Canon EOS 600D review
A superb digital camera, but a botched attempt to appeal to HD video buffs mars the 600D’s appeal
With even entry-level DSLRs boasting enough megapixels for poster-sized prints, camera manufacturers are being forced to find new ways to tempt upgraders. HD video recording is the current teaser.
The EOS 500D first introduced 1080p video recording to the Canon DSLR stable, but the standout new feature of the 600D is a 3in camcorder-style flip-out screen. It’s bright enough to see what you're shooting even in the fiercest of sunlight, and you can overlay a grid on the screen to help you keep the horizons perfectly level on those sun-drenched beaches.
However, the 600D is far from the perfect camcorder. Although the Full HD footage (recorded at 24fps) is perfectly sharp and well exposed to start with, there's no continuous autofocus. Instead, you have to semi-depress the shutter button to force the camera to refocus, or test your skills with manual controls.
Using the autofocus creates an awkward, blurry second or two as the camera struggles to lock on to the subject, but that's not the worst of its crimes. The integrated microphone picks up the screeching whine of the autofocus motor, making it sound like your idyllic beach scene is under attack by a flock of pterodactyls.
An external microphone (connected to the 600D’s 3.5mm microphone input) or a willingness to substitute the soundtrack are a must for anyone relying on autofocus.
The video features disappoint, but the 600D really begins to shine in conventional camera mode. The flip-out screen isn’t only a bonus for videographers: it encourages photographers to experiment with creative angles too, allowing you to accurately compose a shot with the camera held above your head amongst the crowd at a wedding, for example, or down at ground level.
For those who prefer to leave the creativity to the camera, there's a new Scene Intelligent Auto mode that hands full control of the autofocus points, exposure, flash and other settings to the camera. It did a remarkably good job in our tests, automatically adjusting focus with a group of children running towards the camera, and adeptly balancing exposures in shots containing both sun and shade.
Indoor shots were sometimes a half-stop under-exposed in this fully automatic mode, but it was nothing that couldn't be corrected in photo-editing software, especially as the 600D allows you to shoot in RAW, even in automatic mode.
|Price ex VAT||£567|
|Price inc VAT||£680|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||4|
|Camera megapixel rating||18.0mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera optical zoom range||3x|
|Camera maximum resolution||18|
|Camera optical image stabilisation||in kit lens|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||133 x 80 x 100mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||lithium-ion|
|Battery life (CIPA standard)||440 shots|
|Aperture range||fUnknown - fUnknown|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/4,000|
|Maximum (slowest) shutter speed||30s|
|Bulb exposure mode?||yes|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 5EV|
|ISO range||100 - 12800|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||3.7fps|
|Memory-card type||SD card|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Tripod mounting thread?||yes|
|Data connector type||N/A|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||yes|