65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Forget reviews - just buy it., 9 Aug 2012
I pondered for months over every test report for a whole range of DSLRs across the Pentax, Canon, Sony and Nikon ranges. My choice was limited as I have been used to having an articulated screen on my Powershot G5 and G12 and this is a facility I did not want to lose. I take a lot of pictures of railways and use the versatility of the articulated LCD frequently.
Having read so many DSLR reports and opinions on forums I ended up suffering from information overload. Then Canon brought out the 650D and immediately my mind was made up. The recall of the 650Ds due to a dodgy grip intervened though and no one seemed to have even a demonstrator for a while.
Finally I found that Jessops in Exeter had them (sorry Amazon) with the 18-55mm kit lens so after a cursory inspection I threw all caution to the wind and bought one on the spot. I have only had it three weeks at the time of writing but so far I am very pleased with it. Before I touched the camera I read the whole of the quite comprehensive A6 sized manual up to the movie section. Not having had a DSLR before some of it seemed like double Dutch. On picking up the camera though most things fell into place and I began to feel pretty confident. The 18-55 kit lens is a trifle soft at both ends but nothing I can't live with as I am unlikely ever to make prints at maximum size. In fact I am impressed with just how precise the focusing is on a DSLR. My G12 produces lovely pictures but the smaller sensor means not having to think too much about depth of field. Something that definitely comes into play with a DSLR.
I find the camera a nice weight and size. I have average size hands but on my G12 fingers and thumb are constantly pressing buttons by mistake. Not so the 650D. There is ample room for my thumb to rest between two banks of buttons on the back but almost everything is accessible when needed by thumb or forefinger. The video button could be better placed nearer the shutter release but for me it is OK. I do shoot a lot of video but with a dedicated video camera. I may use this camera as a backup for the odd video but prefer my usual Sony and DV tapes.
Half pressure on the shutter release is easy to find and hold. Being a spectacle wearer this is a boon. Wearing glasses means that half pressure has to maintained longer than usual in order to look around the viewfinder for settings or focus confirmation.
One of the most significantly useful features is the Q button which brings up a screen full of options that can be easily altered by buttons or by touchscreen. I prefer to use buttons as the LCD panel can get very messy very quickly from finger grease marking when it is used as a touch screen.
Where the touch screen comes into its own is in live view for setting focus. Just touch the screen where you want the main focus to be and camera does the rest including taking the shot. There is quite a delay though between touching the screen, focus being found and the shutter firing so this facility is only useful for static subjects. With the screen extended to the left of the camera it is very easy to hold the camera steady with the right hand and adjust focus and firing the shutter with the left . I am not left handed but this could be handy for anyone who is. I cannot compare the touch screen to any on smart phones as I don't possess one.
One thing lacking is fn buttons which can be user defined. The manual says that the `Set' button can be user defined but doing so you would lose that facility for setting any parameters you have decided upon and the touch screen would have to be used for `Set' confirmation. I could be wrong about this. Further investigation is necessary.
There are three user defined settings available in Picture Styles but the parameters the user can set appear to be confined to brightness, contrast, colour saturation and sharpness. It was in using picture styles that I made my deliberate mistake which took me a couple of weeks to correct. I don't like garish colours so I started shooting with the Picture Style set to neutral. Everything seemed fine so far as I knew but when I attached the Tamron 10-24mm lens that I purchased at the same time as the camera, I could barely achieve focus no matter what I did. After dozens of trial shots I was on the point of returning what I thought was a dreadful lens. Reading once more through the manual and playing with Picture Styles I discovered to my surprise that setting the Picture Style to Neutral sets the sharpness to zero whereas every other style sets it to half way between zero and seven. Problem solved and the Tamron lens is really very good.
In bright sunshine I find the LCD screen just as poor as every other I have ever tried in spite of what manufacturers would have you believe. Angling the screen helps a bit but the time taken to find an acceptable angle could mean lost pictures. There is an adjustment available via the menu to increase the brightness and that is something else I will have to investigate. In anything other than bright sunshine the screen is fine.
I have now tried the Video setting briefly. I don't possess a full HD TV but it will accept 720 so I used the 650D on that setting and the pictures were excellent. Much better than my elderly video camera but it is this that I will be staying with for video as holding a DSLR away from my body and using Live View seems very alien. I like eye level viewfinders for video. Everyone says that the 18-55mm kit lens is too noisy for video when focusing and I would agree with this. I am unlikely to buy the 18-135 stepper motor lens though so will not be able to comment on the 650D's full movie capability.
I have plenty more to discover about using this camera especially as I am so new to DSLRs but I think the 650D will keep me busy for a long time to come. I would certainly recommend it to a friend.