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)
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 newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Apple iPhone X
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
cloudandco Smart Cane
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review: A port worthy of PC gaming's mightiest rigs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTRiggers / Telecommunication RiggersOther
- TPMicrosoft Cloud Infrastructure Solution ArchitectQLD
- TPTest Automation EngineerQLD
- CCMicrosoft Dynamics AX ? Technical ArchitectQLD
- FTNetwork and Systems EngineerWA
- CCWintel EngineerWA
- CCMid - Level SAP Test AnalystQLD
- FTPreSales / Offerings Solution Architect - BPS or BPONSW
- CCPortfolio / Relationship ManagerNSW
- CCIntegration AnalystVIC
- CCCyber Security Analyst - TelcoVIC
- CCAutomation Designer (Solutions Architect) - Robotics (RPA) - SydneyNSW
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)Other
- CCService Delivery Coordinator - TelcoVIC
- TPSenior Test Analyst - GIS DrupalNSW
- CCLevel 1 Help DeskNSW
- TPPrincipal Project Manager|HRIS ProgramQLD
- FTFront End Developer l HTML5 , SCSS, Bootstrap, KnockOut, MVVPNSW
- FTSystem AnalystVIC
- CCDeployment ManagerNSW
- FTNetwork Security EngineerOther
- CCAxway DeveloperNSW
- FTService Desk CoordinatorVIC
- FTDigital BA / Product Owner / 3 Month ContractOther
- FTSAP EMAOther