Canon EOS 550D review

Movie maker or picture taker? You decide

Canon EOS 550D wants to be a movie star

Update: We've now written our full and in-depth Canon EOS 550D review

Canon unveiled its latest DSLR to shoot Full HD video, the Canon EOS 550D, at a swanky event in London this week and TechRadar were on hand for a touchy feely session with the camera.

Acting like an upgraded 500D, the camera totes a bigger, better sensor in the guise of the APS-C CMOS. Essentially this means brighter images due to the amount of light which hits the sensor.

The chassis is, like the 500D, nice and lightweight – great for those who are fed up with the cumbersome size of some DSLRs on the market.

Those familiar with the 500D will feel right at home with the 550D – the enlarged buttons on the back of the camera make another appearance, including a few other option designed to bring the movie elements of the camera to the fore.


One of these is the Movie Crop function which is good for those who can't quite get close enough to the action.

We would never recommend cropping too much into a movie frame but the results we got were more than passable.

Back to the camera elements of the 550D, there's a 9-point AF system on-board which locked us on to subjects nice and fast and the ability to expand, with a bit of trickery, the ISO to 12800.


It's the movie aspect of the camera which is standout in the 550D, however; something which Canon is heavily promoting.

This was originally seen in the invitation to the launch which was titled 'Canon At The Movies' and the press conference took place at BAFTA's prestigious headquarters in Piccadilly, London.

The filmmaking market is one which Canon eagerly wants to snap up and one which it already semi-controls with its mix of prosumers and professional film cameras. Such a pedigree then means that if you were to treat the EOS 550D as nothing but a movie making machine, you wouldn't be disappointed.


Canon has certainly upped the ante when it comes to filming modes. Now there's a choice between 30, 25 and 24fps (on the Full HD option) and 60 and 50fps (on 720p). This patches up a major bug-bear users had with the 500D's limited filming options which were poor for fast-moving images.

There's one caveat that the Canon and the rest of the DSLR crowd has to overcome, though. Due to tax restrictions in the UK, filmmaking on the DSLR is confined to around 12 minutes for a take – any more and the device would be subject to import restrictions.

This isn't a major problem, unless your movies resemble Hitchcock's Rope but something to bear in mind.


This does bring home the fact that what you are using is a camera first and a camcorder second. Saying that, the lines are certainly blurring with the 550D which is sure to pique the interest of photographers and videographers alike.

The Canon EOS 550D has a UK release date of 24 February. Price-wise, the camera will be available body-only for a penny under £799.99.

To show off the camera, Canon has released a promo video for the EOD 550D which we have posted below.

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