Jun 8, 2012

First impressions

The Canon EOS 650D is packed with cool features, including a multi-touch touchscreen and full high-definition video. It's a serious package for new SLR users -- but Micro Four Thirds and other lens-swapping cameras offer similar features for less money.

Typical price: £800

The Canon EOS 650D has landed, with a folding touchscreen and 1080p video shooting. Named the Rebel T4i in the US, it may be billed as a camera for the masses, but it's packing some impressive technology and a pretty hefty price tag.
Known in the US as the Rebel T4i, the 650D is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Canon EOS 600D from 2011 and Canon EOS 550Dfrom 2010.
The EOS 650D body is available from 15 June, priced at £700, or £800 with an 18-55mm lens. A kit with 18-135mm lens lands in July, costing £1,020.


The 650D is the first dSLR to boast a touchscreen. It's an adjustable, fold-out display to help you shoot at different angles and still see what you're snapping, like when you need to hold the camera above your head to shoot over a crowd, or down low for dramatic angles. The screen measures 3 inches across and boasts 1,040,000-pixel resolution.
We're seeing more touchscreens in compact snappers, including the excellent Canon IXUS 510 HS and the more disappointing IXUS 1100 HS, but they're less common in more powerful cameras, with only interchangeable lens cameras such as Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX cameras controlled by tapping and swiping the screen.

But not only is it the first dSLR to boast a touchscreen, the 650D also supports multi-touch gestures. Like a phone, you can pinch your fingers on the screen to zoom in and out on the screen. That doesn't control the zoom lens, but it does make it easy to check details on the snaps you've taken or check focus. And you can also quickly swipe through pictures you've taken.
Tapping on the screen selects autofocus points, tracks faces and objects, and controls the image settings in menus and options overlaid on the live view screen.


The 650D shoots full high-definition 1,920x1,080-pixel video, and is the first EOS to feature dual AF for both stills and movies. Full HD video is recorded at 30, 25 or cinematic 24 frames per second.
Video and stills are recorded to SD memory cards, including high-capacity SDHC and SDXC cards. You can zap your snaps straight to the web with an Eye-Fi card.
There's a stereo microphone, although if you're after broadcast quality video you'll probably need to invest in an external mic.


Inside the 650D nestles an 18-megapixel, APS-C CMOS sensor. That's the same resolution as the higher-specced Canon EOS 60D. Sensitivity goes up to 100-12,800 sensitivity, extendable to ISO 25,600 for low-light shooting -- although at such extreme sensitivity you're likely to encounter some speckly image noise in your snaps.

It also snaps full resolution images at up to 5 frames per second, allowing you to capture fast-moving action and giving you a range of shots to choose from.
You can stick any Canon lens on the front of the 650D, including older, cheaper lenses -- although you may miss out on newer features like autofocus. Canon has unveiled new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lenses alongside the 650D. They're designed to be silent when refocusing, so the camera doesn't pick up noise from the lenses while you're shooting video.


The Canon EOS 650D is packed with cool features, including a multi-touch touchscreen and full high-definition video. It's a serious package for a camera aimed at those who are new to dSLRs or want to avoid spending paying a huge amount.

As good as it looks on paper, however, the fact is that entry-level dSLRs are also competing with hybrid lens-swapping cameras like Olympus and Panasonic's Micro Four thirds cameras or Sony's NEX system, several of which already have touchscreens and high def video -- and for less money. Look out for our full review coming soon to find out if the 60D is worth the price.


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