Canon EOS 550D vs Sony a500

This is a full comparison between the cameras Canon EOS 550D and Sony a500. We compare them by looking at the categories you see below.

Manufacturing

Canon EOS 550D is manufacturered by Canon but Sony a500 is from Sony. Both Canon and Sony are well known brands though.

Canon EOS 550D were released 2010 and Sony a500 was released 2009. That is a 1 years difference. In tech, this period can be of interest since technology is always improving, etc.

Camera Released
Canon EOS 550D 2010
Sony a500 2009

Type of camera

Both these cameras are DSLR cameras. No difference there.

Sensors / crop factor

These cameras have different sensors. Canon EOS 550D has a "Canon APS-C"-sensor while Sony a500 has a "Sony APS-C"-sensor, and their difference in sensors will also affect the crop factor and experience focal length. See the table below.

Camera Focal length, 50mm f/1.8 **
Canon EOS 550D 80 mm
Canon APS-C sensor
Crop factor/focal length multiplier by * 1.6
Sony a500 75 mm
Sony APS-C sensor
Crop factor/focal length multiplier by * 1.5

** Experienced focal length when using a lens such as a common "50mm f/1.8"

Learn more about crop factor and focal length multiplier here:
Camera selection can affect the focal length (Canon)
Camera selection can affect the focal length (Sony)

Resolution

Canon EOS 550D has a 18,7 MP (Megapixels) resolution while Sony a500 has 12 MP. If we break down this in more detail this is the data behind the numbers:

Camera Megapixels
Canon EOS 550D 18,7 MP
17915904 pixels
5184 x 3456
Sony a500 12 MP
12166656 pixels
4272 x 2848

Canon EOS 550D has a 47 % larger resolution than Sony a500. This could give you more details in the picture but also a possibility to crop more in the pictures, afterward while editing the pictures, if needed that is.

ISO range

Canon EOS 550D has a larger ISO-range than Sony a500. Canon EOS 550D has an ISO range that stretches from 100 to 12800 while Sony a500 has 200 to 12800.

Camera ISO Range
Canon EOS 550D 100-12800
Sony a500 200-12800

Autofocus and lens compatibility

Both of these cameras have a built-in autofocus motor. Some lenses, that support autofocus, do not have an autofocus motor of their own but this won't cause any problems with these two cameras.

Here is a complete overview of which lenses work with each camera:
Lens compatibility chart for Canon EOS 550D
Lens compatibility chart for Sony a500

Pictures per second

Depending on what you are shooting the FPS, or frames/pictures per second, can definitely be of interest. Canon EOS 550D can shoot up to 3,7 pictures per seconds and Sony a500 can shoot up to 5 pictures per seconds.

Camera FPS (Frames per second)
Canon EOS 550D 3,7
Sony a500 5

Ability to record movies

It is becoming more and more popular to record movies with digital cameras.

When comparing these two cameras there is only one of them that can shoot movies and that is Canon EOS 550D. Unfortunately Sony a500 does not support recording movies and movie clips.

Weight

The weight of the camera can be an extremely important factor, especially if the camera is about to be used, or carried around, for several hours at a time.

Sony a500 weighs 630 gr (equal to 1.39 lb) which is 24% heavier than Canon EOS 550D and its 510 gr (or 1.12 lb).

Camera Weight
Canon EOS 550D 510 gr
1.12 lb
Sony a500 630 gr
1.39 lb

Canon EOS 550D vs Sony a500 Specs

Below you will find the complete and detailed technical specs for both Canon EOS 550D and Sony a500, next to each other. Each category of data is a link to an article covering the subject, giving you a deeper understanding so you can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the two camera models.

Product
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Name Canon EOS 550D Sony a500
Manufacturer Canon Sony
Release Date and Price
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Release Year 2010 2009
Release Date 2010-02-08 2009-08-27
MSRP 899 USD 549 USD
Buy it today
Camera Type
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Camera Type DSLR DSLR
Sensor
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Sensor Size APS-C (approx 22.3 x 14.9 mm) APS-C (approx 23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4272 x 2848 pixels
Megapixels 18,7 MP 12 MP
Image Processor DIGIC 4 Bionz
Image
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
ISO Range 100 - 12800 200 - 12800
White Balance Presets 6 6
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No Yes
(Sensor-Shift)
Image Stabilization CIPA Rating 0 stops 0 stops
Uncompressed format RAW RAW
Optics & Focus
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Autofocus Motor Yes Yes
Autofocus Contract Detect (sensor)
Phase Detect
Multi Area
Selective Single Point
Single
Continuous
Face Detection
LiveView
Phase Detect
Multi Area
Selective Single Point
Single
Continuous
Face Detection
LiveView
Focus Points 9 9
Lens Mount Canon EF
Canon EF-S

See Compatible Lenses
Sony A

See Compatible Lenses
Focal Length Multiplier APS-C Sensor
1.6x multiplier
Example:
24 mm becomes 38 mm
50 mm becomes 80 mm
100 mm becomes 160 mm
200 mm becomes 320 mm
APS-C Sensor (1.5x)
1.5x multiplier
Example:
24 mm becomes 36 mm
50 mm becomes 75 mm
100 mm becomes 150 mm
200 mm becomes 300 mm
Screen & Viewfinder
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Articulated LCD Fixed Tilting
Screen size 3 3
Screen dots 1040000 230000
Touch screen No No
Screen type TFT color liquid-crystal LCD N/A
Live view Yes Yes
Viewfinder Type Optical (pentamirror) Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder Coverage 95% 95%
Viewfinder Magnification 0.87 (0.54 35mm equiv.) 0.8 (0.53 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder Resolution N/A N/A
Photography features
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Frames per second 3,7 fps 5 fps
Minimum Shutter Speed 30 seconds 30 seconds
Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000 seconds 1/4000 seconds
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Built-in Flash Range 13 meters 12 meters
External Flash Yes Yes
Self-Timer Yes Yes
Time-lapse Yes No
Metering modes Multi
Center Weighted
Spot
Partial
Multi
Center Weighted
Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) +/- 2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Video recording Yes No
Video format H.264
N/A
Video resolution 1280 x 720
1920 x 1080
N/A
Built-in Microphone Yes No
Built-in Speakers No No
Storage
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Memory Card SD/SDHC
Memory Stick Pro Duo
SD/SDHC
Connectivity
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
HDMI Output Yes Yes
Microphone Port No No
Headphone Port No No
Wireless Yes
Eye-Fi Connected
No
Remote Control Yes (E3 connector, InfraRed) Yes (Wired or wirelss (Optional))
GPS No No
Body & Dimensions
Canon EOS 550D
Sony a500
Enviromentally sealed No No
Battery Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Details Lithium-Ion LP-E8 rechargeable battery & charger
Lithium-Ion NP-FM500H rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) N/A 520 shots
Width 129 mm 137 mm
Height 98 mm 104 mm
Depth 62 mm 84 mm
Weight 510 gram 630 gram