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Canon PowerShot A550 Operation

The Canon A550's user interface is efficient once you learn it. Those already familiar with Canon cameras will feel right at home. Most camera functions are controlled externally, and a few of the external control buttons serve multiple functions depending on the mode you're in. When you do need to enter the LCD menu system, navigation is straightforward with only two main pages of options. The majority of external controls do require the LCD display to be active, but as I mentioned, I don't use the viewfinder much. The A550's external controls cut down on the amount of time spent searching menu screens, and I particularly like the Function menu which gives quick access to commonly used controls. Combined with the instruction manual, the Canon A550's user interface shouldn't take more than an hour to get comfortable with.

Record Mode LCD Display: In Record mode, the Canon A550's LCD reports various exposure settings, including camera modes, the resolution and quality settings, number of available images, ISO, drive mode, and metering mode. Half-pressing the Shutter button reports the aperture and shutter speed settings, in all modes except Movie. Pressing the Display button cycles through the available display modes, including the image only, image with information, and no display at all.

Playback Mode LCD Display: In Playback mode, the Canon A550's LCD reports the image series number, resolution and quality setting, file name, and the date and time of image capture. Pressing the Display button once pulls up an enhanced information display, pressing twice will show a full information display with a histogram for checking the exposure. A third press cancels the information overlay entirely. The telephoto side of the zoom toggle lets you zoom in on a portion of the image, while the wide-angle side backs you out again, and lets you step out to an index view of captured images, displayed as nine thumbnails at a time. Zooming out one step past the point at which the Canon A550's index display appears adds a "jump" bar to the bottom of the screen, letting you jump forward or back nine images at a time, rather than scrolling from each image to the next individually.


Canon PowerShot A550 Modes and Menus

Record Mode: Marked on the Mode button with the red camera icon, this mode sets up the Canon A550 for capturing still and moving images. The following exposure modes are available:

Record Menu: Pressing the Canon A550's Menu button in Record mode pulls up the following options (not all options are available in all modes):

Playback Mode: This mode lets you review captured images and movies on the memory card, as well as erase them, protect them, or tag them for printing and transfer. The traditional green Playback symbol denotes this mode on the Mode switch. Pressing the Canon A550's Menu button displays the following options:

Print Menu: This menu is available in the Canon A550's Playback mode, simply by pressing the Menu button and selecting the Print tab. The bottom line of the display shows how many images are selected for printing and the print method that is active.

Setup Menu: This menu is available in all exposure modes, simply by pressing the Canon A550's Menu button and selecting the Setup tab.