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Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review

The latest Canon EOS 650D features a new touch screen, as well as hybrid AF and a new HDR mode among other new features, Joshua Waller finds out how it performs.

| Canon EOS 650D (Rebel T4i) in Digital SLRs
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Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

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

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

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.

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

Key Features

  • 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
  • ISO100-25600
  • 440 shot battery life
  • HDR combines 3 shots
  • DIGIC 5 processor

Canon EOS 650D Handling

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

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.

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

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.

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

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.

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 650D DSLR

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.

Canon EOS 650D
Sony Alpha A37
Shutter Response (Live View)
<0.05 (0.05)
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response (Live View)
0.2 (1.3)
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response (Live)
0.15 (1.4-1.8)
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.4 0.9
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.4 0.5
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.5 0.8
Continuous Shooting
(shots before slow down)
5fps (~/3 shots*)
6fps (11 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 2fps 0.7s
Continuous Shooting - RAW 5fps  (7 shots)
6fps (7 shots)

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 (Rebel T4i) 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 (Rebel T4i) 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 (Rebel T4i) 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 (Rebel T4i) 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 (Rebel T4i) 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 (Rebel T4i) 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).

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon EOS 650D Verdict

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.

  Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Review:
  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


Additional links: 
Canon EOS 650D DSLR User Review
Canon EOS 600D vs 650D Comparison

Canon EOS 650D (Rebel T4i) Specifications

Effective Magnification1.6x
Image Sensor
Pixels18Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5184
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)22.3mm
Sensor Size (height)14.9mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1,040,000
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • AF Fine Tuning (Micro Adjustment)
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Partial
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30/25/24
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8
Battery Life (CIPA rating)440shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsEyecup Ef, Camera Cover R-F-3, Wide Strap EW-100DBIV, Battery Charger LC-E8E, AC Cable (with E-type plug) 1m, Battery Pack LP-E8, Battery Cover, Stereo AV Cable AVC-DC400ST, Interface Cable IFC-130U

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 650D (Rebel T4i)

Rush hour, CubaHorst PfrommerThe Magic of NatureThe old lighthouseLemur leaf frogThe serenade...A Ruddy Darter.A guitar playerWatchingBirds on wiresA dangerous log!!Wire tailed Swallow on the Chobe RiverMagpie in heatwave yesterday.If pigs could fly, would bacon go up?To the hills

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alistairfarrugia Avatar
alistairfarrugia 11 164 88 Malta
11 Sep 2012 1:17PM
After using this camera for a month or so, I find this review really accurate and dependable. Good start if you're undecided about getting this camera or another model. I can say I'm very pleased with my purchase and can easily deal with the the weak points highlighted above, which are all true (weird ISO button location, battery life indicator, slow AF in liveview, etc).
Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
14 Sep 2012 2:24PM
What a cracking piece of kit !!!.....relatively simple layout of controls/buttons, & looks to
be nice to grip, all with a reasonable weight !!

The Hi-res images are top notch, with plenty of detail, & smooth tonal qualities.....& the
ISO test shots look beautiful up to 1600 !!!

I would imagine a lot of detail & quality can be squeezed out of the RAW files ???....the
only thing that's not apparent is the SIZE of the RAW files that's created from the 18mgp
sensor ?????....any ideas ????

Great review though....made very interesting reading ! to have a play with one !!.Grin
josa Avatar
josa 11 25 Czech Republic
15 Sep 2012 7:26PM
A great camera but needs a really good glass...
AlexandraSD Avatar
AlexandraSD 11 773 United Kingdom
17 Sep 2012 2:56PM
Battery life seems terrible, only approximately 500 shots? Eh? My old 350D is good for at least 3 to 4 times that, so 500? Seriously? I guess there is more going on inside camera's today, but still....

And the battery indicator thing, yes that could be very annoying!

The only thing that puts me off is the 18mp bit, i mean, do we really really need that many? Id be happy with 12mp if im brutally honest.

When i first read this article last night i thought, oh, i have found my next camera, but the more i think about it, the more i am thinking that maybe its not for me. I mean, the video is a nice touch, and the stereo sound, even though the pitfalls are obvious, it would come in handy quite a bit i guess. The touch screen, meh, who cares. Low noise is good, i often shoot in low light and my 350d is shockingly bad when i reach ISO800, more noise than an Anthrax concert. The flippy out screen is nice as well.

But the large MP count is not warranted in my case, it really does put me off buying it, so maybe i will wait for the 1100D replacement which is surely imminent, the 1100D is basic but i dont mind that, it has video, and a fairly low pixel count, and its ok with handling noise too, for the price at least.

Still, who knows, its not a bad price this 650D, and i am not looking to buy a camera until about christmas time anyway, the price might come down and i might have a change of heart, but the more i look at this camera, the more i dislike it, which is a shame Sad

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