Canon EOS 550D

Released February, 2010
New: EOS 600D (Feb, 2011)
  • 17.9 MP
  • APS-C 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
The camera also delivers the best video capture quality I've seen in a sub-$1,000 dSLR-subject to the inescapable limitations the technology, like unusable autofocus-with good exposure, sharpness, minimal artifacts, and excellent audio.
by c|net (Apr, 2010)
8.8 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Canon EOS 550D

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

EOS 550D
8.6
EOS 70D
8.9
D5300
9.9
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range

Focusing

How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

EOS 550D
6.9
EOS 70D
10.0
D5300
8.4
Focus lag, cross type focus points and focus points

Responsiveness

How much delay is there between you and your photo?

EOS 550D
9.0
EOS 70D
9.6
D5300
9.0
Focus lag, continuous shooting and Startup delay

Reviews

What do the experts think?

EOS 550D
9.2
EOS 70D
9.5
D5300
9.1
Reviews from techradar.com, 1001noisycameras.com, trustedreviews.com and 4 more

8.8

Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

EOS 550D
8.8
EOS 70D
9.3
D5300
9.2

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Canon EOS 550D

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

EOS 550D
784 ISO
D5300
1,338 ISO
EOS 70D
926 ISO

Resolution Results from photos of standard resolution charts

EOS 550D
2,100 LPH
EOS 60D
2,800 LPH
Rebel T3i
2,500 LPH

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

EOS 550D
252 ms
EOS 70D
75 ms
EOS 1100D
110 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

EOS 550D
96 ms
EOS 70D
59 ms
EOS 60D
63 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

EOS 550D
400 ms
Rebel T3i
1,500 ms
Leica M9
800 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

EOS 550D
3.7 fps
EOS 70D
7 fps
Leica M9
2 fps

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Canon EOS 550D


7.7
It's an obvious point - higher resolution sensors make higher demands on lenses - but it is one which is easily overlooked in the race to put higher and higher pixel counts into low-end and enthusiast DSLRs.

9.0
The Canon EOS 550D's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography.

8.0
Shots at 1600 ISO are comparable with the results from the EOS 5D MkII, arguably the best high-ISO camera on the market, and even at 3200 ISO shots are perfectly usable, although quality does break down at the 6400 ISO maximum setting.

9.0
While the EOS 550D can shoot at 3.7 frames per second in Continuous Shooting Mode, it's restricted to 34 JPEG images, or six RAW files – so sports and action photographers might want to look elsewhere.

7.8
Canon excels with its noise-reduction algorithms, though it seems to start with a surprisingly low-noise image to begin with, at least at ISO 3,200.

Overall

8.4 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Sensor

Just remember that to make the most of all that extra sensor resolution you'll need to shoot in RAW, and get some extra lenses.
by TechRadar (Mar, 2010)
High ISOs are hardly headline news on consumer DSLRs these days, but the EOS 550D really does score 10 out of 10 in this area.
by TechRadar (Mar, 2010)
Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right: The RAW files were developed with Lightroom 3 Beta 2, using the software's default settings.
by Photography Blog (Mar, 2010)

Iso

The Canon EOS 550D offers a very wide ISO span by traditional standards, and one of the widest in it's class, from ISO 100-12800 (equivalent).
by DPReview (Apr, 2010)
It is clear from these images that low-contrast detail is very well-preserved in the raw files up to ISO 3200, and noise only starts to swamp detail at ISO 6400 and the highest available setting of 12800.
by DPReview (Apr, 2010)
Build quality is excellent, the control layout and handling are near perfect, high ISO noise control is superb and the new monitor is the best on the market.
by TrustedReviews (Jul, 2014)

Video

But overall the camera is fast, with great photo quality and relatively standout video that help put it over the top.
by c|net (Apr, 2010)
As our test movie reveals, the quality of the HD movies recording is impressive, with accurate colour rendition and motion tracking.
by TechRadar (Mar, 2010)
The latter is cumbersome, in part because the dial doesn't spin 360 degrees, so jumping between movies and still shooting modes is seriously annoying.
by c|net (Apr, 2010)

Image quality

This allows us to see the images in as close to their unprocessed state as possible, and it is obvious that at all NR settings, even 'off', the EOS 550D is applying some noise reduction to JPEG data before it is written to the card.
by DPReview (Apr, 2010)
Given the density with which its sensor is packed with photodiodes, the EOS 550D delivers an impressive balance between detail capture and noise reduction at its default noise reduction setting.
by DPReview (Apr, 2010)

Lens

You really need a couple of extra lenses, for example a wide angle and telephoto/superzoom, to enable the EOS 550D to reach its full potential.
by TechRadar (Mar, 2010)

Specifications Full list of technical specs

sensor

Type CMOS
Megapixels 17.9 MP
Resolution 5184 x 3456
Size APS-C
Area 22.3 x 14.9 mm
Crop factor 1.6x
Pixel size 18.5 microns
Light sensitivity 100 ISO to 6,400 ISO
Light sensitivity (Boost) 6,400 ISO to 12,800 ISO
Codecs
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes
Tested vertical resolution 2,100 LPH
Tested horizontal resolution 2,100 LPH

focus system

Type Phase detection
Focus points 9
Cross type focus points 1
Supports continuous No

shutter

Min 30 s
Max 1/4000 s

form factor

Size 129 x 98 x 62 mm
Thickness 62 mm
Weight 530 g
Is weather sealed No

features

Is a smart camera No
Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR No
WiFi None
Automatic panorama No
Create realistic 3D images No
Image stabilization None

video

Video 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps
Shoots video in 24p Yes
Shoots high speed video No
External mic jack 3.5mm
Autofocus while shooting video None

display

Type LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 1,040 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen No
Supports live view Yes

viewfinder

Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentamirror
Coverage 95%
Magnification 0.87x
Viewfinder size 0.54x

performance

Max continuous shooting 3.7 fps
Battery life 440 photos
Continuous shooting 3.7 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 252 ms
Shutter lag 96 ms
Startup delay 400 ms
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