6 Day Photo Safari with the Canon EOS 650D

There’s nothing like the eyes of a croc rising from the murky water, its gaze fixated on you as it sits and waits for that one opportunity for you to make a mistake and fall in the water.

I dared him. Through the safety of my boat and the lens of my camera acting like the long nose of a rifle scaring it into submission.

I felt brave. I felt fearless.

I felt grateful to have the new Canon 650D in my hands so I could at least get evidence of how close I was to the prehistoric beast.

A man holding a camera

I was in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory on a six-day photography adventure to Australia’s Top End.

We were there to explore the beautiful Top End and test drive the new Canon EOS 650D.

I now understand why Australia’s Top End should be on everyone’s Australia bucket list.

Amazing landscapes, stunning sunsets, abundant wildlife, and rich Aboriginal culture as well as kayaking in gorges, swimming in waterholes, hiking in the bush, and sitting around camp fires at night.

The Canon EOS 650D Experience

I’ve always been a Canon man. Caz and I have only ever used Canon cameras and currently shoot with the EOS 500D. So when Canon Australia asked me to put the 650D through its paces in one of the best travel destinations on earth, I of course said “Absolutely!”

The Canon EOS 650D was a great fit and perfect for my current skill set. It’s a high-performing, entry-level DSLR for newcomers to help them grow into the camera and photography.

As someone who is just starting to take photography seriously, I love that the 650D is designed for beginners AND enthusiast photographers with one of the key aims of Canon was to make the camera easy to use.

I’m all about “advanced simplicity”, and now instead of being the “shoot-in-auto” guy, I now have a firm understanding of manual, AV, and TV modes.

There’s also a healthy dose of advanced features to keep experienced photographers happy too.

Through the Lens of the Canon EOS 650D

We started the trip in Darwin and then visited the World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park, the beautiful Litchfield National Park and the world-famous Katherine Gorge.

Through the lens of the Canon EOS 650D I got to experience:

Stunning Sunsets

A sunset
Sunset at Ubirr in Kakadu National Park

Amazing Wildlife

a crocodile
Saltwater Crocodile, Kakadu National Park
a bird standing on a branch
Kakadu National Park
a crocodile in water
Saltwater croc up close and personal

Beautiful Waterfalls

A large waterfall over water
Florence Falls, Kakadu National Park

Fascinating Aboriginal Rock Art

a rock painting
Nourlangie art site, Kakadu National Park

And delicious kangaroo

a plate of food
Kangaroo meat

Key Features of the Canon EOS 650DCamera

The Canon EOS 650D camera is full of useful features for any type of photographer.

LCD Touchscreen Panel

The 650D is the first DSLR to boast a touchscreen.

Like a phone, you can pinch your fingers on the screen to zoom in and out which makes it easy to check the focus and details of the snaps you’ve taken and help you quickly swipe through your pictures.

The touchscreen has a swivel display, which I found great for shooting self-portraits,  shooting at different angles and to help you see what you are snapping when you hold the camera high to shoot over a crowd, or down low for creative angles.

The Details:

  • 3 inch screen and a 1,040,000-pixel resolution.
  • Multi-touch gestures.
  • Tapping on the screen selects auto-focus points
  • Can control the image settings in menus
  • Can change settings such as white balance, ISO, color and aperture settings
canon eos 650d

High Quality Images

  • 18.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)

Auto Focus

  • 9-point AF for sharp images.
  • manually select any of the 9 points to ensure correct sharp focus.

7 Creative Art Filters

For those who like in-camera effects, you can apply creative filters to images for an added effect.

  • Art Bold
  • Water Painting
  • Fish eye
  • Soft Focus
  • Toy camera
  • Miniature
  • Grainy B & W

I found these filters very useful in cutting down on the editing process as they can take a standard shot and create something more appealing to the eye.

Example shots using the filters

Art Bold Filter – boosts contrast and saturation

a field of plants
Kakadu National Park

Water Painting Filter – lightens and de-saturates the image and emphasizes outlines.

a man using a camera
Sunset at Ubirr, Kakadu National Park

Fish Eye Filter


Grainy Black and white

An old barn

Toy Camera –  to darken a picture’s corners and distort its colours

A man sitting on a rock

Miniature –  the image’s subjects appear like a reduced-scale model or diorama

people sitting on rocks

HDR Backlight Control

I loved this feature.

It takes three consecutive shots at three different exposures (overexposed, underexposed, normally exposed) and combines them into one photo to create the perfect final image.

Video (Full HD)

The Canon EOS 650D shoots full high-definition video and is the first EOS to feature dual AF for both stills and movies.


  • Auto-focus continuously during video capture.
  • Tap to focus
  • Continuously track subjects during movie shooting
  • Touchscreen allows for rapid adjustments to exposure, aperture and ISO settings in manual mode

Check out my 30 second video of Florence Falls:

Continuous Shooting

The Canon EOS 650D allows you to snap full resolution images at up to 5 frames per second and capture fast-moving action.

I captured this vehicle and travelling at high speeds.

a car trailing a caravan

a car trailing a caravan

Image Rating

The EOS 650D also allows images to be rated on a scale of 1-5 for easy searching for playback and management.

NOTE: For full product details of the Canon EOS 650D click here.

In Summary

The Canon EOS 650D definitely lived up to its name of being a great entry-level camera full of useful features.

If you’re in the market for your first DSLR, or even if you’re a more advanced photographer, then check out the 650D as it’s not only great for beginners but is still a very powerful tool for all levels of skill and is great for both photography and film.

Other photography and videography tips

Which feature of the Canon EOS 650D do you like best?

Share in the comments below.

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About The Author

82 thoughts on “6 Day Photo Safari with the Canon EOS 650D”

  1. I’ve been using the Canon 50D for the last 12-18 months and have been very happy with it. It’s definintely a good idea to try and break out from using the auto mode once in a while. It gives you much more control on how your images will look. A good tripod is also a worthwhile investment, particularly for things such as waterfalls. I took this shot a couple of days ago in Cornwall (UK) using the tripod…


    1. Hey Paul,

      Really enjoyed learning to use the other shooting modes on the 650D and up my skills. And yes a tripod definitely helps for those slow shutter speed shots. Great waterfall pic.

  2. Love your croc photo! I visited Kakadu on my RTW trip (we camped there) and it was breathtaking. Even using a little Canon point and shoot the pictures came out so well. Glad you got the chance to go with a professional grade DSLR to really capture the wildlife 🙂

    1. G’day Leslie,

      Thanks. Couldn’t believe how close we got to crocs. They love sunning themslves on the banks. Kakadu is amazing isn’t it. Can’t wait to go back to the Top End and explore it with the whole family. The kids will LOVE it.

  3. Wow, what an awesome entry-level dSLR! I have a Canon that has some of these features and love it but want to upgrade, so this might be the one. Great photos! That safari must have been so fun!

    1. Thanks Jenna,

      Was my first time to the Top End of Australia. Highly recommend it as an alternative to the norm. I will be back for sure! And you couldn’t go wrong with an upgrade to the 650D.

    1. Hi Lawrence,

      This was actually the first time I’ve ever used in-camera filters. Not for everyone of course, but the option is always there to use or not to use and I like options 🙂

  4. melissa clare van amsterdam

    Hi there your photos are fantastic! I am jst starting out with my photography I could really not decide with brand to get bt reading your article iam so going the canon route lol I will be getting the 600d soon I hope its not to much different from the 650d?

  5. What a superb trip and great shots Craig. Looks like Canon has made some great upgrades. I’ve really loved learning on the 600D and I’m already bugging Dalene it’s time to move up to full frame body, but that will take some convincing 🙂 I think would be a little strange getting used to the touchscreen while shooting as I am quite used to adjusting while looking through the viewfinder, I am unsure if it would be faster, but I really like the touch screen for viewing photos and the zoom feature.

    Those creative filters are fun aren’t they? They have 4 of them in the 600D although I find it tricky getting the right composition for the shots I take and usually end up scrapping them. Still fun though 🙂

    1. G’day Pete,

      Yes very fortunate to go on such a trip. Not sure if you’ve ever visited Oz but definitely consider the Northern Territiry when you do. Such a great place to photograph and explore.

      And yeah the filters are fun but not for all occasions. One thing I did learn from the trip was the importance of composition and getting that right. I’m enjoying learning more about Canon cameras and photography. Happy shooting!

  6. Great photos! I’m a newbie to photography and thinking about getting my first ‘proper camera’. This looks like a pretty good one for beginners and your photos are stunning. You’ve given me another thing to add to my wishlist!

    1. Hey Monica,

      Thanks. I can’t say it any better than the product description …”The Canon EOS 650D is the most powerful creative tool for budding photographers, offering ease of use for complete newcomers and huge scope to grow into the camera”.

      Definitely keep it in mind.

  7. I’m feeling very humble with my 400D also… especially love the HDR feature. A professional friend has an HDR kit but it looks so clumsy – not for actual travelling – but if the camera can get rid of that washed out sky look… oh yes!

    1. What is HDR kit? It seams for me that somethings became too complicated as it used to be. Always was doing my HDR with regular camera without any kits or camera settings.

  8. I have a Canon 550D and this sounds like it does so much more, I’m jealous! I wish I had waited just a little longer to get this one instead!

    1. C’mon people, just don’t worry about all new gear, as next year will be a new camera model again. Use the camera you have right now and learn all features it has, as I am sure most of people even don’t how much they can do with their current gear.

      I did use my 20D for 7 years and wasn’t looking for any reviews until my camera was stolen, so now I am in the market for new camera again and 650D may be what I need.

  9. Wow, amazing photos! I’m currently lusting after a new camera and have been looking at Canon’s EOS series. I love some of the features you outlined here, like the touchscreen. Again, stunning photos (though it’s hard to take bad photos in Kakadu!).

  10. I love the water painting filter.I have a Canon T3i which has been great for learning photography skills plus it weighs a whole lot less than others. Still I love all the features of the one you tried – 5 frames/second, over the top ISO’s, lots of filters ..would be fun to have one of these – and of course a bunch of lenses to go with it.

  11. Hi,
    I’m looking for a new camera. Since last year, when a friend of mine borrowed me 550d for a trip to Paris, i started to looking for a change of mine old one. It’s Pentax istD. I love a fotos it makes outside. I’m amatour, I don’t have a lot of lenses,… When I started to looking for I’ve discoverd that on the market was already d600, but in rummors I’ve found voices that in the days will be a new camera 650d annonced. I was waiting, asking people for their experience,… In my surrounding I ‘ve found two groups: Canon and Nikon fans, whole mix of cameras… but finally in “my competition” left three cameras:
    Canon 650d, Nikon D7000, and Pentax k_30. Each of them has a different advantage, specially Pentax- stabilization in the body, nad Nikon and Pentax are better seald than Canon, but…
    A buying the new camera is a big deal for me: next one I’ll buy maybe in 5-1- years… It’s just a matter of the budget.
    What would be yours advice? I was looking for any opinion of the users that just have bought it, but till now, I havn’t found.

    1. Hey Rico,

      I’m not sure what level of photographer you are, and your goals, and I can’t comment on the other cameras you speak of.

      The only DSLR’s I have used is our Canon 500D and now the 650D. And I am very happy with the functionality and features of both. Depending on where you are at with your needs you can access all the comparisons of the Canon camera’s for entry level to professional at this link: http://www.canon.com.au/For-You/EOS-Digital-SLR-Cameras

    1. I’ve been using the T3i or 600d for almost 2 yrs Nov 2010. Extremely happy with most every feature except Video doesn’t have Auto focus. In bright sun it’s hard to see the screen to see if your in focus. This new 650D has auto focus, great. I also have the Canon 5D Mark III, my second full frame (first was 5Dc) which is amazing but very expensive, but hell you only live once. Still carry 600D for back up. Have all those heavy lenses 70-200 2.8 and 100-400 Is, which frankly I prefer on lighter 600D. The weight is brutal on long hikes etc. I suggest anyone starting or upgrading get the 650D. Wait 5 months and new model will emerge.

  12. Even if you know how to use all the features, taking a good photo still needs a bit of creativity. Good job on your shots!

  13. I use the canon 550, which is awesome. I dont think I would like the swivel screen though, because I used to have one like that (it wasn’t a canon though) and the screen broke off after 3 weeks! It took the company over a year to send me a new one through warrenty and I ended up using a disposal camera for my first year in Europe! Now I try to avoid anything that was easily break offable bits and pieces.

    1. Hey Jade,

      That’s a shame about your experience. I actually like the swivel screen but you can of course have it in the fixed position so it’s not it’s a great option and not a problem. Don’t let that stop you 🙂

  14. It looks an amazing piece!! I just got myself a Nikkon a few months back and am still getting used to it.
    The photos are just superb.

  15. Ohhh Caz, so beautiful! The top end is on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to visit it, it’s just so amazing and full of life and colour.

    And you’ve made me want my new camera I’ve wished for more!!

    Happy travels lovely woman xxx

  16. Phuket Photo Blog

    In my opinion, it is the best for travel photography including Nikon D3200.
    I know that D3200 is lower level, but it can fight with 650D.
    However 650D wins because of the amazing touch screen.

    I use canon 600D and love it.

  17. Really nice photos and cool settings! I purchased my fancy camera a few months ago and need to take some time to get to know what it can really do. Thanks for the inspiration to play with it this weekend!!!

  18. I really want to move away from the point and shoot and into and step up to the DSLR. I heard Cannon is easy to use but how long did it take you to get your head round it Craig?

    1. Hi Tracy,

      I actually found it quite simple to navigate around the features, especially as I mainly just shoot using aperture and shutter speed settings, and some video. You would get your head around this camera very easily.

  19. Hi Paul- I just ordered A 650d and am eagerly waiting to receive it…I enjoyed reading this piece – makes me happy I chose the 650d 🙂

  20. Hi
    Would you recommend it for professional video Shooting like Corporate videos etc . I am very much interested to know how is audio recording feature in the above camera …. Shall I go for it as I have a low budget ( up-to now I am hiring cameras for video recording but if this one works great I can have my own stuff ) Thanks in advance

  21. I recently sold my nikon D300s due to dust issues on the sensor i lost all confidence in it and thats a £1500 rrp camera i liked it but not the weight and definatley not the dust issues ,I bought the 650D and so far im liking it ,I never ever use full auto always manual , shutter ,or aperture priority modes and change up the white balance ,iso etc…. the results are great and i like the screen and its resolution , much much better than nikons . i would recommend this not only to beginners but more advanced photographers too put the canon 15-85 is usm lens on it and its great for lanscapes and portraits too and also weddings .

  22. Thanks for the simple practical review of the DSLR. I am interested in wildlife and nature photography including sunsets.

    We got wonderful pics of sunsets from a photographer using 1D Mark III. Mark series is out of my range, I am looking for a closer alternative for it..
    I am thinking 650D is a good choice with 18-55mm Lens, pls share your thoughts. Any other close alternatives?

  23. Can’t believe that I have only just seen this….amazing & I have been looking to upgrade to Canon EOS 650d for Kenyan trips…..just hope I get the right lenses!!!!!!


  24. great photos..

    Craig Makepeace

    i just wanted to ask that i am thinking of buying an SLR..

    this will be my first one …
    so i wanted it to be special….
    i am at the amateur level in photography…
    and so i wanted to ask that is CANNON 650d A WORTHFUL CHOICE….???


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