Canon's latest addition to its EOS digital SLR range boasts more megapixels, more video functions and incremental updates compared to previous cameras.

We had an exclusive hands-on preview with the new camera, and got to shoot a few frames to see just what this SLR can do. Click through for images and analysis, or click here to read our preview of the 550D.

Except for the first four slides, all images were taken with a preproduction Canon EOS 550D model.

The 550D shares a similar body to the 500D, and the 450D before it, and the 400D before that ... you get the idea. It's a standard Canon dSLR, built around a stainless steel core and polycarbonate resin body.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

A shot of the back of the camera, showing the live view/movie record button and the shooting menu interface.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

At the top, everything remains very similar to what we've become accustomed to with the Canon enthusiast series. The 550D now has an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

This is the 550D pictured in the Super Kit configuration, with the 18-135mm lens. All images taken on the 550D were taken with this lens.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

All images from here on were taken with the 550D. This is an image taken with Auto Lighting Optimiser turned off...

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

And this is the same image taken with Auto Lighting Optimiser turned on. There are three levels to choose from, ranging from weak to strong, and are fully selectable by the user.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

An example of one of the picture modes available on the 550D. Black and white (or monochrome) is nothing new in the Canon EOS series, but we're still a sucker for the look.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

With a maximum (native) ISO of 6400, images taken at this sensitivity on the 550D are totally acceptable in terms of noise at full magnification, and as you can see, it looks perfectly fine when resized for web use or smaller prints.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:

A stroll through the park turns into a mini stop-motion film as we test the 3.7fps shooting speed of the 550D. The buffer can take up to 170 JPEG shots or nine RAW shots in continuous shooting mode.

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Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia / Caption by:
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