Camera | Canon EOS 700D Field Test Impressions

The Canon EOS 700D top entry-level rebel
The Canon EOS 700D top entry-level Rebel with the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens
The Canon EOS 700D top entry-level Rebel with the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens

Canon seems to have hit the right formula when it comes to making a DSLR for consumers moving up from the compact camera users. Their Rebel series has been very popular as “entry-level” camera as it tries to balance features while keeping the price in check and the controls to be user friendly. Last April 2013, they introduced their latest “top entry-level” of the Rebel series, the Canon EOS 700D (Rebel T5i). I spent some time with the Canon EOS 700D and shares my impressions here. Not really a full review as I don’t think I tested the camera features up to the hilt. But I will cover the features which I’m sure new buyers and beginners would mostly be using.

Rear view of the camera
Rear view of the camera

Main Features

Canon employs the “If it ain’t broke” philosophy on their designs. Not much has changed from the previous models in terms of looks but the interiors has been beefed up to keep up to its peers.

  • 18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor
  • Live View and Video Phase detection AF
  • Continuous autofocus with subject tracking in movie mode
  • New 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor
  • ISO 100-12800 with expanded mode to 25,600
  • 5 fps burst mode
  • 9-point cross type Auto Focus
  • A 1.04m dot 3:2 vari-angle touch-screen LCD
  • 1080p30 Video recording and built-in stereo mic
Top controls (upper left), on-board flash (right), kit len switches (bottom left)
Top controls (upper left), on-board flash (right), kit len switches (bottom left)

Built and Handling

For a full sized DSLR, I was surprised how light the camera is even fitted with the kit lens and battery. The grip feels just right on my hands, the built, while plastic has some texture that it doesn’t feel as cheap. As a non-Canon user, the controls were pretty easy to figure out, there’s the ring up front and direct buttons for the important controls like ISO and exposure compensation.

It’s nice to see a vari-angle LCD which I was heavily using in my previous DSLR. It gives more option in terms of challenging compositions (or for beginner’s DSLR Selfie if that’s your thing). The 3″ 1.04 mil dot ClearViewII LCD is a pleasure to look especially using the Live View.

The 700D takes an SD Card, SDHC and SDXC cards on the right side of the camera. On the left are two flaps, one for the HDMI and the combined USB/AV socket. The other flap houses the mic and remote trigger slot. I like that the tripod socket doesn’t interfere with the battery compartment.

HDMI, USB, remote trigger and mic interface (left), SD card compartment (upper right), battery compartment (bottom right)
HDMI, USB, remote trigger and mic interface (left), SD card compartment (upper right), battery compartment (bottom right)

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS

There was a time when Canon kit lens have a reputation to be inferior to any other kit lens in the market. Well, Canon made some changes and I’m quite surprised with the Canon EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS, it may have a plastic construction but has direct switches for the AutoFocus to Manual and the Image Stabilization On and Off switch. The focusing was quick and silent which I think would be good for videographers. The images has average to decent sharpness as expected, contrast a bit subdued and for a kit lens it can deliver good looking bokeh.

The touch-sensitive vari-angle LCD with LIveView
The touch-sensitive vari-angle LCD with LIveView

Performance and Image Quality

It’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to use the 700D on my usual trips and was restrained due to weather conditions and time. But with the few shoots I did, I could tell this is a competitive camera in its line. I usually shoot in different ISO conditions since I also shoot street and spontaneous scenes on challenging lighting. I found the ISO 800 to be quite usable, ISO 1600 looses a bit detail already from the noise reduction but still usable, ISO 3200 and up there’s already heavy smearing on the details due to noise reduction. ISO performance is good but it lags slightly even on the mirrorless line. But it sure does help that there’s already Image Stabilization on the lens to keep the ISO down.

I am used to Canon having that slightly saturated colors to please consumers. The 700D however, churned out photos with colors a lot closer to life. The skin tones are quite good, reds aren’t an eye-sore and blues doesn’t look too alien. In short, I kinda like the colors as it looked more natural with a slight punch. White Balance was also a mixed bag before but it held well under tungsten lighting. Shooting RAW does offer more leeway for artistic freedom.

Regular shooting is very good and fast. The 9-point AF locks in in fast without me noticing that it focused already at times. Exposure is most of the time spot on, though dynamic range is obviously short on high contrast scenes. LiveView shooting is on the slow side. While the screen looks good it takes a while to lock into focus. I had to commend the touch-screen interface though, it is well implemente, like being able to control the menu and shooting controls on screen besides the autofocus point, touch-shutter and screen swipe for image review.

18mm, f5.6, 10sec, ISO 100, AWB
18mm, f5.6, 10sec, ISO 100, AWB

Impressions

The Canon EOS 700D has competitive features geared for the beginner-enthusiast consumers looking for more controls and functions on an entry level camera. The camera is comfortable to hold and there’s an easy learning curve for users coming into the DSLR world. The image quality is very good as long as you stay within ISO 100-1600 ISO (and 6400 for emergencies) with pleasing natural colors. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS kit lens is also surprisingly a performer and one that can stay with you for a while. The LiveView, while has a beautiful screen and well-thought out interface is a bit on the slow side for captures. Nevertheless, Canon 700D is a solid offering for those entering the DSLR world and is looking for a feature-rich camera with quality images and decent performance for the enthusiastic shooter.

The Canon EOS 700D body only is Php 34,998, with Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS kit is Php 40,998.

55mm, f5.6, 1/80, ISO 250, AWB
55mm, f5.6, 1/80, ISO 250, AWB
18mm, f8, 1/250, ISO 100, AWB
18mm, f8, 1/250, ISO 100, AWB
55m, f5.6, 1/125. ISO 100, AWB
55m, f5.6, 1/125. ISO 100, AWB
28mm, f4, 1/50, ISO 3200, AWB
28mm, f4, 1/50, ISO 3200, AWB
46mm, f5, 1/60, ISO 2500, AWB
46mm, f5, 1/60, ISO 2500, AWB
18mm, f3.5, 1/40, ISO 320, AWB
18mm, f3.5, 1/40, ISO 320, AWB