808 of 820 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2010
Put simply this is the most important camera to be released in years.
What I find astonishing that people have spent £750 on a DSLR as good as this and complain about the video issues. I work in TV and deal with professional cameras and footage for broadcast on a daily basis and I can tell you with every bit of my professional opinion that this camera is outstanding.
The stills are incredible and while the only frustrating video issue is the lack of audio control or monitoring, which can be compensated by recording on to a separate device and sync by clapper, the video is absolutely fantastic. Easily broadcastable when in the right hands.
Could you even imagine a camera capable of all this, for this price 10 years ago? 5 years ago? a year ago?
Please do not look any further, this camera has incredible video and still performance with interchangeable lens capability and with a decent mic attached could be a broadcast kit that could fit in a small bag.
I have a XH-A1 for personal use at home and I am already using this more. It doesn't have quite the same features and manual controls, but hey, the XH-A1 cost £2500, This costs about £700 and has equally good image production. In some ways is even more flexible with changeable lenses.
I can not recommend any product I have ever bought as highly as this.
Keen Amateurs, Holiday makers, Semi Professional Videographers... It's all there for you!!
261 of 268 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2010
I've just bought this Canon 550D with the 18-135 IS lens and have so far been very impressed. It handles low light shooting very well, as a result of the IS facility and very high ISO ability.
The range coverage of this lens is excellent, from landscapes to close ups and the images I've got so far are very sharp and detailed. It can shoot in RAW mode along side high quality JPEG, so you have an image ready to show (JPEG) and an image you can tinker about with (RAW) on your computer until it is perfect (the provided Canon software makes it very easy to do). Navigating around the camera menu becomes a breezes after a few practices, although keep the manual nearby as there is a wealth of information to digest from it. The screen on the back is fantastic and crystal clear. The camera feels comfortable to hold (even in my big paws!) and is not to heavy to cart around. The microphone port is also a welcome new addition as it will allow you to capture the sound in stereo and enables you to choose your microphone weapon of your choice rather than being condemned into using the built in microphone (which does the job).
The only moan about this kit is that the AF is bit noisey, as it's not a USM lens, but if you want a comparable zoom range in a Canon USM lens you'd be paying a hell of lot more money (eg the 15-85 IS USM).
A couple of tips before I go
1) Buy a decent SDHC card like a Sandisk Extreme with a class 10 rating, preferably 16GB or more (for the video capture side of things especially). Don't be lured into buying a cheap card because it has a high capacity as it won't read and write the data fast enough to
be of any good, especially the HD video. Canon recommend at least a class 6 card.
2) Get a powerful computer. I am going to upgrade my desktop PC (or get something else). It has a 3.4Ghz AMD processor (albeit 5 years old), 1GB RAM and 256MB graphics, running with Windows XP. It can't seem to handle displaying the captured HD video and is slightly slow in processing the RAW images (each of which can be around 24MB in file size).
Overall a top piece of kit that you won't be disappointed with.
178 of 183 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2010
After researching for several weeks through Canon's large variety of DSLRs, I came to the conclusion of purchasing a 500D because of it's high reputation. Just as I was about to seal the deal, I came across the not-so-much talked about 550D. Although higher in specifications, I was unsure whether or not its lack of hype was due to poor quality or its more recent debut: I decided to add to basket and cross my fingers.
Wow. In replacement to a Sony Cybershot, it seems as if any photo taken is stunning. The image quality is superb and the auto settings make a world of difference. Although not the most pricey of the Canon EOS range, the camera feels utterly professional. The battery life passed my expectations and the flash is a beast, albeit sometimes I find myself switching to 'Flash off' mode. The body is sturdy and lightweight and the HD video function is fantastic.
My only complaints are that the microphone isn't great and tends to pick up a lot of 'fuzz' and that the mode settings utilize the wheel to navigate as opposed to the generic d-pad. Moreover, the pros outweigh the cons marginally hence my high rating.
The perfect 'first real camera' for any aspiring photographer whose ready to up their game. Although pretty big bucks, you won't regret it; I know I haven't!
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2010
I previously owned a Canon 400D dSLR and a Canon HF100 HD camcorder. In short the 550D blows them both out of the water for what I use it for - which is predominantly a family camera for photographing and filming the kids. The 18mp resolution is a little unnecessary in my book, but it's definitely useful for when you need to crop a shot - you can crop and awful lot and still end up with a decent resolution photo. Then main advantages it has over the 400D (for me at least) are that the menu's are vastly improved, the low light real-world shooting is much better and the body it's self just feels a little more solid and nicer to hold and use (the button placement has been very well thought out for such a small camera).
Compared to the HF100, the HD videos the 550D shoots are (in terms of visual quality) stunning, and I can't see myself going back to using a regular camcorder any time soon. OK so it's no as use friendly as a camcorder would be but if you're not scared of using manual focus all the time and don't need to shoot anything for more than 12 minutes continuously (the HD video limit for all today's dSLRs I think), the 550D shoots very very nice looking videos. What surprised me was the sound quality - it was a lot better than I expected it to be! It's on par with the sound my HF100 used to take anyway. I was expecting it to be very tinny or 'cheap' sounding as I'd read the audio from the inbuilt mic's on the 500D and 7D's mic's are, but it's not at all bad and fine for home movies. It's mono, not stereo, and the mic pics up any taps and buzzes the camera makes, but as long as you're careful while handling the camera when filming it's not a problem at all.
As this was the 550D Body Only I got, I got the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens to use an an 'everyday' lens to go with it. This is an excellent little lens for the money. After mainly using a Canon 50mm f/1.8 on my 400D for the last couple of years but commonly feeling the need for a slightly wider angle, I really wanted another fast prime lens, and I read a lot of good things about the Sigma - all of which have so far shown true. Compared to the Canon 50mm f/1.8, the Sigma 30mm is much, much more solid lens and 'feels' like a better product. The sharpness is spot on (i'm sure some Canon L lenses are way better, but who really looks at photos zoomed in at 100% anyway) and the f/1.4 comes in very handy. I was unsure whether to get this lens or something like the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for it's zoom range - but I'm glad I got this little Sigma prime. I imagine it'll be on my camera 90% of the time and so far it's focusing and build quality have blown me away. The weight of the 550D + Sigma 30mm makes for a good solid SLR camera to carry around all day.
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2010
For justifying this 5* star score I compare this camera to the 2 I have previously owned (Panasonic Lumix FZ28, Sony Cybershot W200) and other DSLR's I have had experience with (EOS 450D, EOS 20D, Sony A200, Nikon D60 and D3000).
I was initially looking at getting a 450D or 500D and the D3000/3100 Nikons. The reviews and hype were really good for these 4 and for my first DSLR I wanted something easy to get to grips with but with a significant step up from my Lumix. The guy in the shop I purchased it from pointed out the newer 550D. So I researched it and found out it was a significant update of the 500D putting it toward the range of the D5000 and 7D and surpassing the 50D in a few areas! Just with slower performance being the critical difference. I decided shot to shot performance wasn't important to me (I like setting up my photos a bit) and went for the 550D, and boy is it worth the extra buck!
I purchased the camera with the two kit lenses, ef-s 18-55mm and ef-s 55-250mm. I must say from my experience with kit lenses these aren't half bad (compared to the Nikon and Sony ones). Getting really nice sharp photos can require messing with the aperture and focal length a bit but they can both produce superb results. Especially shooting in RAW and using post-processing to dial out CA, barrel distortion and stuff.
The performance is great, starts up and shoots in well under a second. Shot to shot time with focusing is about as fast as you can press the shutter (and with a class 6, 30MB/s card it can shoot for a while) and in continuous it is 3.7fps. Auto mode is fast but generally overexposes my shots in my short time with it by up to about +1/3 EV. Nothing major but it can require going into manual to dial it out which if you just want a quick shot can be a little annoying. I also end up using the "no flash" mode as the flash can pop up in bright daylight and in fairly low contrast scenes which is a bit odd.
Image quality is superb. I compared shots directly to the micro four-thirds Lumix G2 my boss has and a friends EOS 7D. It beats the G2 hands down in any lower light conditions and with all general performance, sharpness and dynamic range. There is better noise control (clean shots up to around 1000-1200 ISO) and the images are so detailed in RAW. I was expecting the 7D to trounce the 550D, but from all the shots I did with both I couldn't really tell the difference. OK, the 7D is lightening quick and more versatile, but for image quality using the same lenses they are very evenly matched. So overall I am very impressed. Also 18MP gives you some great real estate for when it comes to extreme crops, with no increase in noise or drop in dynamic range.
Onto video quality. I haven't been thorough with this feature I'll be honest. I have taken a few 720p videos and 1080p videos and both look awesome. The focusing can be a bit all over the place in lower light so I used manual as the objects I was recording weren't moving fast. Sound, although mono, isn't the worst I have heard. There is an external mic socket though and from a few videos on youtube I have seen you can create some epic vids from this camera. This feature wasn't something that enticed me to buy the camera, just a useful add-on. But if you like HD video recording, the 550D is certainly no slouch.
I conclude that the EOS 550D is a very capable, if somewhat an enigma as to where it fits within Canons range, brilliantly designed and an easy to use camera. I plan to get an ef-s 15-85mm lens for the superior glass, but the lens kits can produce amazing photos for less notes.
I wouldn't tag this as the usual "entry-level"camera, where others such as the 1000D, D3000, Sony A200 etc. all fit in. If you are looking to step into the DSLR market but think you want more features and performance than the basic models and don't want to fork out for a mid or top-range DSLR then this is 100% the option.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2010
I obtained my 550D as a replacement for my 300D which was stolen. I originally was interested in the 500D, but decided that whilst I might not use many of the additional features, I would probably in time regret not having them, and so I plumped for the 550D.
It was an excellent decision. The camera fits beautifully to the hand, and though it is on paper quite heavy, it does not seem so in use. To begin with the array of knobs and dials looks quite intimidating, but it is easily possible to begin one's acquaintance with the camera by simply using the point-and-shoot mode, and by experimenting later with the other facilities as one's confidence grows. The large LCD screen gives a very clear image and it is easily possible to assess any photograph taken on-screen. The only snag I have discovered so far is that the very large image size - 7mb plus - means that shots tend to load rather slowly into a printer, but the quality of the result is more than worth the wait.
This camera is ideally suited for a newcomer to digital photography - point-and-shoot mode - and has enough facilities built in to satisfy all but the most demanding professional: I can thoroughly recommend it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2011
I'm an amateur film-maker and the 550d has been my best investment yet.
I've had lots of experience with DSLR cameras in the past so I was quite at home with the interface, manual controls cover the usual exposure features (ISO, shutter speed and aperture), there's full control of white balance with a "custom" feature which is very useful with fine tuning your colours. The 550d can record in PAL or NTSC with full 1080p HD, 720p and 540 SD quality with a variety of fps rates. There are two new features which I haven't seen before, which are Picture style and auto lighting optimiser, both are useful when calibrating a shot to your taste. The LP-E8 battery supplied is brilliant, I've never found myself needing to charge (although I've charged it when I have nothing better to do). I've used this camera every day since I bought it just under a week ago, I've made 6 short films and I've loved every second of using it. The kit lens supplied isn't the best quality but it does the job well, I have two other more expensive lenses (sigma 20-40mm and 70-200mm) from my previous DSLR. The internal flash is surprisingly good, set high to illuminate the whole of the photo's frame. The movie zoom function is SIGNIFICANTLY useful when finding a good focus length to film at. The internal mic isn't amazing, but a lot of the films I've made don't involve much recorded sound. I have an external mic (ZOOM H2) for recording sound, which I can hook up to my camera to record along to the video I film.
I've made this review because whilst convincing my parents to approve of my purchase, I found very few satisfying reviews which talked about the video function on the 550d, so I hope that any aspiring film-makers will see this and get peace of mind when buying.
Another thing to consider is that I rarely make reviews for products that I buy on amazon, partially because of the effort involved and partly because the product isn't outstanding. If I make a review of it, it has to be good! So go, buy this camera!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2011
The title sums up this review very well. This was my first ever DSLR camera and prior to this purchase I had no idea what an "aperture" was and what the "ISO" was or how metering worked. This camera revolutionized my way in which photography is viewed.
Pretty good, you won't expect magnesium alloy build at this price. It's made of a pretty tough polycarbonate plastic that will be able to take its fair share of knocks. The lens mount is metal and the LCD screen glass, so it's a fair weight, nothing too heavy.
Very very very good for the price. It's price quality surpasses that of the "Daddy" Canon 7D at all ISO ranges (light sensitivity for beginners). It has 18 megapixels which is more than enough and pictures appear very sharp at low ISOs with a good lens.
A good array of features which will interest the beginner. You can easily just shoot in Full Auto and not have to worry about the complex aspects of photography. You can set the ISO from Auto to 6400 with a H option (12 800) also available. The aperture can be changed like all DSLRS to adjust depth of field and to composite for low lighting conditions. The shutter speed can be also changed like all DSLRS from around 20 seconds to 1/4000, to allow you to freeze motion or blur it depending on the effect required. Metering can also be changed to allow spot metering, evaluative or centre metering. This means you can vary exposure depending on your scene.
Full 1080p recording is also available in various frame rates, 720p and standard definition can also be recorded. There are also specific modes for Portraits, Landscapes and Night shots so the camera is better prepared to adjust the Aperture or Shutter Speed if you are not sure.
It's a steal. No wonder it's one of the most wished for items on Amazon and one of the most sold items in electronics on Amazon. At £500 you will NOT FIND A BETTER CAMERA body, add £200-£300 for a decent lens and you have a perfect kit to last you a lifetime (not to forget the little things like SD cards/ camera bag/ filters).
Wow, I think canon regret making this camera. I'm sure it's affecting the sale of it's other lower level DSLRs, if I ever do get another camera It'll be the 5D Mark II, nothing inbetween can seriously outcompete this little gem of a camera.
This might be the only step on my photography journey. :D
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
OK, not full frame, but for the amateur of a budget this camera is the one to buy: team it up with a Canon 55-250mm and you have an excellent outfit which should provide most people with all what they might need for generic photography.
The camera itself is a bit bulky or appears so after using my dated Kodak 880 and 850, which have stood me in good stead since I bought them 3/4 years ago. Really happy with both of these cameras, but felt that I should try something a bit more adventurous and with more options to play with. I am familiar with the Canon interface having used their 35mm equipment for years. Everything is in the same place and the quality is universally good.
First impressions out of the box is that this is a big piece of equipment, but fitting on the supplied 18-55mm lens, it was remarkably light and easy to carry. Whilst it did feel bulky at first, I found the size somewhat reassuring and this combined with the general build quality made me feel that I had made the right choice. Off on my first outing with my new toy. Not afraid of experimenting with the options available, of which they are legion, my son encouraged me to simply use the green, full automatic settings, or ceative auto as it was a cold day and he wanted to keep moving to keep warm. I took some nice general shots and was pretty pleased with the outcome: extremely fast focus, smooth and quietish for an SLR and matched nicely with both of my lenses, which felt well balanced and belied the weight of the combined outfit. The viewfinder is clear, with dioptric adjustment and the screen is clear and bright, even in quite bright sunlight. There is lots of information provided and more than enough to satisfy the budding professional.
On the way home, we decided to stop as we had taken lots of photographs of steam trains: it's a boy's thing. We stopped between Swanage and Corfe Castle, which for those of you that know Dorset will be aware that there is a railway track, with a vista down across the fields to Corfe Castle. The light was behind me and I could see a train in the distance - ideal conditions for landscape photography with enough light to justify the playing around with fast shutter speed. Great, took lots of landscapes, plus a couple of trains fully loaded with a full head of steam.
Great day, new camera, really enjoyed it, but nothing prepared me for the results that I viewed on my imac: simply fantastic! The shots, even at 250mm were crisp and extremely clear, possibly helped by the image stabilisation in the lens, but they were really good, even down to catching small whisps of steam at distance, Corfe Castle was captured with a clarity that I have never managed to get before and thanks to the 18.1 megapixel, I was able to crop the shots to get exactly the shot what I required.
Tomorrow my son and I are attending a rally at a local forest and I can't wait to experiment with the various features on this camera, particularly the manual options as I fear that the light will not be good and I will need to change the speed settings of the "film" to capture the action, although I will experiment with a tripod and slower shutter speeds as well to capture the feeling of speed. Really excited at the prospect as for me this camera represents the same feeling that I had when I first used a 35mm camera: it really is a step up from the norm for an enthusiast like me.
Oh yes, one last thing, after using it for about 30 minutes, it no longer felt bulky and compared to my well loved Kodak cameras, the feeling was the same as I experienced with an Olympus OM2 when ompared to my 110 cartridge camera (it was that good). I am really looking forward to attending air shows this year where I will be able to focus quickly plus use all of the features of this outstanding camera, which coupled with reasonably priced is lenses represent astonishingly good value.
Only hesitate if you are considering buying this camera as the new 600D is on the way, but if you can't wait or don't want to pay the extra, get this camera, you won't be disappointed, it really is that good.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2011
As most people know the EOS 550D has been replaced by the 600D in early 2011. As a result prices of the outgoing model have been plunging. I had set my heart on a 550D and followed on Amazon over the last few months. At one point costs dropped to £558 for the 550D with the 18-55 kit lens. What an absolute bargain. I used the camera to film my daughter competing in show jumping events. The full HD 1080 video is amazing. I love the fact that you can manually over-ride all the auto settings. The only downer is that there is no manual control of audio levels and there is no headphone socket so you can't monitor audio. There again this is a DSLR not a video camera so can't really complain. Used as a camera to shoot stills the results are fab. Even the plasticky kit lens functions perfectly well. I have a list of things I want to add over time when funds allow (!) and the F1.8 55mm lens looks like a brilliant buy as does the 55-250 lens. Seriously though whilst you can get one of these for under £600 frankly I can't see anything else that comes close.