Deal 9: Hacking Photography mega-deal
Canon describes this DSLR as ‘entry level’. If this is the entry where’s the exit? Boy is it well equipped!
At last look, Canon’s Web site showed nine DSLR models in its range, ranging from entry level to pro: a camera for everyone.
Without even a glance at the 260 page manual, I jumped in at the deep end and shot the ISO tests you see in this posting. Within five minutes I was sailing quite happily through settings to adjust ISO figures, aperture and shutter speed and auto focus. It is an easy camera to settle with and shoot any subject. Easy that is, if you are already a photographer, able to stroll around a DSLR, kick the tyres, jab on the gas and twirl a few buttons. However, compact digicam owners w
ill find an acquaintance-ship with the 550D a fairly steep learning curve.
First thing that will throw the novice will be the mode dial (top surface, right edge). As the control heart of the camera it has settings for auto exposure, Program AE, shutter or aperture priority, manual plus some scene modes to ease the pain when shooting portraits, sports and macro subjects; the movie mode is also here. Get familiar with this dial and you’re half way there.
You change ISO settings with the help of a nearby button so you get to enjoy a range of sensitivity from 100 to 12,800. Controls on the rear give access to the main menu, Live View, white balance, single or continuous shooting (about 3.7 fps), AF zone, exposure compensation …in all, not a daunting array.
The CMOS sensor has an 18 megapixel capacity, is 22.3×14.9mm in area, so a Canon EF or EF-S lens focal length has to be multiplied by a factor of 1.6x to equate to a 35 SLR lens. The kit lens supplied with the review camera was a stabilised EF-S f3.5-5.6/18-135mm (29-216mm as 35 SLR), not really a wide angle at the shorter end. If you’re shooting much architecture, you will immediately need another, wider optic.
The maximum image size, saved as a JPEG or RAW image is 5184×3456 pixels: as a print it will size up to 43x29cm. That’s a lot of paper!
Movie makers will have a great time, as this baby can shoot the Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels at 24/25/30 fps in MPEG-4 (AVCH.H.264) format. Final recorded file size is 330MB a minute’s running time. It’s best to use a Class 6 SD card or better. The camera will write to SD, SDHC or SDXC cards. I noticed there’s also a stereo microphone input.
The fixed LCD screen is 7.6cm in size with a high resolution of 1.04 million pixels, so gauging focus and other fine detail is a snap. Using it outside in full sunlight I also found the screen surprisingly clear and legible. Good one!
The camera has Face Detection in Live View shooting; the built in flash has a 17mm lens angel of view; the camera has live Face Detection mode in Live View shooting; the camera holds peripheral illumination correction data for 25 lenses.
(insert Canon EOS 550D 3)
At ISO 6400, f6.3 and 1/1600 second we now reach high noise levels and loss of definition.
At ISO 12,800 we now seem to have come too far: a level to use only if you have to!
Banging on the power button I could start shooting within a second, with succeeding shots coming in as fast as I could hit the shutter button.
Quality: I could not fault the camera. If you are a newcomer to DSLRs, this is where you can start!
Why you would buy the EOS 550D: attractive entry model at a reasonable price.
Why you wouldn’t: you’re not ready for a DSLR!
March 17, 2013 10:11 am
According to my notes this camera does have an ISO 100 setting.
In my ISO tests the first shot is shot at ISO 100.
Perhaps you are in auto.
March 14, 2013 06:35 pm
Hello, you may have closed this thread, yes I have 550d, but i am missing some crucial elements like the iso100 setting, I have auto , 200, 400, 800, 1600, 6400, but no 100, also cannot use the high tone priority setting. Have I been sold a dud camera? i am actually waiting to here from canon on the issue.
it is a nice camera, does struggle with reds and blues even on custom, l would be interested as to what you think of my missing functions.
artyange photo images
September 6, 2012 05:32 pm
I got the T2i May 15, 2011, the 2 weeks before I was suppose to photograph my son wedding. i've made a great choise
Yes, the T2i is a great DSLR.
May 6, 2012 04:39 am
I bought a new canon 550d I'm new to dslr I found that after few clicks (10-12) with flash, a notification comes saying lens is busy! Out will remain till 10 sec and again after a click it shows a same message, is this usual?
February 20, 2012 02:51 pm
Canon EOS T2i (550D) tutorials
February 19, 2012 01:38 am
how to capture a moving object
and i want totally about Canon EOS T2i (550D) Review
February 19, 2012 01:34 am
Canon EOS T2i (550D) Review
May 3, 2011 09:05 am
Great camera. I have it. Itz really as un-amarateur as you can get without getting professional
March 31, 2011 04:47 pm
The 550d is a great camera and if used with good quality lenses, the results are excellent whether for video shooting or photography. We always bring with us the 550d when shooting property videos using a ultra-wide Sigma. The only negative point is the overheating issue especially in warmer climates. Let us hope the future 650d will address the issue of overheating.
September 23, 2010 04:39 pm
I am planning to start in the world of the DSLR. I am looking to buy a gear between Canon 550D and Nikon D90. I have been reading posts and reviews about both cameras but could you please recommend a good lense that I can buy weith the camera? What about the Twin Kit or Entusiasth kit?
Thanks in advance.
August 13, 2010 03:10 am
@les You are correct in that the camera can't realtime autofocus while recording in video mode. At the time of this post, there is no DSLR that can autofocus in realtime while recording, although there's a rumor Nikon has one on the way. You have to frame your shot, focus your shot, hit record, and then if you have any moving subjects you have to manuel focus. If you have the camera set up with an external monitor you can get a "follow focus" to help with this. Is it difficult to manuel focus moving subjects, yep. Impossible, nope! Takes some skill sharpening and some additional gear, but it can be done. I've been shooting on 7D since last November, and although I'm not even close to being as skilled as someone like Phillip Bloom, I've gotten a lot better at it.
Also, just FYI, the season finale of the show "House" was done using a 5D Mark II which has the same focus limitations as the 7D and T2i. Looked great!
July 29, 2010 12:09 am
The CANON 550D, as far as I am concerned is brilliant, however .....
Although it can indeed shoot Full HD resolution "moving pictures", I find it very difficult to call
them movies! You may focus on your subject prior to starting to shoot but that is it! There is no
further focusing (except manually or "Live View") during shooting. In fact, the subject must be, essentially, stationary (zooming not allowed), otherwise the 550D will definitely loose focus. The CANON website "help" line quite casually confirmed this to me and I have been unable to find any mention of it in CANON's advertising.
In fact, the only indication that I have been able to find that something is not quite right is on p132 of the Instruction Manual where the final sentence under the heading "AF Mode" states: "Note that continuous focusing of a moving subject is not possible."
I have watched a number of "movies" shot with a 550D and they all carefully avoid this pitful - normally by cutting to another scene.
Note that I am a novice and that hopefully I am missing something. Can anybody help?
July 26, 2010 08:17 am
I just sold my beloved 400D (XTi) and bought a 550D (T2i).
The only thing I'm worried is the size of RAW files since I use them a lot.. 17.90 Megapixels against the 10.2 I was used to should give a RAW file double the size of the 400D raw files.. why 20MB each?? I don't understand this, really.
Spec-wise I think it's a great camera (I'll get it tomorrow). I think this time DPS messed a little the ISO shots, how come 3200 is so good and 6400 has so much noise? That doesn't add up... on my 400d doubling the iso noise increased more smoothly.
Tomorrow I will tell you more.
The dpreview review was great as usual...
July 25, 2010 01:11 am
I have used Canon cameras for the past dozen years. Equipment is changing so fast now that much like computers, I plan to update often. A computer or cellphone is considered old after only 3 years. I bought the T2
with a Canon 100mm 1 to 1 macro, a Tamron 18-270 and a 200-500 which covers all the bases without totally breaking the bank. I shoot everything from sunsets to weddings to tiny bugs and have never had a problem with the T2. Saying all that, camera equipment is great but it is still the eye that takes the picture that really counts.
July 15, 2010 09:18 am
I got the T2i April 30, 2010, the day before I was suppose to photograph my niece wedding. Wow what a great choice I made. I have a back ground in old school darkroom work and negative retouching. I wasn't much on the camera. Pretty standard stuff back then. I have been away from all photography for years. This camera has been a great investment and has inspired me to continue learning and growing to get back to my first career love.
It takes EXCEPTIONAL pictures. Easy to use.
July 10, 2010 01:09 am
The T2i is a fine camera. I enjoy shooting with it when I'm not using my 7D. BTW Canon has just released a firmware update for it.
July 9, 2010 11:20 am
Thanks for tips on D90 I use ev-0.7 in aperture mode mostly.
Once you leave the bright lights its superb as I said before. However since this was never an issue with my Canon Powershot S5IS Digicam....there were other reasons why I upgraded to the D40, read to card delay, difficulty in focussing on flower heads and a better viewfinder experience, though given how well my wife does with just the LCD screen on the back of either the S5 or her Lumix I am beginning to wonder if the viewfinder is a dinosaur that should only be used when its too bright to see the screen or like me you need the lens correction for reading glass use!
As to movie use I can't remember how it works on the D90, and the absence of any software for it as well as the file size has made me hesitant to use it. Live View is marginally more useful but slow and the Digicams score well here. The S5 takes avi's with stereo sound which I find much better and frankly its enough for most casual/family needs and I find viewers happy to watch short clips rather than 20 minutes worth of your (read my) views of what makes a good movie (Actually really good ones are steam trains coming and going, as would be any noisy transport, I filmed my mother on her stair lift, that was fun too!!!)
I would love to evaluate the 550D ... when the manufacturers finally have their lens - camera cartel fully broken then we would all be able to find out what we like with what (but it seems this is one that might take a Korean to break fully, though Olympus and Panasonic are nearly there with their PEN types. I had a film Olympus PEN - life goes full cycle it seems).
July 9, 2010 08:52 am
I've got a Nikon D90 . I is true the Nikon overexposes bit in bright sun light.. You have to be careful metering the photograph but I've noticed that using active D-lighting ( I use it under bright sunlight conditions)goes a long way to help controling overexposure.Anyway , if you must you can always go to the menu and adjust the metering 1/6,2/6 or 3/6 on Matrix, center weighted and spot . Or just check the histogram , adjust exposure correspondingly and snap away.
On the Canon 550 even though I acknowledge the fact that its a great performing camera it still is a rebel which means a lot of plastic .Everytime I pick one up it just feels like a toy to me . If I were to buy a Canon I would go for the 50d upwards,(dreaming on getting a 5d mark 2) :)
July 9, 2010 03:57 am
i am using nikon d90 for now and it is fine.however, the video feature is limited, cannot be used longer as specified.20 min for standard and 5 min for HD.my friend who has a canon semi dslr can shoot video for one hour and can continue for another hour depending on the capacity of your memory card.
July 8, 2010 09:30 pm
hey.. great stuff… looks really fantastic. I like the post with such a nice material which is much informative. Thank you for the information you provided.
July 8, 2010 07:08 am
The funny part is, this is the second review of the T2i/550D on this site, just do a search and you'll find another one that was done a month or so ago.
July 7, 2010 08:23 am
wow this review is FAR too late
550 came out like half a year ago..
July 7, 2010 03:52 am
@markh: No, the 1.6x magnifier still applies.
July 6, 2010 01:24 pm
In daylight shooting the T2i and D90 perform about the same from my testing. Both badly overexpose in bright light, you need to under expose by at least -.03ev with matrix/evaluative metering, or use center weighted or spot metering.
July 6, 2010 10:44 am
I've just bought the Nikon D90 and got some great low light shots but find it poor in auto in bright light. Its not much better in a manual setting with exposure pulled down in same light.
This review is too sketchy even for DPS but the 450D onwards are great cameras and this one was very much in my view but its quite high price and the need to buy new lenses has held me off so far. However I am tempted to add it to my collection as I like Canons digicams but it will need to be good in Auto as I like to grab my camera and switch it on for candid shots and expect them to come out at least as good if not better than the wife's digicam at any time of day. Her new Lumix TZ10 outshot the D90 in bright golden hour light! And the built-in lens has a range which makes it increasingly hard to drag a large camera and spare lenses around, also it can easily be used inside and attracts little or no attention and whilst its low light performance is way behind the Nikon D90 its portability is leaps ahead!
So how is it versus a Canon digicam at midday in harsh light conditions in full Auto mode no adjustments???
If a DSLR can't do that as well then in my view its like having to drive an Auto Car in manual all the time not just when the going or loading is odd/adverse (seldom ever for mine though I use sport auto if fully loaded and mountain pass climbing). Yes I do use aperture or shutter settings for specifics but as a tourist shooter mostly, jumping into auto when time is not there to set up or change from previous mode is like manna from heaven for me. The Nikon D40 did that well! Perhaps this does too???
July 6, 2010 12:51 am
This does look like an excellent camera, but I still opted for a 50D. I lost some resolution and some ISO performance, but I got a camera that has higher build quality, has a PC Sync port (I plan to expand into studio lighting very soon), has replaceable focusing screens (gimmick for most of us, I know) and has that most important of features - a shutter sound that feels and sounds solid. It's silly how much weight that pulled with me, I compared the two (bought the 50D second hand) and it really was the noise the T2i made that turned me off.
Sad, I know.
July 5, 2010 10:48 pm
The ISO shots are not done properly.
Yes, the T2i is a great DSLR.
July 5, 2010 03:56 pm
One of the pictures has a watermark of dpreview.com. I was surprised, since I wasn’t aware that Digital Photography School and Digital Photography Review are affiliated.
Read more: http://digital-photography-school.com/canon-eos-t2i-550d-review#ixzz0smhsOglp
I doubt that they are. Just in case the pro blogger didn't bother to worry about copyright, I've let dpreview know where to find their picture.
July 5, 2010 03:34 pm
One of the pictures has a watermark of dpreview.com. I was surprised, since I wasn't aware that Digital Photography School and Digital Photography Review are affiliated.
July 5, 2010 01:22 pm
Sraw!! the lack of it. canon, why spoil the fun in your entry-level segment?
a single 20mb raw file can become 60mb tiff file. imagine the stress on your pc/mac if you have 300+ photos to post-process each week, and when batch process isnt always applicable. thus, more time to sitting and waiting in your working station :-(
everything else, i like.
July 5, 2010 01:12 pm
I thought Canon EF-S lenses were designed to give their listed length on cameras with this sensor size whereas Canon EF lenses require you to multiply to get the effective length.
If I'm correct than the EF-S f3.5-5.6/18-135mm is actually 18-135mm and not the 29-216mm converted it to.
July 5, 2010 12:13 pm
The only area I found lacking on the T2i when I was able to use one was the continuous shooting speed, but if you really need that much speed you can go for the 50D or 7D.
July 5, 2010 10:40 am
How is the autofocus in live view with the 550d? It is v. slow in the 500d, which is unusable except for completely static subjects for both video and stills. Has that improved, or do we need to wait for a later release to get that?
July 5, 2010 10:36 am
Agree with Alex, a 20MB raw is huge and you'll have to be selective or buy a 1To hard drive.
And if you have a little more money, you can buy the "Jackie Chan" version of the 550D !! :D
July 5, 2010 08:18 am
I agree, it is a great camera, BUT:
RAW file size more than 20MB, think twice, Canon 7D has three different sizes for RAW images. It means more storage, faster CPU, more memory. Unless you are kin to shoot multi-GB video you would be better off with Canon 450D, Canon 40d or with a bit more money - Canon 7D.
July 5, 2010 07:46 am
This is my first DSLR. The learning curve was high, but I love the camera. And you don't feel like you need to upgrade right away, the camera gives you plenty of room to grow.
July 5, 2010 05:28 am
Why wouldn't you buy one? I am a newcomer to this photography thing, and ended up buying the 500, simply because I could hold it more comfortably and manipulate it more easily - and it was considerably lighter. I couldn't imagine lugging the 550 around all day, but then I'm a small sized person. Give me a 550 designed for little fingers, and I'm there!
July 5, 2010 01:30 am
I've had my T2i since my daughter was born (7 months) and I couldn't be happier! Along with the 50mm f/1.4 USM prime lens I feel like everyday my skills take a step forward!
July 5, 2010 01:04 am
its definitely a great camera.
but can anyone suggest me which one is better ? canon 550D or nikon D90 ?
( within a given price budget, in short which one is the best camera deal for a novice ? )
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