Tech review: Canon Eos 250D
Price: €599 (body only)
Canon's new Eos 250D is a decent new higher entry-level camera that borrows some of the good bits from more expensive, bigger Canon DSLR models in recent years.
Its main strengths are its small size, flip-out touchscreen and superb autofocusing. Its main disadvantage is the same thing that affects virtually all DSLRs like this - it's starting to feel a bit old-fashioned compared to mirrorless rivals, mostly because it can't effectively shoot silently and it doesn't have an electronic viewfinder.
But overall, this is a nice 24-megapixel, APS-C model to use that delivers good quality shots and has access to a terrific range of lenses, many of them now available quite cheaply. I'd also say that this is a pretty good bet as a tool for video bloggers, thanks to that flip-out touchscreen. The only thing it really lacks compared to a higher-end model like Canon's 6D Mark ii is a headphone port, which is very useful for monitoring your audio levels. It has a microphone port, though, so you can use either a lapel mic or Rode-style mic on top of the camera.
For stills photographers, that flip-out touchscreen is very useful in loads of situations, from shooting babies and pets to getting a clear shot at parades and other events when in a crowded zone. You're no longer pointing and hoping, especially as you can take the shot by touching the screen, which makes the camera autofocus on the bit of the picture you touch. What's more, this isn't a half-baked flip-out screen as some cameras have. It's a fully-articulating touchscreen that swivels around 180 degrees, allowing you to see your framing if you're photographing or filming yourself. It's a really excellent addition for anyone who wants more flexibility from a camera.
As has now become customary for Canon cameras, the 4K standard is a massive compromise on what you'd get on a mirrorless camera like a Sony, Panasonic or Fujifilm. It crops the picture right in, meaning that you can kiss goodbye to any wide-angle videography at that resolution. Its 1080p 'full' high definition (up to 60 frames per second) is perfectly decent, though. And its dual-pixel autofocusing system - still among the best in the business - makes for excellent tracking at that resolution.
Long-time readers will know that I'm not a proponent of 4K video for its own sake, other than as a tool to crop in with in post-processing. The file sizes are prohibitively large: most laptops or iPads don't have enough memory or processing power to edit or store the clips. What's more, you simply can't see the difference between a high frame-rate 1080p clip and 4K on a phone, tablet or a laptop. You'd really need to be watching on a screen above 20 inches to see any difference. So when you hear someone say that the lack of 4K is a big disadvantage, it's not for 90pc of likely buyers.
The 250D is one of the smallest (and lightest, at 451g) APS-C DSLRs you can buy. This doesn't mean that it's as small as an APS-C mirrorless cameras (like Fujifilm's new X-T30) but it's way smaller than some other Canon DSLRs. This is a big advantage if you need to carry it about when travelling.
If the 250D is compared critically on some features to some mirrorless models, it's only fair to point out its advantages to not being mirrorless. One of these is battery life. In general, DSLR cameras are much better on battery life than mirrorless models. With normal use, you can shoot for almost a full day on a single charge here.