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

Canon EOS 500D: images and movies

Canon's Rebel line has been very strong for a while now, so the most astonishing thing about the Canon EOS 500D is that Canon has managed to dramatically improve the image quality. Overall image quality is great, and the camera does a startlingly good job of shooting in low light at high ISOs. While the previous Rebels began to suffer above ISO 800, the Canon EOS 500D delivers fantastic results at ISO 1600, and even produces usable images at ISO 3200. This supposedly lower-end camera delivers high ISO results that are better than you'd have seen with the pro cameras of just a couple of years ago.

Like most consumer-oriented cameras, the Canon EOS 500D offers a selection of scene modes, selectable from the top-mounted mode dial. These modes set the camera's auto settings toward particular shooting situations, such as sports, landscape, portrait, and so on. The Movie scene mode activates the Live View screen, and allows you to start shooting video.

The Canon EOS 500D offers three movie resolutions - 640 by 480, 1,280 by 720, and a full HD resolution of 1,920 by 1,280 - all at 30 frames per second. Image quality is generally fantastic, though of course it varies depending on your lens quality.

Unlike the higher-end Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the Canon EOS 500D does not provide an external microphone jack, so if you're serious about audio, you'll need to record it separately and sync it later. For casual shooting, the internal mic is good, though it does pick up any camera handling noise. There are no manual exposure controls available when shooting video.

OUR VERDICT

The Canon EOS 500D is Canon's best Rebel yet. If you need a faster burst rate, or don't like the button-centered interface, or the camera is too small for your hands, then you'll also want to look at the EOS 50D, the next camera up in Canon's line. (Note that you won't get video shooting with that camera.) If you're looking for an SLR under £1,000 that takes great images and movies, then the Canon EOS 500D is an excellent choice.