on 17 January 2016
This is one wonderful camera. My last SLR was a (film) Minolta from the 90s, but with the advent of digital I stopped using it and bought a digital 'point-and shoot' Olympus. After 12 years faithful service the Olympus died and, still missing the power and creativity of an SLR, I decided to look for a new one. So, whilst far from being from a pro photographer, I'm not a complete noob either. I was looking for something with full manual control combined with a fair bit of hand-holding.
After reading countless reviews and watching hundreds of YT videos, I chose this...and what a good choice it is proving to be! There are really only one or two competitors in this price range and I must admit that I did a fair bit of procrastinating. But, my final decision was crystal-clear. This is perhaps no longer one of the latest and greatest 'upper-entry level' DSLRs when comparing numbers alone. However, when viewed as a complete, user-friendly package, it is, in my view, still unbeatable. A few pros and cons for you...
++Probably the most user-friendly albeit complex tech I've ever owned
++Incredibly easy to use; switch it on, select full-auto, take a picture and a beautiful image will be displayed on the monitor
++Full built-in support to help and guide you with every selection and choice (switch-off the help if you wish)
++The design of the camera simply encourages you to move from full automation to full manual control in small (or large if you wish) stages
++So good to use, you'll find yourself picking it up all the time and taking more and more shots of everything from cats to carnations
++The screen, wow, so good, so intuitive, touch-sensitive, clever, you can focus and take shots with you finger if you like! 'Fully-articulated' ie flips-out and swivels, very, very useful, I can't now imagine being without it
++High-quality, silent, fast-focusing 'kit' lens
++I didn't buy this camera for its video capabilities but I can tell you that crisp 1080p video is available at the flick of a switch with decent sound from the built-in stereo microphones. You can plug an external mic in too
++Great ergonomics and build
++Good-quality bundled Canon software including a disc of photography lessons and a program to organise and edit your RAW files
++Lenses; tons of aftermarket lenses are available at reasonable prices
--I can't really think of anything at the moment. There's no wi-fi or GPS so you may want to bear that in mind. You'll need to budget for a bag, memory-card and whatever else takes your fancy
I'm thrilled with this camera and I thoroughly recommend it
When buying an entry-level DSLR, there are many brands to choose from; Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax. However there are 2 things to consider. Once you "buy into" a brand, you generally are stuck with them due to the compatibility of lenses, flashes etc. Secondly are you going to progress beyond that level? Arguably only Canon & Nikon cover the higher ends of the market. Sony represents exceptional value at the entry level but perhaps offers less at the pro-amateur level?
Personally I have concerns about the quality of some of the Canon products. My 17-85 IS lens failed me after only a couple of years.
This camera is a perfect replacement & upgrade for my old Canon 350d which has served me well for over 7 years. I also have a 40D which is much heavier but offers faster shot rate, more pixels, expanded ISO range etc.
The 700D is the latest in the "amateur" Canon DSLR range. The reduced sensor cameras go something like this; 1100D, 100D, 700D, 70D & 7D. After this, comes the full frame sensors.
The 700D is based on the 650D but uses a AF system designed to work better with the new STM lenses; 18-55, 18-135, 40mm pancake.
What you get...
You get the body, a 18-55 IS STM lens, charger, a couple of CDs, a strap and simple USB data cable.
The manual is 400 pages thick(!) and you don't get a handy reference guide.
The battery was supplied 2/3 charged but a full charge is recommended which initially should be overnight.
This uses a full size SD card. I recommend a faster class 10 card with a speed of 45mbps to accommodate HD video recording to prevent buffering problems. 32Gb is enough for over 3000 shots and should be enough for a few hours of video,
Appearance, Build & Ergonomics
There are only minor cosmetic differences between this and the 650D, there are major differences from my 350d This actually appears to use the same body as the 650d; it is made of a lighter plastic and feel less sturdy than the 350d BUT is it lighter & I don't think it would break easily. It has a robust rubberised grip unlike the 350 which had a thin rubber coating which wore off over the years.
Good weight & well balanced with lens attached, this should be fine with a larger lens. The buttons are well placed for those with average sized hands but if you have large hands, you may find the button layout a little fiddly, which is the draw back of the reduced sized bodies.
The screen is side hinged & can be viewed from a multitude of angles; overhead, waist level, folded out, folded in or folded away. One neat trick I found is that when taking a "selfie" and you rotate the screen to point towards the subject, the camera automatically goes into Live View mode. The quality of the screen is excellent. Colour, contrast & brightness are very good. The touchscreen is fairly responsive & the interface is easy enough to use.
Controls & Interface
All of the major controls are via buttons with some fine-tuning using the touchscreen. This is a major improvement over the 350d, enabling more freedom to experiment with settings quickly such as TV, AV & M modes. It took a little getting used to perhaps a more visual GUI may have made more sense.
The supplied 18-55 F3.5 - 5.6 lens is image stabilised and uses the newest stepper motor. This new motor is extremely quick and completely silent, unlike the old USM lenses. This kit lens is certainly a major step-up from the old 18-55 non-IS lenses they used to supply with their kits. It's a little longer than the previous 18-55 USM. It takes a filter and lens hood but neither are supplied.
Anyone who is familiar with the use of Canon DSLRs will immediately feel at home with this item. The addition of an intuitive touchscreen makes tinkering of the settings very easy hence I found I tended to experiment more with my photography.
The supplied kit lens provided respectable results. The photos were a little soft compared to, say, my Canon 17-85mm
My "test case" was a close-up of a flower in my garden. I find this to be a good test of focus, level of detail, colouration, contrast etc.
The supplied lens did a respectable job but once I had swapped over to the 17-85 and compared this against the 40D, based on my initial test, I was truly impressed by the results.
The AF is super fast & accurate. The metering was OK in evaluative mode but on Spot the results was excellent. The level of detail & colouration on the photo was very impressive.
When using the 17-85 f4-5.6 IS USM lens, the results were better than the 40D by some margin. When using the kit lens, they were comparable. Essentially this means my 40D is obsolete!
Live View - what to expect
The camera has a live view function. Unlike my 40D, this can autofocus in live view. This is a real luxury on a SLR as it enables some additional creativity during composition but it is NOT a direct replacement for the viewfinder. The additional lag in moving the mirror & additional AF time prevents this being used as a good point & Shoot camera. If this is a real problem for you then I would recommend a mirrorless camera system like a m4/3 camera.
The Canon 700D takes full HD video, that's 1080p. You should be able to get a ew hours onto a 32Gb card. Just ensure you have a fast enough card. 45mbps was recommended to me.
One of the main problems with the earlier models was the noise of the lens motor during shooting. The new STM lenses alleviate this problem by having near-silent stepper motors. I can confirm that there is no noise from the lens motor whatsoever. The file sizes are huge; a 31s video took-up nearly 190mb. So you'd get 2.5 to 3 minutes per gigabyte?! The video quality was excellent with absolutely no judder. Sound quality was a little "thin". If you were going to use the video facility seriously, I would recommend an add-on mic.
Connections & Software
On my Windows 7 PC there was no need to download any drivers. Photoshop Elements saw the camera & simply downloaded the files into my organiser. If you don't own Photoshop or anything similar, then Canon provides their Solutions Disc which includes a downloader & organiser. I have not used this latest version, but the earlier versions for the 350D were horrid. My advice would be to purchase a good bit of software fairly soon after buying this. In the mean-time the Canon software is functional but just about bearable.
Mini-USB cable. Downloading is remarkably faster than on my 350D.. probably due to the speed of the card.
The 700D is a definite upgrade from the 350D & would perhaps even recommend from the 400/450. If you have a 1000D this seems a logical step don't bother if you have a 600/650. Currently this is the best camera for a reduced body Canon and even holds-up well against the older models of the next series up (i.e. the 40D)
I really don't have any negatives to speak of at this price. If you want extras such as a heavier metal body or weatherproofing then you will have to pay for it (and carry it around!)
Out of interest I sold my 350D for £100 which I'll likely put towards a new lens, possibly the 40mm Pancake or a 15-85 IS.
on 10 August 2014
As the title suggests, this camera seems to find itself in the paradoxical bracket of 'entry level professional' - with a range of creative and quirky social designs (Touchscreen and in-camera editing) and high end technical specifications with a solid, robust build. Known, rather comically, in Japan as the 'Canon Kiss' (way to make it sound like a tacky piece of crap you just chuck in your handbag) and 'Canon Rebel' in America (bit immature) the 700D hit the market in the summer of 2013 for around the £750 mark - safe to say it seemed to be in a price range edging further towards more than a hobbyist bit of kit. A year later, the price would drop considerably to just over £500 (or under if you forgo the crappy lens). At my place of work, owning only a decrepit Canon 20D and a shockingly poor 'new' model - the Canon 1100D, the budget was finally loosed enough to acquire 2x of these bad boys, accompanied by a Canon EF 70-300mm and 24-105mm zoom lens'. One set up for timelapse work, the other donning the new lens' and taking all vital company documentation - way beyond the scope of an 'entry' level camera eh.
I've also used this camera and the aforementioned lens' to photograph and video a couple of friends parties - taking generic staged shots and capturing the moment and the nights highlights - uploading the images and editing them one by one is a real treat, finding the group photos, hilarious face pullings and few admittedly blurry, possibly drunk shots.
A lot of people tend to believe it's all about the amount of mega-pixel's you're packing - in this case, 18MP - however those more accustomed to Digital SLR Camera's will need much more, so here goes:
- Without a lens, it is severely chuckable - so lightweight its almost worth worrying about its legibility as a canon product. Most of the body is covered in a solid industrial resin feeling material (slightly rough) along with some rubberized, leather-like grip around the right hand area and left steadying part. You get a fairly standard shooting mode wheel (full 360 rotation this time) with the usual suspects (Programmed, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Night Portrait, Sports, Close Up, Landscape, Portraits, Creative Auto, No-Flash and new addition - Scene Intelligent Auto). The Shutter button is well located and has good compression for delicate focusing, to taking the shot. On the left there's the sealed compartment for Mini USB, HDMI, Timelapse remote and Mic input jack. On the right side is the SD card slot and the bottom, the battery dock and tripod screw.
The Buttons are laid out in default positions, optimized for ease and speed - such as the ISO button, zoom in/out, menu & info, preview and delete. A pleasant addition is the removal of video from the mode dial and instead a further notch on the on/off switch - No more scrolling through) along with a button that acts as record for video mode and live preview in photo. There's the standard dial for exposure/ISO setting scrolling, up, down, left, right navigation and the well thought out dial for the short sighted, plus the same lens and flash release buttons. The top again, features a flash mount and two mics. Battery life is quite impressive - a 5 hour photoshoot of a party, in intensive surroundings (low light, strobe, noise, movement) - always on, gave it a run for its money (just).
- Possibly the greatest part of the camera, the 3 inch LCD touchscreen is one handy little addition. Swipe photos left and right, select camera settings and press and hold to focus on set points or faces (yep it has face-recognition) and the real bonus being the swiveling rotations it can pull off - hidden so it faces the camera and remains clean for storage, facing outwards so you can check after shooting, opened up for shooting things high or low (so you can remain in place) or simply flip it over so the ones photographed can see the result or impending shot - oh gone then... you can do shameless selfies too...
- Boasts 11 different sections - 1. Custom Menu Layout 2.Software/Firmware Details 3.LCD Options + GPS 4. LCD Settings (Auto-Off, Brightness PAL/NTSC etc) 5. Formatting & Folders 6.Slideshows & Previews 7. File Management (delete, protection and filters) 8. Video Settings 9. ISO 10. Photo/Camera Settings 11. Image Quality & Corrections. All in the same layout as previous models so it's simple enough to navigate (the menu skips irrelevant sections when in a mode that doesn't require them). It's worth mentioning that the software that comes with the camera new features a very useful application called 'Digital Photo Professional' ideal for batch conversions of RAW to JPEG files... but little else.
- Easily the worst part of the package. Slow, stuttering auto-focus and sub-par quality images, the lens equipped feels cheap and chinsy as if found in a happy meal. It's only saving grace being the field of view. If you can find a body-only variant (and afford a better lens) I suggest you do so as the standard lens included is as bad as they come (the same can be said for most brands to be fair) - the camera will be just £30 cheaper without it - that says it all really.
- Much smoother and stable compared to previous models but still struggles in low light conditions - expect some grain. Also finds recording difficult with zoom lens' in particular (trouble focusing, depth of field). You can choose from 4 recording sizes - 640 at 25 frames per second, 1280x50fps, 1920x24fps or 1920x25fps - personally I prefer a better frame-rate and for the 1280. Audio is average all things considered, then again there is that mic slot for improved sound as long as you have the equipment. Videos are saved as MOV files so unlike the Sony equivalent, you don't have to have a dedicated program to view them or the need to convert them for editing purposes.
- With a decent lens equipped, you'll be impressed. Depth of field being a real strong point and high clarity results. So clear and pristine, MASSIVE in file size, I had to shrink the examples of photos I've taken, just so they comply with Ciao's limitations. In comparison to later, cheaper models, the very sound of the shutter is instantly more gratifying and chunky sounding. Thanks to the plethora of in-camera effects and filters, images can be cleaned and perfected before you take them off the card, especially if you're shooting RAW (adjust levels, exposure, white balance etc). Red Eye can be dealt with also, as can altering light (you can set higher/lower exposures). Images themselves can be upwards of 10MB (on highest settings) and the RAW's twice that, so it's worth investing in a large SD card - 32GB will get you around 1000 shots.
- Problems arise when in low light. For example, night time and disco settings render the auto-focus next to useless and you're sometimes better off going manual. Worst of all though is the flash - when all else fails, try and use it but for some unknown reason, the camera releases a short burst of about 4 quick flashes whilst focusing, before taking the shot - this can be extremely unpleasant as it not only tricks your audience into believe you've taken several photographs, so they relax/move, but it also acts as some kind of blinding, epileptic fit inducing strobe light - incredibly annoying. I can only assume it does this so it can get its bearings for focusing on a subject, as this is not a problem in manual. There's minimal changes from the previous model which is a bit lame to know too.
If you go all out to make this your preferred camera, purchasing lens, spare batteries and such, you'd be looking at upwards of £1000 - that reminds me, I need to look into a flashgun... - Quite a steep but sturdy investment. Despite it's few faults, I foresee myself using this far into the future, hopefully via freelance photography (a few weddings lined up) my wait for a reliable SLR is over.
- Buy manufacturer refurbished for a bargain.
- Forgo the lens kit and get body only.
- Find a spare battery.
- Get a zoom and or wide angle lens on there.
- If you'll use the video often, buy a tripod.