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Canon EOS 650D Digital Camera Review

canon20121101aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Keith Parsons  


The Canon 650D is a recent release from Canon that replaces the much talked about 600D in the ever expanding Canon DSLR range. From looking at the spec sheet you may notice that there are a number of similarities between the 650D and 600D although it is more progression and refinement rather than revolution in this case.

The 650D is the first Canon entry level DSLR to feature a DIGIC 5 processor that has far reaching benefits in terms of processing power. Another first is the inclusion of AF tracking in the cameras video mode (only available on certain lenses). However despite these new inclusions the 650D retains many of Canons tried and trusted features and functionality and this all adds up to a well rounded enthusiast camera.


Appearance & Functionality


The 650Ds appearance is certainly nothing revolutionary and continues along the lines of a black body with well moulded hand grips that will reduce fatigue on longer shoots. The body is significantly smaller than a number of other Canon DSLR models currently available and this will allow you to easily put the camera into a larger handbag or backpack for travel.

The cameras buttons are all arranged as expected with a Canon DSLR. However users that are new to the range will find the layouts logical and comfortable. There is a new three setting power button that now includes power on, power off and the third option which is the video shooting mode, allowing for faster access to video options. The actual video recording button cannot be missed as it has a red recording circle emblazoned on it.

canon20121101ab.jpgThe 650Ds menus are perhaps a little overwhelming to non DSLR users. Although with a little patience and the help of the 3.0” LCD touch screen it is only a matter of time before users will find menu navigation a breeze. Sub headings are colour coded to separate the shooting and non shooting options and the cameras playback menus are simple and non cluttered allowing for maximum image playback space.

Canon have included an absolute swag of shooting modes with the staple full auto, portrait, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes complimented by the extra modes close up, sports, night portrait, no flash, handheld night scene and HDR. The inclusion of all of these shooting modes gives the user the best of both worlds with some easy to use automatic modes as well as potential for more advanced usage. The HDR option is an interesting inclusion and will allow those who enjoy the HDR aesthetic quick access to it although will be of little significance to others. The pick of the shooting options for me however is the inclusion of some night time automatic options that will allow the user to shoot relatively good quality tripod free night shots, though with significant noise in most cases.

The cameras autofocus system has been upgraded and now feature nine cross hair AF points compared with the single cross hair found in the 600D. This allows for faster and more accurate autofocus of specific points within the frame and is a nice little upgrade.

The 650D uses an LP E8 battery that is charged through the more conventional wall charger method rather than what a number of manufacturers are switching to with in camera charging. I feel that external charging with larger batteries is a good thing, as there is the chance of damaging a DSLR with all of the heat created in charging. Battery life is quite good with Canon rating the battery life at 440 shots which easily equates to a decent days shooting!


Image Quality


The camera uses the same 18.0 megapixel APSC CMOS sensor found in the 600D although with the addition of the DIGIC 5 processor a number of imaging advances have been made. The cameras ISO is now expandable to 25600ISO although its regular range is 100ISO to 12800ISO. Images will begin to suffer excessively from noise around the 6400ISO level although the higher ISO options will get you results when quality is not necessarily needed.

Full resolution images are 5184x3456 pixels although a number of smaller settings are obviously available for outputs like facebook or email. The cameras Auto White Balance (AWB) setting is fairly accurate although the ability to set it to any of the 6 presets will often yield better results.

When shooting in JPEG users will need to be aware of the picture style settings as JPEG images tend to be over saturated, slightly over sharpened and overly contrasty in the automatic setting. Though with the customisation available through the picture style settings, you will be able to find something to suit. 


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The 650D utilises an articulating 3” 1.04 million dot resolution touch screen. The 600D had the same screen minus the touch capabilities and its a nice progressive 'touch' as it simplifies use for those not wanting to get caught up in lengthy menus. The touchscreen is quite responsive and you certainly don't have to bash on the screen to get it to recognise your request. The articulating aspect goes a long way to reducing the glare experienced by LCD screens in direct sunlight and is of great benefit.

The obvious feature of a single lens reflex (SLR or now DSLR) camera is the viewfinder system, whereby you actually look out through the lens to composes and focus your shot. It somewhat pains me to see cameras only offering 95% coverage through their viewfinders as it means that what you are actually composing is not your final image. Whilst the LCD screen does offer the complete picture it is an interesting point to consider nonetheless. 




Video is available in a number of options on the 650D including full HD 1920x1080p in either 30, 25 or 24 frames per second options. There is also the ability to shoot at 60fps in 720p or a number of smaller options with compression in either MPEG or H.264. Basically the 650D allows such a range of options that you will find a suitable size or resolution for your output, be it Youtube, Vimeo or even email.

The 650D is the first Canon DSLR to include the ability to track subjects in video mode. A first for DSLRs in fact! Though currently restricted to a number of lenses I would expect to see this being available in many other models going forward. Though be careful to return the cameras AF to a regular mode if using a non compatible focusing lens as you will experience some odd AF jumps during your video if you do not.

The inclusion of stereo microphones is a big plus for the 650D and the sound is remarkably clear in comparison to Canon mono options. There is also the option to plug in an external microphone to add that little bit extra to your videos. It must also be noted that the ability to swing the Lcd screen away from the glaring sun really comes into its own in video mode where you are unable to use the viewfinder. A great little feature!







The 650D is a serious camera at an affordable price. Its a great first step into DSLR territory although it offers more than enough features to attract attention from seasoned enthusiasts. Its more of a progression rather than a revolution from the 600D and its rather refreshing to see a manufacturer respond to criticisms of a previous model and advance the lineup with a new model.

Comprising great quality stills, great quality video and such a large number of shooting modes and AF options the Canon 650D should definitely be under consideration if your after a top quality enthusiast DSLR!




Accessories Used During Testing

Tamrac Evolution 8 / 5788l Bag 

SanDisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s CF Card


Recommended Retailer

View / Buy The Canon EOS 650D Now  


Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4.5 stars
Video quality
4.5 stars
Lens quality
LCD screen (Rear)
4.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
Street Price - Body Only $750.00
Effective Pixels 18.1 Megapixels
Sensor Type
CMOS 36 x 24 mm sensor
Image Sizes 5 Sizes / 1 Aspect Ratio
Lens -
Lens Mount
Resolution Settings: Stills Large: 17.90 megapixels (5184 x 3456)
Medium: 8.00 megapixels (3456 x 2304)
Small 1: 4.50 megapixels (2592 x 1728)
Small 2: 2.50 megapixels (1920 x 1280)
Small: 3 350,000 pixels (720 x 480)
RAW: 17.90 megapixels (5184 x 3456)
Resolution Settings: Video 1920 x 1080 (FULL HD): 30/25/24 fps, 22min @ 330MB/min
1280 x 720 (HD): 60/50 fps, 22min @ 330MB/min
640 x 480 (HD): 30/25 fps, 1hr 32min @ 82.5MB/min
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds 30-1/4000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode), Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter
ISO AUTO(100-6400), 100-12800 in 1-stop increments
ISO can be expandable to H: 25600)
LCD Monitor Type: Touch screen vari angle 7.7cm (3.0") 3:2 Clear View II TFT, approx. 1040K dots    
Coverage: Approx. 100%    
Viewing Angle (Horizontally/Vertically): Approx 170°    
Coating: Anti smudge    
Brightness Adjustment: Adjustable to one of seven levels
Viewfinder Type: Electronic viewfinder with image sensor   
Coverage: Approx. 99% (horizontally and vertically)   
Frame Rate: 30 fps   
Focusing: Manual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)
Autofocus: Hybrid CMOS AF (Face detection and Tracking AF, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-Single), Phase detection AF (Quick mode)   
Metering: Real-time evaluative metering with image sensor. Evaluative metering, partial metering, spot metering, center-weighted average metering.   
Display Options: Grid overlay, Histogram
Flash No
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Type: Auto white balance with the imaging sensor    
Settings: AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom.
White balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber +/-9
2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.    
Custom White Balance: Yes, 1 setting can be registered    
WB Bracketing: '+/-3 levels in single level increments
3 bracketed images per shutter release.
Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias.
Self Timer Self timer (2s, 10s+remote, 10s + continuous shots 2-10)
Stills Format/s
JPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.30 compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0),
RAW: RAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition),
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Video Format/s MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM, recording level can be manually adjusted by user)
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD/ SDHC/ SDXC/ UHS-I
Storage Type - Internal
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB, Video output (PAL/ NTSC) (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible), External microphone (3.5mm Stereo mini jack)
Power Source AC Adapter Kit ACK-E8, Battery charger LC-E8, LC-E8E
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8
Battery Life Approx 440 Shots
Dimensions 133.1mm (W) x 99.8mm (H) x 78.8mm
Weight 575g
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