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Compared to...

Here we compare the EOS 550D to the other cameras that potential buyers might also be considering. The most obvious competitor to the 550D comes in the form of Nikon's D5000, which is aimed roughly at the same market, and also features a video recording mode. The EOS 500D is included here as a convenient point of comparison, as the 550D's nearest contemporary in Canon's current DSLR lineup (even if the 550D isn't strictly speaking a replacement model).

Camera Kit
price
Live
view
LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Canon EOS 550D $979 Yes 3" / 1040k pixels Lens option 18.0 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Canon EOS 500D $895 Yes 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 15.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Nikon D5000 $800 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels Lens option 12.3 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)

It was easy to see the Canon EOS 500D as the 'baby brother' to the EOS 50D when it was released, and the EOS 550D adopts the same role alongside the EOS 7D, in Canon's current lineup. Things would be a little easier to understand if Canon weren't still insisting that both the 500D and 50D remain 'current' models, but the super-powered 550D has more in common (in terms of specification) with the 7D than it does the 500D.

Canon EOS 550D advantages

  • Very high spec video recording option
  • Highly intuitive interface, user-friendly ergonomics, 'true' 3:2 format LCD screen.
  • Relatively trivial price premium over EOS 500D

Canon EOS 550D disadvantages

  • Fixed LCD screen (as opposed to the flip-out model on the D5000)
  • No in-camera raw conversion
  • Fairly high price (at introduction)
 
Canon 550D

Nikon D5000

Canon 500D
Price
(body only)
US: $799 [check price] US: $550 [check price] US: $699 [check price]
Sensor • 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
• 18.7 million effective pixels
• 18.0 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 12.9 million effective pixels
• 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
• 15.1 million effective pixels
• 15.5 million effective pixels
Dust reduction • Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
• Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
Native image size 5184 x 3456
(3:2 ratio)
4288 x 2848
(3:2 ratio)
4752 x 3168
(3:2 ratio)
Movie resolution

1920 x 1080 @ 30, 25, 24 fps
720p @ 60, 50 fps

720p @ 24 fps
AVI Motion-JPEG, with monaural sound

1080p @ 20fps
720p @ 30fps
MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)

Lens support • Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
• Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only available with AF-S or AF-I lenses
• Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
FOV crop 1.6x 1.5x 1.6x
Body Shake reduction No No No
Live View AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face priority) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF
File formats • RAW (comp. lossless 14-bit)
• JPEG (2 levels)
• RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless 14-bit)
• JPEG (2 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG (Fine) RAW + JPEG (Any quality) RAW + JPEG (Fine)
Auto focus • 9-point TTL
• F5.6 cross-type at center, extra sensitivity at F2.8
• Range: -0.5 to 18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 11 area TTL
• Cross-type at center
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 9 area TTL
• Cross-type F2.8 at center
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
AF illuminator Flash strobe, must be raised Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 63 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 35 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• 4% spot

• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (2.5%)

• Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• 4% spot
Exp. comp. +/- 5.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV
EV steps 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 6400
(with 12800 equiv)

• ISO 200 - 3200
(with 100 and 6400 equiv)

• ISO 100 - 3200
(with 6400 and 12800 equiv)
Auto ISO Auto (100-6400) User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100-1600)
High- ISO NR Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels)
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting
• 3.7 fps
• 34 JPEG/Fine frames
• 6 RAW frames

• 4 fps
• 67 JPEG/Fine frames
• 11 RAW frames

• 3.4 fps
• 170 JPEG/Fine frames
• 9 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Twelve presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Comment Owner name set in-camera Comment set in-camera Owner name set via software
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.87x
• Precision matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.78x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.87x
• Precision matte screen
LCD screen • 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 1040,000 dots

• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel

• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots
Mirror lock-up Custom function No (exposure delay mode) Custom function
Other features

• Multi-shot self-timer
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Highlight Tone Priority
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview

• In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Interval shooting
• Stop motion movies
• Multi-shot self-timer
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Highlight Tone Priority
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview
Storage SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card
Battery LP-E8 (7.2 V, 1120 mAh) EN-EL9a (7.2 V, 1080 mAh) LP-E5 (7.4 V, 1050 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
Connectors USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Grip BG-E8 (option) No BG-E5 (option)
Software • Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitch
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
• Nikon Transfer
• ViewNX
• Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitch
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
Dimensions

129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)

127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 530 g (1.7 lb) 560 g (1.2 lb) 480 g (1.1 lb)
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