Body & Design

The EOS 650D is based on the same body design as its predecessor, the EOS 600D, with minimal changes. This isn't a bad thing at all - you get a useful set of external controls for all the major shooting functions, and a fully-articulated LCD screen. The body is made of plastic, but it still feels pretty solid with no flexing or creaking, and the slightly-enlarged grip inherited from the 600D is a clear improvement over older models in the line. Here you can also see just how slim the EF 40mm f/2.8 pancake is, extending only slightly past the flash housing.

Despite being an entry level model, the 650D offers a wealth of control points, yielding little in this regard even compared to Canon's more expensive EOS 60D. There's also a full range of connectors, including USB and HDMI ports, sockets for a cable release and an external microphone, and a receiver for an infra-red remote control.

Top of camera

The top of the EOS 650D plays host to the main controls. The power switch surrounds the rather crowded-looking mode dial, and gains an additional position for movie recording, meaning you can quickly switch to video from any exposure mode. The control dial and ISO button are both positioned behind the shutter release for operation by your index finger. The new stereo microphone is also visible here, just in front of the hot shoe.

Articulating LCD touchscreen

The EOS 650D has a similar swivel-and-tilt screen to the EOS 600D and 60D, which offers a wide range of movement and unlike tilt-only screens can still be used to shoot stills in portrait format at waist level or overhead. This is great for live view and working off a tripod, as well as for video shooting.

The EOS 650D's side-hinged screen offers a wide range of movement - when folded out (as above) it can be rotated downwards for overhead shooting, upwards for waist-level shots, or forwards for self-portraits.

It can also be folded flat against the camera's back, pointing inwards when not in use to protect the screen against scratches or merely getting covered in nose grease.

The big news, of course, is that the 650D becomes the first DSLR to offer a touch-sensitive screen. Large, well-positioned icons allow you to adjust shooting settings, swipe through and zoom image playback, acquire focus in live view and (optionally) release the shutter if you wish. You can even navigate the entire menu system by touch.

Working in viewfinder mode, the touch-enabled Q menu allows you to press on any icon... ...and jump to its relevant options. You can navigate by touch or via the 4-way controller and/or main dial.
For options that include a wide range of values (like shutter speed) you can tap, swipe or press onscreen arrows to make your selection. In live view mode, the Q menu is displayed as touch-sensitive icons along either side of the image area.

This is easily one of the most ambitious touchscreen implementations we've seen from any camera manufacturer. Not only does the 650D offer onscreen functionality of virtually every external control, you can use the touchscreen interface in seamless combination with the the camera's hardware dials and buttons. And while touchscreen control is enabled by default, you do have the option of turning it off completely, making the 650D behave almost identically to its predecessor, the 600D.