The Canon EOS 500D, also known as the Canon EOS Rebel T1i, is a 15.1Mp SLR camera.

Offering 15-megapixel resolution, excellent low-light performance, and high-definition video recording, the Canon EOS 500D is a camera that's good enough for many professional shooting situations. Packed into a small, lightweight body, and shipping in a kit with a 18mm to 55mm lens, the Canon EOS 500D costs around £600. Canon also sells a body-only configuration.

For the most part, the Canon EOS 500D is a very compact camera that doesn't sacrifice comfort or stable shooting to achieve its small footprint. The overall control layout is largely unchanged from previous models, so if you're already familiar with the Canon EOS 500D's ancestors, you'll feel right at home with the new camera.

As with all Canon SLRs, almost all of the essential shooting controls are accessible through external camera controls. White balance, autofocus, drive mode, exposure compensation, exposure lock, and program shift modes all have dedicated buttons, and the Canon EOS 500D's control layout allows you to easily alter any of these parameters (as well as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) with one hand.

Since essential exposure controls are right near the shutter button, you can easily change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO without ever removing your eye from the viewfinder.

In addition to size, the main feel and interface difference between the Canon EOS 500D and Canon's mid-range cameras (like the Canon EOS 50D) is the control layout on the back of the camera. Where the 50D provides a rear-mounted wheel that you use for navigating menus and changing parameter settings, the Canon EOS 500D offers four buttons arranged in a circle. While the wheel is a little faster, and is easier to use without looking, the Rebel's four-way button pad works fine, and you should find navigation and control quick and easy.

The 3in LCD on the Canon EOS 500D is Canon's latest, and it's beautiful. It has more resolution (920,000 dots) and better detail than the screen on any previous Rebel, and provides easier-to-read menus and a clear, sharp view of your images, even in bright sunlight.

As with any LCD screen, it's still not accurate for judging colour and exposure, though the on-screen histogram gives you a way to work around those limitations. And while the Canon EOS 500D's screen does show very fine detail, it's still not good enough for assessing subtle focus problems.

As with previous models, the Canon EOS 500D's LCD screen automatically deactivates when you raise the camera to your eye, so you don't have it shining in your face while shooting.

The LCD screen displays all of the Canon EOS 500D's current status information, and you can even change settings using this screen. The ability to see and alter settings on the back of the camera is great when you're working on a tripod.