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Canon EOS 550D DSLR Body Black - Expert Reviews
Canon EOS 550D is the latest SLR in the consumer focused EOS camera series. This Canon camera sports an 18 megapixel optical sensor and is capable of shooting at a Full HD resolution (1920x1080). The camera uses a 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor powered with a DIGIC 4 processor. The Canon EOS 550D uses the standard 3:2 aspect ratio and is a suitable buy for first time DSLR buyers or enthusiasts. It's fantastic for HD movies and great for low-light, high-ISO shooting, but, in terms of ordinary, everyday stills photography, it offers little advantage over other cameras. Under the skin, the Canon T2i brings a few features from Canon's EOS 7D model into a Rebel-class body, creating a brother to the 7D.
Design and Build Quality
Apparently designed to appeal to first-time DSLR buyers and enthusiasts, it offers a lot more technology, and at a higher price, than we might expect for a camera aimed squarely at this sector. Although it might seem logical for the 550D to replace the EOS 500D, the older camera is set to continue in Canon's lineup, which leaves the 550D pinched between its entry-level and nominally enthusiast peers. Confusingly however, apart from build quality (which is all but identical to the 550D has more in common with the EOS 7D, and - perhaps even more confusingly - it out-specifies the EOS 50D in many areas. The body is the same light but tough polycarbonate plastic over a steel chassis, and the physical dimensions are almost identical at 128.8 x 97.3 x 62mm. The 550D is approximately the same weight too, weighing 526g body-only but including battery and memory card, making it quite a bit smaller and lighter than the other cameras. The handling and balance of the camera are as good as you'd expect from Canon, with a large rubber-coated handgrip and a large thumb-grip area on the back.
Focus and Face Detection
There are three auto focus options in Live View, including Quick, Live and Face Detection. The use of the Quick mode briefly interrupts the live view feed as the mirror is momentarily lowered so that the AF sensors can be engaged, and it also involves a lot of mirror slapping for the same reason. Live view mode circumvents this problem by employing a contrast-detect method. While this is slower, and sometimes it may still take up to three seconds for the camera to lock focus in this mode, It has found that about half a second was enough most of the time. This is still too slow for anything that moves - use the optical finder and the regular auto focus module for that type of shooting - but it is perfectly satisfactory with still subjects. Obviously, a user can also opt to focus manually - the large and high-resolution screen is a real boon to those who do this on a regular basis. As noted above, user can even magnify into the live image, by up to 10 x, which allows very accurate focusing.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Canon's has been trying to expand its range of consumer cameras especially in the mid-range area, launching the 15-megapixel EOS 500D towards the end of last year, and now following it up with a new mid-range model, the EOS 550D. The EOS 550D is available for just under £700 body only, or around £750 with the kit 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S image-stabilized lens.
Screen and Menus
Most of the retooling and rethinking can be found on the back of the Canon T2i. Though it's subtle, Canon's switch from a 4:3 screen to a 3:2 screen has a dramatic effect on where some of the controls land, and may contribute to the one millimeter reduction in the Canon T2i's height. Button design has changed quite a bit on the Canon T2i, moving from primarily circular buttons with nothing printed on them to larger shaped buttons, some with words and icons printed on them. It does make the labels clearer, especially with reduced real estate for labels next to buttons because of the wide-aspect LCD. The variation in button shapes also makes them easier to identify without removing your eye from the viewfinder. Live View / Movie Recording has a new button in prime position for easy thumb activation, just right of the optical viewfinder.
The Canon 550D uses a new battery, the LP-E8 -- a 7.2V, 1120 mAh lithium-ion battery with concealed electrical contacts. Expected battery life is 440 shots at 72F, and 400 shots at 32F, based on CIPA testing standards which dictate 50% flash usage.
The EOS 550D's top-mounted shooting mode dial has a multitude of letters and icons. The so-called Creative Zone features Programmed Auto (P), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Manual (M) and A-DEP modes. The first four of these need no explanation, but A-DEP might be new to those who have never used a Canon SLR camera before. The abbreviation stands for Automatic Depth of Field, as in this mode, the camera will pick an f-stop that allows all the subjects covered by the nine AF points to be sharply rendered, and will also calculate and set the necessary shutter speed on its own. The camera also has a Full Auto and a Creative Auto mode, differentiated by the amount of user control provided over certain image parameters; and a host of scene modes. These include Flash Off, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait and oddly enough for an interchangeable-lens camera, a close-up mode as well. The majority of these scene modes allow users who do not want to fiddle with shutter speeds, f-stops, white balance or ISO settings to let the camera know what type of photo they are about to take, which helps the EOS 550D / T2i to optimize these settings for that particular subject
The 18Mp CMOS sensor gives a wider range of true ISO sensitivities than its predecessor, without having to enable the ISO expansion option in the menu. ISO6, 400 now comes as a standard option, providing a little more headroom for low-light shooting than its predecessor. An equivalent of ISO12, 800 can also be enabled through the ISO expansion option. The Auto ISO option has also been tweaked, with the ability to specify a maximum ISO being added. This is a welcome addition, as it will allow the user to prevent the camera from hiking the ISO too high to prevent camera shake. The Canon EOS T2i's design is based around a DIGIC 4 image processor and a newly developed CMOS image sensor that's very closely related to the chip
The canon 500D is featured with excellent high-definition movie mode has a good high-ISO performance. It is offered with great design and layout which attracts the users.
Details provided could be crisper than it is presently offered by this digital cam. Canon 550D needs a better and decent lens kit which could improve its functionalityand it is bit Pricey for an amateur camera.
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Canon EOS 550D DSLR Body Black Specifications
Lens Type Digital, Single-Lens Reflex
Auto Focus TTL Secondary Image-registration, Phase Detection
Manual Focus Yes
Focal Length 17 mm (Equivalent to 27 mm)
Aperture Range f/1.0 - f/91
Color Filter Primary (RGB) Color Filter
Optical Sensor Resolution 18 MP
Sensor Type CMOS Sensor
Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm
Optical Zoom 10x
Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec
Minimum Shutter Speed 30 sec
Digital Zoom 1.5x
Audio Video Interface A/V Output
Shooting Modes Movie Shooting, Still Photo Shooting
Microphone Stereo Microphone
Continuous Shots Up to 3.7 Shots at 1 fps
Self Timer 2 sec, 10 sec
Delete Function Yes
Metering AF Point, Center-Weighted, Evaluating, Spot
Supported Languages 25 Languages
ISO Rating ISO 100-6400
Image Stabilizer Yes
White Balancing Auto, Cloudy, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Light, Shade, Tungsten, White Fluorescent
Red Eye Reduction Yes
Face Detection Yes
Dust Reduction Auto, Manual, Dust Delete Data Appending
Exposure Compensation 5 EV in increments of 1/3
ViewFinder Eye-level Pentamirror
Display Type Liquid Crystal TFT
Screen Size 3 Inches
Image Display Resolution 1040000 dots
Video Display Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD)