Home Photography Canon EOS 550D vs. 7D – Head to Head Comparison

Canon EOS 550D vs. 7D – Head to Head Comparison

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We take a look at the Canon EOS 550D (a.k.a. Reberl T2i http://bit.ly/550DCanon ), which on paper shares some specs with the camera we are comparing it with …


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  1. I would like to buy the 7D for its body. I want to hold my camera firm since I don't like to use a strap. So its a plus to know that I will feel safe when I accidentally bump or drop it because its rigid body. The only downside is that it is F-ing expensive (I could buy two great IS lenses w/ a T3i and it would still be cheaper than the 7D alone).

  2. true that, and I'm not a sport or professional photographer (yet) else I'd go for a fullframe I guess. But for now I think I'll get the T5i with some lenses, tho I'm not the noobiest :F it's still good and I'm not rich.

  3. Does the 7D operate longer without overheating like the 550D? I find I can't get more than 30-40 minutes of recording time without powering off my 550 and letting it cool down.

  4. I've been using a 550D (the Kiss X4 branded variant) and it, coupled with Magic Lantern and some fast prime lenses along with some tweaked picture styles and supporting gear make for a great video / film device. It can do 1080p at 24/25 and 30fps as well as 720p at up to 60fps. With the right lighting and iso/f-stop/shutter and white balance adjustment and paying close attention to the histogram to keep as much as possible within bounds will give you a great picture that can look very good.

    If you, however, plan to do a lot of post color grading, green screen work and/or you have to shoot in (possibly) very high dynamic range environments and/or places where the lighting and contrast situation is an unknown factor and/or you can't control the light yourself then you will find a camera that doesn't record in H.264 8-bits per channel to be better suited to your needs, so when you open up speed grade or davinci resolve in post, you can claw back crushed shadows or blown-out whites. I've used the 550D in those situations and unless you are extremely precise and careful with exposure and very lucky with the shot, you can very easily get lots of blown out sections that can't be pulled back in post.

    The 550D, 60D and 7D will all shoot practically identical video. The 5D Mk II is slightly better and also wider due to the full frame sensor (may or may not be to your taste) and the 5D Mk III has gotten rid of the moire problem entirely. There are a few stops more of useable ISO on the 5D Mk II and even more on the Mk III but I've shot with a Mk III in diminishing sunlight and we found its limit very quickly. It's not a mind-blowing low-light camera (if you want that, see the Canon 1DC and prepare to mortgage your kids).

    If you have a 550D/T2i I believe that "upgrading" to a 7D is only a benefit if you plan on pursuing sports photography. If your area of interest is film then there is nothing worth upgrading to if you already have a 550D in this family of cameras at the moment. The 600D and 650D have issues with Magic Lantern audio output monitoring (not sure if fixed yet) so the 550D is still "the king" of ML next to the veneralbe 5D as far as camera bodies go… but remember that the 5D Mk II can't do 60fps. The 5D Mk III can do 60fps (720p) matching the 550D and the 5D Mk II and IIIs do do RAW at 1080p (well, 5D Mk II "almost")…. but I do not know anyone that uses this RAW workflow for any jobs because you can't record audio at the same time and you can't even "review" your footage in-camera after you shoot. The 1000x cards are also ridiculously expensive. By the end of it you would have put enough money to get a C300 or FS700 without the workflow issues… and I haven't even mentioned Black Magic 4K but that is also an option since it is very close to the APS-C frame size and you can mount your Canon lenses onto it. It has its own issues and doesn't do slow-mo (which is why I'm not looking at it).

    The next level up, imho, if you have a 550D/600D/650D, 60D or 7D is the 5D Mk III (but just barely… it does get rid of moire) or you can go for the new Panasonic GH4 which shoots 4K in a nice small camera body. Other options are the Sony FS100 or FS700 or Panasonic AF100/AF101. If you have a 550D and you are looking at a 7D for upgrading your film camera, you aren't "upgrading"… you are just "sidegrading" if anything because there is practically no increase in the end product quality. Same with the 60D. It's "the same" for all intents and purposes.

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