According to Canon, the EOS 550D redefines the boundaries of the company's consumer digital SLR range, incorporating technologies and features commonly found in semi-professional digital SLRs into the compact, lightweight body favoured by consumers.
The EOS 550D comes with a newly-developed 18-megapixel (MP) APS-C CMOS sensor, coupled with Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor and the ability to shoot Full HD movies.
Canon's latest EOS camera supports standard ISO settings of 100 - 6400 (expandable to 12800), while enhanced in-camera noise reduction technology promises to boost performance in low light conditions.
The EOS 550D features a 9-point AF system with one extra-sensitive cross–type point at the centre for f/2.8 or faster lenses. The camera also supports high-speed, continuous shooting at 3.7 frames per second (fps).
The camera includes the iFCL metering system first launched in the EOS 7D. New for EOS is the ability to set the top limit for automatic ISO, allowing users to control the maximum amount of noise in their images.
In a first for entry level EOS, exposure compensation and bracketing can be set up to plus or minus five and two stops respectively, allowing the photographer to take a number of differently exposed versions of the same shot to ensure they capture a well-exposed image, even in difficult lighting conditions.
The EOS 550D records video in full 1920x1080p HD resolution, allowing photographers to select the frame rate preferred from 30, 25 and 24fps, as well as offering 720p video at 60 and 50fps. The EOS 550D also includes a 3.5mm stereo microphone socket, enabling the use of an external microphone when capturing video.
An integrated HDMI port compatible with High-Definition Multimedia Interface -Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI-CEC), video and images stored on the EOS 550D can be viewed on an HD-ready TV and controlled via the TV remote.
Photographers can also take manual control over exposure settings, changing the depth of field and degree of motion blur to shoot more creatively. Highlight tone priority (HTP) can be set independently for movie capture, without changing any still image capture settings.
In situations where the subject is further away, the EOS 550D Movie Crop function records with the central 640x480 pixel area of the sensor, creating an effective magnification of approximately seven times. The EOS 550D is the first in the EOS range to feature Movie Crop and gives consumers more flexibility to capture important moments insists Canon.
The EOS 550D comes with a 7.7cm (3.0-inch) 3:2 Clear View LCD screen with 1,040k dot resolution makes it possible to see 100 per cent of captured images with no borders. The anti-reflective, water-repellent coating also makes it easier to see the screen in bright conditions and from a variety of angles.
Canon's latest EOS camera comes with bigger more intuitive buttons, redesigned following feedback from users.
The EOS 550D is fully compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX series Speedlite flash units, including the compact Speedlite 270EX. The camera is also compatible with the new RC-6 Remote Control, allowing photographers to capture stills and Full HD video without touching the camera body.
An infrared controller can trigger the shutter release from up to five metres away, with users able to select either immediate release or a two second delay for greater flexibility when shooting.
As well as supporting EOS 550D, the RC-6 is also compatible with the EOS 450D, 500D, 7D and 5D Mark II.
Owners of the new Canon EOS 550D can join the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, a free online facility for Canon users that promises to make it easy to share their photos and video.
Users can take advantage of up to 2GB of personal storage space, creating enough room for hundreds of high-quality images. Mobile browsing is also supported, making it easier for to view photos on the move.
The EOS 550D body only costs £799.99.00 / €899.00. The EOS 550D, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens kit is priced at £899.99.00 / €999.00.
The EOS 550D, EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens kit costs £1,099.99.00 / €1,249.00 RRP. The EOS 550D, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS & EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS double lens kit is priced at £1,199.99.00 / €1,349.00.
The BG-E8 battery grip for the EOS 550D is priced at £159.99.00 / €179.00. The LP-E8 battery pack for the the EOS 550D costs £49.99.00 / €49.99. The RC-06 remote price is TBA.