SLRs can be big, intimidating beasts, but not the Canon EOS 500D. Think of this as a Porsche with stabilisers, a rottweiler with a fluffy collar… or just a camera with tons of power, but cloaked in approachable software and idiot-proof controls.
Even if you’ve never picked up an SLR before, the Canon EOS 500D should be a doddle to use. Flip it into automatic mode and it’ll handle everything for you. As your skills progress you’ll gradually be able to introduce manual elements, or leave the stuff you’re less confident with to the camera itself.
The Canon 500D’s autofocus system is a particular charm. Using nine points to measure a scene, it’ll keep your subjects in sharp focus, no matter where in the scene they’re ‘creatively’ placed.
Likewise, automatic dust reduction means the sensor’s kept completely clean without the gut-churning experience of fiddling around inside by hand. And then there’s the Canon EOS 500D’s party trick: shooting full HD video.
Yep, you read that correctly: Despite being cheaper than other similarly specced 15 megapixel SLRs, the Canon 500D packs in video too. It’ll shoot full HD (albeit only at 20fps) or 720p video at 30fps, and the results are stunning.
Of course, that’s mostly due to the lens you’re using, but shooting video through an SLR opens up a slew of new possibilities. Manual focussing means you can shift between subjects just like a professional cameraman, while full manual zoom control means fine movements can be made by hand.
But let’s be honest. Anyone buying a Canon EOS 500D is looking for great still shots, rather than swanky video, no matter how good the camera is at pulling it off. Good news then – behind the bells and whistles, the Canon 500D remains a solid consumer-level SLR.
Hook up any of Canon’s EF or EF-S lenses and it’ll do you proud. EX-series Speedlite flash guns are compatible with the 500D too, although you’re not likely to need them as much thanks to its maximum ISO of 12800. Results in low light are jaw-flooring (even with the expected graininess).
On its back, the 500D packs a beautiful VGA-quality screen, which pulls double duty as a live-view display while shooting video.
So, it’s an all-singing snapper with plenty of fun features, as well as the ability to crank out quality snaps in the hands of professionals and beginners alike. That’s the reason we love the Canon 500D. It’s a fantastic camera, well priced, and well specced, and not intimidating at all!