If you are familiar with the EOS 450D, the Canon 500D may seem like a déjà vu. The Canon EOS 500D has an almost identical housing as that of the 450D, and it are only small details that make the difference. The housing comprises of more than one part, among which a stainless steel frame surrounded by a high-quality plastic finish. If you take the camera into your hand, you can feel the plastic. However, thanks to the somewhat rougher surface, it does not come across as feeling cheap. The weight (524 gram) and the dimensions (192x98x62mm) are equal to those of the 450D, ranking the 500D somewhere in the middle when compared to its competitors.
Canon EOS 500D lenses
The front of the Canon EOS 500D contains a metal bayonet with support for the Canon EF/EF-S lenses. This means a large number of body and lens combinations are possible for the 500D. The so-called focal length multiplier is 1.6x so that for example lenses with a focal range of 24mm will in practice result in 38mm. The handgrip of the Canon 500D is small yet clearly present. The space in between the grip and the lens is limited, resulting in a somewhat rough feeling finger joint. In the free space, a LED serves as indicator for the self-timer and the red-eye reduction. The sensor for the optional remote control is positioned in the handgrip. Over the EOS logo, there are four small holes serving as a microphone. The button to unlock the lens is found left of the bayonet with, right below, the button to adjust depth of field and on top, the button to fold out the built-in flash (in the green mode, the flash will pop up automatically.)
Memory- & Battery compartment
The card slot supporting SD / SDHC memory cards is placed in the handgrip. The bottom of the handgrip contains the battery compartment for the Li-Ion battery. Upon opening the compartment, a catch will hold the battery inside, preventing it from falling out. The metal tripod connection is found off-centre on the bottom side, although straight opposite the lens. The other side of the Canon 500D provides access to interfaces such as USB and A/V. The HDMI-out is new and allows the Canon 500D to be connected to HD monitors/television sets.
Canon 500D camera operation
On top of the Canon EOS 500D, the right part serves as the operation area. The large setting dial, with the renowned main programs (P/Tv/Av/M etc.), the on/off switch, a dedicated ISO button and the command dial make up the frequently used items. On top of the handgrip, the shutter release is placed quite far forward, as a result of this part slanting downwards, however; this does ensure the button lies precisely and comfortably underneath your finger. The Canon 500D features a built-in flash with on top of it, a hot shoe to place a dedicated Canon EOS flash unit.
Canon EOS 500D equipped with a 3" monitor
Canon does not seem to be an advocate for fold-out or vari-angle monitors. The Canon EOS 500D too is equipped with a 'normal' LCD monitor without extra functionality. Still, it seems that the popularity of the multi-functional monitors is on the rise, at least; competing brands seem to use them on their cameras more and more often. The Nikon D5000 had the scoop, as far as Nikon's standard is concerned, of being equipped with a vari-angle monitor. Although it came at the cost of the size. And this could become important for Canon designers. The giant-like 3 inch monitor of the Canon EOS 500D on the other hand, does feature VGA resolution which makes it a joy to work with.
Recording HD videos with the Canon EOS 500D
The other part of the back contains the usual buttons, for example a multi-functional button, which has various functions linked to it. New is the button with the red dot right next to it. This button enables capturing High Definition video, currently the novelty of camera functions. The amount of buttons is kept within the limits, which means all remains well-structured.