Live View

The EOS 550D is the third generation of Canon's Rebel series to feature live view functionality, something that's now reached the point of ubiquity in this class of camera. Like its predecessors, the EOS 550D's implementation provides live view of the scene with magnification up to 10x, with optional overlays such as a live histogram and two types of gridlines. Additionally to the 'mirror down' and contrast detect auto-focus, there is also a face detection AF mode. Overall the look, feel and functionality has been updated so it more closely matches the EOS 7D.

Live View function settings

As before, the most useful live view parameters such as grid display and AF mode can be accessed and modified in the Live view function settings screen.

Live View function settings screen Choose from three AF modes in live view: Phase detect, contrast detect and contrast detect with face detection

Live view display modes

Pressing the DISP button while in Live View toggles between the four available display modes, each with differing levels of overlaid information. As with previous models you can also add gridlines and you can choose to use 'Exposure Simulation' (which will attempt to reflect the brightness of the photo using the current exposure settings). The switch to a 3:2 aspect ratio means the preview image fills the entire frame, so the 'status bar' at the bottom is now semi transparent (on previous models it was outside the picture area on a black strip). To be honest it was easier to see before...

1: Live view with magnification area indicated + status line showing shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, frames remaining, ISO sensitivity and battery status. 2: Live view with magnification area + status line + brief overlay (Picture Style, AF mode, drive mode, white balance, image quality)
3: Live view with magnification area + status line + brief overlay + live histogram 4: Live view with magnification area (and nothing else)

Live view magnification

Just as in playback mode you can magnify live view by pressing the enlarge button (or back out again with reduce). While magnified you can use the multi-controller to move around the live image.