Do You Buy or Upgrade on Image Quality or Features?
You might be watching this review comparison because you are trying to figure which entry level DSLR camera to buy as your first camera or perhaps you have an older DSLR camera that you would like to update like myself since Canon discontinued the T2i. I own a full frame Canon 5D Mark III but I also want a crop sensor camera for many reasons, I would like to upgrade from my older T2i and in this review I am going to see if the Canon T4i/650D or the Canon 60D will be my upgrade for the crop sensor camera.
NEW: Over 3 hour training course on the T4i/650D I created. If you just bought a T4i 650D and you need help getting started in video with this camera, this is the most comprehensive set of video tutorials out there.
I had both of these cameras for a month, and shot time lapses actually I shot quite a few of them, I shot concerts, rock climbs, you name it, if I went somewhere I took them both with me. Right off that bat I’m going to tell you I am not seeing much image quality difference between the two cameras. I really had to pixel peep which is some thing I don’t like to spend too much time on, but more on that later.
How They are Similar
- Only $10 different in price at the writing of this review.
- ‘Similar’ APS-C 18m sensor
- Tilt out screen
- Only take SD cards
- Both shoot around 5 fps
- Both don’t have a headphone jack
How They are Different
- T4i has a touch screen
- T4i autofocus for video
- T4i can record up to 30 minutes creating multiple files
- 60D has an aperture wheel
- 60D have kelvin adjustment
- 60D has 3rd stop ISO adjustments
- HDMI outputs are different
- 60D has a top LCD display
- 60D has a bigger grip
- T4i has a Digic 5 processor while the 60D has a Digic 4
- T4i has a stereo mic, 60D is mono
- Eye-level pentaprism for 60D 96%, and Eye-level SLR (with fixed pentamirror) for T4i 95%. Pentaprisms are brighter than pentamirror. I could not tell the difference, and one didn’t seem brighter than the other.
- 1/8000 shutter for the 60D, 1/4000 for T4i
- 60D has an electronic level
- 60D is Aluminum and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber, and the T4i is Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber.
- 60D has a spring in the SD door
- Mode dial lock on 60D
- 60D can run Magic Lantern, the T4i you will have to wait for the first firmware update
So basically the two important new features, a touch screen and the new Hybrid AF system uses new STM lenses to automatically focus in video mode.
Getting Started Guide for the T4i 650D
Before I get in to image quality I want tell you that I am done shooting and editing 2.5 hours of training on the T4i, keep an eye out for it, it will be out shortly.
Before I got my first DSLR camera a few years ago there were many digital SLR’s that came before it for a least 10 years prior.
When the Canon 5D Mark II came out, I got very interested but it was totally out of my price range back then. Then when the 7D came out I was getting more interested but still it was out of reach. Then finally when the T2i came out I was so happy because it had the same sensor and one of the processors as the 7D, so I new that I would be getting the same video quality as the 7D but for a much lower cost.
Since then the 60D came out in Aug 2010, then the T3i in Feb 2011, and now the T4i came out this summer and they still all use the same APS-C sensor as the original 7D that hit the market back in 2009.
Like I said I really had to start pixel peeping to see any difference between the two cameras.
So basically we have a different processor in each as well as a different sensor. But when I take a RAW image which I understand bypass the:
- Picture Style
- Color tone
- White balance
- White balance shift
- Auto Lighting Optimizer
- Peripheral illumination correction
- Highlight tone priority
And we compare the RAW images from both at ISO 800 I gotta say I am not seeing much if any differences between the two. So I am to assume that we are bypassing the processor when shooting RAW because the images look the same, so my guess is these sensors that have the same pixel count are actually the same.
So when we shoot JPG which does use the processor and we move our way up to ISO 1600 I would think we would see less noise from the T4i but I am not see it,
- when we move to ISO 3200 I am expecting to see the 60D start to suffer in comparison but again I am not seeing much of a difference.
- Then all the way to ISO 6400 I am not seeing one color shift more than the other or one noiser.
- I know many of you will say you can see a difference, but these are very tiny, when I compare different cameras such as Nikon vs Canon that where you can seeing minor differences.
Aliasing and Rolling Shutter
I have a feeling both of these camera should have about the same aliasing and rolling shutter, I’m not sure the difference between the Digic 4 and Digic 5 processors will help much here. And sure enough it appears the Digic 5 processor doesn’t help with rolling shutter.
Same type of tech as in the iphone. It works really well, perhaps not has good as my iphone but it is really good. I find after playing with the T4i when I move over to the 60D I want to touch the screen.
Sure you get the screen all smudgy with finger prints, but if you are someone that doesn’t like that you can still use all the controls and never touch the screen.
The time it takes to get from one end of the menu to the other to formatting a card is done faster, or when you input your copyright info.
Both have all 9 focus points all cross type. However in the view finder they do appear differently. Both cameras seem to focus at the same speed, if the Digic 5 processor is speeding up the focusing speed I have not noticed it in the month I have been using them.
FlexiZone and Face Tracking
The camera’s hybrid AF system uses a combination of contrast-detection AF and on-imager phase-detection AF.
I found that the face tracking works best in good lighting and when the subject is not too far away like 25′ feet or more when using a lens about 50mm, this is because the face becomes too small on the screen and no longer looks like a face.
By Canon’s own omission in the manual they will tell you that these two focusing methods are slower than quick focus. And I can tell you they are much lower.
Page 161 at the bottom, “The [Quick mode] cannot be set for movie mode.”
In terms of the face tracking the performance reminds me a lot of the object tracking on the Sony A77 the I reviewed last fall, when objects are going away and coming towards the lens directly you get focusing every few seconds then it gives up of a few seconds then focuses again. Besides using on my girls dolls, I tried it on real faces in different lighting conditions and found the same type of performance.
If Canon or any other camera manufacturer can make this work really well at f2.8 I think they could sell at ton of cameras to general consumers. Unlike the touch screen feature, I give this one a fail. I just think we won’t see good performance until we hit the Digic 10 processor.
Just touch the screen to focus and take a picture once it’s ready. That is pretty cool, but I am not sure when I would use this, perhaps if I was doing some studio work for a stock agency, but perhaps not since I don’t want to shake the camera by touching the screen.
Movie Recording Duration
The T4i will record up to 29:59 minutes in separate files. I was curious if you would see a gap between files.
In my test at 13:10 it started blinking giving me a 35 second warning it is about to create a new file. After that you can see the timer continues. When I stop recording you can see it tells me about the two files.
When you bring them into your editing software and place them back to back they play seamlessly. I was surprised it worked that well, I was expecting to see a glitch.
They are different, the T4i has more of a clean image while the 60D is more handicapped. On the T4i when you plug in the HDMI cord not only does the screen on the T4i disappear the touch screen stops working.
In my test shooting RAW images the T4i has a burst of 5fps for only the first second, after that it slowed down to about 2.5 fps. It would take about 4 seconds for the buffer to clean up to start shooting at 5fps again.
The 60D did about 4fps shooting RAW but instead of only lasting for 1 second before slowing down it lasted 5 seconds. Then it slowed down to about 1fps. It took 15 seconds for the buffer to clean before shooting fast again.
The mic is now on top of the camera and is now stereo. Interesting that the 60D sounds quieter since I would have thought they would be using the same audio DSP in all their DSLR’s. However I will tell you the speaker on the T4i sounds better than the 60D at full level.
No headphones which is kind of a bummer because I bet Canon is using the same audio chip as that of the 5D Mark III and as chosen not to add a headphone jack even though the chip can do it.
Manual audio control.
Top LCD Panel
After using the T2i for years, I find I never use it that much on my 5D3 like what is on the T4i.
After I shoot with the 60D for a few hours and then pick up the T4i only then do I notice the benefit for a larger grip. But the difference is really small.
Grip seems larger on the T4i compared to my T2i.
The 5D3 feels the best in my hands.
Dial and Battery
Once you have a aperture dial on the 60D it is hard to go back, also I would like to use all the same batteries, 5d3 +60d.
Rubber Grip Issue
The front rubber grips of some EOS 650D units produced in certain lots between 31 May and 27 June 2012 may turn white after a short period of time.
If you want to check to see if your camera is affected. The one I have said it was not affected.
T4i Locks Up More Than Other Canon Camera
All of the Canon cameras I have used have locked up at some point not sure how I have this special gift, but it happens, but it doesn’t happen often, in fact is it is pretty rare.
However the T4i locks a lot more than other Canon cameras. Still not a ton, but very noticeable.
I’m sure Canon will address this in a firmware update.
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Also I will be having another free bonus video coming out which will not appear on YouTube and only subscribers will get a chance to watch it.
Do You Buy on Image Quality or Features?
Canon likes to experiment with features on their Rebel line, if it works well like I think the touch screen does it will move up to the more conservative pro line.
Features can be very important if let’s say the feature gets you the shot faster where as you would have missed it without the feature, like a fast and more accurate auto focus.
If I were to guess most people think when a new camera comes out that the image quality gets better, besides all of the new features they add. When you shooting RAW, the image quality comes down to the lens and the sensor, since the lenses are not changing that fast, lets take a look at all the DSLR sensors Canon offers. Basically you have 4.
- 18.0mp sensor for the t2i, t3i, t4i, 7d, 60d, 60DA with removed filter layers for astro photography for sharper image.
- 18.1mp for the Canon 1D-X
- 21.1mp for the Canon 5D Mark II
- 22.3mp for the Canon 5D Mark III
As for the T4i the touch screen is a big winner for a new feature, the video auto focus is not there yet and in my opinion somewhat unusable.
When deciding between the two you can pretty much take still/video image quality out of the equation because they are so similar using pretty much the same sensor, and to me I am just not seeing the Digic 5 processor adding a whole lot of value to the image quality. So which one should you get, well it depends on the features that you like, for instance if you have huge hands get the 60D. If you are and iPhone lover and you love having a touch screen get the T4i.
If you are someone that wants to shoot RAW and you are low on money and you are looking for image quality and not features get a used T2i. The T2i has the same sensor in it for the most part as the 60D and T4i, and since RAW bypasses the Digic 5 processor for the most part you are not missing anything advance in image quality there. You can pick up a used T2i on Craiglist for $350 to $400.
So will I be upgrading to either one of these two cameras? No, because I would rather upgrade when there is a significant jump in image quality and so far there appears to be very little difference in image quality to my T2i, will I miss some of the new features like the touch screen, but I would rather wait.
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