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Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH 6 to 7 Megapixel

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MSRP : $500.00

  • Image Sensor TypeCCD
    Resolution7.4 Megapixel
    Optical Zoom3x
    Camera TypeCompact
    Interchangeable LensNot Interchangeable Lenses
    35mm Zoom Lens37 - 111 mm
    Digital Zoom4x
    Focus TypeAutofocus
    Focus Range19.2 in. to Infinity (w)
    Macro Focus Range2 - 19.2 in. (w) / 12 - 19.2 in. (t)
    Focal Length7.7 - 23.1 mm
    Camera Resolution7.4 Megapixel
    Image Resolutions640 x 480 • 2592 x 1944 • 2048 x 1536 • 1600 x 1200 • 3072 x 2304
    Video Resolutions320 x 240 (QVGA) • 640 x 480 (VGA) • 160 x 120
    Video Speed30 fps
    Max Movie LengthWithout Limit (Depends on the camera free memory size)
    Video FormatAVI • Motion JPEG
    Aperture Rangef2.8/f4.9 (w/t)
    Shutter Speed15 - 1/2000 sec
    White BalanceAuto • Manual • Daylight / Sunny (Preset) • Cloudy (Preset) • Fluorescent (Preset) • Tungsten (Preset)
    Frames Per Second2 Frames
    Memory TypeMultimedia Card • SD Card
    Compression ModesFine • SuperFine • Normal
    Compression TypeJPEG
    File Size (High Res.)2.44 MB (52 images on 128MB card)
    File Size (Low Res.)0.08 MB (about 1,600 images on 128MB card)
    ISO SpeedsAuto • 50 • 100 • 200 • 400
    Flash TypeBuilt-In
    Flash FunctionsFlash Off • Auto Flash • Fill-in Flash • Red-eye Reduction Flash • Slow Sync
    LCD PanelWith LCD Panel
    LCD Panel Size2.5 in.
    LCD Screen Resolution115,000 pixels
    LCD Protected PositionWithout LCD Protected Position
    Interface TypeUSB 2.0
    Video InterfaceVideo Out
    Battery TypeProprietary Lithium
    Battery Life150 Images
    Self Timer2 Sec. • 10 Sec.
    Built-in MicrophoneWith Built-in Microphone
    Tripod MountWith Tripod Mount
    Operating SystemApple Mac OS X • Microsoft Windows 2000 • Microsoft Windows 98SE • Microsoft Windows ME • Microsoft Windows XP
    Width3.52 in.
    Depth1.08 in.
    Height2.24 in.
    Weight0.38 lb.
    Exterior ColorSilver
    Included AccessoriesSoftware • USB Cable • Video Cable • Hand Strap • 32 MB Memory Card • Lithium Battery • Battery Charger
    Release DateSeptember, 2005
    Product ID27080550

Product Description

From its elegantly curved profile to its superb functionality, the ultra-compact PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH rightfully owns the top spot in the Digital ELPH line. The camera's significant design achievement is matched by advanced imaging technology, for photography that makes as big an impact as the camera itself. Now equipped with an eye-opening 2.5 inch LCD screen.

Once again Canon comes through with winning industrial design. The curvy contour of the PowerShot SD550 body fits smoothly in your hands. With the SD550, Canon maintains the style and professionalism for which their PowerShot compact digital camera line is known. This camera offers good image quality, user-friendly design, and excellent feature functionality. The SD550 is a truly robust pro-former.

Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH Pros and Cons
  • Auto-white-balance handles outdoor lighting with ease
  • Better-than-average exposure range
  • 7.1 megapixel resolution
  • Ultra-compact size
  • 3x optical zoom lens comparable to a 35-115mm on a 35mm camera
  • 2.5-inch color TFT LCD monitor
  • Night exposures (A long shutter option is available)
  • Battery life is short
  • LCD is contrasty - shadow detail hard to see
  • Slow shot-to-shot time
  • White balance compensation in manual mode only
  • Visible noise at ISO 400
Canon PowerShot SD550 Test Images
Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH Studio Samples ISO 50 Sample >>
ISO 100 Sample >>
ISO 200 Sample >>
ISO 400 Sample >>

More Canon PowerShot SD550 Resources
All Canon PowerShot SD550 Photos >>
Owner-posted Canon PowerShot SD550 reviews >>
Write a Review >>
Canon Web site >>
thomsanborn profile >>

Canon PowerShot SD550 - front and back
Canon pretty much dominates the ultra-compact digital camera market. The PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH is no exception and offers above-average performance. The startup speed and shutter response are lightning fast, with a shutter delay of only 0.07 seconds. The auto-rotate function is easy to turn on and off, works flawlessly, and sure makes it fun to shoot vertically and horizontally. One-touch function keys make it fast and simple to access common controls for different photo situations (i.e., flash, focus mode, ISO, self-timer). It is a well-rounded camera that will fit both the weekend warrior photographer and those that appreciate the extra pixels.

Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH Key Features
  • 7.1 megapixel CCD
  • Real-image optical viewfinder
  • 2.5 color LCD monitor with new user interface
  • 7.7-23mm f/2.8-4.9 3x optical zoom lens
  • Calendar Function
  • Macro shooting
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Auto-exposure control with long shutter mode for low-light scenes
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 15 seconds
  • Secure Digital (SD) memory card slot
  • Flash with six different modes
  • "My colors" menu for color adjustments
  • Settings that can be customized
  • Stitch-assist panorama mode
  • Self-timer shutter delay
  • Movie feature with sound
Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH Design
The new Canon PowerShot SD550 boasts the great looks and sharp design that mark the Canon Digital ELPH line. I particularly liked the thickness of the camera. The curved grip side provides a smooth comfortable feel when you are composing that one-of-a-kind image. The compact metal body offers a feeling of substance yet still fits the tight back pocket of your jeans.

The rugged all-metal body, retractable lens, and automatic lens cover work well together to protect the camera and keep lint and smudge marks off the lens. The power button, shutter-release and zoom lever are located on the top right-hand side of the camera. The power button is a bit small and a little tricky to activate. The zoom lever is well designed and placed comfortably, making zooming easy. The shutter button is larger than the on/off button and easy to depress. It's easy to compose and review images on the 2.5-inch LCD screen.

Canon PowerShot SD550 - LCD Display
Canon PowerShot SD550 detailed playback mode display, with histogram

Canon PowerShot SD550 - LCD Display
Canon PowerShot SD550 record mode menu
Canon PowerShot SD550 - LCD Display
Canon PowerShot SD550 scene modes menu with portrait mode selected

Canon PowerShot SD550 - LCD Display
Canon PowerShot SD550 Funct./Set menu w. exposure compensation selected
Canon PowerShot SD550 - Controls

The four-way arrow pad rocker and Funct./Set buttons to the right of the LCD serve multiple functions. The up-arrow cycles through ISO settings ranging from 50 to 400, left controls the macro and focus modes, and the right-arrow controls the flash modes. The down button turns on the self-timer and continuous shooting modes. The memory card slot/battery cover is located on the bottom of the camera. The battery and memory card (Secure Digital) are completely independent of each other so you can remove one without removing the other. This seems like a small detail, but it all adds up to efficient design.

Camera Experience
The mode dial in the upper right side on the back of the camera selects Auto, Manual, or Special Scene (SCN) shooting modes. Because Canon's Digital ELPH cameras are designed for ease of use, the exposure control is mostly automatic. The SD550 offers a selection of 9 scene modes (e.g., Portrait, Snow, Night Snapshot, Underwater, etc.), which offer simple creativity and some manual control. The Manual mode allows exposure compensation, white balance, and ISO selection, but not real manual exposure control. The SD550 has the same excellent Playback mode other Canon digital cameras have, with features like slide show, image protection, thumbnail mode, image rotation, zoom, and scroll.

Canon's DIGIC II processor works wonderfully, making the camera quick and providing excellent image processing. The startup, shutter response and shot-to-shot time are all better than adequate. Reviewing images in Playback mode is super-quick and easy.

The My Colors feature changes the colors of your subject with options like, Positive Film, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Red, and Color Swap. It's a fun add-on as is the Grid Lines feature, which displays a grid to help with image alignment and composition. I'm not sure how long the novelty of such features will last or how much they will be used by photographers, but they are available.

The camera comes with a 32MB Secure Digital memory card - a little better than some cameras, but not good enough - especially for a 7.1-megapixel camera. I highly recommend picking up a larger capacity card (128 to 256MB). The camera does tend to run the battery down quite fast. I got caught with a dead battery and unusable camera. My suggestion would be to pick up a spare battery, since one might not be enough.

The SD550 did have a problem with redeye when using flash - but all compact digital cameras do. It's nothing a little Photoshop can't handle.

Image Quality
When I test a digital camera, I find that printing 8X10's of different types of images gives me a clear idea of what a camera can do. I used Photoshop to make some contrast adjustments to my SD550 images. But overall, the prints were amazing.

I was impressed with the resolution and the clear images. Consistency in exposure from image to image was exceptional. I did find that at higher ISO settings the images were soft at the corners. That is likely because images shot at a higher ISO also used larger lens apertures to compensate for low light.

We enjoyed using it to capture memories of a quick weekend getaway to Carmel, California and a business trip to Vermont. Upon return, I downloaded and printed 8X10 prints and found the quality amazing. Some of the images were even added to our stock image bank.

Canon PowerShot SD550 Raindrip Canon PowerShot SD550 Sleeping Canon PowerShot SD550 Pots
Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.

Canon PowerShot SD550 Purple Canon PowerShot SD550 Middleburyinn Canon PowerShot SD550 Grave Fence
Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.
I give the PowerShot SD550 two thumbs up! This is one of the best out there. It has a sleek look and feel, is very compact and portable, and takes great pictures. Canon has produced another excellent ultra-compact, high-resolution digital camera - a real achievement.
Who Should Buy The Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH
The PowerShot SD550 will make a great camera for the experienced amateur all the way up to a professional who wants a compact, easy-to-use point-and-shoot digital camera. It's also a good choice for the new digital photographer who wants a camera with features they can grow into. The PowerShot SD550 might not be a good fit for a perfectionist who is uncomfortable with the lack of manual controls.

Contents of the Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH

  • PowerShot SD550 Body
  • Lithium Battery Pack NB-3L
  • Battery Charger CB-2LU
  • SD Memory Card SDC-32M
  • Wrist Strap WS-700
  • Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • Audio/Video Cable AVC-DC300
Other Resources:
Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH User Reviews >>
Write a Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH Review >>
Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH Sample Gallery >>
Canon Web site >>
thomsanborn profile >>

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Canon PowerShot SD550, SD450 and SD30 Digital ELPH Cameras - Press Release

[CENTER][B]Canon's New PowerShot SD550, SD450 and SD30 Digital ELPH Cameras Feature Bigger LCD Screens and Fashion-Focused Designs[/B][/CENTER] LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 22, 2005--Canon continues to address and appeal to the style conscious consumer with the addition of three new ... Read More »

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