Top positive review
209 people found this helpful
Excellent camera, nuff said.
on 24 August 2012
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.