Canon Digital SLRs > Rebel T1i 500D Guide
Published: August 2009

Canon Rebel T1i 500D Guide

The Canon Rebel T1i 500D is yet another entry into Canon's entry-level line of consumer digital SLR cameras.

However, it's not quite fair to call the T1i 500D "entry-level" given the sheer number of features packed inside this camera.

From action photography to video capture, the T1i 500D is quite capable, and should not be merely considered as a digital SLR for beginners.

At the same time, beginners need not be afraid of this camera if they are just making the transition from a full AUTO point-and-shoot.

A new feature on the T1i called "Creative Auto" lets new DSLR photographers manipulate camera settings without having to dive right in to the deep end of the pool.

The 500D builds on the features of the digital Rebels that have come before it: the 1000D (XS), 450D (XSi), 400D (xTi), 350D (XT) and the original Digital Rebel - originally released way back in 2005.

Digital SLR technology has come a long way since that first Digital Rebel, and the 500D is a prime example of a modern digital SLR: it's not only good for stills, it also doubles as a High Definition video camera.

The 500D needs this feature set to remain competitive.

The digital SLR marketplace is getting more crowded each and every year — cameras without the latest feature set won't have a very long shelf life.

Let's kick of this Canon T1i 500D guide with a quick look at what makes this camera tick.

Quick Overview

  • 15.1 megapixels
  • Compatible with all Canon EOS lenses
  • 3.4 photos per second
  • ISO settings from 100 to 12800
  • Maximum shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second
  • 1.5 times crop factor
  • Stores photos on SD memory cards
  • 9-point autofocus system
  • Dust control system
  • 3.0 inch live view LCD
  • HD 1080p movie mode

Key Feature

Canon T1i 500D - Top With Lens

When you first pick up the Canon T1i, it looks just like any other Canon Digital Rebel.

Closer inspection reveals a new setting: one of the options on the main mode dial is a video camera.

Yes, the T1i is not only a capable still camera, but it also moonlights as a High Definition video camera, with the ability to leverage any one of Canon's EOS lenses.

And the video quality is as high as it gets: full 1080p, suitable for playback on modern HDTV screens.

There are a couple of nice bonuses available with the T1i's video mode:

  • You can use autofocus - other digital SLRs with video can only focus manually when capturing movies
  • You can take pictures - if you want to grab a still image will taking video, you can

While both of these might seem like huge advantages over other DSLRs with video, there are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of (and I'll explain each one in more detail later in this Canon T1i guide):

  • A lens with a noisy autofocus is instantly picked up by the camera's microphone
  • Taking photos during video capture inserts a one second pause into the middle of the video

Drawbacks aside, the Canon T1i is a great option for anyone who doesn't want to have to lug around both a digital SLR and a video camera.

Now you've got both in one (relatively) small package.

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Who The Canon T1i 500D is For


I've included this section on every digital SLR camera guide that I have ever written...but it's getting harder to fill out these days.

In 2007, the relatively basic features available on digital SLRs made them easy to differentiate: some cameras were better than others for certain photographic styles.

But now, DLSRs are do-it-all generalists.

What does this mean? It means that with the Canon T1i 500D in your hands you can take landscapes, portraits, macro (close-up) and studio shots. Oh yeah — you can also capture video any time you want.

In this sense, the 500D can be used by everyone from a mom who wants to document the growth of her kids to a budding film-maker who wants to produce his own dramas.

What about skill level? Is the T1i 500D for beginners? Sort of.

Beginners can get started taking pictures and shooting video without a lot of prior experience with a digital SLR.

At the same time, more advanced photographers will appreciate the three custom color settings, white balance adjustment and exposure bracketing.

Simply put: the Canon 500D is a camera that you can grow into as your photographic skills matter what you love to photograph.

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In Comparison

Canon 500D T1i vs. 450D XSi

The closest competing camera in Canon's own lineup is the predecessor to the 500D: the Canon Rebel XSi 450D.

The most notable differences include a jump in megapixels (from 12 to 15) and the addition of the movie mode on the 500D.

Besides this, the two cameras are quite similar when you compare their other features:

 T1i 500D
canon 1000d
XSi 450D
canon 1000d
Release DateJune 2009April 2008
Max FPS3.43.5
AF Points99
ISO100 - 12800100 - 1600
Max Shutter Speed1/40001/4000
LCD Size3 in.3 in.
Dust Control
Image StabilizationWith LensWith Lens
Live View
Enhanced Dynamic Range
Movie ModeHD 1080p 
Weight17oz (480g)18.5oz (524g)

Since these two cameras are so alike the main question you have to answer is: how much are you willing to spend for the "extras" included in the 500D?

If you just want to take pictures with your DSLR, then either camera should suit you well - with the money that you save by getting the XSi 450D, you can consider upgrading the kit lens or even buying a second lens.

Bottom Line: if video capture is not important to you, then save money by getting the XSi 450D.

Canon T1i 500D vs. Other Manufacturers

The cameras competing with the Canon 500D (as of August 2009) include the Nikon D5000 and the Pentax K-7.

Let's examine the advantages and disadvantages of these cameras relative to the T1i:

Nikon D5000 The D5000 LCD flips out from the camera body and rotates a full 180°. Only special lenses with built-in focus motors will autofocus on the D5000 - all EOS lenses autofocus on the Canon 500D.
Pentax K-7 The built-in image stabilization in the K-7 works with any Pentax lens you attach to the camera. Pentax DSLRs aren't compatible with as many third party lenses and accessories as Canons

If you really want to see all the differences between the Canon 500D vs. the Nikon D5000, I've got an article that compares the two.

Bottom Line: if an articulated LCD is important to you, then the D5000 is the only choice. If you take photos from normal angles, then both the Canon 500D and the Pentax K-7 are great alternatives.

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How It Works

In Use

The very first thought that went through my head when the Canon 500D box arrived on my doorstep was: "they forgot to include the camera!"

The 500D box is amazingly small, given that it includes the camera, lens and all of the accessories and manuals.

It's a testament to the small size and weight of the 500D, and makes you realize that this camera is quite portable for a digital SLR.

The small size can be a drawback — people with large hands or long fingers may find that the grip isn't deep enough, which can make the camera uncomfortable to hold.

One accessory that helps to get a tight hold on a camera like this is a wrist grip strap.

Wrist grip straps wrap around the outside of your hand, preventing the camera from slipping out of your fingers.

This provides you with a much more comfortable grip, since you don't have to hold onto the camera for fear of dropping it.

Controls and Operation
Canon T1i 500D - Top

Like other small-sized digital SLR cameras, the 500D does not have a settings display on the top of the camera.

Instead, all settings are viewed and changed either by looking through the viewfinder or by using the camera's LCD display.

The main mode dial on the top of the camera provides access to the AUTO and manual shooting modes.

  • AUTO modes include: Full Auto, Creative Auto and Image Pre-sets (Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash Off)
  • Manual modes include: Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Full Manual
canon t1i 500d main mode dial

The main mode dial also lets you activate the movie mode - this is problematic if you enjoy using the manual exposure modes to take pictures.

The problem here is that there is no easy way to quickly switch between a manual picture mode and movie mode.

The movie mode selection is at one side of the main mode dial, while the manual picture settings are at the other.

While you can take still images with the camera set to movie mode, you don't have any control over the camera's settings.

At a children's birthday party, I was trying to grab still shots as I was capturing video. Since I often use Aperture Priority (Av) mode to take pictures, I had to keep cranking the main mode dial back and forth from the Av setting to the movie setting.

It's easy to do this when you have plenty of time, but I found myself getting frustrated with the process and missing shots and great video moments because the transition was taking too long.

Obviously if you always take pictures in AUTO mode then there's no issue - if you're in video mode, you just press the shutter release button to snap a photo.

But for anyone who is used to using manual controls on an SLR (or for those who'd like to in the future) be aware that switching from pictures to movies is not quite as smooth as it is on other digital SLRs with video.

Camera Settings Buttons

In addition to the main mode dial, there are a variety of other buttons located on the front, back and sides of the Canon 500D that you can use to adjust and set various camera settings:

Flash Manually pops up the camera's built-in flash unit when one of the manual modes is selected (in auto modes, the camera pops up the flash automatically when it detects that the light is low).  
MENU Displays the camera's menu system on the LCD
DISP Displays current camera settings on the LCD
Av Press and hold this button to adjust exposure compensation - also use to change aperture in manual mode
Live View Activates the camera's live view mode - live view only works in the manual modes like Program (P), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Manual and Auto Depth-of-Field (A-DEP)
WB Lets you change the white balance setting to match the available light.
AF Select one of three autofocus modes: one-shot (static subjects), AI Focus (switches automatically from one shot to AI Servo) and AI Servo (for moving subjects).
Picture Styles Change the way the camera captures colors: choose from styles like Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome.
Drive Mode Choose from one-shot, continuous (3.4 photos per second), 10 second timer (or remote), 2 second timer, and 10 second timer continuous.
Play Displays photos on the LCD that are stored on the camera's memory card.
Trash Delete images straight from the memory card that really aren't worth keeping.
AF Point Selection Let the camera choose focus points automatically, or manually select any one of the 9 focus points.  
ISO Choose ISO AUTO, or manually select any value from ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (H)
Creative Auto
Canon T1i 500D - Creative Auto Mode

The new "Creative Auto" mode is designed to help beginning photographers make the transition from pure point-and-shoot to a small amount of manual control.

I'm a huge advocate of manually controlling your digital SLR - you get much better pictures that way - but learning the controls can be challenging.

Rather than having to memorize what aperture, shutter speed and ISO are all used for, in Creative Auto mode you just move sliders back and forth to adjust how your image looks.

Once you've played with the sliders a bit, you can get a feel for how different your photos can look even with minor manual adjustments.

The six camera controls that you have access to in Creative Auto mode include:

  1. Flash - select one of three options: auto, flash on (all the time) or flash off
  2. Background Blur - use a slider to either blur the background or make it appear sharp
  3. Brightness - use a slider to either make the photo brighter (over exposed) or darker (under exposed)
  4. Color - select any one of the T1i's available Picture Styles (see section on color below)
  5. Shooting Mode - select one of three options: one-shot, continuous and self-timer
  6. Image Quality - select between different size JPG files or RAW

One interesting omission here is the ISO control, which is incredibly useful when you want to increase your shutter speed to prevent image blur.

However, the Creative Auto mode is not meant to replicate the manual modes, but instead act as a stepping stone for those interested in making the transition from full auto to semi-manual control.

Movie Mode

There are three main movie quality settings on the Canon T1i 500D:

  1. Full High Definition (HD) Widescreen: 1920 x 1080 (16:9 aspect ratio)
  2. HD Widescreen: 1280 x 720 (16:9 aspect ratio)
  3. Computer Playback: 640 x 480 (4:3 aspect ratio)

If you don't intend to watch all of the videos you capture with this camera on an HDTV that has 1080 vertical scanning lines (also called 1080p) then capturing at this setting is a waste.

First and foremost, video captured at this size creates gigantic file sizes.

Some things to be aware of:

  • Full HD eats through 330 MegaBytes per minute - this means you'll be able to capture about 12 minutes of video on a 4GB SD card
  • You'll need to get Class 6 (high speed) SD memory cards
  • A mere hour of video will require about 20 GigaBytes of free space on your computer's hard drive
  • Playing back a video file like this on a "standard" home computer will probably stutter and stall due to its size
  • Uploading a Full HD video to share with friends will take hours, especially with a slow Internet connection

On the flip side, this video looks incredible when played back on a 1080p television. If you want to blow away relatives with some clips from your next vacation, this is definitely one way to do it.

The 500D also has two interesting features not readily available on other digital SLRs with video:

  • Autofocus in Movie Mode - while you can autofocus in movie mode (other DSLRs are manual focus only when shooting movies) there are two drawbacks: the noise of the lens autofocusing is picked up by the microphone and the autofocus is not continuous (you have to keep re-focusing as your subject moves around)
  • Still Images in Movie Mode - if there is some part of your video that you want to capture as a still image, you can snap a picture...the only problem is that this will insert a noticeable pause in the middle of your video

If you want to extract still images from your movie files, you can also do this with included software from Canon. The images that you extract will be the same dimensions as the movie file (1920 x 1080) which is about 2 megapixels.


The 500D has a mini HDMI connection - this either requires a special HDMI cable or an adaptor to switch from mini HDMI to regular HDMI.

As I mentioned in the previous section, connecting camera to TV via HDMI is probably the best way to show off your Full HD (1080p) or regular HD (720p) videos.

While you can also playback 640 x 480 video on an HDTV, this size is really meant for computers.

One bonus use of the HDMI to TV connection is that you can use your television as a giant LCD screen - either in live view mode if you want to compose pictures or in playback mode to show off what you've taken.

If you've never seen your photos displayed on a 40 inch (or larger) screen, you're in for a real treat.

Live View

The Canon 500D live view mode has the same speed limitations that you'll find on other digital SLRs:

  • Autofocus in live view mode is extremely slow
  • The shot-to-shot speed is also quite slow

Composing images with live view is also quite difficult on bright sunny days - the reflection and glare that you get off the LCD make seeing the preview image quite hard.

I also have an issue with how Canon chose to implement autofocus when in live view mode: other digital SLRs with live view have figured out how to activate the autofocus when you press down halfway on the shutter release button (the same way you autofocus when you're NOT in live view mode).

With the 500D, you have to press a separate button on the back of the camera to autofocus in live view mode.

It's counter-intuitive to autofocus this way since you get so used to pressing down halfway on the shutter release. Also, every other manufacturer has figured out how to tie autofocus to the shutter release in all modes, so I'm surprised Canon has not (or that they deliberately chose not to).

So what if you want to forget about autofocus altogether and just focus manually in live view mode? Easier said than done, depending on your subject and the weather.

Trying to focus manually on a moving subject with live view is very challenging - I just gave up after awhile and went back to using the viewfinder.

For static subjects, you can use manual focus in full shade or on an overcast day...but it's tough to see the image on the LCD clearly on bright sunny days due to glare.

Some photographers will definitely be able to leverage live view on the T1i 500D: if you enjoy landscape and architecture/interior photography, then you're set.

In fact, the live view mode provides an additional benefit for these photography styles: it has the ability to overlay grid lines.

The grid lines will help you ensure that horizon lines are flat and that building walls are straight up and down.

Portrait photographers can also leverage live view - provided they're working with subjects that sit still (in other words, not kids).

For portraits, you can activate the face detection autofocus mode which does a great job of locking focus on a face in the scene (even if the subject is off-center) — provided that the subject is looking right at the camera (it doesn't work with profiles).


The LCD on the Canon T1i 500D is a 3 inch fixed LCD screen.

What's notable about this particular LCD is its color and clarity. The quality of a digital SLR LCD screen is measured in "dots".

LCD screens with more dots display images that are sharper, and the color of the photos is a much better match with the color you will see on a computer monitor.

When LCDs have a limited number of dots, you can use them to check composition, but you should not evaluate color and sharpness too much.

The LCD on the Canon 500D has 920,000 dots.

By way of comparison, this is 4x more dots than are included on many other digital SLR LCD screens.

This high number of dots mean that images that you play back on the camera's LCD are sharp, bright and colorful - it's a very good way judge if you got the shot you wanted or if you need to take a few more to get it right.

ISO Performance

Like all other DLSRs of 2009, ISO performance on the Canon T1i 500D is spectacular.

The 500D actually has more ISO range than some other cameras - going all the way up to an impressive ISO 12800 (used for the photo below).


At this setting the level of noise makes your photos look spotty instead of smooth and sharp, but if you want to shoot hand-held in very dim light you can.

At any lower ISO though, the results you can achieve are pretty amazing.

I took several shots for this Canon T1i 500D guide at ISO 1600 and 3200...and could not tell them apart from other low ISO images until I checked them later on my computer (my editing software shows the ISO I use for each shot).

This lack of discernible noise at high ISO is quite liberating, especially for sports and natural light photographers.

  • For sports, you often need to select a higher ISO setting when the light is dim and you need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the athletes
  • For natural light photographers, being able to select a high ISO allows you to shoot when the light is low - say, inside a museum - without having to set your camera on a tripod

The Canon 500D also has an AUTO ISO mode which is nice if you don't want to adjust the setting yourself.

With the ISO set to AUTO and the camera set to one of the manual modes (like Aperture Priority), the camera will automatically select an ISO number to achieve a shutter speed so your photo won't look blurry.

The only drawback to the AUTO setting is that the camera can leap up into ISO 1600 and 3200 range quite often, which may not be what you want it to do.

The good news is that the ISO value is displayed in the viewfinder - so you can keep an eye on it and see what it is set to before you start taking pictures.

Exposure / Dynamic Range

The Canon T1i 500D has two settings that are designed to improve the way your photos look when the available light is either very bright or very dim:

  1. Highlight Tone Priority - this setting tries to prevent pure white highlights in your photos when there is strong contrast in the scene
  2. Auto Lighting Optimizer - this setting adjusts exposure when the available light is dim, which often causes digital SLRs to under expose

The effect of both of these settings is quite subtle - it's pretty hard to tell whether they are turned off or on.

Since neither one really has a negative impact - either on camera performance or image quality - most people will probably want to activate them and just leave them on at all times.

Image Quality and Size

At full resolution, the 500D captures a whopping 15.1 megapixels per shot.

This lets you make exceptionally high-quality prints, even at very large sizes - ideal for those who want to adorn their walls with poster-sized images.

The number of megapixels is also good for any time you need to crop out a significant portion of your image (perhaps you took it from too far away) and still want to make a print out of the cropped photo.

Case in point: you can cut out a full 50% of your photo and still have a nice 7.5 megapixel image to work with - perfectly fine for 8x10 inch prints.

The downside to all these megapixels? You better have a pretty decent computer and enough free hard drive space to store them all.

Hard drives are about a dime a dozen these days, so storage space isn't a huge issue - what's more problematic is the amount of computer processing power you'll need to view and edit your photos.

When reviewing the photos that I took for this Canon T1i 500D guide I spent a LOT of time waiting:

  • I waited for photos to copy from the memory card to my hard drive
  • I waited for my photo organizing software to import all the images into a gallery (and to create the thumbnails)
  • I waited when I tried to use software to edit any one of the images

Most of all, I waited for images to upload. Even with a very fast Internet connection, uploading large 15 megapixel files takes a long time - I often would start an upload and would then go find something else to do for a couple of hours.

canon t1i 500d normal image canon t1i 500d 100% crop

So what sort of file size are we talking about here?

If you are capturing images as RAW files, you don't have a lot of choice about the file sizes. But if you capture photos as JPG files, you can adjust both the image size (in terms of megapixels) and the level of compression applied to each photo (more compression results in smaller file sizes).

The following table shows the approximate file size and number of shots that you'd expect to be able to capture with a 4 GigaByte SD memory card:

Color Modes

If you're not happy how your Canon T1i 500D captures colors right out of the box, you can adjust it.

Thanks to a feature called Picture Styles you can tweak the way that the 500D captures colors - from images that are flat and dull to ones that are vibrant with color.

There are 5 pre-set Picture Styles that you can choose from:

StandardDefault mode - mild image enhancement
PortraitCreates softer images where the colors are optimized for skin tones
LandscapeEnhances the colors found in nature to create landscape images with impact
NeutralNo image enhancement applied (assumes that you will use an editing program to adjust the image)
FaithfulLike Neutral
MonochromeSee below

Each one of these Picture Styles includes 4 default settings (selected by Canon) that establish the "look" of the JPG image.

If you want, you can exert manual control over the factory defaults, and make adjustments to any one of them:

SharpeningImages that are sharper have crisp edge definition while softer images look slightly blurryFrom 0 (none) to 7 (max sharpening)
ContrastHigh contrast images have dark shadows and bright highlights while low contrast images look uniformly grayFrom -3 (low contrast) to +3 (high contrast)
SaturationImages with higher saturation have intense colors while those will low saturation appear dullFrom -3 (low saturation) to +3 (high saturation)
Color toneShifting the hue can dramatically alter how the camera renders colorsFrom -3 to +3

If you're really ambitious - or just really picky about color - then you also have the ability to create 3 custom Picture Styles with the exact Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and Hue that you want.

You can create custom names for these Picture Styles so that you can easily remember what each one is for.

Black and White (Monochrome)

If you enjoy monochrome images, then the 500D offers plenty of alternatives: at the most basic level, you can opt to capture all your photos in black and white.

I took a fair number of black and white photos for this Canon T1i 500D guide, and was duly impressed with both the quality and the tonal range of the default setting.

If you want more control over the tones in your monochrome image, you can apply a filter (just like using a colored filter with black and white film).

The filters include yellow, orange, red and green.

If you'd like to add a touch of color to your monochrome photos, you can do so with the use of a tint:

Sepia Blue
Purple Green


canon 18-55mm IS lens

The regular lens that comes packaged as part of a Canon T1i 500D "kit" is the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (where IS means Image Stabilization).

Overall, I was surprised by the color and clarity captured by this lens.

Kit lenses tend to be below average when it comes to image quality - that's why kit lenses cost so little relative to other lenses.

Every 18-55mm lens is equivalent to a 3x zoom — not bad for a wide variety of shooting situations, but not good if you're comparing it to a compact with a 12x zoom.

This lens works the best for landscape and outdoor portrait shots, but you'll probably need a lens with more telephoto reach if you want to photograph sports from the sidelines or any kind of wildlife.

canon-rebel-t1i-500d-363.JPG canon-rebel-t1i-500d-364.JPG

While the image stabilization does help when you take pictures of non-moving subjects in dim light without flash, if your subject is moving around it's not as useful.

Essentially, the IS in the lens will help prevent motion blur caused by camera shake, but it won't help with blur caused by subject motion.

The problem is that this kit lens does not have a very wide maximum aperture, and the max aperture narrows as you go from wide angle (f/3.5) to telephoto (f/5.6).

If you do want to take photos of moving subjects in dim light, then look for a lens with a wider maximum aperture.

Some alternatives include:

The 18-55mm kit lens is able to focus on subjects that are pretty close to the front of the lens, which helps if you enjoy taking closeups.


However, if you really want to make the small appear huge, then look no further than one of the exceptional Canon macro lenses:

Finally, if you want to take closeups of subjects from far away, 55mm just isn't going to cut it. Instead, consider these:

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The Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • HD video capture
  • 15.1 megapixels - for large prints and lots of cropping options
  • Low noise at high ISO
  • Kit lens includes image stabilization
  • Slow autofocus in live view mode
  • Extra button required for autofocus in live view
  • No plug for an external microphone
  • Video files are HUGE

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The Canon 500D's primary strength is also a bit of a weakness:

  • The full HD 1080p video capture mode is higher quality than what you can get with other DSLRs
  • Full HD file sizes are SO large, they can really only be played back by connecting the camera to an HDTV

So this means that there are a few things for you to consider if you are eyeballing this camera because of its video capture feature:

  1. Videos look best on an HDTV - if you don't have one, capturing HD video is a bit of a waste
  2. You'll need a mini HDMI to HDMI cable - one isn't included with the camera
  3. You'll need special software to reduce the size of any videos you want to share online - unless you're willing to wait hours to upload them
  4. Once you copy photos and videos off your memory card to your computer, you'll have to copy videos BACK to the card if you want to play them on a TV
  5. Make sure you have plenty of free space on your hard drive, or an external drive for storing videos

If none of these is a deterrent for you, then the Canon T1i 500D is a great choice

As a still camera, the 500D is superb: image quality is exactly what you'd expect from a Canon DSLR and the high ISO performance is pretty remarkable (great for anyone shooting hand-held in dim available light).

For everyday snapshots, the 500D is plenty fast, and the 9-point autofocus instantly locked on to all manner of subjects.

The small size and low weight of the camera makes it easy to tote around, but the narrow grip makes the 500D hard for some to hold.

The live view performance is comparable with other cameras with this feature, and it's really only suitable for non-moving subjects.

Overall, this camera is a great option for anyone who wants both video and still image capture in the same camera. If you already have a dedicated video camera, then consider the less expensive Canon Rebel XSi 450D instead. Who knows? With the money you save, you might be able to pick up an extra lens.

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Canon T1i 500D Photo Samples

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Memory Card
sandisk 4gb sdhc

The first extra you're going to need with a new Canon T1i 500D is a memory card, since none are included with the basic camera kit.

The 500D uses SD Memory cards, and the good news is that today there are plenty to choose from in a variety of capacities.

If you're only planning on using the camera for short trips, then a 4 GigaByte card should be fine.

Prolific shooters, those who exclusively capture RAW images and travelers who enjoy extended vacations should consider cards with more capacity like 8 GigaBytes and even 16 Gigabytes.

In order to capture Full HD video with the 500D, you'll want a Class 6 SD memory card — the "Class" notation indicates how fast the card is able to read and write image data.

The classes range from 2 to 6, where Class 6 is the fastest.


The Canon 500D runs on a rechargeable lithium Ion LP-E5 battery.

Since the live view LCD and video capture mode tend to eat up the battery charge fast, it's a good idea to have a spare on hand when the battery in the camera runs out.

If you want extra battery life and also want to have a more comfortable hand grip when shooting in portrait mode, check out the BG-E5 Battery Grip.


Remote triggers are best used when you have the camera locked on a tripod and are either taking photos with very long exposure times (where even touching the camera can result in a blurry photo) or when you would like to be included in the group portrait.

One of the following options keeps you tethered to the camera, while the other lets you roam:

  • The RS-60E3 remote switch lets you fire the camera from no more than 2 feet (60cm) away in any direction
  • The RC-1 and RC-5 remote controls lets you step away from the camera even further, up to about 16.4 feet (5 meters) in front of the camera
External Flash

If you want to take a lot of flash pictures with your Canon 500D, then at some point it makes sense to upgrade from the built-in flash to an external flash unit.

These types of flash offer a lot more versatility when it comes to lighting and they are much more powerful than the built-in flash.

The 500D is compatible with three Canon external flash units:

  1. 270EX - offers more power than the built-in flash, but still basic
  2. 430EX II - a good compromise between price and features
  3. 580EX II - a full-featured flash unit and the most powerful of the options

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