Updated (February, 2011): Compare the Canon EOS 1100D vs Canon EOS 600D

Canon EOS 550D

Winner
Canon EOS 550D

56

vs

Canon EOS 500D

53

Canon EOS 500D

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 550D

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 30fps
Screen resolution
High resolution screen
1,040k dots
Supports 24p
24p movies
For that film look
External mic jack
External mic jack
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
 

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 500D

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 20fps
Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
300 ms startup delay
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
159 ms shutter lag
Size
Really small
Prosumer size 129x98x62 mm
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Canon 500D

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Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 159 ms vs 252 ms
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Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Startup delay Slightly less startup delay 300 ms vs 400 ms
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Around 30% less delay when turning on
Canon EOS 500D Learn more about
the Canon 500D

Advantages of the Canon 550D

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Supports 24p Supports 24p Yes vs No
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Get that real film feel
Color depth Better color depth 22.1 bits vs 21.7 bits
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Distinguishes 0.4 more bits of color
Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO 784 ISO vs 663 ISO
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The 550D has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
External mic jack Has an external mic jack Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
Movie format Lower frame rate movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 1080p @ 20fps
Help
Both shoot Full HD (1080p) video, but 500D does so at a lower frame rate
Overall image quality Better image quality 66.0 vs 63.0
Help
Almost the same
Screen resolution Higher resolution screen 1,040k dots vs 920k dots
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More than 10% higher resolution screen
True resolution Higher true resolution 17.9 MP vs 15.1 MP
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Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Lowest price Significantly cheaper $551.99 vs $931.48
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The best price we've seen is $379 cheaper (more than 40% less)
Continuous shooting Shoots slightly faster 3.7 fps vs 3.4 fps
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Around 10% faster continuous shooting
Light sensitivity Better maximum light sensitivity 6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
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The 550D's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Battery life Slightly longer battery life 440 shots vs 400 shots
Help
10% more shots per battery charge
Canon EOS 550D Learn more about
the Canon 550D
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent entry-level DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Canon EOS 500D Canon EOS 500D 53
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      Color
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        56 Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS 550D
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              similarities

              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              500D:300 ms
              550D:400 ms
              Size Very small Help
              Prosumer size 129x98x62 mm
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              197 lenses
              Thickness Very thin Help
              2.4"
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Autofocus No video autofocus Help
              Manual focus only
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              12,800 ISO
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              95%
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Sensor size Very small sensors Help
              APS-C 22.3x14.9mm
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              500D:3.4 fps
              550D:3.7 fps
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              1
              Battery life Few shots per battery charge Help
              500D:400 shots
              550D:440 shots
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              500D:3,200 ISO
              550D:6,400 ISO
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              9
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              11.5 EV
              Viewfinder size Below average viewfinder size Help
              0.54x
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              500D:63.0
              550D:66.0
              Color depth Poor color depth Help
              500D:21.7 bits
              550D:22.1 bits
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              500D:663 ISO
              550D:784 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 600D

              Canon EOS 600D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $492 body only

              $1,158 with 18-135mm lens

              Screen flips out Has a screen which flips out
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is much larger
              Canon EOS 700D

              Canon EOS 700D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,220 body only

              $900 with 18-135mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS 1100D

              Canon EOS 1100D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $450 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Has slightly less shutter lag
              Battery life Has a significantly longer battery life
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon EOS 1200D

              Canon EOS 1200D

              Entry-level DSLR

              $400 body only

              $620 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie continuous focus Can focus continuously while recording movies
              Autofocus Focuses automatically while shootting video
              Thickness Is thicker
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $270 - $387 body only

              $401 - $430 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Sensor size Has a slightly larger sensor
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is slightly larger
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 - $657 body only

              $389 - $477 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is significantly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is significantly larger
              Canon EOS 60D

              Canon EOS 60D

              Pro DSLR

              $699 body only

              $959 - $999 with 18-135mm lens

              Viewfinder size Slightly larger viewfinder
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker

              Canon EOS 500D Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Canon EOS 500D.

              Canon EOS 550D Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Canon EOS 550D.

              appearance

              Canon EOS 500D Canon EOS 550D
              Canon EOS 500D Canon EOS 550D
              Canon EOS 500D Canon EOS 550D

              discussion

              Canon EOS 500D
              EOS 500D
              Canon

              Report a correction
              Canon EOS 550D
              EOS 550D
              Canon

              Report a correction

              Showing 12 comments

              Avatar for PC1512 PC1512 (2:19 PM, May 02, 2012)
              It doesn't need one - the EOS range has *always* put the AF motor in the lens, ever since the system was devised in 1987 (for film cameras) - so no EOS body has an internal motor, but every EOS body can work with every EF lens.

              Nikon started out putting motors in the camera bodies and none in their AF lenses, and even now most of their camera range have motors inside to power those motorless AF lenses, some of which are still on sale.  It was only much more recently that they started to adopt the Canon method, and put motors in newer lens designs.  Cutting out the internal motor from the lower end bodies like the D5100 reduces Nikon's costs, but means their users are restricted to autofocus with ONLY those much newer lenses - not the whole AF range that's open to any EOS user.
               
              Avatar for PC1512 PC1512 (2:12 PM, May 02, 2012)
              This is all a little inaccurate - there is no internal focussing motor in the 500D, the 550D, or in fact ANY Canon DSLR.  The EOS range (ever since the system was designed for the first film cameras in 1987) has always put the motor in the lens, not the camera.  There are no mechanical linkages between an EOS body and an EF lens, only electrical contacts.  The result of that is that any of Canon's DLSR's today can work perfectly with virtually any EF lens created since 1987.

              Nikon are different, as instead of creating a whole new lens mount from scratch as Canon did with the EOS system, they adapted their existing F mount dating back to 1959 (which obviously predates autofocus by some way).  For many years, their AF bodies (film and digital) had an autofocus motor inside which drove the matching AF lens range via a "screw" in the mount.  Only much more recently have they ended up rethinking this approach, and copying Canon's original idea - putting the motor in newer lenses.  Most Nikon bodies still have the motor inside as well, so can autofocus with the whole range of lenses, but newer lower-end bodies like the D5100, D3100 etc do not - they can ONLY autofocus with those newer lenses which have their own built in motor.

              So it's wrong to say the 500D, 550D etc have a focus motor, but right to say they still have an advantage over the equally motorless D5100, because they never needed one in the first place - unlike the Nikon.
               
              Youssef Funky (11:35 AM, January 08, 2012)
              500d Doesnt Have A Built In Focus Motor :s
               
              Flona (10:33 PM, December 06, 2011)
              Canon t2i is just another name of the canon 550d.
               
              Flona (10:32 PM, December 06, 2011)
              The 550d is better than the 500d but the lenses 75-300 is for zooming a lot, and the 18-55mm is the lenses of the kit, but he doesnt zoom a lot. Take the 550d, and after when you know how using it buy the 75-300mm.
              Hope i help you :)
               
              Frans (8:07 AM, November 26, 2011)
              I have to make a choice between the canon EOS500D with lenses18-55mm and 75-300mm and the canon 550d with only a 18-55 IS lens. The Canon550D is a little more expensive. Please help! I dont have photography experience. And which has the best zoom?
               
              Vishnucia@yahoo.co.in (9:07 AM, July 18, 2011)
              :P
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (6:25 PM, June 16, 2011)
              Hi Sam, you're correct, they're the same camera.  Its a bit subtle, but if you check Snapsort's page on the Canon T2i you'll see part way down it says "also known as Canon 550D".  Canon markets the camera in North America as the Rebel T2i, and as the 550D everywhere else.
               
              Sam (6:22 PM, June 16, 2011)
              Is there any difference between Canon T2i and Canon 550D? Most of the websites refer them as the same.
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (0:40 PM, April 19, 2011)
              Like you said most lenses on the market today have internal motors in them. Some older ones do not.
               
              Ajay Sarda (10:19 AM, April 19, 2011)
              How does the internal moter play a role. If i buy 550d it has and d3100 doesnt has. Are there any lens that dont have internal motor these days?
               
              Avatar for claicers claicers (3:24 PM, April 09, 2010)
              Eos 550D is better