Live View displays

Accessing live view on the 650D is the same as on its predecessor, the EOS 600D; via a dual purpose live view/movie record button next to the viewfinder. Yet Canon has made some significant improvements with the 650D that make live view operation more fluid, and crucially, more suitable for a wider range of shooting situations.

Some of the biggest operational changes to live view are a result of the 650D's new touchscreen capability. With live view activated you can manually set an autofocus point - in any of the camera's four AF modes - simply by tapping the screen. The selectable AF area covers roughly 80% of the entire screen area, offering a vastly greater range of AF selection than is available in viewfinder shooting mode. You can also enable a 'touch shutter' feature, which, as the name suggests, lets you fire the shutter simply by tapping the screen.

Touchscreen implementation has led to changes in the design and placement of onscreen icons, which are larger and more widely spaced, residing in two columns along both sides of the screen as well as a row along the bottom. And the Quick Control menu is fully touch-sensitive, providing easy access to shooting settings.

While these features may sound familiar to owners of recent-model mirrorless cameras, its worth noting that EOD 650D is the first 35mm style DSLR to offer touchscreen control. And by doing so in such a comprehensive and well-implemented fashion, the 650D provides a substantially improved shooting experience, placing it well ahead of its DSLR peers with regard to live view operation.

Live View function settings

The Live View tab of the shooting menu offers several options governing live view behavior. Both the AF method and Touch Shutter options can also be accessed directly from live view using the Quick Control screen.

The Live View tab of the shooting menu offers a single page of options. You can navigate and make selections using the 4-way controller or by pressing the touchscreen.

Disappointingly, the options common to both live view and movie modes - AF method, Grid display and Metering timer - cannot be set independently. Selecting a rule of thirds grid in the live view menu, for instance, also sets this grid for movie mode. This behavior can get downright confusing since live view offers a Quick mode (phase detect) AF method that is of course unavailable in movie mode. Choosing that option will instead set the movie mode's AF method to FlexiZone Single. A much simpler solution, of course would be to make these settings work on a per shooting mode basis.

Live View display modes

Pressing the 'Info' button while in live view toggles between the available display modes, each with differing levels of overlaid information. You can also enable optional grid lines. Whenever possible, the camera previews the effects of the current exposure settings, indicated by an Exposure Simulation icon in the detailed information views. This icon will flash continuously in more extreme lighting conditions that do not allow an accurate exposure preview. The histogram overlay also updates in real time to reflect current exposure settings.

In image-only mode, AF information is displayed. Here you see Flexi-Multi and Flex-Single AF modes. A shooting settings view adds exposure information, battery status and number of shots remaining.
A more detailed view adds the current image settings along with exposure simulation confirmation. You can also view a histogram overlay, with a choice of luminance (shown here) or RGB data.
One of two grids can be overlaid on the live view image. These are selected via the Live View tab of the shooting menus. Upon focus acquisition, the relevant AF point(s) temporarily become green.
Live view offers both 5x and 10x magnification levels for critical focus. You can scroll through the magnified image via touchscreen buttons or the 4-way controller.