Canon 550D versus Canon 450D
The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon XS in some regions) and the Canon EOS 450D (labelled Canon XSi in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2010 and January 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 550D has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the 450D provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon 450D
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 550D and the Canon 450D is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 550D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
In this particular case, the Canon 550D and the Canon 450D have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the 450D is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the 550D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 550D nor the 450D are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||no||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft)||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||no||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||no||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||no||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||no||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.6 in||2.9 in||2.6 in||19.5 oz||240||no||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||no||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.6 in||3.2 in||2.6 in||18.8 oz||250||no||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||no||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||no||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||no||2011||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||no||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||no||2007||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.0 in||3.3 in||2.6 in||19.6 oz||370||no||2006||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||no||2011||749||discont.||check|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 550D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the 450D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon 450D
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 450D is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 17.9MP, the 550D offers a higher resolution than the 450D (12.2MP), but the 550D has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 5.19μm for the 450D). However, the 550D is a somewhat more recent model (by 2 years) than the 450D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 550D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 450D (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||no||21.9||10.8||692||61|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||no||22.1||11.3||703||64|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||no||22.1||11.0||664||62|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 550D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 450D does not. The highest resolution format that the 550D can use is 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon 450D
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 550D and the 450D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 550D, the Canon 450D, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||3.7||YES||no|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft)||optical||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||3.5||YES||no|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||460||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||5.2||6.8||YES|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||922||Swivel||no||4000||1.9||7||YES|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||YES||no|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||no||4000||3.7||YES||no|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.7||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||4000||3.4||YES||no|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||230||fixed||no||8000||6.5||12||no|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||YES||no|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||4.0||12||no|
Both the 550D and the 450D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 450D was replaced by the Canon 500D, while the 550D was followed by the Canon 600D.
Review summary: Canon 550D vs Canon 450D
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 550D better than the Canon 450D or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 550D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.2MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the 450D launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 450D:
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 440) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2008).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 550D is the clear winner of the match-up (7 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 550D and the 450D in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||88/100 HiRec||77/100 Gold||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft)||88/100 HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft | rgt)||4/5||-||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||799||latest||check|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt)||79/100 Rec||76/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2012||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||reviewed||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2011||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||74/100 HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 40D (⇒ lft | rgt)||90/100 HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2007||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 400D (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100 HiRec||HiRec||reviewed||4.5/5||4/5||2006||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||86/100 HiRec||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2011||749||discont.||check|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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