Video cameras on DSLRs - Canon EOS 500D

Canon EOS 500D

580 inc 18-55mm

Canon EOS 500DThe EOS 500D was Canon's second DSLR to feature a video mode (after the 5D Mk II), and while the video specs may seem similar to those of its full-frame brother - it uses the same Quicktime H.264 recording format, for example - if you scratch beneath the surface you'll see that some compromises have been made. For example, although the 500D offers full 1080p it's only at a 20fps frame rate for up to 12 minutes at a time (too slow for shooting movement), while at 720p it shoots at 30fps for up to 18 minutes.

There is no external mic input either, and the built-in mono mic is rather puny, though it still boasts four times the sampling rate of the Nikons.

One thing it does have over its big brother though is a dedicated Movie Mode position on the dial, and a movie stop/start record button on the rear.

Like the 5D Mk II, autofocusing during recording is notionally possible but in practice it's so slow that you're better off pre-focusing before you start and manually fine-tuning as you go along, if you need to.

The firmware upgrade for the 5D Mk II that enables manual exposure settings has not, at the time of writing, been extended to the 500D. So you are at the mercy of the auto ISO for exposure control, which means that noise can become an issue in poor light conditions.

The video quality is a little over-saturated, with tones at the red end of the spectrum dominating. The auto exposure also failed to handle sudden changes in light conditions as well as the 5D Mk II did.

Overall the video mode on the 500D is the best at this price, though it will be soundly trumped by its newly launched sibling, the EOS 550D, which improves on the 500D spec in every department.

Video Group Test: Video Modes- Canon EOS 500D

Having the same video resolution as the EOS 5D Mk II has both advantages and disadvantages for the EOS 500D.


Canon 500D

Price 600
Video Resolution 1920 x 1080
Compression Format H.264
Maximum Clip Length 12 Minutes
Screen Size 3"
Built-in Audio Stereo, 44KHz
Frame Rate 20fps, 30fps
Memory Card SD/SDHC
Sockets Mic, AV, USB, HDMI
Video Focus Modes AF, MF
External Mic Yes
Dimensions 128.8 x 97.3 x 62 mm
Weight 530g

Video Rating

Small body, excellent video resolution

20fps at full HD, so-so audio, no mic input

Stars: 4 out of 5