Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i / Kiss X4 Digital) In-depth review
Video in DSLRs might be a relatively new phenomenon, but the technology (and its implementation) is proceeding in leaps and bounds. The EOS 550D doesn't offer the same streamlined ergonomics in video capture mode as it does when taking still images, but its video implementation is a lot more satisfying than some previous DSLRs. With exposure set to 'auto' a basic lighter/darker option is provided by exposure compensation (+/- 2EV), but when it is set to 'manual', exposure can be adjusted directly by changing the aperture and shutter values.
The 550D offers progressive HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second, or 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) at 60 or 50 frames per second (available frame rates differ depending on whether you have the camera set to NTSC or PAL). The built-in internal microphone captures monaural audio, but there is also a socket for a 3.5mm external microphone that allows recording of stereo sound. Furthermore, it is possible to perform basic video editing in-camera, by cutting clips to a selected start/end point.
|Sizes|| 1920x1080p: 30/24 fps (NTSC), 25/24 fps (PAL)
1280x720p (HD): 60 fps (NTSC), 50 fps (PAL)
640x480 (SD): 60 fps (NTSC), 50 fps (PAL)
|Audio||44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic), Linear PCM|
|Format||.MOV MPEG-4 AVC, H.264|
|File size||5.5 MB/sec (1080P), 5.5 MB/sec (720P), 2.8 MB/sec (VGA)|
|Max file size per clip||4GB, max duration 29min 59sec,|
|Running time||12 min for 1080P, 12 min for 720p, 24 min for VGA|
Using Movie Mode
Unlike the EOS 7D, which features a dedicated still/video mode switch on the rear of the camera, to capture movie footage with the 550D the main shooting dial must be rotated to the video position. At this point, the mirror flips up, and a cropped Live View screen appears on the LCD, and video capture can be initiated by pressing the Live View button on the top-right of the rear of the camera. Still images can be taken at any time by pressing the shutter button, and video capture resumes immediately afterwards, leaving a pause of around 1 second in the playback. AE lock is possible using the dedicated AE lock button, and AF can either be performed prior to commencing shooting, manually during filming, or automatically when 'AF in during video' is set to 'enable' in the shooting menu.
AF during video shooting is disabled by default, and the reason for this is obvious as soon as you start to use it. The EOS 550D's contrast-detection AF might be fine for capturing still images in live view mode, but it is still too hesitant (and too noisy, if you're shooting with the built-in mic) to be of any great use during video shooting.
In our review of the EOS 7D, we concluded that Canon had gone a long way towards making video shooting an integral, rather than awkwardly 'bolted on' part of the camera's specification. The 550D's video mode isn't quite as streamlined (you still have to take a moment to rotate the shooting mode dial to the relevant position for a start) but it is otherwise pleasantly straightforward.
Movie mode displays
|Movie setting menu||You can choose between three output sizes. The frame rate options in this screen capture are for the NTSC setting.|
|Once recording has started, the red recording dot is displayed on the top right corner of the LCD. By half-pressing the shutter button during video recording you can display exposure information and ISO sensitivity.||Additional information can be displayed by pressing the Info button.|
Video quality comments
The EOS 550D produces excellent quality video footage which is indistinguishable from the best DSLRs around, including it's near-relation the EOS 7D. As usual, when the inbuilt microphone is used, handling sounds (and AF if it is activated) can mar the quality of the audio, as you can here in the sample of the BMX biker at the bottom of this page. Fortunately a microphone socket allows an external mic to be used, which offers the possibility of much cleaner audio from video recording.
The EOS 550D uses an APS-C size sensor and therefore you can't quite create the same DOF effects as on the full-frame EOS 5D Mark II but you still get a much shallower, more cinematic depth of field than with any digital compact camera. When exposure control is set to automatic, the 550D didn't present us with any unpleasant surprises. Like the EOS 7D, transitions from dark to bright (and vice-versa) are smooth.
When recording video in low light and using higher sensitivities the image gets noisier. This is of course what you would expect, but the EOS 550D does quite well in this respect, and due to the smaller image sizes in video mode compared to stills the noise never becomes really intrusive.
Like pretty much all other video-DSLRs the 550D can suffer from distortion caused by its rolling shutter. The readout of the sensor means horizontal lines of the image are scanned, one after another, rather than the whole scene being grabbed in one go. The upshot is that verticals can be skewed if the camera (or the subject) moves too fast - the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom, so vertical lines can be rendered as diagonals. On the 550D this effect isn't really noticeable in most situations, but it can be seen if you pan the camera very quickly. In short - it's there if you go looking for it, but it isn't a concern in normal use.
Video samples (all shot at 1920x1080p, 25fps mode)
Sample video 1
|1920x1080, 25 fps .MOV file. 14 sec. 77.8 MB|
Sample video 2
|1920x1080, 25 fps .MOV file. 13 sec. 77 MB|
Sample video 3
|1920x1080, 25 fps .MOV file.24 sec. 134 MB|
Sample video 4
|1280x720, 25 fps .MOV file. 7 sec. 30.9 MB|
Sample video 3
|1920x1080, 25 fps .MOV file. 14 sec. 78.5 MB|
Sample video 4
|1280x720, 25 fps .MOV file. 13 sec. 78.5 MB|
- 16 Photographic tests (DR)
- 17 Photographic tests (DR)
- 18 Resolution
- 19 Photographic tests
- 20 Movie Mode
- 21 Compared to
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 29 Conclusion
- 30 Samples
Oct 2, 2011
May 4, 2010
Feb 8, 2010
May 1, 2013
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
A court ruling our of Newton, Massachusetts has set an important legal precedent for drone pilots: federal drone laws will now trump local drone regulations in situations where the two are in conflict.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has put together another interesting vintage lens shootout. One model, three lenses, three locations.
From landscapes to motocross and white water kayaking to a wedding, exactly what can't the D850 do?
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.