Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

I have the EOS 500D with me for quite a while already but just before I decided to publish the review, news came about of the EOS 550D – so instead of an EOS 500D review, I thought I’d do a review of both of them with some comparison done. 😀

For product details, do visit the official product page.


I’ll just skip the front view part since we all know they actually looked similar. We’ll jump to the finer details over their differences.

This is the body for the EOS series, it’s been like that for many years. Even my 350D looks like that. EOS on top, 500D at the bottom.

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

With the 550D, the words EOS 550D are placed together at the upper area. The body is sculpted in a way that it has a smooth curve leading to the lens. It’s a subtle change but I like it a lot. If you’re using the battery grip, the curved nature of the mount reduces the area around the tightening dials..

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

Now for the back view – nice eh? The 550D is on the one on top. The blue-ish reflection is the coating on LCD, I faced the same on the Legria HF S11 as well. For the 500D, I’m pretty sure it’s the same. It’s not bluish here because there’s a GGS screen protector on it already.

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

The 550D uses a 3:2 ratio LCD while the 500D uses a 4:3 ratio LCD. At maximum brightness, the 550D seems to be a lot brighter.

The 500D has glossy, rounded and protruding buttons with labels indicating the function, the Live View / Record Video button is under the AV button. The camera’s Quick Control menu is accessible via the SET button. The buttons for the 550D are much better, they’re now flat and are made of the same material as the body. As you can see the placement is still the same, just that the shape is different. Note how the PLAY button and Q buttons are curved to match the interface / quick access buttons.

Q button? Yes, the Quick Control button is where 550D users access the quick menu, a dedicated button for that now. I was using the 500D prior to the 550D and I was a lost on how to access the quick menu since pressing SET doesn’t do anything. I didn’t try the Q button because I thought it might explode……….. haha, no la, it’s more like I never thought of it, furthermore I was in the dark and didn’t notice it. Referred to the manual and “oohhhh I seeeeee”.

On the Quick Control, there’s now the ALO (Auto Lighting Optimizer) indicator as well.

With the Q button now placed at the area under AV button, Live View / Record Movie button is now placed just next to the viewfinder – AWESOME move. If you’re a 500D user, you’ll know how you need to move your thumb around 70 degrees to access that button. With 550D, it’s at pretty much the natural location of your right thumb would be when holding the camera.

The mode dial has improved too. On the EOS 500D the mode dial has tiny groves and a squarish edge that’s not that comfortable to turn. On the 550D, the dial is now of a softer feel (somewhat rubber like) with bigger single grooves and the dial itself now has a more friendly angle. Lovely!

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

Top view, you’ll see that the mode dial is silver for the 500D but it is now back to black color in the 550D. Slight difference in the ON / OFF switch location and the lines on the pop-up flash.

33 thoughts on “Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

  1. read liao tulan liao….buy bo gao 1months launch, then 1 more month on shelf liao…grrr

    movie nvm…but better ISO and auto max ISO is goodie leh….

  2. yeah the ISO settings are clearly better. I don’t use Auto Max ISO but this is the feature even the higher range Canon users wish they have. 😀 Probably they’ll introduce it in future firmware update.

  3. Beware of using some of the faster cards, the 550 can be picky.

    I recently bought a T2i(US version of the 550d), a patriot 32gb class 10 card, battery grip with 2 more batteries, 580ex II and a Sigma 10-22 for a trip to China. This was upgrading from an ancient 300d with the usual cheap lenses, 18-55, 55-250 IS, and 50 1.8 with a 420ex. Last month I went to Jiuzhaigou Valley in China. I made it through 2 days taking some of the most beautiful pictures I could have ever imagined with absolutely perfect weather. The last day I was there, I returned to 5 flower lake to recompose some of my earlier photos. I got a strange error on the 550 telling me about a corrupt photo. I tried to review the previous photos and many were also corrupt. My heart was racing so I put in my trusty 8gb sandisk extreme and took a few pictures with no problem. I put the 32gb card into my little casio ex-fc100 and could take more photos with no problem but most of the previous photos from the 550 were showing as corrupt.

    I returned to Chengdu and went to my friends bungalo to use his computer and was horrified to find that about 90% of my photos were corrupt. I sent emails to Patriot and Canon, but of course they both blamed each other :p I tried to RMA the Patriot card but the replacement has given me the same problems. I have since purchased a Sandisk 32gb class 10 and haven’t had a single issue. I now use the patriot 32g in my Casio which has no problems with it. Very odd.

    I guess there is an upside to this, because now I am planning to return to Jiuzhaigou this fall to take more pictures, and I have heard that during the fall it is absolutely breath taking 🙂

    I’m not sure which lenses you have, but if you don’t have the cheap 50mm 1.8, go buy one NOW! You will be amazed what that one little lens can do. Ultra low light, very sharp, and at 1.8 the the depth of field is so low it’s amazing. I love playing with the DoF at 1.8. I can focus on someone’s nose and only the tip of their nose is in focus, a few mm away is already out of focus 🙂

    Also you should try the 24fps mode. Turn down saturation a bit, darken it by maybe 1 stop and take some movies. They look fantastic, almost as good as real cinema. With the kit lens the built in mic picks up the IS noise really bad, but a cheap stereo mic cures that.

  4. i got a Toshiba 16GB Class 10 recently, records well. 😀

    i suppose your 24fps refers to 1080p video. the 550D has 24fps, 25fps and 30fps. i usually use 30fps.

    tip for you – use manual focus. the video mode / live view focus is just horrible and as you said, picks up mic noise. it’s the same for 500D as well.

  5. oh the t2i only does 24fps and 30fps at 1080p, no 25. I’ve made a little focus bar(a thick paper clip using electrical tape to hold it. with tape markers so I can pull focus really fast.Setting the 50mm at 1.8 makes very dramatic focus pulls and there’s enough light that no IS is still smooth, plus I don’t have to hear the IS.

    There have been a few mainstream TV shows in the US that use the T2i and 7d for recording HD TV shows, of course they use a motion rig that costs more than the cameras, but they get great results.

  6. It does 25. 🙂 You’re not seeing it because you’re under NTSC. You just have to change for videos system to PAL in one of the menus.

  7. do you where in KL/PJ can get lowest price for 550D? hope u can point out those shops for me 😀 thanks…

  8. HI,
    I am having 500D & used take lot of landscape pics. I am facing an issue of contrast especially light green and dark green part it doecnt reaaly capture what i am seeing, is this a camera limit or do i need to change some settings.
    Please suggest.

  9. Hey guys ..
    m bout to buy a new dslr (earlier i’ve used Canon1000D)..
    my range is any where b/w 25k to 45k.
    m struck b/w Canon n Nikon..
    whch one to gO for????
    LIke name a few..
    EOS 500D Kit EF-s 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS
    EOS 550D or EOS 550D (Kit)
    EOS 500D
    D5000 ??
    Whch one to go for??
    also..r Canon n Nikon goin to launch ne new DSLR in market widin 1-2 in between 2011 n 2012??
    Reply me at – [email protected]

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  15. Thanks for the review – my nephew is looking at buying the 550D (slightly used) as his first camera and I just wanted to refresh my knowledge on whether it would suit what he was looking for. Thanks

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  17. Nice review. I had 550D, i must say that lens kit are the worst part. I was forced to replace it with 15-85 mm, and done wonders with that camera.

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