Canon EOS 550D: What’s new?(Reviewed)

 

Canon EOS 550D mid-range 18.0 megapixel digital single-lens reflex camera derived from Canon EOS 500D, perfect for the people who are trying to enter the exquisite photography world. Canon EOS 550D offers quite new feature that you will find in pro camera such as EOS 7D and outcast the Canon EOS 50 D in many aspect. For the people who are looking the camera in mid-range budget for both the still and video photography, Canon 550D is a nice investment providing the full HD (1920 x 1080) movie recording  at a  various range of frame rates (20,25 and 30) with a special addition of external mic for better audio quality.

 

What are the key new feature in the Canon EOS 550D as compare to the predecessor Canon EOS 500D?

The improved metering system with 63 iFcl metering zone.

Higher Resolution of 18.0 megapixel as compared to the 15 pixel in Canon EOS 500d

Better Screen resolution with 1,040,000 dot pixels.

Full HD recording at a frame rates of (20, 25 and 30) and providing 720p at 50 fps for smoother motion capture much likely naturally appearing.

SDHX Compatibility

HDMI Capability: which allows to use compatible high-def. display’s remote control to operate certain camera functions when the video signal is passed through the cable.

 

 

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Major Specification:

Image Sensor: 18.0 million effective pixels.

Metering: Evaluative, partial, Centre-weighted metering and spot.

Effective Sensor Size: 22.3×14.9mm CMOS.

35 SLR Lens Factor: 1:6x.

Compatible lenses: Canon EF, EF-S mount.

Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.

Shutter Speed: Bulb, 60 to 1/4000 second, Bulb. Flash sync: 1/200 sec.

Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

Image Sizes (pixels): 5184×3456, 3456×2304, 2592×1728.

Movies: 1920×1080, 12809×720, 640×480 at 24/25/30fps.

Viewfinders: Optical pentamirror, 7.6cm LCD (1.04 million pixels).

File Formats: RAW, RAW+JPEG.

Color Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB.

ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12,800.

Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI, DC input, mic input.

Power: Rechargeable lithium ion/NiMH/4AA alkaline batteries, AC adaptor.

 

 

Image Sensor and Processor:

18.7 million effective pixels and 18.0 million total pixels

22.3 x  14.9 mm CMOS sensor

RGB Color Filter Array

Inbuilt  low pass filter with self-cleaning unit

The canon EOS 550D is using the Digic 4 image processor which provide ultra-high speed processing with  improved noise reduction, scene detection, face Detection and improved video capabilities. The memory in this processor is stored in the form of the layer for fast processing. The digitized light data is processed at the ultra-high speed and faces are detected on the basis of contour, it can defect up to 35 faces at a time. The whole face detection in Digic 4 processor is done on the basis of neural network technology which is the replica of the human brain operation

Also the Servo Focus Capability in the Digic 4 provide the face Detection even the subject is in motion. Also simultaneously it provide the color compensation, contrast compensation simultaneously.

 

 

Camera Design and Body:

The traditional design of the Canon EOS 550D have the no flash mode which does not allow the flash to pop out. The camera is so much ergonomically designed that it provide much  effective grip for the hands and possess the perfect assured position for switching the mode.

The EOS offered a new layout, the live view button does not share the functionality with the direct print button, and it is more toward the view finder. For people who are in habit of using the dial the quick control button is quite nicely placed, avoiding the searching through menus .Each of the functionality button is so nicely sunken giving the camera sleeks and attractive look. Also the size of the camera is not over scaled and weight is average with the lens .Definitely the small patches at the rear and the end make the camera avoidance to the slippage. Overall Canon has designed the camera more user friendly.

 

Following are the dimension of the camera with the weight:

Camera Dimension: 129 x 98 x 75 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.9 in)

Weight with battery: 530 g (1.17 lb)

 

Firmware and the Software:

The firmware used earlier for this camera was 1.08 which eradicated the main flaws in earlier firmware where the focus moves unexpectedly while shooting in manual video mode. Now currently canon is offering a 1.09 firmware which fixes the jump in tones when shooting with auto optimizer light setting.

 

 

Performance:

Canon EOS 55OD result shows beautiful rendered image with excellent color and sharpness, Fast autofocus, good shutter action makes it very competent. Also the automatic lens cleaning after every shutdown is an add on feature in the performance. In low light condition it’s quite competent but not great. Result till ISO 1600 are great and beyond ISO 3200 its average.

Image Quality:  For an Entry level dSLR, image quality is astonishing, quite likely to Nikon prosumer D90, and for an average user who is not very learned can get results.

Video quality: With the external mic feature and the shooting capability at 1080p with 25fps and smooth 720p at 50fps result produced out past the video capability of some camcorder at proper light condition but the lack of the image stabilization and no auto focus while shooting limits the credibility in the video.

 

Verdict:

With excellent equip feature canon 550D is winner in the market for both consumer and pro. Since most of the camera developed in this range target the ease of use. It cleverly added the Automatic functionality of point and shoot which is an advantage for a novice user also.  It also satisfies the need of the people who are looking for camera as an cam and camcorder both with full HD recording and external mic, but battery is a bit downgrade at 550 shot approximate per recharge; which is not very good for such a machine, even the 1100D offer better more juice in the battery.

For a new user Canon 550D is a great delight, but for a person who is having its predecessor Canon 550D with subtle margin is not a great option.