Canon EOS 650D review: Canon EOS 650D

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Good image quality. Touchscreen is useful, functional and offers actions like pinch to zoom. Easy to use for beginner photographers. For the majority of uses, AF in video is very good.

The Bad Currently only two STM lenses available. Easy to accidentally switch into video-recording mode.

The Bottom Line The Canon 650D has all the features you would expect for an entry-level SLR, but the shooting experience and extra bells and whistles make this a compelling camera.

CNET Editors' Choice Oct '12

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Design and features

Looking for your first SLR or wanting to upgrade? The 650D offers plenty of enticing reasons to hand over your cash, from its reasonably lightweight construction, right down to its articulating 3-inch LCD screen.

This camera sits in the Canon SLR range between last year's 600D and the slightly bigger and faster 60D , though it bears the most striking resemblance to the former camera in its look and feel. Say farewell to the EOS 550D, as the old trooper has been shuffled out of the line-up to make room for this new model.

If these features weren't enough to help tempt photographers into the world of SLRs, rather than picking up an interchangeable lens camera (ILC), Canon has included a number of interesting features on this new model, including an HDR and handheld night scene mode. When shooting in this mode (found on the top dial) the camera shoots four frames in quick succession, then superimposes them in-camera, with automatic adjustments to alignment. It's not going to replace shooting properly with a tripod, but it's definitely good enough for a night snapshot when you don't have anything sturdy to lean on.

Here's an example of the handheld night shot mode in action. It takes four shots in quick succession and merges them together, after around five seconds of waiting time. Even if you are shooting in JPEG+RAW mode, it saves the one image as JPEG only and, in most situations, will boost the ISO to 12,800.
(Credit: CBSi)

The articulating screen mentioned earlier is also a touch panel. It uses gestures that are similar to those on smartphones or tablets, to swipe between images and pinch to zoom. You can tap to focus and also tap to take a photo if you activate this feature on the screen.

It's a pleasure to look at the screen on the 650D, as it's high-resolution with 1.4-million dots. Fortunately, it's also responsive and accurate, with just a gentle touch required to get the capacitive screen to respond to commands. You can also select menu options and photo settings from the screen.

The touchscreen on the 650D, showing the HDR mode.
(Credit: CBSi)

While the merits of a touchscreen on an SLR can be debated, the addition of the tactile interface on the 650D feels very organic. You can still use the physical buttons as you need and ignore the touchscreen altogether, if you wish; but the effortless way of swiping back and forth between images in playback mode is a really nice way of viewing photos. The only problem we had when playing with the screen was its propensity to attract fingerprints.

The very petite 40mm f/2.8 pancake attached to the 650D.
(Credit: CBSi)

As mentioned earlier, the 650D marks the first Canon SLR to implement automatic focusing during video recording (full 1080p at 30, 25 or 24fps). There's also a built-in stereo microphone, as well as a 3.5mm stereo microphone input. To activate movie mode, there's now a dedicated notch on the power switch, which needs to be flicked up. On previous models, the mode was activated from a dedicated selector on the dial. We found it was far too easy to flick the switch all the way up into video mode, rather than into the "On" position.

The 650D comes with creative filters, just like the earlier 600D, but adds two more, taking the total to seven. Available now are grainy black-and-white, soft focus, fish-eye, art bold, water painting, toy camera and miniature effect. While the process of applying these filters is not as easy as on some ILCs, or like other SLRs that let you preview the effect in Live View mode, it's still easier to do than on the 600D. Head into playback mode, select the Quick mode (Q button), choose your filter and then, apply.

The 650D uses SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, which are accepted via the side slot, while the rechargeable lithium-ion battery slips in underneath the camera body. This camera also comes with wireless flash control, allowing you to easily and remotely fire a number of external Canon flash units from the 650D.

Compared to

Nikon D5100 Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 650D
16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS
3.0-inch, 921,000-dot articulating LCD screen 3.0-inch, 1,04K-dot articulating LCD screen 3.0-inch, 1,04K-dot articulating touch LCD screen
Full HD video (1080p, 24/25fps) Full HD video (1080p, 24/25/30fps) Full HD video (1080p, 24/25/30fps)
No wireless flash control Wireless flash control Wireless flash control

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Start-up to first shot time
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • 0.20.40.70.1
    Canon EOS 600D
  • 0.30.40.50.1
    Canon EOS 650D
  • 0.30.40.40.2
    Canon EOS 60D
  • 0.30.60.70.3
    Nikon D5100
  • 0.30.20.30.1
    Nikon D7000

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed (in frames per second)

  • 7
    Nikon D7000
  • 5.3
    Canon EOS 60D
  • 5
    Canon EOS 650D
  • 3.8
    Nikon D5100
  • 3.7
    Canon EOS 600D

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

While the 650D can take an almost unlimited number of JPEG images in continuous shooting mode (only limited by the capacity and speed of your card), it slows down dramatically when shooting RAW after just seven shots. Canon rates the battery at 440 shots when using the viewfinder, and 180 when using Live View.

Image quality

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Where to Buy See all prices

Canon EOS 650D (with 18-55mm lens)

Part Number: Rebel T4i Kit with 18-55mm Lens
Low Price: $764.20 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type SLR
  • Sensor Resolution 18.0 Megapixel
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