The A550 is a mid-range camera in quality and price that has superseded the A530, and offers a little more both in terms of features and control as well as increasing the pixel count to 7.1 million. This is a simple and fairly inexpensive digital camera.
Though not quite small enough to slip into your jeans, the A550 is still comfortably compact. At 7.4 ounces and 1.7 inches thick, the camera can fit easily into most large pockets and packs.
The camera's body has an L-shaped design found on most of Canon's PowerShot A series, giving it a generous grip. The buttons are large and comfortable, and they're laid out logically along the back and the top of the camera.
The A550 is a fairly nondescript camera, with few outstanding or unusual features. Its most notable attribute is its 35mm-to-140mm-equivalent 4X zoom lens, which gives it just a bit more range than the 3X lenses typical of most budget cameras.
It has a smaller-than-usual 2-inch LCD screen that is augmented by an optical viewfinder for shooting in dim light. Besides those features, the A550 has the standard handful of scene presets and image adjustment settings, including a 30fps VGA (640x480) movie mode and a pleasantly unexpected 60fps QVGA (320x240) high-speed movie mode. Finally, like most Canon PowerShot A-series cameras, the A550 conveniently takes AA batteries.
Noise is low up to ISO 400 sensitivity, where a fine grain starts to appear. Images are predictably noisy at ISO 800 sensitivity, with speckling damaging fine details and softening colors. ISO 800 is usually reserved for low-light and high-speed shooting, and everyday snapshots shouldn't have many problems.
With quick performance and decent photos, the Canon PowerShot A550 is a solid budget camera. It doesn't have many special features and it's not particularly small or light, but it's a strong choice if you don't want to spend a lot for your snapshots.
FeaturesCanon PowerShot A550 Digital Camera
Product Details Megapixels: 7.1 Megapixels
Optical Zoom: 4 X
Digital Zoom : 4 X
LCD Screen Size: 2 in
Recording Method SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital (SD) Card
Product Line PowerShot
Camera Type Digital camera - point and shoot
Bottom LineI have used older versions of this camera and have been super happy. The quality of the photos is purely amazing for a simple and easy to use digital camera. Some of the greatest things about this camera is that is uses regular AA batteries, meaning no wierd adapter when traveling and no buying expensive Ni-Cads or Lit-Ions. I really like that this camera also still has a view finder, something that I prefer to use when taking a photo instead of using the 2.0" LCD screen. It has plenty of zoom and more than enough megapixels to blow pictures up quite large. Not that expensive and a great all around camera, I cannot wait to use it more in the mountains and at the crag.
The good: Responsive performance; slightly above-average lens.
The bad: Images plagued with artifacts and fringing; small LCD.
The bottom line: This camera's low price tag and solid performance can help you forget that it doesn't have many bells or whistles.
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