Canon PowerShot A550
- Great colour capture, Low price tag, 4x zoom, Fast operation, Sturdy design
- Pictures perhaps not quite as sharp as they could have been
Another great compact camera from Canon, the PowerShot A550 won't compare to some more high-end units, but considering the price tag and the features on offer, it's an excellent value-for-money product.
Price$ 219.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- Powershot G7 X Mark II Black Digital Camera 801.00
The entry-level digital camera market is a competitive place. There are many models vying for your hard-earned cash, and little to really distinguish them. At this price point, you don't tend to get anything amazing and so you should focus on finding a solid unit that does everything well. Canon's latest entry into this space, the PowerShot A550, satisfies these criteria by offering good picture quality, a handful of manual features and a 4x zoom.
The A550 sports a 7.1-megapixel sensor, which seems to be the standard these days across most compact models. We ran it through our usual combination of tests, using some subjective analysis and our Imatest software, and it did well in all regards.
It scored 1415 in our sharpness test, which is a good result, but not outstanding. It's in line with other entry-level 7.1-megapixel sensors that we've seen. Our test shots looked good, with reasonably crisp edges that only showed minor fringing. We'd be satisfied enlarging these shots somewhat, but as you'd expect, a unit carrying this price tag isn't going to produce results that are suitable for huge prints.
Meanwhile, in the chromatic aberration test, Imatest gave it a score of .108%, which is quite a good result. We did notice a little haloing, and our shots exhibited some blurring towards the edges, but it wasn't worse than any other comparably priced units.
As usual, Canon has our colour test's number, with the A550 achieving a brilliant result of 6.21. This is excellent, indicating superior colour reproduction and no major inaccuracies. As our test charts indicate, red was the only colour that exhibited any noticeable error, but this is a common situation with compact cameras and shouldn't be an issue at all.
In our final test for image noise, the A550 also impressed with a low score of .70% at ISO 100. Most entry-level compact cameras score closer to .9%, so this is a great result. We saw no signs of noise in our test shots; everything was smooth and clean. The noise scaled about as we expected with higher sensitivities, and even at ISO 400 the shots were quite useable. At ISO 800 the noise becomes a little more colourful and thus more prominent, but even then, most people should be perfectly satisfied with its 4x6in-sized photos.
We also ran our usual array of speed tests and were extremely impressed with the A550's performance. It exhibited .08 seconds of shutter lag, which is what we expected, but its shot-to-shot time of 1.1 seconds and its power-up time of 1.6 seconds are extremely quick, and should ensure you never miss a valuable moment.
While the PowerShot range is typically known for its more advanced manual cameras, in recent times it has featured simpler models. The A550 falls squarely into this 'simple' category. While it does offer a manual mode, it isn't a true manual mode and there are no aperture, shutter or program priority modes like you'd find on some of the more costly PowerShot models. Instead, the manual mode merely offers the option to adjust things like ISO sensitivity and white balance. Sensitivities are available up to ISO 800. Also, it has both preset and manual white balance options. Several metering modes are on offer, but as you'd anticipate from an entry level unit, proper focus controls are a little lacking. We did have a few focus issues when photographing our test charts, with several shots coming out blurry.
The PowerShot series is not known for its aesthetic appeal and the A550 follows that trend. It sports the same silver-coloured, plastic design with the same jutting right-hand grip as its predecessors. It's perfectly functional, but may not satisfy those buyers who are after a funky fashion-piece as well as a camera. It's a heavy unit by compact camera standards, and it feels quite sturdy, despite being mostly plastic.
It has a function-wheel and a five-way directional pad that can be used to navigate its interface. The menu uses Canon's standard layout, which is quite intuitive and should serve novice users well. It runs off two AA batteries; another common theme of this series of cameras.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
- Canon goes big on resolution with 250-megapixel sensor
- Hey, Saturn, take a selfie! World's biggest digital camera will photograph the universe
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCSoftware Biomedical Solutions ArchitectSA
- CCSystems Engineer | Defence intelligence projects | NV2 clearanceACT
- FT.Net Developer (WebAPI / Entity Framework / SQL Server)NSW
- FTNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCService Desk ConsultantVIC
- FTTechnical Consultant - ServerSA
- CCProject/ Program AnalystVIC
- FTAppian Developer/ArchitectVIC
- CCScrum Master with Java development backgroundACT
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Applications SpecialistQLD
- CCSystems Administrator with developer skills | Defence intelligence | NV2 clearedACT
- CCTechnology and Security ArchitectACT
- CCWeb/Mobile Developer (Android)WA
- CCServiceNow DeveloperVIC
- CCNetwork EngineerVIC
- FTPractice Lead - InsuranceNSW
- FTTechnical/Solutions ArchitectNSW
- CCAgile Business AnalystNSW
- CCAnalyst Programmer (System Backup Operation/UNIX) 160615/AP/791Asia
- FTSenior Architect, TechnologyNSW
- CCETL Developer - Tableau FocusNSW
- CCTechnical OfficerACT
- CCProgram CoordinatorNSW
- FTJava DeveloperAsia