Product Type: Canon digital cameras
Newest Review: ... it's just fine without causing any quibbles at all. The buttons and controls on the Canon 500D feel nice to touch and use, without fee... more
Canon EOS 500D
Member Name: musicmad2020
Canon EOS 500D
Advantages: Excellent features, picture quality, HD filming mode, Live View
Disadvantages: Other than no camera bag supplied, none!
Being a student, there was no way I would ever be able to afford an SLR camera without extending my overdraft (no thanks) or saving for a long time - difficult when I'm also saving for a new computer/New York trip! My Mum kindly offered to buy me an SLR camera for my 21st birthday present, as she wanted to get me something I would really appreciate and of course, get the use out of. So that I was happy with what she got me, it was up to me to research SLR cameras and decide exactly what camera I wanted.
I'll be honest, the world of SLR camera's is an absolute minefield, especially if you are a first time buyer as I was. I decided to stick to what I know, and choose a Canon SLR as Canon are known for their quality. I also felt I would perhaps understand the camera's features and settings a little more, as from my research a lot of them seemed similar to my Ixus 900ti. Although my Mum didn't set me a budget, I wanted it to be no more than around the £500 mark, as I would have felt bad with anything more. Upon viewing the sample images taken by actual users, and reading *many* reviews, I settled for the Canon 500D, which cost approximately £560.
The camera comes with the following:
*Canon 500D EOS Camera Body
*Range of CD's
The camera itself is 15.5 Megapixels, which is a considerable step up from my previous 10 Megapixel Ixus. From a designer's point of view, this means that when I take an image into Photoshop, I can do a lot more with the image before pixilation occurs. It of course depends upon what setting I have used, and what focal length but generally speaking the quality of the images are really superb. This is especially the case when photographing landscape images, particularly the sky against a field - the quality and the depth of the colours are really vivid.
Appearance wise, the camera looks similar to the other cameras in the EOS range. It is black, with a fairly generous sized screen on the back. There are numerous buttons which provide many different functions, and these are also mainly located on the back next to the screen. The overall weight really depends upon what lense is attached, as the body only is stated as being 480 grams. However with the standard 18-55mm lense that's provided, I would estimate it adds another 200 grams. It's a fair bit heavier than a digital, but I would say that overall it's not too heavy for prolonged use, especially if you use the neck strap for extra support and security.
I have owned 3 camera's in my lifetime, including a traditional film camera used for my A/S Photography course, and I have to say despite all that I was still absolutely baffled when taking the camera out the box and trying to work it all out! Thankfully it comes with a very detailed instruction manual, and I would *really* advise reading it all, even if you think you know what you're doing, just so you know exactly how to work all the features, so you will get the best out of your camera.
After a few weeks of using the camera, I have tried the 500D under different circumstances, such as photographing a "country scene" for a photography competition, and also for journalistic purposes, as well as trying it out at my birthday party and even filming some piano playing on the HD setting. At times, the pictures don't always come out perfectly in focus, however I put this down to my inexperience rather than the camera being at fault, as by playing around with a different setting I can usually find a remedy to the problem.
The 500D has liveview capabilities, which for me is fantastic as I have friends with SLR's who don't have this function and I know it can get frustrating. Although not all settings allow the use of liveview, "M" up to "P" on the dial (as well as video shooting), allows it, by hitting the button at the side of the top arrow. For all other modes, you have to look through the viewfinder, which I think is appropriate given it's a manual lense, which you have to physically zoom in and out yourself.
The Liveview is particularly useful on the Video setting, as it would be a little impossible to use the view finder! Using the menu whilst on Liveview, you can alter the dimensions, picture quality, and other key features. The screen then doubles up as a playback option once you have finished shooting both video/stills to review your work.
As for the battery life, I would say overall it's around 8/10. It has the wonderful chargeable battery which comes with the majority of Canon cameras, in that you charge it as often as you would a toothbrush, and there's certainly no breaking out packs of AA batteries! The battery does flag up a low battery message on the screen more often than I find with my IXUS, however I put this purely down to the fact it is taking a much higher quality and size of image, not to mention powering a lense. Although I have not yet tried another lense with this camera, some people have stated that the higher quality lenses will hammer the battery much quicker, so this is something to bear in mind. Generally speaking though, you should be able to go on a shoot or short break without needing to charge after it has fully charged, which I found takes a couple of hours to do.
The shooting modes are very similar to other Canon models, including my Ixus. There's the Portrait, Close-Up (Macro), Landscape, Night Portrait, Flash Off, Sports as well as Full Auto, CA, P, AV, TV, A-DEP. I have to be honest, I am still getting to grips with all of these, although I have really taken to the portrait setting as it enables you to get a really clear, in focus image without too much effort (especially when the lense is switched to Auto Focus). It may not be the most creative of modes this camera has to offer, but is perfect for when you need to capture an image quickly, or with minimal effort.
I have also become partial to the "Flash Off" setting, especially when photographing the sunsets/night sky and I don't wish to set the flash off, which is quite powerful considering it's a built in flash (there is a slot on the top of the camera if you wish to buy your own flash). A problem I found with my previous digital, is that in low or artificial light the images would become grainy or blurred, however with "flash off" or even Night portrait (automatic flash),the images are really crisp and atmospheric.
Perhaps the only downsides I can think of with this camera, is the fact there is no internal memory. I personally don't see this as too much of an issue as I bought a 16gb Class 10 SD card(the recommend class for this model). However, if you have never owned a camera before and don't buy a card with it, then you will not be able to use the camera properly. Also, I do find it a bit of an annoyance that there is no camera bag supplied as obviously this camera is precious cargo, and taking it out the house is a bit of a problem as I'm yet to buy a bag. My Mum did tell me however that if you buy this camera with a tripod, then you do get a camera bag with it, only it's a massive one to fit the tripod in it too!
Overall, although I am still working out all the features of the 500D, I have to say I really pleased with it, not just as a present but as something I will rely on during my 3rd year at university on an arts course. There are so many modes and indeed lenses to choose from, which makes the whole experience inspiring and very creative. It allows you to take a straight forward, high quality image, but then there are also options which allow you to suit the setting to your surroundings and proximity to the subject. I really cannot fault this camera, and I know it is going to provide me with years of creativity and most of all quality. It may be an expensive purchase, but if you are serious about photography then this is most certainly a camera I would recommend.
**For full product specs, visit www.canon.co.uk and search for "500d".**
Summary: A fantastic mid-range SLR which I'm delighted with
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