Published on July 24, 2012 10:04 AM

Canon EOS 650D: A Surprising Screen!

The Canon EOS 650D is the first SLR to use a multipoint touchscreen, which means you can do things like enlarge images in playback mode with your fingers, as you would with a smartphone. This, however, isn't its only plus point, as the quality of the onscreen image also happens to be excellent. In fact, in some respects, it's the best camera screen we've seen yet!

Contrast: 1053:1. Colour temperature: 7000 K, constant. Gamma: 2.2, almost constant. Average Delta E: 1.6.

Those may look like test results from a high-end monitor aimed at graphic designers—but no—this test data is from the EOS 650D screen.

It certainly out-performs the displays in other SLRs and interchangeable lens cameras in this price range. In fact, it's better than advanced-level SLRs and even out-does the EOS 7D, which already had an impressive Delta E of around 3 (Delta E measures colour fidelity: the closer to zero, the more accurate the colours). In terms of colour fidelity, this camera even beats the Pentax 645D, which, until now, sported the best-quality camera screen we'd ever tested (and it remains so for contrast and colour temperature).

Screen data: k 30 650d
Screen test results from the Pentax K-30 and Canon EOS 650D: (L to R) gamma, colour temperature (broken yellow line = ideal result), Delta E (should be as low as possible).

Compared with the Pentax K-30—which falls in the same price range and which we happened to be testing at the same time—there are a few notable differences. The K-30 screen displays greys that look more blue and its contrast is a little too high (light greys in particular are soon washed out to white). Colours aren't reproduced in the same way either. However, the K-30 still has a pretty good display, with accurate colours (Delta E = 2.9, which is what we'd expect from a computer monitor, and is much better than most digital camera screens). The display is nice and consistent too.

In practice, this means that anyone using an EOS 650D will know that the picture they see onscreen is the same as the one actually captured by the sensor. You'll be able to see if light zones look overexposed, adjust the white balance or the image style directly in the camera and be sure that the picture will look the same when printed or displayed on a computer screen (with a well-calibrated monitor, of course).

These excellent results won't have any effect on the camera's overall score. For the moment, the screen's resolution and viewing angles are taken into account in our review criteria, but screen calibration isn't yet part of the equation—it's just extra info we give in each review. Photographers used to shooting in RAW mode and post-editing won't be too bothered about the accuracy of the screen. Plus, we can't be certain that every single model of a given camera will be calibrated in exactly the same way (although, until now, we've never seen an excellent and an awful screen coexist in different versions of a single model).

But for users shooting Jpeg shots, seeing the image as it's captured is clearly advantageous. Let's hope that other manufacturers cotton on the the idea soon!

> Digital Cameras: SLR, Micro 4/3 and Interchangeable Lens Reviews