Pocket-lint was on hand in Warsaw, Poland, at this year's UEFA Euro 2012 Championships to get our mitts on the Canon EOS 650D. Without England in the competition any more, we had plenty of time to focus on this brand new DSLR's tech.
Canon has pushed out many iterations of its mid-level DSLR series over the past 5fiveyears. In fact it's been one a year for the last five years. Great though all these bodies have been, it's the lack of a big leaps from one model to the next that has disappointed some.
The EOS 650D looks to go that extra mile. Not only does it have an optimised 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 processor but it's also the very first DSLR to include touchscreen technology.
The screen itself is the same 3-inch size and 1,040k-dot resolution as the previous 600D model, but the option to get - quite literally - hands-on makes a big difference to live view and movie shooting.
Of course experienced DSLR snappers can still use the optical viewfinder and not so much as lay a finger on the LCD screen. This is one of the aspects we like about it - Canon's added upfront tech, but it's optional to use; it's not forced down your throat to use at every possible turn.
Saying that, it does take some getting used to. A DSLR is a bulkier beast than many of the compact or compact system cameras we've seen with touchscreens built in. Although the 650D isn't heavy, add a big enough lens and it'll be a different experience to use held in one hand while the other taps the screen.
Yet it's not just limited to single-finger taps. Taking a leaf out of the smartphone book, the 650D also responds to "pinches" in order to zoom in and check focus (after taking a shot) and "swipes" to jump between images. The capacitive touschreen is responsive too, far better than most cameras' touchscreen capabilities, though not on par with the super-sensitive smartphone devices out there, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III.
The best use of the touchscreen has to be to select a focus point. Tap a subject and, with focus tracking activated, the camera will lock on and maintain focus. Focus can be shifted by tapping a new focus point while recording in movie mode - a great feature that can help to steady recording, so long as your camera-holding arm is strong enough to keep steady.
Focusing has also been improved for both viewfinder and live view use. The all-cross-type 9-point autofocus system has been lifted from the 60D model and implanted in the 650D to great effect. The focus speed feels similar to the previous 600D model, though, but that added sensitivity from the cross-type sensors can certainly help out.
That's not all: the sensor itself now utilises a hybrid focus system for improved live view focus, which also translates well to movie capture. It's far, far faster than its predecessors. In fact it's far faster than any other Canon DSLR's live view mode. This seems to be Canon's best answer to Sony's single-lens translucent question.
Avid Canon users needn't fear huge design changes: the EOS 650D feels much the same size and weight in the hand as its predecessor. Not that there's anything wrong with that - if it ain't broke then why fix it.
Of course we'll be bringing a full Canon EOS 650D review very soon, once we've had the chance to test the camera to exhaustion.
What do you think of the Canon EOS 650D? After so many releases in the range is this the one to buy?