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Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR - Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR


Our Score:


At least externally there's not much to distinguish the EOS 500D from its predecessor the 450D. The body is identical, a conventionally-styled SLR shape with a comfortable handgrip. The body is made of a strong but lightweight polycarbonate plastic and the build quality is excellent, with no gaps at the body seams. The control layout is also identical to the 450D, with the additional functions added to existing controls.

Although the camera doesn't claim any weatherproof credentials the body and hatches are well protected against dust, and the card slot hatch has a strong metal hinge. I commented in my review of the 450D that the body felt flimsy. This is not something I would say about the 500D, although that may be because I've seen more entry-level cameras recently rather than any change in build quality. Although the 500D weighs 5g more than the 450D at 480g that is due to internal changes rather than increased bulk.

Those internal changes are numerous and extensive. The headline feature is the new sensor, the same powerful high-speed 15.1MP CMOS unit as used in the next model up the range, the semi-pro EOS 50D. The 50D was praised for its excellent image quality especially in low light, so this certainly bodes well for the 500D's performance. Also borrowed from the 50D is the superb three-inch 920,000 dot monitor and the powerful pop up flash with an ISO 100 guide number of 13.

One of the few components retained from the 450D is the autofocus system. It has nine sensor points, with a central f/2.8 cross type sensor. It's not a bad system by any means, and operates quickly and accurately even in low indoor lighting, but it does sometimes hunt around a bit in lower light. Compared to the D50's AF with nine cross-type points, or the 11-point MultiCam AF of the Nikon D5000 it does look a bit limp. The 500D has no AF assist lamp, but if the flash is popped up it will strobe the flash to provide low-light AF assistance.

One component that deserves special mention is the viewfinder, which is very large and bright and certainly on of the best in its class. It has a nice bright data display along the bottom, and the nine AF points are indicated by small but bright LED points. The viewfinder has a good wide range of dioptric correction for those of us who wear glasses, and a soft removable rubber cushion. Apparently there is an eyepiece extender available too.


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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