sidebyside1-001As before Canon isn’t officially ‘replacing’ the EOS 500D with the new 550D, and for the foreseeable future the EOS 550D will sit in the range between the EOS 500D and the EOS 7D (ignoring for the moment the additional confusion of the EOS 50D, which the new camera out-specs in some areas). The changes are partly cosmetic (a very slightly different body shell design, tweaks to the buttons and mode dial), but the real changes are under the hood.

As well as a boost from 15 to an EOS 7D-matching 18 megapixels (it’s not the same sensor, though it is apparently ‘very similar’), the EOS 550D gets a non-crippled full HD movie mode (1920 x 1080 at up to 30 fps, 720P at 60/50 fps, manual controls, external mic socket), upgraded metering and a smattering of smaller (but no less welcome) improvements.

The body shell is almost – but not quite – identical. The most obvious changes are the new wider (3:2 aspect ratio) 3.0″ screen, larger, easier to use buttons and a dedicated live view/movie button (which allows the direct print button to double up as a way to directly access the Quick Control Screen).

Canon EOS 550D vs EOS 500D Key differences

  • Higher resolution 18MP CMOS with gapless micro lenses
  • ISO 6400 no longer in ‘expanded’ range (12,800 max remains the same)
  • Redesigned buttons and new movie/live view button
  • Customizable auto ISO ranges
  • Improved 63 zone metering (iFCL)
  • 3:2 format screen with more pixels
  • Improved movie functionality
  • Slightly higher burst shooting rate (though buffer holds fewer shots)
  • HDMI control (CEC)
  • SDXC compatible

Canon EOS 550D vs. EOS 500D major feature and specification differences

Canon EOS 40D
Canon EOS 550D
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EOS 500D
Sensor • 18.7 million effective pixels • 15.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 5184 x 3456
• 3456 x 2304
• 2592 x 1728
• 4752 x 3168
• 3456 x 2304
• 2353 x 1568
Sensitivity ISO 100 to 6400, extendable to 12800. ISO 100 to 3200, extendable to H1 (6400) and H2 (12800).
Metering • TTL 63-zone SPC • 35-zone evaluative
Exposure Compensation +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV
Auto ISO • ISO 100 to 6400
• User selectable max ISO
ISO 100 to 1600
LCD monitor • 3.0 ” TFT LCD
• 3:2 aspect ratio
• 1,040,000 dots
• 3.0 ” TFT LCD
• 4:3 aspect ratio
• 920,000 dots
Video mode • 1080p @ 30, 25 or 24 fps
• 720p @ 50/60 fps
• VGA @ 50/60 fps
• Movie crop function
• External stereo mike (optional)
• 1080p @ 20fps
• 720p @ 30fps
• VGA @ 30fps
High-speed continuous • 3.7 fps
• 34 JPEG/Fine frames
• 6 RAW frames
• 3.4 fps
• 170 JPEG/Fine frames
• 9 RAW frames
Connectors • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• Video output (PAL/ NTSC)
(integrated with USB terminal)
• HDMI Type C
• Stereo microphone
• USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• Video output (PAL/ NTSC)
(integrated with USB terminal)
• HDMI Type C
Storage SD/SDHC/SDXC SD/SDHC
Eye-Fi compatibility On-screen messages & menu support, auto power-down disabled when transmitting. Supported, no feedback
Battery Grip BG-E8 BG-E5
Others • Copyright/photographer information
• ‘Q’ button & separate movie button
• 4 level battery reporting
• Eye-Fi card menu and UI support
• Control over HDMI
• Easier access to Auto Lighting Optimizer