Canon EOS 550D DSLR

Monday, October 25, 2010

 Canon has unveiled the latest in its long line of consumer digital SLRs, the Rebel T2i (EOS 550D). Highlights include 1080p HD video recording (with full manual control), an 18MP CMOS sensor, 3 inch 3:2 LCD with 1040k dot resolution and the 63-point iFCL metering system first seen on the EOS 7D. The new Rebel also offers a handful of less attention-grabbing upgrades, including redesigned buttons, 3.7 fps continous shooting, +/-5 stops exposure compensation and UI support for Eye-Fi cards. We spent a little time with a pre-production EOS 550D last week and have produced a detailed hands-on preview and (quick) gallery of Beta samples - check it out after the link...

Less than a year after the launch of the EOS Rebel T1i (500D) comes the latest in Canon's hugely popular consumer SLR range, the Rebel T2i (EOS 550D). With the 450D and 500D Canon appeared to be pulling away slightly from the real 'entry level' (a sector driven almost entirely by price), and the EOS 550D - on paper at least - is no exception, outgunning many of the 'upper entry level' and mid range SLRs on the market today in terms of spec. To ensure it doesn't lose out at the price-sensitive DSLR entry point Canon is once again introducing its new flagship Rebel as a 'sister' product to the camera it ostensibly replaces. The EOS 500D (Rebel T1i) will be staying in the range for the rest of 2010 (at, one presumes, a more attractive price point). We would assume that the new model finally spells the end of the line for the current 'bargain' Canon, the venerable Rebel XSi (EOS 450D).

In many respects the EOS 550D is a 'baby EOS 7D'. As well as getting a resolution boost to a class-leading 18 megapixels and a significantly upgraded movie mode (which now offers full HD capture at up to 30 fps, has full manual control and the option to use an external stereo microphone), the EOS 550D gets the 7D's sophisticated new metering system (bringing it a lot closer to similarly positioned Nikon SLRs). It also sports a new widescreen (3:2) LCD panel, has improved button design and finally offers the ability to customize the Auto ISO function.

It's clear Canon has been feeling the heat from the aggressive competition it faces from the numerous feature-laden cameras offered by Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Olympus in this market sector, and has decided to throw down the gauntlet with the most highly-specced Rebel we've ever seen. We'll reserve judgment on whether it's destined to be a class-leader until we've got a final production sample in for review, and I'm sure there's plenty of you interested to see how well it does too. As it stands we've managed to get hold of a pre production sample for a day in order to produce this brief hands-on preview to tide you over.

A brief history; Canon entry level digital SLR series

  • 20/08/03: Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel (6 mp)
  • 17/02/05: Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT (8 mp)
  • 24/08/06: Canon EOS 400D / Digital Rebel XTi (10 mp)
  • 24/01/08: Canon EOS 450D / Digital Rebel XSi (12 mp)
  • 10/06/08: Canon EOS 1000D / Digital Rebel XS (10 mp)*
  • 25/03/09: Canon EOS 500D / Digital Rebel T1i (15.1 mp)
  • 08/02/10: Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i (18 mp)
* The Canon EOS 1000D represents a sub-class of the Rebel series and hence should be considered a parallel series

Headline features

  • 18 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor with ISO 100-6400 (Expansion to 12800)
  • Continuous shooting at 3.7fps
  • Full HD movie recording with manual control and selectable frame rates
  • 7.7cm (3.0”) 3:2 Clear View LCD with 1,040k dots
  • iFCL metering System with 63-zone Dual-layer Metering Sensor
  • Quick Control screen to change shooting settings
  • Exposure compensation +/-5 stops (although viewfinder scale is still +/-2 stops)
  • Select maximum value for Auto ISO
  • External Microphone socket
  • Movie crop function
  • Eye-Fi connected functions compatibility


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