The Canon EOS 650D is this years update to the Canon EOS 600D and features a new touchscreen and Hybrid AF designed to give continuous AF during video recording. A number of other improvements have been included such as stereo microphones, quicker continuous shooting, built in HDR creation as well as the DIGIC 5 processor enabling higher ISO settings.
Canon EOS 650D Features
We are testing the Canon EOS 650D with the new Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, that was also announced at the same time as the 650D, along with a 40mm STM pancake lens. The new STM lenses are designed to provide quiet STM focusing when shooting movies. The lens has Dynamic Image Stabilizer for smooth movie footage, and a minimum focusing distance of 0.39m.
18.2 megapixel APS-C Hybrid CMOS sensor
Canon EOS-F lens mount
Hybrid AF system, 9-point cross-type
3 inch 1040k dot touch-screen
5fps continuous shooting
Full HD video with stereo microphones, manual controls
Continuous AF available in video
Integrated Speedlite transmitter
440 shot battery life
HDR combines 3 shots
DIGIC 5 processor
Canon EOS 650D Handling
Handling - The Canon EOS 650D feels well built with solid plastics and large rubber areas for a good hold. There is an additional rubber covering on the left of the camera body to give your left hand added grip. There are a large number of external controls, giving good access to common settings and options including ISO, WB, Drive, AF, Colour, Exposure and others. It's now easier to access the video mode as it's on the On/Off switch. There is also an eye-detection sensor above the viewfinder, this automatically switches off the touch screen when the camera is held up to your face. The memory card compartment is easy to access, as it's on the side. On the other side is the external mic socket, remote, A/V out / Digital, HDMI, Flash button and depth-of-field preview button.
Menus – Canon has a logical and well laid out menu system, allowing you to change additional settings and options, however I found I rarely had to enter the menus as the large number of buttons on the camera meant I was able to change settings quickly without entering the menus. The menus are colour coded, with the shooting menus red, playback menus are blue, setup amber, and "my menu" is green. The "my menu" allows you to customise the options onto one page, so that you can quickly access your favourite settings. The menu system is easy to use and can be navigated easily and quickly using the touch screen. The menus also feature built in help, and quicker access to options can be found by using the Q button on the back, and then setting options on the rear screen.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 440 shots according to CIPA test results. We were able to take over 500 shots before the battery went flat. This is good, although the battery indicator doesn't go down as you would expect, instead it suddenly goes to empty when the battery is nearly flat.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
Shutter response is very quick whether using live view or standard shooting. Focus is extremely quick when using the standard method, however using live view is very slow, and roughly the same as the Canon EOS 600D. Switch on time, shot to shot (with or without flash) is excellent, and continuous shooting is very good giving 5fps, although it is slower with distortion correction switched on shooting at roughly 4fps.
*3 shots before slowdown (JPEG) with distortion correction switched on, there is no slowdown with distortion correction switched off.
Canon EOS 650D Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Canon EOS 650D Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Colour is excellent with good levels of saturation. Colour options let you change sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone. Flash performance is good with very little red-eye in portrait photos.
Canon EOS 650D Lens test images
Lens Performance - Exposure is extremely reliable. Dynamic range is very good and can be expanded in a number of ways including the "Auto lighting optimizer" or the new HDR mode. Macro performance is reasonable although for better results a macro lens is recommended. Detail is good whether using the lens at the wide or telephoto end of the lens. Although it does benefit from stopping down the aperture, and the images are slightly softer at the telephoto end.
Canon EOS 650D ISO
There is quite noticeable barrel distortion at the wide-angle end of the lens. In addition, there is quite strong pincushion distortion at the telephoto end of the 18-135mm lens, from about 50mm and onwards - although how much it will show up in your photos depends on the type of photography you do. Vignetting was noticeable in shots (more so at the telephoto end), although the built in correction does a good job compensating for it. Purple fringing is is low as is chromatic aberration (CA), although it is visible if you look at images full size, and the camera will correct these problems in camera.
Canon EOS 650D ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - ISO100 results, as expected, are very smooth, with very low levels of noise. ISO800 results are good although slight grain becomes visible. ISO1600 is when noise becomes slightly more noticeable. At ISO3200 the noise increases with slight colour loss. ISO6400 noise becomes more dominant with more noticeable colour loss, although results appear better performing than the Canon EOS 600D, giving usable results. Above this, at ISO12800 noise increases again, and it's at this setting that tiny white dots randomly appear, however images may still be usable with further processing as detail is still reasonable. As expected ISO25600 images contain the most noise, and due to the loss of detail this setting is best avoided.
Canon EOS 650D White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs reasonably well under tungsten lighting with a slightly warm result, and using the tungsten preset gives very similar performance. AWB performs better under fluorescent lighting with much more neutral colours and using the fluorescent preset gives very similar results.
Canon EOS 650D Digital filters
Digital Filters - Creative Auto (CA) lets you choose a number of different effects as shown above, as well as set the background blur easily. Additional creative filters available in playback including: Grainy black and white, Soft focus, Fish-eye effect, Art bold effect, Water painting, Toy camera, and Miniature.
Video - Video quality is good, with the camera recording full HD video at 25 or 24fps with adjustable microphone levels as well as a wind filter. Video can be recorded at up to ISO6400 with stereo sound. As with the live view focus tests, when the camera is focusing during videos it can be very slow for it to lock focus and the camera's microphones pick up the sound of the focus motor.
Value For Money
The Canon EOS 650D is available for around £599 body only, £673 with 18-55mm IS II lens (less than the previous models introduction price), or £989 with 18-135mm IS STM lens as tested here, which is reasonable value for money, with similar specification models roughly the same price such as the Pentax K-30 (weather sealed), Nikon D5100, Sony Alpha A65 (GPS), and also it's predecessor the Canon EOS 600D, which is still an excellent camera and now even better value for money. Recently, if mirrorless camera manufacturers marketing is to be believed, then these Digital SLRs are also up against the "Digital SLM" particularly those with built in electronic viewfinders such as the 16 megapixel Panasonic Lumix G5, and 20 megapixel Samsung NX20 (with Wi-Fi).
Video is improved thanks to stereo sound and continuous AF, although this is still generally quite slow compared to mirrorless cameras, and the noise of the lens focussing is easily picked up by the internal microphones. In fact, the manual recommends the use of an external microphone if this is something you want to avoid. The touchscreen implementation is very good, being easy to use, quick and responsive, as well as allowing precise selection of options in the menus, and like the previous model, the high resolution 3 inch screen with 1040k dots looks excellent.
If you don't record video and aren't a fan of touch screens, then the 650D still makes a compelling case for itself thanks to improved continuous shooting speed, additional high ISO settings, and improved shooting features, such as HDR and handheld nightshot. The Canon EOS 650D also goes a step further than the Canon EOS 600D, with noticeably improved image quality thanks to the DIGIC 5 processor, allowing higher ISO settings to be used confidently. While live view focusing may not be as quick as Canon would like you to believe, the 650D is an excellent all-round Digital SLR, that should keep the keen amatuer, enthusiast and perhaps even professional photographers happy.
The Canon EOS 650D is a great Digital SLR that delivers excellent image quality along with high quality video.
Canon EOS 650D Pros
Excellent noise performance up to ISO3200 and above
Live view allows 5x and 10x magnification to aid manual focus
Excellent image quality
Excellent colour reproduction
Excellent touch screen
Solid body with good handling
Playback image star ratings
Canon EOS 650D Cons
Slow live view focus (compared to Sony SLT or Mirrorless)
Lens focusing motor loud and picked up by microphones
Noticeable barrel and pincushion distortion with 18-135mm lens
The lens aberration correction feature slows continuous shooting