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!
on 30 July 2012
This is my first DSLR and so far it is an excellent buy.I got the 50mm lens shortly after and this has added to what the camera can do.I did read a few books to get tips on how to use but it doesnt take long to get great pics.No complaints from me.
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
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.
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.
on 20 November 2011
I spent a long time reading reviews of various cameras before taking the plunge. Like most people I wanted value for money. What I didn't want was lots of gimmicky gizmos - and yes - I had a budget. Having said that, if I couldn't get what I wanted for the money I might have been tempted to spend a little more. So why did I buy this camera?
Well I didn't need high speed shooting and I didn't need creative filters for sketch effect or fake tilt shift, or whatever; I prefer to be creative in PhotoShop. Having said that I would have liked to have a selective colour option like the Nikon cameras offer but I can live without it. Also I'd been warned off tilting screens for live view on the principle that, like laptop screens, the wiring will eventually wear out possibly before the camera would otherwise need replacing. Being a bit ham fisted I decided that it probably was a good idea not to have something sticking off the camera anyway and why pay for it if it was just going to remain fixed to the back? I rarely use the flash as I prefer to try and utilise the available light so I son't miss the speedlight transmitter, but there are reasonably priced adapters if I change my mind.
I'm not disappointed. The 550D is superb limited only by the glass on the front of it. Sure, I'd like some of the more advanced fine tuning features of the 7D but if you push this camera to it's limits and invest in some decent lenses it's a beast. A diminutive beast, but that can have its advantages. Although I mainly shoot stills I recently, uncharacteristically, shot some video with it and manged to handhold the camera for fifteen minutes with no difficulty and no shake; I couldn't have done that with a heavier camera plus lens. The stills are great and there's far less post processing of JPEGs than with my previous 350D. Shooting in RAW has produced some beautiful shots though it does fill up the card at an alarming rate. The 550D is not quite as good at dealing with noise as the new Nikons when you get to over ISO 3200 but still produces very usable prints.
I was swayed by the new wave of Nikons but, like many, I have Canon lenses and I didn't want to start again. The 60D didn't really appeal, the 7D did but the photos, according to reviews, can be slightly soft and there have been reports of other issues with it. Although I would like to go full frame with the 5D Mark ii I can't afford it and my needs don't warrant buying it. My cash would be better spent on better lenses; there's some fantastic prime lenses out there.
So if you're hesitating I would say go for it. Don't be put of by the plastic body unless you expect to be using it in extreme conditions; it's adequate for most hobbyists if look after your camera.
For the price it's good investment if you already have Canon lenses. If you're entirely new to DSLRs check out the competition before making a decision. However, I'm giving it a five star rating for it's image quality, usability and easy menu navigation.
on 17 September 2014
Fabulous camera. High end consumer product which a pro could also use with superb results. If you're an enthusiastic amateur looking for something high end, get one of these before the stock dwindles away (for no good reason Canon have discontinued it); if you're a pro who needs something smaller, or maybe to have in the bag when you're at a shoot and need multiple lenses, this would make a great second or third camera for any 7D or 1D user.
Kit lens is decent; but you pay for what you get with a lens so read some reviews about what people have had good results with before treating yourself to a decent upgrade next time you've saved up some cash. In the meantime, kit lens will serve you very well indeed.
on 18 October 2013
I've been wanting a 550D for a long time now and now that i have finally got one its nice to finally blend in with my fellow photographers. Great camera as always and i'm sure to have loads of fun with this now i'm saving up for better glass lenses.
I recommend to any beginners who want a top of the range entry level DSLR without breaking the bank or burning a hole in their life savings. It has good grip, nice HD big screen on the back, and very easy to use.
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.
on 26 June 2013
I bought the 550D (not on Amazon) to replace my excellent Canon 7D and, ultimately, my entirely loveable Canon G12. Why? Simply the 7D was getting too heavy to take on walks and the G12 is now getting very little use because the 550D is just so handy. I have to say that in nearly forty years of SLR / DSLR experience, I've never appreciated a camera as much as this one. Even with the oft maligned 18-55mm kit lens (which I find just fine), this camera gives excellent results. I certainly can't differentiate between the results on this camera and the higher end 7D - at least not on screen which is where most photos are viewed these days. I also have a Canon 35mm f2 lens (as in olde worlde film camera standard lens) and a Canon 55-250 zoom lens.
The HD video quality is excellent so I don't use my Sony video camera any more. You can be as creative as you want or keep things point and shoot simple with this camera. Either way, it's difficult to fault the 550D.
Regarding the lack of supplied memory card, you need to choose what is best for your purposes in terms of storage and speed, so it's nice not to get one bundled with it simply to let it languish in a cupboard. I think it makes good sense to buy an LCD protector for the 550D as the screen is not the articulating type and good ones are not expensive on Amazon and could save you £££s in case of damage.
My photos are generally taken on walks, social gatherings and family occasions. Photographing grandchildren requires a)fast reactions (which I don't seem to have) and b) a fast reacting camera (which helps to make up for lack of a)). The 550D does everything I need well and gets my 5 stars