185 of 189 people found the following review helpful
Excellent camera, nuff said.,
This review is from: Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR Camera - Black (Body Only) (Electronics)I recently bought one of these from a local dealer and I have to say this is the best camera I've ever used. My requirements were I wanted a camera that was still set up for excellent still work, but could also switch to taking videos.
The 18MP sensor is all I need for helping me to take incredibly detailed shots which even of subjects at a distance can easily be cropped and or blown up to help reveal the detail (I'm a wildlife photographer mostly, though not all the time). The fast shutter speed also helps with taking sharp images of moving subjects such as birds in flight.
This is the main area of expansion for me, although I don't use any of the dedicated canon series of lenses for video work. Instead I've mostly connected my 100-400 EF lens, which thanks to its extra width allows for more light to enter the camera which is perfect for taking high definition videos of distant subjects that you simply cannot get close to. An additional bonus with this camera is when I add the canon EF 2x III extender into the mix. Normally an extender added to a canon 100-400 EF lens will result in the loss of the autofocus working, but when I switch the 650D to video mode, the autofocus WORKS! (and without taping the pins) I don't know exactly why, it just does, maybe its the firmware inside the camera. Still photos can of course still be taken when in video mode, but you need to look at the screen instead of through the viewfinder.
Video can be recorded in brackets of several seconds which can then be watched in order to give the impression of a continous effect. Usually so far I just film with the standard settings (at 1080 high def) which results in a file that is just a bit short of thirty minutes long. If you run over this time though I think the camera does instantly create and start recording to a second file (this is in the manual, I've not actually had to put this to the test yet).
Because video work brings a whole new dimension to this camera you do need to consider a few things. One is that recording videos on the max quality setting will result in some large file sizes, so you will need a memory card to accomdate these. I would not consider anything less than 32GB which is what I have now, but I'm giving serious thought to replacing this with a 64GB card in the near future. Two, if you don't already have one get a tripod, especially if you are filming things at high magnifications. With still work you can get away with a little judder by using a fast shutter speed, but video will always show it in detail. Of course another advantage of a tripod is that you can be in your own films! You also have to consider the sound pickup from the microphones that are on top of the camera. Even when you turn their sensitivity down they can still pick up unwanted sounds such as the autofocus motors for the lens that you are using. Canon has timed the release of two lens to coincide with the launch of the 650D that have extra quiet motors for video work, but unless you are using these always consider the noise of the lens as a factor. If you manually focus though, you'd probably get little to no sound from the lens at all, and depending upon your subject and its location, manual focus might actually be preferable. You can also fit a second external mic into the jack on the left hand side of the camera which should overide the feed from the fitted mics as soon as it is connected. The kind of mic to use would depend on how you want to record sound, but I myself am looking at getting a decent shotgun mic since this will mostly pick up sound in a narrow arc in front of it, and the subjects I've started filming are usually some distance in front of the camera.
The other major conideration is battery life. Over a six hour period of combined still shooting and video work where I might take up to an hour of video and have around 150-200 stills, I'd probably use up around half the battery. This is okay for a limited shoot around a local area but not so great if away for the day since at some point you are likely to exhaust you battery depending upon the lens, settings and how much video/stills you take. A second battery would be a very good idea if you are likely to be spending upto a full dawn till dusk day shooting.
Other features about the 650D are the touchscreen display which has easily recieved the most attention at the launch of this camera. I have tried this, and I do find it to be very responsive, but to be honest I don't rely upon it and rarely use it. Touch screen would mean getting my fingerprints (or rather smudges) on it and this is not desirable when you need the screen clean for video work. You can still navigate around the screen by using the buttons like on all previous Canon models. The processor inside the camera is also very fast and is capable of locating and playing back recorded high definition videos with no lag or delay whatsoever. Optimum ISO for video work is I think as high as 6400, but it might be possible to go beyond this but at the expense of picture qaulity. ISO for stills is significantly higher than this. What I do like about the screen though is that the screen can be angled and positioned so that you are effectively shooting at angles. For example if your subject is low, you can put the camera down on a bean bag and then tilt the screen so that you can focus in from a crouched posistion instead of lying flat on the ground (a real bonus if the ground happens to be wet!).
In conlcusion, while the 650D is technically an entry level camera, it is my opinion a game changer that in the right hands can match and in some repects such as video exceed many of the more expensive professional level models from both Canon and rival camera companies.
-Additional note about some early production batches-
The launch of the 650D was marred by the discovery of a faulty production batch where the rubber grips would turn white because of contamination by a build up of zinc oxide which can also be a skin irritant. To the best of my knowledge cameras of these batches are now off the market (replaced by Canon) and all new 650Ds do not have this problem. The dealer I bought my 650D from was able to confirm that it was not one of the earlier production batches with the problem, and you can always check this for yourself by entering your cameras serial number on the Canon website.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Aug 2012 11:18:50 BDT
Thanks for a really in depth and interesting review. This has been helpful in making my decision on whether to buy the 650d or not. I am going to get this camera asap when I have the funds. This will be my first DSLR. Like you though the main use of it for me will be for video as I want to use it for indie film making but I will also use it for stills photography.
Can you (or anyone else) give me any advice (for a newbie) on lenses? I will initially get the camera with the 18-55mm mk II Canon lens which comes with it and when I can afford another possibly a SIGMA 18-250mm. Is it entirely necessary to get the new Canon STM lens? Or is that only to get the best use of the auto focus? I heard about the noise of AF for video if not using an STM but surely with an external mic, that's no problem? Also, this may sound confusing but can you use a non STM lens for Auto Focus use? I do aim to learn how to focus manually myself though as this may be useful for filming.
Any help, much appreciated.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2012 12:25:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Aug 2012 13:56:51 BDT
The 18-55mm is a versatile lens that can be used for a variety of uses from landscape shots to zooming in closer to peoples faces. Mine is a bit noisy when I tried it with the camera mics active, but you are right, an external mic will help to avoid this problem. However do remember that how much noise you pick up will depend upon the type of mic you use. I now have a condenser (also called a shotgun) mic that mostly picks up sound in front, but an omni mic can pick up sound from all directions, and if the sensitivity is cranked up too high, such a mic might still pick up motor sound. Only reccomendation I can give you with this is to look at different types of mics, how they pick up sound and from what directions, and then decide what will be most suitable for a scene. Consider this even if you are mounting the mic on a boom.
I have not tried one of these yet, but I think you should look into getting the canon EF-S 18-135mm STM, since this gives the full range of the 18-55mm as well as having increased magnification if you wan't to zoom in close for actors expression (at 135mm the result should be at least twice the magnification as the 18-55mm zoomed in to the max). You also have quieter motors which means you can operate with the mic closer. I think the 18-135mm is also available with the 650D as a kit if you have a little more money available.
You can use a non STM lens with this camera, in fact you can use any canon manufactured lens with this camera. Third party (non canon manufactured) lenses should also work with the camera if they say they are designed to work with a canon DSLR. Only difference is that non STM lenses are a little noisier, but how much depends on the specific lens because they are all a little different.
If you want to avoid constantly focusing, try having actors (assuming you're using them) placed at the same distance from the camera so that you don't need to be adjusting the focus all the time. You can always use the autofocus to set you scene up, and then switch to manual to set it in place. This camera does have face detection ability though, so that may make it easier to use the autofocus. If you are going to be using this camera for a lot of video work, then seriously consider getting a stable (if neccessary heavy) tripod that has a smooth panning head. Good luck in your film making.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2012 16:15:57 BDT
Many thanks for your reply, that's been a great help!
I have found an option to buy it with the STM lens, which I am considering just not sure if I can afford it, but it will save me money in the long term rather than buying it separately.
Just to be clear, you could still use a non STM lens on the 650d but still use the auto focus function? (with noise being the significant issue). I understand that you can attach any other lens which is adaptable for the Canon but just trying to work out the effect for AF or Manual Focusing.
In reply to an earlier post on 31 Aug 2012 12:09:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Aug 2012 12:17:02 BDT
Autofocus should work with any lens as long as the lens is capable of autofocus (over ninety percent of lenses have autofocus, but some lenses such as very specialised lenses are only manual focus). To add to this, I don't currently own any STM lenses, but the three lense I've tried which include my 18-55mm, an L series 100-400mm telephoto, and a 100mm macro, all autofocus fine.
Possible instances where autofocus might fail are low light conditions, like twilight and/or poorly lit interiors, or if you start adding extras such as extenders to the lens, in which case autofocus may or may not work depending upon the kit involved. Even the best lenses can have the AF thrown out by fast and energetic movements, and this is where its good to know how to focus manually, because you can anticipate the movement and focus with it. These conditions apply to all lenses, no matter the camera.
Regardless of what camera you have, always read the manual regarding autofocus settings. The 650D has three autofocus settings, of which 'ai servo' is the one recommended for video work since this is the one best suited for tracking moving things. You also need to figure how the camera determines focus. Usually a camera has several points which it registers for a scene, but if a scene is cluttered with lots of near and far objects, it can result in a false reading where the camera 'guesses' what you want. This can be avoided by just selecting one focus point, usually the centre one since manufacturers tend to make this one the most sensitive. Selecting this will still let autofocus work as long as you enable it on the lens (the AF/MF switch on the side of the lens barrel), but you have to be more accurate with regards to where you point the camera because you are only using a single focus point instead of all of them.
As with any camera, when you do get one sit youself down with a drink for an hour and go through the manual, you can also charge the battery as you're reading. It's amazing how many people buy cameras like this and don't even bother to read the manual and then wonder why they are not taking still shots or videos like other people. Once the battery is charged then start playing with the camera and trying out the different settings while reading from the manual again. From here just go nuts and start taking photos and videos of anything and everything while making mental notes of what settings work for certain situations and what dont. Eventually you'll start adjusting the camera on the fly without even having to think to much about what you are doing, it'll just come naturally with experience.
One thing that I haven't mentioned before and should have is the memory card. When you get a camera you will also need to get a memory card as well, do not assume there is one with the camera. Since you wan't this for video work, you will need at least a class 6 (C6) memory card for recording full hi def video. Most cards today though are class 10 (C10) which places them comfortably beyond the minimum freshold for hi-def work. In the simplest terms, the higher the class number, the faster the write and read speed of the card, which is paramount for video work. I'm currently using a Sandisk Ultra 32GB card rated at C10, and so far I've had zero problems. But be careful where you buy them from as sometimes memory cards have a horrific markup on them. When you buy a camera from a dealer however ask them to cut you a deal on a memory card as well. A DSLR is essentially useless without a memory card, so if you are buying in person point this out and that you are spending a few hundred pounds on a camera. A good sales person won't let you walk out without handing over that kind of money for a camera, but if you do get a deal, make sure they are providing you with a card suitable for the job, ideally class 10.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2012 21:30:09 BDT
Thanks again for a detailed response. Incredibly helpful. I should think I will go for the STM lens kit & in the future get hold of another lens for other applications. It's a situation of being sensible with budget.
I'll be going through the manual to get a good idea of how to use it. Hopefully I'll be doing a lot of trial and error.
Thanks for the advice. I'll likely need more once I get hold of it and start shooting the world.
Posted on 3 Dec 2012 22:21:20 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2013 11:48:15 BDT
Posted on 7 Apr 2013 12:41:25 BDT
A. J. Sturgess says:
A truly excellent review, even though you concentrate mostly on video.
Up to now, the cameras on my shortlist were the Canon SX50 and the Finepix HS50EXR but I was also looking for a full DSLR (as opposed to a bridge camera) just in case one met my requirements without the mandatory need for spare lenses - which, of course, is what DSLR's can offer over bridges.
The one topic you don't mention, which is of particular interest to me, is macro work.
I'd appreciate any thoughts or opinions based on your own experience. Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2013 14:19:52 BDT
I concentrated upon the video aspect as that was the reason why I bought one. Also the 650D is one of the first cameras from Canon designed with the new STM video series lenses in mind.
In terms of macro photography the camera is not as important as the lens that you are using. Professional macro photographers usually use a proper macro lens (though sometimes a telephoto is useful for objects you can't get close to). I have a 100mm Canon macro lens, and when I connect it to my 650D it operates the same as when attached to any other Canon DSLR camera. One plus point for the 650D though is that the screen not only flips out but can be tilted up and down. This means that you can place the camera flat on the ground and tilt the screen so that you are in effect looking at your subject through a ninety degree angle, which can be very useful if you can't actually lie down to look along the lens like you would have to on older style cameras where the screen is fixed. The same applies if you are taking a shot of a subject that is higher that your eyeline, just tilt the screen down and hold the camera up. I can't really say which would be more applicable because that would depend upon your chosen subject, but macro work requires getting close to your subject and often shooting in tight spaces or around things. The relatively large sensor size of the 650D would of course also pick up more detail in small subjects which in turn offers more versatility for your photos in terms of later editing.
In short, if you are looking at doing macro work then you need to be looking at proper macro lenses as well as a DSLR. The 650D would be a very good choice, but any DSLR is capable of macro work. In terms of lenses I would recommend the EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens from Canon as it is more capable than the basic macro lenses without the expense of the higher grade gear.
If you want an idea as to what this kit is capable of you can check out my macro invertebrates section on my deviantART page. Bear in mind though that these pictures were taken with a EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lense attached to a 450D, which is an older and less capable camera than the 650D, but one that is still good enough for the job when you attach a macro lens. Link should be on my profile page here on amazon.
Hope that helps
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2013 16:34:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2013 16:38:42 BDT
A. J. Sturgess says:
Thanks Daz. My present, ageing Finepix S7000 has been wonderful for macro without any need for additional lenses (it's a bridge camera anyway, so that wouldn't be possible). I've been able to get to within 1cm of my subject and take some exceptionally clear ultra-close-up shots. It's that level of versatility that I'm looking for, and which is why I now suspect the Canon SX50 or Finepix HS50EXR need to be at the top of my shortlist.
My interest in macro began back in the 1970's with one of my first cameras (Pentax S1a) for which I had bellows, tubes and a specially turned tube that almost made it possible to focus on pollen grains if I used that AND the ring set. Exposure times, of course, were always tricky to calculate.
It's been many years since I needed to research the strengths and capabilities (or otherwise) of modern cameras and from what I've gleaned, modern bridge cameras do seem to offer an enhanced potential for macro and landscape. I know that to some, bridge cameras are neither one thing nor the other, but for many people, they offer the potential for huge versatility. After all, it isn't really the camera that takes a good photo - it's the mind and the eye behind the viewfinder.
I took a serious look at the 650D just in case I wanted to allow for the possibility of adding an extra lens or two in the future. However, thinking objectively (no pun intended), I think a camera like the SX50 or HS50 will be a good compromise.
Thanks again for your exceptionally helpful review and response.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jun 2013 19:19:34 BDT
Mr. W. Ahmad says:
What about the "nifty fifty" it's a 50mm 1.8 lens it's good for short films