Canon EOS 500D DSLR Review

By on May 24, 2010
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500D isn’t a perfect camera but a well built compact DSLR that takes high quality images even in low light conditions.

Editor's Score
The Verdict:
A Reliable budget camera that could have been better at taking videos

The Canon EOS 500D (also known as the Rebel T1i) was released in 2009 as a replacement to the popular Canon EOS 450D (also known as the Rebel XSi) as Canons entry level DSLR. It’s more of an evolutionary improvement over the 450D by providing a similar package with some new features and upgrades. The most visible changes on the EOS 500D are the higher resolution sensor, HD video mode and the new high resolution LCD display.

The table below shows the important changes between the two models.

Camera EOS 500D EOS 450D
Sensor 15.1 million effective pixels 12.2 million effective pixels
Image processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC III
Image sizes 4752 x 3168
3456 x 2304
2353 x 1568
4272 x 2848
3088 x 2056
2256 x 1504
ISO range ISO 100 to 3200, expandable to 6400 and 12800 ISO 100 to 1600
LCD display 3.0 ” TFT LCD, 920,000 dots 3.0 ” TFT LCD, 230,000 dots
Video mode 1080p @ 20fps
720p @ 30fps
VGA @ 30fps
MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)
No video capability
Noise reduction 4 levels adjustability On/Off
Auto lighting optimizer 4 levels adjustability On/Off
Peripheral illumination correction Profiles provided for 25 lenses
High-speed continuous 3.4 fps
170 JPEG/Fine frames
9 RAW frames
3.5 fps
53 JPEG/Fine frames
6 RAW frames
Connections USB 2.0
Video output
USB 2.0
Video output


The 500D like its predecessor is available in two kits. One that is a body only option while the other one available is packaged with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS lens. You’ll also find a LP-E5 lithium-ion battery, LC-E5E battery charger, body cap, shoulder strap, USB cable, video cable, printed camera manual and two CDs containing the Canon EOS Digital Solution software and documentations.

Canon does not provide a memory card with the camera so you’re going to have to buy one unless a local retailer gives one as a freebie with the camera. With the cameras capability of taking 15mp images that translates into large file sizes, it would be recommended to buy a 4GB or higher capacity memory card. The camera uses SD or SDHC memory cards and Canon recommends Class 6 card for HD movie recording.

The camera body

The 500D being the entry level camera is entirely made of plastic which makes it lightweight and feel a little delicate. It’s also quite small and the grip will seem inadequate for people with bigger hands so I would would recommended you to try the camera out before buying it just to get a feel of the size. Built quality is top notch though a few areas of the body were already showing signs of wear especially around the I/O ports and the bottom part of the camera.

On the flip side, it’s amongst the smallest and lightest when compared to competitors which makes it easy to carry around especially for people who don’t want the bulk of a heavy professional camera. Looking carefully, I noticed the following specific physical features of this camera:

• The camera supports both the EF and EF-S lens and has a crop factor of 1.6x which basically means if you mount a 18mm lens, it’ll give you a field of view of almost 29mm.

• The electronically released pop up flash that has a guide number of 13 meters at ISO 100 with field of view coverage of up to 17mm. It also doubles as an AF assist lamp.

• The microphone records sound in mono and can be found on the front above the EOS label.

• On the mode dial, a new mode called the Movie Mode has been added to enable you to take videos.

• Unlike several older DSLRs, the LCD can be used to compose shots through the Live view option just like a point and shoot camera though it isn’t as quick at locking focus.

You have three auto focus options in live view:

o Live: This uses the contrast detect AF which is quite slow. It takes the camera a few seconds to lock focus.
o Live with face detection: Same as the Live AF mode but with the ability to detect a face. Unlike the face detection of a point & shoot, this system isn’t accurate as it detected a face even in scenes that didn’ have people in it.
o Quick: In this mode, to focus, the camera flips the mirror down, uses the cameras AF points to lock focus, flips the mirror back up and returns to Live view. A faster way to focus if you don’t mind the short period of blackout and the sound the flipping mirror makes.

• In live view, you can zoom in by 5x to 10x that allows you to make sure your subject is perfectly in focus especially when manual focusing.

• A dedicated record button in Video mode is provided on the right side of the screen which also doubles up as a button to switch on live view mode in P/TV/AV/M/A-DEP mode. The same button can be used to choose what pictures to transfer when the camera is connected to a PC or Mac.

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