The Good Responsive performance; slightly above-average lens.
The Bad Images plagued with artifacts and fringing; small LCD.
The Bottom Line This camera's low price tag and solid performance can help you forget that it doesn't have many bells or whistles.
Canon PowerShot A550
Canon's PowerShot A550 is a simple, inexpensive 7-megapixel camera, and that's all it wants to be. While it has some nice features, it doesn't offer any outstanding, unique aspects that put it above any other camera in the field, and that's just fine. Good performance and solid images are all a camera needs to succeed, and the A550 delivers just that.
Though not quite small enough to slip into your jeans, the A550 is still comfortably compact. At 7.4 ounces and 1.7 inches thick, the camera can fit easily into most jacket pockets and bags. The camera's body has an L-shaped design found on most of Canon's PowerShot A series, giving it a generous grip. The buttons are large and comfortable, and they're laid out logically along the back and the top of the camera.
The A550 is a fairly nondescript camera, with few outstanding or unusual features. Its most notable attribute is its 35mm-to-140mm-equivalent 4X zoom lens, which gives it just a bit more range than the 3X lenses typical of most budget cameras. It has a smaller-than-usual 2-inch LCD screen that is augmented by an optical viewfinder for shooting in dim light. Besides those features, the A550 has the standard handful of scene presets and image adjustment settings, including a 30fps VGA (640x480) movie mode and a pleasantly unexpected 60fps QVGA (320x240) high-speed movie mode. Finally, like most Canon PowerShot A-series cameras, the A550 conveniently takes AA batteries.
The 12 best Black Friday camera deals we've found so far
Rather than dump every available Black Friday discount on you, we've hand-picked the seasonal deals we think are actually worth your money.
Get a Canon EOS Rebel T6 dSLR kit for $279.64
That's the lowest price to date on this widely loved model. It's a refurb, but a good-as-new refurb. Plus: Own "Logan" for just $6.
Get a GoPro Hero action camera for $63
Wait, what? Yep, it's the real deal -- but you'll have to wait a few weeks to get it, and there are more capable cameras for the same price.
Google Clips uses AI to capture life's spontaneous moments
The $249 smart camera brings together the best of AI, software and hardware, says Google.
Get a Canon EOS Rebel T6 dSLR kit for $344
Your phone's camera may be good, but it's nowhere near this good. This top-rated model would normally run you at least $100 more. Plus: a speaker that fits in your pocket and plays FM radio.
Monday mishmash: Great new deals, plus some updates and reruns
For example: the cheapest 1TB portable hard drive I've ever seen, and an unbeatable price on a lifetime of guided meditation.
Want to photograph rockstars? This $13K camera will let you
Leica releases a new special-edition camera as a tribute to late rock-n-roll photographer Jim Marshall.
GoPro has a new 360 VR camera that you can't have
The spherical camera, called Fusion, is small and wearable, but a lot of other details are a mystery.
GoPro will give you $100 for your old Hero, sort of
A new trade-up program lets you send in your old GoPro for money off a new Hero5 camera.
Nikon bails on advanced compacts and that's not good
Opinion: The company announced that it was dropping the attempt to produce its ill-fated series of enthusiast-targeted fixed-lens models and it doesn't sound like it plans to try again.
This crazy camera could be a boon to VR filmmakers
Researchers have found a way to build a 360-degree camera that's compact but shoots high-quality video. It could be just the thing for virtual reality.
GoPro lays off 200 people, shutters its aspiring media arm
The action-camera maker, struggling with weak sales, makes cuts to save more than $650 million in costs next year.