Canon 550D vs Canon M
The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon T2i in some regions) and the Canon EOS M are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2010 and July 2012. The 550D is a DSLR, while the Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 17.9 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 550D||Canon M|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 100-12800 (100-25600)|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed touchscreen|
|3.7 shutter flaps per second||4.3 shutter flaps per second|
|440 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|129 x 98 x 62 mm, 530 g||109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 550D and the Canon EOS M? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon M
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 550D and the Canon M is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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.
The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the 550D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M is considerably smaller (43 percent) than the Canon 550D. Moreover, the Canon M is substantially lighter (44 percent) than the 550D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 550D nor the Canon M 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon 550D»||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon 550D|
|Canon M«||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Canon 4000D« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||15.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||399||Canon 4000D|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon 750D« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||749||-||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon M10« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.6 oz||255||n||Oct 2015||499||-||Canon M10|
|Canon 1200D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 700D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649||-||Canon T5i|
|Canon 650D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon 600D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon 600D|
|Canon 1100D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon 1100D|
|Canon T3i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 500D« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D5100« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749||-||Nikon D5100|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon M was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the 550D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon M
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the Canon M uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC V) than the 550D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 17.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the 550D and the Canon M have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the 550D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 550D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 550D»||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon 550D|
|Canon M«||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Canon 4000D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.4||695||63||Canon 4000D|
|Canon M100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon 750D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70||Canon 760D|
|Canon M10« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65||Canon M10|
|Canon 1200D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 700D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61||Canon 700D|
|Canon SL1« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61||Canon T5i|
|Canon 650D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62||Canon 650D|
|Canon 600D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65||Canon 600D|
|Canon 1100D« »||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon 1100D|
|Canon T3i« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65||Canon T3i|
|Canon 500D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D5100« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80||Nikon D5100|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Feature comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon M
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 550D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 550D and Canon M in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 550D»||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon 550D|
|Canon M«||-||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Canon 4000D« »||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 4000D|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon 750D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 760D|
|Canon M10« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6||Y||n||Canon M10|
|Canon 1200D« »||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 700D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 700D|
|Canon SL1« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T5i|
|Canon 650D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 650D|
|Canon 600D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon 600D|
|Canon 1100D« »||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 1100D|
|Canon T3i« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T3i|
|Canon 500D« »||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D5100« »||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5100|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 550D has one, while the Canon M does not. While the built-in flash of the 550D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 550D and the Canon M write their files to SDXC cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 550D cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 550D vs Canon M
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 550D and Canon EOS M and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 550D»||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 550D|
|Canon M«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Canon 4000D« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 4000D|
|Canon M100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon 750D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon M10« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M10|
|Canon 1200D« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 700D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon SL1« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T5i|
|Canon 650D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon 600D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 600D|
|Canon 1100D« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1100D|
|Canon T3i« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 500D« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D5100« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5100|
Both the 550D and the Canon M have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 550D was replaced by the Canon 600D, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
Review summary: Canon 550D vs Canon M
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 550D or the Canon M – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 550D:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (440 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2010).
Advantages of the Canon EOS M:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC V vs DIGIC 4).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for quicker and more confident autofocus.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 232g or 44 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 550D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon M is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 4 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 550D and the Canon M place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 550D and the Canon M 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.
Expert reviews: Canon 550D vs Canon M
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 550D»||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699||-||Canon 550D|
|Canon M«||+||-||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||-||Canon M|
|Canon 4000D« »||o||-||3.5/5||-||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399||Canon 4000D|
|Canon M100« »||+||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon 750D« »||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||-||Canon 750D|
|Canon 760D« »||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||-||Canon 760D|
|Canon M10« »||-||-||-||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499||-||Canon M10|
|Canon 1200D« »||+||-||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||-||Canon 1200D|
|Canon 700D« »||-||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||-||Canon 700D|
|Canon SL1« »||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||-||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||-||Canon T5i|
|Canon 650D« »||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||-||Canon 650D|
|Canon 600D« »||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon 600D|
|Canon 1100D« »||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449||-||Canon 1100D|
|Canon T3i« »||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 500D« »||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799||-||Canon 500D|
|Nikon D5100« »||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749||-||Nikon D5100|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon 550D vs Canon M
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 550D||Canon M|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2010||July 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 550D||Canon M|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||784||827|
|Screen Specs||Canon 550D||Canon M|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 550D||Canon M|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||4.3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 550D||Canon M|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 550D||Canon M|
|Battery Type||LP-E8 power pack||LP-E12 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
109 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||530 g (18.7 oz)||298 g (10.5 oz)|
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