The Canon 550D, though seems slightly pricey, is a stunner. With a lot of features that parallel much higher-end models, it’s definitely does not disappoint in any way.
The camera feels comfortable in the hand, due to its small size, light weight and curves. People with larger hands may find the grip insufficient, but otherwise rubber grips work decently well.
Canon has made the user-interface very simple despite the high specifications that the camera has, and a newbie may not find it too hard to navigate through the menus and make settings. It has a very clean layout of controls, with most of them on the rear right, and just the input dial, ISO button, shutter release button, and the exposure mode dial on the right top, with the on/off switch. The two buttons on the left are placed in such a way to make sure that they do not cause inconvenience while holding the camera.
Sample Canon 550D images
The high-resolution display screen (LCD) is brilliant, with bright, vibrant colours and great clarity. The view-finder is good, with a hood to protect from glare, and has a dioptric correction facility.
Going on to the specs, the 550D boasts of an 18MP CMOS sensor, with ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 6400. The ISO is expandable upto 12800, but with this setting, the picture quality disappoints.The auto-focus works pretty well, and is very fast, but sometimes focuses a little ahead of the object; it has a 9-point AF system, shaped in a diamond array, and different focusing modes allow the user to choose any one, or all of them. The flash integrated into the camera is very good, and covers for wide-angle lenses, too.
The camera supports HD video recording, at 1080p, with upto 30 frames per second. For an SLR camera, the video quality is lovely, with an option to plug in a 3.5 mm jacked microphone.
The white balance options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Custom, which can be defined by the user. The drive modes include single-shot, continuous shooting, self-timer and remote-controlled shooting. Metering modes include the usual center-weighted, spot, evaluative, and also partial mode, which Nikon contemporaries lack.
The camera takes less than a couple of seconds to recover from one shot; the continuous shooting speed is average. Starting up the camera takes quite some time, due to the sensor cleaning cycle, but that can also be interrupted with a half-press of the shutter release. Only entering the live-view mode can seem irritating, as it takes upto several seconds to load.
The 550D runs on an LP-E8 battery, which gives the user 420-450 shots using the view-finder, depending on whether they’re shot continuously, or the camera is turned off and on repeatedly. Using the flash would reduce battery life, and on live-view, the user can get a maximum of 200 shots; the battery gives upto one and a half hours of video recording.
The Canon 550D definitely does what it is built for, to take great pictures. The features do not disappoint, and are worth the price tag it carries. Specially for people who are new to DSLR photography, the camera will prove to be a delight, with all its high-end features and easy handling. So, you know we’re saying it’s worth buying!
Happy clicking away time!
Images: © Santosh B