The Canon EOS 650D, also known as Rebel T4i in the USA and EOS Kiss X6i in Japan, was introduced in June 2012.
It is considered to be Canon’s entry-level flagship camera. The 650D comes from a good heritage; the 600D, which was awarded the ‘Best Mid-Priced D-SLR’ at the SP 2012 Awards. An update to the EOS 600D (that was announced about 14 months earlier), it aims to improve on Live View and video performance of the earlier model. It also claims to be the first D-SLR to offer touch-screen capability. Let’s see how this new baby performs…
Design and Build Quality
The Canon EOS 650D is a sleek-looking digital SLR with interchangeable lenses. The outer body is made from engineering plastic, and though not built to the standard of some other Canon D-SLRs, appears adequately robust. The hand-grip is very comfortable, with the shutter release button in the perfect natural position of the index finger. The 650D comes with a new 18-55mm IS II lens.
The Canon EOS 650D is a 18 megapixel D-SLR using a newly designed APS-C size hybrid CMOS sensor.At a first glance, the new EOS 650D looks very similar to the EOS 600D. The 650D has a stereo microphone between the pop-up flash and the accessory shoe, and the power switch now has a dedicated position for video. The Mode Dial too has some changes – Handheld Night Scene
and HDR Backlight Control positions have been added and the A-DEP position has been removed. The DISP (Display) button too has vanished. Let’s first see the key differences:
|EOS 650D||EOS 60|
|Processor||DIGIC 5||DIGIC 4|
|ISO sensitivity||Up to ISO 12,800
Up to 25,600 with boost
|Up to ISO 6,400
Up to 12,800 with boost
|Continuous shooting||Up to 5fps||Up to 3.7fps|
Improvements over the 600D
1. The DIGIC 5 image processor is 6x faster than the DIGIC 4, allowing the camera to record at a maximum of 5fps as compared to 3.7fps on the 600D.
2. Newly-designed Hybrid CMOS imaging sensor: The new sensor includes certain pixels dedicated to Phase-Detection autofocus. This first sets the approximate focus, then the Contrast-Detect autofocus fine-tunes the focus. This, claim Canon, improves the AF speed.
3. All 9 AF points are cross-type; the 600D has only 1 cross-type AF point (at the centre).
4. Newly designed shutter assembly.
5. The new DIGIC 5 image processor is capable of correcting peripheral illumination (with Canon lenses), and chromatic aberrations on JPEG images.
6. The 650D can combine 4 images to create a new low-noise image.
7. Superior flash technology for radio-controlled flash.
Like with other Canon D-SLRs, the EOS 650D’s Mode Dial offers Basic Zones for beginners and Creative Zones for advanced users.
The Basic Zones offer Scene Intelligent Auto for fully automatic shooting, Flash off, and Creative Auto (CA). In CA mode (not to be confused with chromatic aberration), the user can have control over the depth of field, drive mode, and flash firing. Control over the ambience (Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter Darker, and Monochrome) is also possible. You can even control the amount of blur in the background. Additionally, the Basic Zone incorporates ‘Image Zone’ which further extends user-friendliness to beginners. Available are: Portrait (background is blurred to make the subject stand out. Also makes the skin and hair look softer), Landscape (for increased depth of field, greater overall image sharpness and saturated colours), Close-up, Sports (uses faster shutter speeds to freeze the action), Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene (instead of a long exposure in low light, the 650D will take 4 shots in quick succession, each for a shorter duration, and align them automatically for the final picture), and HDR Backlight Control (3 shots will be taken at different exposures to form an image with detail in highlight as well as shadows).
The Creative Zones offer P (Program) with Program Shift, Tv (Time value, same as Shutter Priority), Av (Aperture vale, same as Aperture Priority), and M (Manual) exposure. Four metering modes are available: Evaluative, Partial, Spot, and Center-weighted Average. The Evaluative metering is best used as general-purpose metering suited even for backlit subjects. The Partial metering is effective when the background is much brighter than the subject. The Spot metering is generally used when one wants to target a specific part of the subject, while the Centre-weighted Average metering is weighted at the centre and then averaged for the entire scene. Exposures can be compensated up to +/- 5 stops in 1/3-stop increments. The 650D also permits flash exposure compensation and Auto Exposure Bracketing, both in +/- 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments. The 650D comes with a 18-55mm IS II f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. This lens can be used with the IS (Image Stabiliser) ‘on’ when using a tripod. Canon does suggest however, that the IS may be switched ‘off’ when using a tripod, just to save on battery power.
The camera employs a 3-inch flip-out type, 1.04-million dot resolution LCD monitor wherein you can set the menu functions, use Live View, shoot movies and play back still images and movies. A dedicated button at the right of the LCD, marked ‘Q’, offers quick and easy control for selecting and setting the various shooting functions. What is more, the LCD offers an easy description (Feature Guide) of the selected function. With more and more gadgets offering touch-screen operations, the 650D has joined the bandwagon. Various functions can be selected via the touch-screen. Shutter release can be activated through the touch-screen in Live View Mode.
mages can be recorded in JPEG, Camera Raw (14-bit), or Raw + JPEG. When shooting in JPEG, 8 image quality settings are available; 2 for high and medium each, and 4 settings for low quality. File sizes range from 6.4 MB to 0.3 MB (JPEG); 23.5 MB for Camera Raw. ISO sensitivities range from 100-12,800 but can be boosted to 25,600 using a custom function. Auto ISO can be set if required. Advanced users can opt for the following Picture Styles (not available in Basic Zones): Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, and Monochrome. Autofocus can be set to One-Shot (suitable for still subjects), AI Servo (for moving subjects), or AI Servo Autofocus (automatically switchable between One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF). Using the Auto Lighting Optimizer function, brightness and contrast can be corrected automatically when shooting in low-contrast environment. The 650D applies digital noise reduction at all ISO speeds, but it is particularly effective at high ISOs. An excellent feature is the Multi Shot Noise Reduction. When enabled, the camera takes 4 shots in a continuous burst and then merges them to create a single JPEG image with comparatively lower noise. Unfortunately, this works only with JPEG images. The 650D also offers lens peripheral illumination correction and correction for Chromatic Aberrations for approximately 25 lenses. These can be applied automatically if the concerned function is enabled. Additionally, you can also register the data for unregistered lenses. When shooting in Camera Raw, the supplied Digital Photo Professional software can be used to correct both, peripheral illumination as well as CA.
In Creative Zone mode (P, A, S, M), using the cross-keys on the camera back, you can select any of the 9 AF points you wish to use. Note that in the Basic Zone mode, the camera will normally focus on the closest subject as mentioned in the User Manual. Note too that the central AF point is about twice as sensitive as the other AF points in detecting vertical and horizontal lines, and this high-precision AF point gets activated with lenses having f/2.8 or faster apertures. The EOS 650D lets you shoot continuously at a maximum rate of 5 frames per second. Depth of field preview is available by pressing a small button (on the body) to the left of the lens.
While recording video, the 650D can autofocus continuously. This is the first Canon EOS camera to do so. Video recording is in HD (1920 x 1080). There’s a stereo microphone at the top, and you can connect external microphones if you so wish. Through the mini-HDMI port, you can view your movies on an HD TV.
Note: Canon also offers two new lenses suitable for video (the pancake EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, and EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM). We believe these lenses would offer smoother autofocus and without the accompanying motor noise.
An electronic flash with a Guide Number of 13m (43 feet) at ISO 100 is built-in, with x-sync up to a maximum of 1/200 sec. In Program mode however, the flash can sync with the shutter, only between 1/60-1/200 sec. This is done on purpose, to prevent possible camera shake. Flash exposures can be locked (FE Lock) for off-centred subjects. The Recording media on the 650D is SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card. The camera is powered by a Li-ion battery pack (LP-E8). The camera body weighs approx. 520 g.
The Canon EOS 650D, with its ergonomic grip, is very comfortable to handle. Start-up time is very fast. The user interface is simple and the swivelling LCD panel is very useful for low-level/high-level shots. Though I am not a fan of Touch-Screen technology, focussing on a particular element in the frame through the touch-screen, seemed convenient. Images on the LCD are crisp and punchy. The dedicated ISO button lets you change the sensitivity quickly, without going through the menu.
Pictures shot through the 650D were crisp and with good colours in most lighting situations. In Shade and Incandescent light, colours were a bit warmer. Exposures were good with all the metering modes, and autofocus worked very well, except in low-light/low-contrast situations, when the system struggled a bit. Any prospective buyer would like to know about the digital noise levels. Here it goes. The native image size that the 650D produces is 17.28 x 11.52 inches at 300ppi. At 25% screen size, we found no noise throughout the standard ISO range. At 50% screen size, slight traces of noise was visible from ISO 3200 onwards (only if you started looking for it!), while at 100% screen size, slight traces of noise was seen at ISO 800. Noise was visible in increasing degree between ISO 1600 and 12,800, but I would not hesitate to use these high ISOs if the situation demanded. On the whole, very impressive control over digital noise.
The 18-55mm IS II f/3.5-5.6 kit lens really impressed me, especially considering that the lens costs a mere Rs.4000. This is the price one pays these days to buy a decent filter! Images were sharp at all focal lengths, though, as expected, slight softness was seen at the corners. JPEG images exhibited some softness at higher ISO sensitivities, presumably due to the Noise Reduction feature kicking in. I felt that the optimum performance was between f/8 and f/11. Control over corner darkening with the lens wide open was very good. Flare was seen in strong against-the-light shots and so was violet fringing. Barrel distortion was seen up to 35mm (56mm equivalent) setting. We weren’t too impressed with the Hand-held Night Scene feature. We somehow couldn’t get the final images to be sharp.
Value for Money
The Canon EOS 650D body is available at an MRP of Rs.55,995. With the EF-S 18-55mm IS II f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, the MRP is Rs.59,995. At this price, we would consider the Canon EOS 650D fair value for money.
+ New Hybrid CMOS sensor
+ Very good overall performance
+ Easy user interface
+ Multi-shot Noise Reduction
– Only 6 Raw shots in Continuous Burst
– Hand-held Night Scene feature
Design and Build Quality 16/20
Key Features 17/20
Noise Control 6/6
Value for Money 7.5/10
Grand Total 84/100
The EOS 650D is considered by Canon to be their flagship entry-level model. Considering its performance with the new EF-S 18-55mm IS II f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, I would have no hesitation in suggesting it even to advanced photographers!