Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH (Digital IXUS 750) Review
The SD500 broke away from the boxy styling of previous IXUS / Elph models with what Canon's marketing department christened a 'Perpetual Curve' design (there are no straight lines on the body at all). The SD550 is almost identical, though the new larger screen has meant some of the rear controls have been shifted around slightly. The other main external difference is the color (which you probably can't see on screen, but is now a slightly warmer 'champagne').
Like the SD500 before it, the SD550's looks and feel exude quality, and the silky stainless steel finish is almost indulgently tactile, and - as befits a camera at the higher end of the ultra- compact price range - it is beautifully built with an admirable attention to detail. The only downside of the finish used is that it seems very susceptible to scratches and marks (so keep it in a case when not in use). I also, personally, found the camera to be a little on the 'slippy' side, meaning I felt a lot safer with the wrist strap in place than without. Although the control layout has been tweaked slightly (there's now a mode dial rather than a switch, and most of the buttons have moved), the basics are the same as most models in the range. This means you get external controls for metering, flash, focus (macro or infinity) and self-timer/drive mode, everything else is accessed via the excellent FUNC menu.
In your hand
With a fully-loaded weight of around 194g (6.9 oz) the SD550 is just heavy enough to feel solid and stable in the hand, though as noted above, the pebble-smooth exterior, combined with the lack of any discernible 'grip' means it can feel a little precarious held in one hand, but is in fact perfectly usable. The positioning of the shutter release and zoom rocker make single-handed operation easy - just make sure you've got the strap around your wrist just in case it slips out of your hand and starts heading south.
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