Canon EOS 500D (Rebel T1i) - Review / Test Report - Applications
DSLR Reviews - DSLRs

The following section is organized by the variety of photographic scenarios LANDSCAPE, MACRO, NIGHT, PORTRAIT and SPORTS photography.

Nature Photography

Similar to its predecessor the Canon EOS 500D provides pretty much everything you need for outdoor photography especially because of the huge lens portfolio with "landscape"/"nature"-related lenses through all price ranges like the Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L or the immense number of long tele-photo lenses.
The small and light-weight EOS 500D is a great companion for long outdoor trips - the whole DSLR including a battery and a SD card weighs a mere 523 gram. In addition the battery manages to last about 400 images which is sufficient for regions without power supply. On the downside this is 100 images less compared to the predecessor.
The DOF-button of the camera is placed in an ideal position on the left side close to the lens mount and is a useful feature, although the viewfinder of the Canon EOS 500D is still not as good as desirable for this purpose.
The Canon EOS 500D uses the same “EOS Integrated-Cleaning-System” like the EOS 450D that we have tested successfully during the OpticalLimits outdoor test in Venezuela. This dust removal system operates flawlessly and assured clean images without dust on your pictures.
Although the Canon EOS 500D has a lack of a body sealing it is suitable for fairly difficult outdoor missions.

Macro Photography

Like her competitors the Canon EOS 500D features a live-view mode - a very useful feature for macro photography because the object can be enlarged up to 10 times for accurate manual focusing. The Canon live-view mode works fine but the handling is a little bit complicated, because the [AE lock]-button has to be pressed for focusing, instead of the shutter release button. Furthermore, the Canon EOS 500D provides no articulated display, like other cameras in its class.
Regarding live-view and the static display, there are better alternatives out there for macro photography, but lenses are crucial and this is where Canon scores with high-performance lenses, like the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 with reduced image circle or the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro with superb reputation.
All at once, the Canon EOS 500D is capable to produces great macro results in combination with one of the good macro lenses and available ring-flash units.

Night Photography

Just like most of the competitors, the Canon EOS 500D features bulb exposure but unfortunately the exposure button has to remain pressed during the whole exposure. It had always been like that and everybody obviously assumes that this is normal but this is quite annoying without a remote control. Other manufactures offer at least exposure times above 30 seconds. Nevertheless, the EOS 500D provides continuous shooting up to 10 frames in self-timer mode which is an interesting idea for interval photography (e.g. for sunsets). However, the usefulness is limited because you cannot define a timeout between the different shots like on the Nikon D5000.
The EOS 500D is capable to produce very good hand-held results up to ISO 800 while ISO 1600 is still a borderline and the AF continues to perform well in low-light situations.

Canon has a big lens portfolio with image-stabilizers and doesn’t follow the latest trend for camera-based solutions. Even the cheap kit lenses like the new 18-55mm IS feature an image-stabilizer which indicates that Canon will keep on going this way despite the higher total system costs. Making a few concessions the Canon EOS 500D is suitable for night photography all-in-all.

Portrait Photography

The Canon EOS 500D provides all camera features required for portrait photography and beyond. The face recognition system that can be switched on in live view mode - a nice gimmick but not really needed for more serious portrait photography. Typyical portrait lenses like the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L, with its super-smooth bokeh push the Canon EOS 500D to their limits and deliver excellent portrait shots.
As already mentioned the viewfinder is still small and relatively dark and maybe a limiting factor at times because the depth-of-field preview is hard to interpret. However, the min. X-sync of 1/200sec is generally fine for the typical focal lengths used for portrait photography (~50-135mm) and high-speed sync. is also available with external flashunits. Furthermore, the optional Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 provides remote flash capabilities for balanced lighting using multiple flash units. In other words - yes, in combination with one of the excellent portrait lenses, the Canon EOS 500D is suitable for portrait photography.

Sports Photography

The EOS 500D can shoot continuously with up to 3.4 pictures per second and up to 170 images in JPEG- as well as 9 images in RAW-mode with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000s, respectively with a X-Sync speed of 1/200s. The AF is fast and accurate even in low light conditions. Unfortunately, the AF sensor handover for tracking is till missing, which is no show-stopper, but an important area for improvement here. These specs are nothing special anymore but that's sufficient for most kind of action photography.
In combination with one of the great Canon telephoto lenses like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 USM L IS, one of the best tele zoom lenses on the market today or the most impressive Sigma zoom lens the Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX HSM APO the Canon EOS 500D is very capable for sports photography.

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