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Canon recently announced its new arrival of the 700D. From the spec sheet, it looked identical to the 650D. In fact, it carried pretty much the same functions as the 650D with a slight design change to the model dial and allowing real time preview of creative filters in Live View mode . The 700D is only available to pre-order, but if you want to get a DSLR now, you are not missing much with the 650D, instead you are better off to get the 650D and save the extra money towards a nice lens, like a 40mm f/2.8.
The Canon 700D/650D has arrived at the right time given the rapid growth in entry level and hobbyist DSLR photographers and videographers. Both Canon’s 700D and 650D, looks identical, they even holds the same specification. both features the same 18MP sensor, 9AF points, 3” 1.04M dot LCD and DIGIC 5 processor. Canon has put a lot of efforts in improving the autofocus (AF) on the 700D/650D. It shares the same AF system from the 60D. All nine AF points are now cross type which perform better in low light condition. In the age of HD video, Canon continues to improve its HD video capability, the 650D is Canon’s first DSLR to offer continuous AF tracking in live view and video mode, thanks to its new Hybrid CMOS sensor. It has built in microphone and support external microphone input. The video mode is easy to activate by pressing the dedicated video button near the viewfinder. The new Canon 18-135mm STM (stepping motor) lenses was introduced along side with the 650D, it claims to provide a much smoother and more silent autofocus than traditional lenses. From my experience, it did get rid of most clicking sound of the lens barrel when adjusting focus.
I had the opportunity to test out the 650D at the Wellington Fashion show. At first, I wasn’t too sure whether the 650D will live up to the fashion run way and furious backstage actions, but I know I will enjoy the compact size, especially in a very crowded backstage and had to photograph for long hours. At the show, I rarely had to push the ISO to above 1600 (the 650D can go up to ISO 25,600), there were plenty of light on the runway and backstage. Although. I didn’t get to use it at extreme high ISO setting, the 650D manages image noise in a very respectful way even at 1600. Keeping up with the subject on the run way wasn’t an issue, the AF was surprisingly fast, it did a good job tracking the subject, but there were times I hoped to have more AF points for a smoother continuous tracking. The camera buffer did suffer to keep up, at most it can buffer about 6-7 photos before it needs to write to the SD card which evitable slows down the shooting. Having said that, most people will find it plenty for their use.
The handling of the camera is solid, making adjustment is very simple using the new touch screen navigation system. Instead of going in to the menu, you can change most settings such as WB, shutter speed, aperture, metering mode, focus mode, picture style, etc from the touch screen. It also has a dedicated ISO button for quick adjustment. The articulating LCD is a bonus, there were many occasions that it helped me to get through those awkward positions.
In summary, Canon 650D is a solid DSLR packed with many improvements over its predecessor, particularly the improved AF system. It even has the same specification with the new 700D, but with a smaller price tag. It delivers great images and video recording experience, especially paired with a STM lens. The new touch screen is beautifully implemented, making handling much simpler. A feature that I find useful to have is a lockable mode dial like in the Canon 5D III, I often find the camera switched to a different mode by accident.
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