Customer Review

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic step into the DLSR realm!, 25 Nov 2010
This review is from: Canon EOS 550D Digital SLR Camera (inc 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit) (Electronics)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Dec 2010 12:46:08 GMT
A. Barr says:
You said "but generally overexposes my shots in my short time with it by up to about +1/3 EV!" Surely you should be setting it at -1/3 and not PLUS if it is over exposing the shots? I would have thought!!

Mr Andrew J Barr

Posted on 24 Feb 2011 17:00:39 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 21 Nov 2011 15:49:03 GMT]
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