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Canon EOS 500D DSLR Kit EF-S18-55mm Black - Expert Reviews
The first in the line of “Rebel” cameras from Canon, Canon EOS 500D DSLR, has maintained a firm grip in the camera world for quite some time now, the camera features a 15.1 megapixel sensor, pretty much the same as featured in Canon EOS 50D. But there are a number of key differences, starting with half the data transfer rate, responsible for the 500D/T1’s slower continuous shooting rate and its 1080p video mode only operating at 20fps. Additionally while the 50D’s sensor employed gapless micro-lenses, Canon EOS 500D does not, and Canon EOS 50D's fluorine anti-dust sensor coating is also not present here. But the 500D has one major feature missing from its higher-end counterpart. The headline new feature of Canon EOS 500D that's notably absent on any other DSLR at that time is HD video recording – indeed it’s only the second Canon DSLR to offer the facility after the high-end the EOS 5D Mark II. Unlike any model in the existing Canon EOS or compact range, Canon EOS 500D also offers a choice of HD video recording quality from 1080p or 720p, the latter allowing longer recording times and lighter files for editing. This is a considerate and welcome feature, although frustratingly the 1080p mode only records at 20fps compared to 30fps for the 720p option.
Design and Build Quality
Olympus E-620 and Nikon D5000 can be rightly called its major opponents, and talking about the exact measurements of the device, taking all the dimensions in account Canon EOS 500D falls somewhere in the middle of its two counterparts. Measuring 129mm x 98mm x 62mm, its 6mm shorter and 18mm thinner than the relatively chunky Nikon D5000, although a little taller and thicker than the compact Olympus E-620. In terms of weight, the E-620 unsurprisingly comes in lightest at 521g including battery or 711g with its 14-42mm kit lens, followed by the 500D at 530g with battery or 730g with its EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens, leaving Nikon’s D5000 as the heaviest at 611g including battery, or 876g when fitted with the DX 18-55mm VR kit lens. The built quality of 500D is identical to the earlier 450D: it feels well-assembled and fairly solid with no creaks or poor joins to worry about. The build quality is roughly similar to the Olympus E-620 and Nikon D5000, although the former’s smaller size gives it a slightly higher density and a subtle impression of greater solidity in your hands.
Focus and Face Detection
Canon EOS 500D employs the same 9-point AF system as the EOS 450D / XSi with a centre cross sensor; these are arranged as a diamond pattern with red dots illuminating within the squares through the viewfinder to indicate which are active. The three AF modes remain the same as before though: One Shot for use with still subjects, AI Servo for moving subjects, or AI Focus which lets the camera decide between the two. Press the focus area button and you can use the cross-keys to manually select a single focus point or use the finger dial to cycle through the options.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Canon EOS 500D is available as a body alone or in a kit with a stabilised zoom lens. Most geographic regions will be offered the standard EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens, which offers a basic 3x optical range that’s equivalent to 29-88mm; as the most common option, this is the lens we used for our tests. Alternatively, some regions may offer the 500D in a kit with the EF-S 18-200mm IS super-zoom, which boasts a much longer 11x optical range equivalent to 29-320mm. The design and build quality of this lens are roughly the same as the EF-S 55-250mm IS, with a large zoom ring closest to the lens mount and a thinner manual focusing ring towards the end of the lens. The manual ring turns when auto-focusing, but since your grip is further back on the zoom ring, it’s not a problem. The filter thread is 72mm and the end section of the lens does not rotate while focusing, which is good news for users of polarisers.
Screen and Menus
The Canon EOS 500D’s screen measures the same 3in as Canon 450D, but becomes the latest Canon DSLR to feature VGA resolution. This gives it 920k pixels in total, or a resolution of 640x480 pixels instead of the 320x240 pixels of typical 230k monitors. This matches the specification of models like the Canon EOS 50D, Nikon D90 and Sony A700; indeed it can be understood that it is the same screen as that used on both the higher-end EOS.
The power generating unit of Canon EOS 550D is still the same light grey 1080mAh LP-E5 Lithium Ion battery pack as its predecessor Canon EOS 450D. Canon quotes 400 shots under CIPA conditions compared to 500 on Canon EOS 450D; this figure falls to around 170 shots when exclusively using Live View, and if you’re shooting lots of movies expect it to fall even quicker. Canon reckons you’ll get just over an hour of video recording using a fully-charged battery.
A mark out performance by the device in this column, Canon EOS 500D is genuinely the first Canon camera, DSLR or otherwise, to offer the choice of HD recording in either the 720p or 1080p formats. This is a considerate touch for those who prefer the longer recording times and more manageable files of 720p, but there are caveats involved with the higher of the two formats: the most obvious being the 1080p mode only records at 20fps, compared to 30fps for the 720p option.
The camera features a 15.1 Megapixel sensor, pretty much the same as featured in Canon EOS 50D. Canon describes the CMOS sensor as being almost the same as the 50D's, and indeed beyond resolution it also shares the same sensitivity range and 14-bit processing.
High resolution and broad sensitivity of the device.
HD movie mode and HDMI output.
VGA screen with accurate Live View.
Remote control and RAW software supplied.
Needs decent optics to exploit resolution.
Screen fixed in position, unlike several rivals.
1080p only at 20fps and no external mic input.
Some focusing issues with our sample.
Canon EOS 500D DSLR Kit EF-S18-55mm Black - User Reviews
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Canon EOS 500D DSLR Kit EF-S18-55mm Black Specifications
Optical Sensor Resolution 15.1 MP
Sensor Type CMOS Sensor
Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm
Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec
Minimum Shutter Speed 30 sec
Lens Type Digital, Single-Lens Reflex
Auto Focus CT-SIR with 9-Point
Shooting Modes Movie Shooting, Still Photo Shooting
Continuous Shots Up to 3.4 fps
Self Timer 2 sec, 10 sec
Metering Center, Partial, Spot
ISO Rating Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 (6400-12800 with boost)