling rivals if you don't care for 1080p movies