Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

Movie Crop Mode

Basically the camera uses the 640×480 area of the sensor to record a video, giving a SUPER ZOOM. 😀

Here’s how it works.

Battery Grip | BG-E5 for 500D and BG-E8 for 550D

Look at the image below, you’ll see that the BG-E5 and the new BG-E8 has slightly different texture. The BG-E5 has the usual Canon and Battery Grip BG-E5 model stated at the front but the BG-E8 shifted the details elsewhere (Refer to next pic).

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

The key difference between these 2 are the latch. The BG-E5 uses the traditional unlock and flip latch and has a spring in the grip itself to gently eject the cartridge while the BG-E8 uses a plastic latch, just flip and pull. No spring inside the grip as well.

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

Button wise, they look similar. It’s just that the material used is different, the BG-E8 now uses non-glossy material for the buttons.

Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review

My disappointment with the BG-E8 was that it didn’t include the ISO button just like how it was on the body. On the 350D, I could still reach the ISO change button with my thumb without having to go through an entire change of posture or hold. On the 500D / 550D with the ISO button being next to the shutter, guess what you’d have to go through to do the change. On the plus side, the 500D’s Quick Control is accessible with the SET button, which is a little closer to the Q button on 550D.

Battery Life

Both 500D and 550D manage to shoot more than 2000 frames of large JPG without even dropping the battery indicator bar. 🙂 That’s good eh?

Of course, I disabled focusing and IS for that one. So if you bring factor of focusing, snapping larger file sizes (RAW), image stabilization and the usual chimping (meaning keep looking at LCD) then it will certainly consume more energy. Nevertheless, you are assure that you could snap a lot of photos with a single fully charged battery.

From my experience, video mode does consume more energy as well, considering if you’re using 1080p 30fps mode then it’s writing 30x 1920×1080 frames each second.

Other Issues

I remember when I first tested the 500D – it didn’t take long for me to figure out how to focus in video mode or in Live View, it was by pressing the AE Lock button.

On the 550D – things weren’t as smooth. There’s no way to focus……… until I checked the manual! It seems that hidden in the menu somewhere, you can not just only enable the AF but you can even choose which button to use for AF, for example by half-pressing the shutter button instead of using the AE Lock button.

Other matters that requires further study of the manual were like the enabling of 1920×1080 (1080p) 30fps mode – even a user over at Facebook was asking how to get that mode. It’s not easy being a newbie and having a 258 page manual with you – you wouldn’t even know where to start. 🙂 The 30fps mode is only available in when in NTSC system.

The AUTO-ISO mode now allows you to set the maximum ISO to be used, which I think is a great feature that even 7D users which they have but I also think it’s a feature that’s going to pamper those who are stepping into photography. 🙁

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  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. Author

    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. Hi,

    I also have problem with the card to record HD video .BTW,what is the price of Kingston 4GB Class 2?

    .-= kurt´s last blog ..Lan & Yaya 1 =-.

  4. 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.

  5. Author

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Author

    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.

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

  9. Hey dude,can the 550D remotely using a speedlite?

  10. Hey dude,can the Canon EOS 550D remotely using a speedlite??

  11. 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.

  12. my first digital SLR camera was an EOS450D, now i have an EOS550D which also shoots high resolution video ,.~

  13. 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]

  14. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

  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

  16. 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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