Canon EOS 550D and 500D Digital SLR Camera Review


Here’s my thought for both……….

Canon EOS 550D

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The price for this beauty is lower than what the 500D was when it was released last year. The improvements of 550D over 500D are not as great as 500D over 450D but they are noteworthy, especially the buttons, the button placements and the overall refinement of the FEEL.

The 63-zone metering system is certainly an improvement, over 500D. I was using the 550D at the Lenovo F1 2010 Garage Tour with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 and it performed well despite the strong sunlight and dark shades. I never expected it to capture the details under the shade that well.

Comparing both, I do find that they meter differently. The 500D is often 1/3 stop below the 550D, despite having the same lens mounted.

At RRP of RM 2,799 for the body alone, it’s a great camera. We’ve seen street prices come to even RM 2,750 for the body + EF-S 18-55 IS set.

Canon EOS 500D

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I’ve used the 500D for about 5 months now and I still think it’s a great camera. What the EOS 550D can do, the 500D can do most of it as well. I used the 500D for the event coverage such as Intel All-New Core Processor Family Launch and The PC Fair Experience and more.

I know I’ve said before that RM 200 difference is too little between the 550D and 500D, that you’re better off paying RM 200 more to get the latest with all the improvements. I believe this is still true if you’re getting the body alone.

However, I had a long thought over this matter and it might not be that clear cut as the 500D is currently at RRP of RM 2,599 for the body alone but I’ve seen street prices for as low as RM 2,450 for the body + EF-S 18-55 IS set – that’s about RM 300 apart.

RM 300 could mean an EF-S 50mm f1.8 II lens for you, or a better bag and higher capacity SDHC.

Now consider this – what if you wanted a battery grip?

Last I saw, the BG-E8 costs about RM 200 more than the BG-E5. Factoring all that together, going the 500D path could mean TCO (total cost of ownership) reduction by RM 500 or more. Then of course, there’s the option for a used BG-E5 as the BG-E5 has been around for quite some time, catering for users of 450D and 1000D. So it is entirely possible to acquire a used BG-E5 (lowers the TCO even further) while used BG-E8 are still pretty rare since it’s only been introduced with the 550D.


If cost is not an issue, do yourself a favour and get the 550D.

If you’re looking at lowering cost, then 500D could be the one for you. Not everyone needs 1080p video, I use 720p mode even on 550D for the overall smaller video size for smaller file size (faster upload time too), works fine on Class 2 and 4 cards and less demanding when it comes to playback on my computers. 😀

Additional Info

The photos of the EOS 550D and EOS 500D were taken with the EOS 350D. 😀

And the EOS 550D, 500D and 350D group photo was taken with the Powershot A1000 IS, yes – that same little fella that took the videos of burst mode test. The lighting was done by manually (yes, hand trigger) a 430EX II.

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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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