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Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR review




  • Recommended by TR
Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR


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Of the five main digital SLR manufacturers, Canon has enjoyed the largest market share for a number of years now. Arch-rival Nikon has never been too far behind though, and has recently added some very strong new models to its range. Relative newcomer Sony is in third place and gaining ground with an even larger range of DSLR cameras including some very impressive new models.

Canon's tactic in the face of this intensifying competition has been to increase the number of models in its own range, adding additional tiers to the traditional beginner-intermediate-professional hierarchy. With the EOS 1000D (£380) now serving as the entry-level foundation of the range, the older triple-digit series has now been promoted to more of a lower-intermediate role, fitting in between the 1000D and the EOS 50D (£720), while the new EOS 7D (which I'll be reviewing on Saturday) takes on the flagship role of Canon's APS-C cameras.

As part of this range-rethink, in March of this year Canon launched the EOS 500D, an upgrade and replacement for last year's popular EOS 450D. In keeping with its new more advanced hobbyist role the 500D is loaded with features, including 1080p HD video recording, DIGIC 4 processor and the same fast and powerful 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor as the EOS 50D. It is currently selling for approximately £580 including the basic 18-55mm f/3.5 - 5.6 image stabilised EF-S kit lens.

The EOS 450D was a very successful model for Canon, with that single model accounting for around 15 percent of worldwide DSLR sales last year. However the camera market is volatile and highly competitive, and buyers considering an EOS 500D will also be looking at the Nikon D5000 (12.3MP, £515 inc. kit lens), the Sony Alpha A380 (14.2MP, £490 inc. kit lens), the Pentax K-x (12.4MP, £600 inc. kit lens) and the Olympus E-620 (12.3MP, £580 inc. kit lens). They might also consider the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Micro Four-Thirds camera (12.1MP, £455 inc. kit lens). The 500D has more features and a more powerful sensor than any of its immediate rivals, and the price is far from extortionate by comparison. At first glance then the Canon certainly looks like it could be a bit of a bargain, and trust me those are words I never expected to write.


November 5, 2009, 8:56 pm

I'm pleasantly surprised with this review, especially the relatively low noise levels at higher sensitivity settings. The only thing I'm concerned about is the lens quality. Compared to Nikon's kit lenses Canon's seem somewhat lacking.

Cliff Smith

November 5, 2009, 11:57 pm

It's certainly true that the low-cost kit lenses supplied with many consumer DSLRs have usually left something to be desired in terms of optical quality, and the 18-55mm supplied with the 500D does suffer from quite nasty chromatic aberration. Some of the other manufacturers, notably Pentax and Sony, have recently introduced greatly improved kit lenses, so hopefully Canon will follow suit. Needless to say the more expensive lenses in Canon's range are generally superb.


November 6, 2009, 5:59 am

Bring on the 7D review this weekend. Twice the price we know, but twice the features?

I've got some existing fast glass I'm waiting to strap on to something new.


November 6, 2009, 7:31 am

After using a 300D, 450D I spoiled myselve with a 500D.

The camera was indeed a step up compared with the previous I used (no complains of either).

This 500D was the best of all, faster, more accurate and most of all: less light needed to take a decent picture.

Some time ago I had the possibility to "hold" a 5D MKII and was sold. I was, but cause of the price it was absolutely no option for me.

When the 7d came in the picture I was able to change from the 500D to the 7D....



November 6, 2009, 5:47 pm

The 500d is my first digital SLR. I've had it since mid-July.

1/ I'm so happy I didn't rush and got myself a EOS450 or the 1000 instead (because of the HD video feature!). Here in Sweden they are still selling those models for roughly EUR150 less than the 500D.

2/ For any prospective buyers, my decision to buy this Canon was influenced by the fact I still had lying around 3 old EF lenses from my last 35mm film Camera, which was also an entry level EOS350.

After reading the TR review, it's clear that the erratic exposure (overexposure in my case) is an issue with this camera. One that Canon should be addressing in a firmware update asap.

The provided kit lens is good as a start-up -don't forget that this 18-55 comes with image stabiliser (IS). If you'd like to grow in the zoom side, Sigma and Tamron have unexpensive 55-200 or 70-300 (approx) lenses without IS.

On that note, I am still very disappointed with the prices of wide lenses (from all manufacturers). EUR400 and above is prohibitive for me.

I vividly recommend this site to sample the video features of this camera: http://vimeo.com/channels/500d


November 7, 2009, 8:10 pm

I beleive the 500D's sensor is NOT the same as the one in the 50D; it doesn't feature the gapless microlens array present on the 50D's sensor. There's an interview video on YouTube with the Canon UK's PRO where he says so.

That doesn't diminish anything from the 500D's performance, which is excellent in my opinion.


December 23, 2009, 6:02 pm

You have to question the common sense on this camera.....a top spec piece of kit, they then throw 1080p into the mix - brilliant...then adorn it with MONO AUDIO!!!! it would be like driving an aston martin powered by an austin maxi engine..... can anyone remember when stereo was invented.....? then they only do 20 fps @ 1080p...why? 'Here' your new Aston Martin sir, and ask you can see, we've complemented it with a rather lovely matt finish'. I really want to go and buy this - now, but just think the mix of full HD and mono would make me cry.. Yes, I know 'go and buy a camcorder then'....NO, Canon - if you're going to do a good job, finish it properly - I'd pay another few quid to have stereo for the next 10 years of video with my snapping!

jack 8

December 24, 2009, 4:25 pm

I think gapless microlens missing in 500D, I found best price of 500D on Danish site i.e. getmore, its 569GBP, should I get it from there? PLease help!

Joseph Middleton

June 25, 2010, 12:52 am

Mine is on it's way! My very first DSLR!

dave 2

August 14, 2010, 8:38 pm

I have been looking at this exact model. It seems to be a bit of a cut, still sending the poor lens out with it in the kit encourages you to want to buy a body and then better lens, But is this the best for the money then. The digic 4 processor is awesome. I have it in the canon Ixus 300HS and what a marvel of a camera for a point and shoot. so quick too. But I am not sold on the 500D. Should have left the HD recording out, unless they couple with sterio sound like the Ixus. not to mention poor kit lens. Canon make amazing product but tend to just leave a great product a little short of being the best you will get for your money.

K.N Vijayakumar

April 23, 2015, 4:25 pm

I bought this around 7 yr ago. It is working even now excellent, but this is fit only for out doors, mostly static subjects like mountain etc. if you take a photo in a Marriage where a lot of movement is there this WILL FIT MISERABLY. in a fast changing in doors this is very poor . this is my experence.

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