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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 3 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 4 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- 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
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- Ring Video Doorbell review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 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
- FTSenior Analyst - Security / DevOpsOther
- FTSenior Recruitment Specialist |Other
- FTSoftware Developer - Banking SolutionsOther
- CCTechnical Support - L2ACT
- FTAssurance specialist(Quality Assurance and Process Improvement)ACT
- FTERP Reporting AnalystOther
- TPBI DeveloperNSW
- FTSystem EngineerNSW
- FTIT Support Specialist - Level 2Other
- CC.Net DeveloperWA
- FTIntegration Architect- NSW GovernmentOther
- FTApplication Security ArchitectOther
- FTSAP HANA Data Modelling ConsultantsACT
- FTMid-Level Business AnalystOther
- FTApplication Tester & Quality Assurance AnalystOther
- TPProject Manager - Student Management SystemVIC
- TPProject CoordinatorVIC
- FTSenior Business Analyst, BankingOther
- FTService Desk Analyst - Level 1 SupportQLD
- FTSAP Release ManagerQLD
- FTData Analytics & Visualisation Analyst - SQL, TABLEAU, VBAOther
- FTICT Security Senior ManagerACT
- FTSenior Risk Analyst | 6mth ContractOther
- FTSupport AnalystOther
- FTPractice Director Quality Assurance – Adelaide Delivery CentreSA