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Canon EOS 60D Review

November 2010 | By Richard Butler, Simon Joinson
Buy on Amazon.com From $899.00


Review based on a production Canon EOS 60D

Canon's X0D series has throughout its life appealed to a wide range of photographers, from enthusiasts and semi-pros through to some pros who appreciated having a lightweight option. Each model offered a high enough specification (usually in terms of build quality and AF sophistication) to ensure it was both aspirational and attainable for users who had out-grown their Rebel/XX0D series. However, the feature set always left a sizeable gap below the company's full-blown 'pro' models.

The arrival of the EOS 7D, with its highly configurable 19-point AF system and 8 frames per second continuous shooting capability changed much of this - here was a 'mini 1D' that drew the attention of many people who previously would have been X0D customers. However, the price tag (a 30% premium over the 50D at launch) pushed it beyond the reach of most people who weren't making at least a bit of money from their photography.

The 50D (and by extension the X0D range) was starting to look somewhat redundant: expensive (and in some ways outdated) compared to the rebel T2i (EOS 550D), underpowered compared to the EOS 7D. It seemed obvious that Canon needed something to balance out the EOS range to fill the big gap between the Rebel and the 7D. And so we have this, the EOS 60D.

With the 60D Canon has unashamedly moved the X0D range out of the 'semi pro' bracket and instead focused on the enthusiast photographer looking to upgrade from their Rebel. As a result, it's not the obvious continuation of the 30D - 40D - 50D pattern that its naming might suggest. Instead it sits pretty well precisely in the same market position as was once-upon-a-time occupied by the 'Elan' series of 35mm film SLRs (which in Europe were not-so-coincidentally given double-digit model numbers).

So gone is the magnesium alloy construction that featured in previous models, replaced by a lighter weight plastic shell. Naturally the 60D gains some key 'step up' features from the Rebel line (top panel LCD, rear control dial, higher burst rate), including a few that have trickled down from the EOS 7D. There's also a video- (and tripod-) friendly 3:2 ratio articulated LCD. In imaging terms it brings the EOS mid-range in line with those above and below by upping the sensor resolution to around 18MP and adding full HD movie capture.

The EOS 60D also gains a couple of brand-new features of its own. There's now a wide range of color variations (or 'Ambiences') which can be applied to the image when using the scene modes, and whose effect can be previewed on screen in Live View. The 60D also finally gains the ability to convert raw files to jpeg in-camera, including the option to correct for lens aberrations including distortion and chromatic aberration. As an added bonus, you can retrospectively apply new 'Creative Filters' to files you've shot, including 'Grainy Black and White' and 'Toy Camera' looks.

And so, from a spec and feature point of view, the EOS 60D sits almost exactly half-way between the EOS 550D and the EOS 7D, with a few new tricks of its own. Which, we think, is exactly where it should be (regardless of the inevitable howls of protest at the apparent 'dumbing down' of the venerable X0D line).

Key features

  • 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800)
  • 5.3 fps continuous shooting
  • 1080p HD video recording with manual controls
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC storage
  • In-camera raw development
  • Subject modes with 'Ambience Selection' (Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker and Monochrome)
  • In-camera Creative Filters (special effects)
  • Fully articulated 3.0" screen (3:2)
The 60D's position in the range is immediately apparent when lined-up between the EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) and the 7D - it's a model that sits half-way between the two, without coming too close to either.

Canon EOS 60D vs 50D: Key Differences

Placing the 50D alongside the 60D it becomes clear that the new camera is not a simply a direct upgrade but a repositioned model. The most obvious difference is that it's smaller and, of course, no longer features a metal body.

The 60D is smaller than the 50D but its ergonomics are not substantially changed - it'll still feel like a big improvement over a Rebel series camera, though the loss of the metal body means the same won't be true for 50D owners. One welcome addition is signaled by the little receiver window on the handgrip - the 60D is compatible with Canon's IR remote controls.
  • Higher resolution sensor (17.9MP vs. 15.1MP)
  • Accepts SD, rather than CF memory cards
  • No flash sync socket
  • Wireless Speedlight control
  • Support for optional infra-red remote release
  • Articulated 3:2 high resolution LCD screen
  • Plastic body shell (8% weight saving)
  • Standard ISO range extends to 6400, rather than 3200
  • User-definable Auto ISO upper limit
  • HD video recording 1080 p30/25/24 or 720p60/50 plus cropped 640 x 480 movie mode
  • New features: in-camera raw conversion, ambience settings, creative filters, more JPEG options
  • No joystick, no multi-flash support, simplified top plate & info panel, only one Custom mode, no AF micro-adjust
  • Slightly reduced customization options
  • Redesigned control layout with slightly fewer buttons
  • Lower burst rate
The camera handling has become slightly more Rebel-like too: the joystick is replaced by a multicontroller the resides within the rear dial, and several of the direct access buttons have been removed. You do, however, get the all-important second dial on the back, plus an info panel on the top.

Compared to the EOS 50D and EOS 7D: core feature and specification differences

As you can see from the table below the 60D is not an unequivocal upgrade from the 50D in the same way that previous cameras in the range have been. Essentially it's a 50D in a smaller body, the includes a flip-out screen and the sensor used in the Rebel T2i (550D) and 7D, with all the HD movie recording capability that brings.

 

Canon EOS 60D

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EOS 50D
Construction Polycarbonate resin with glass fibre on aluminum chassis Magnesium alloy body Magnesium alloy body
Sensor • 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter (with self-cleaning unit)
• 19 million total pixels
• 18 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
• 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter (with self-cleaning unit)
• 19 million total pixels
• 18 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
• 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter (with self-cleaning unit)
• 15.5 million total pixels
• 15.1 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
Processor DIGIC 4 Dual DIGIC 4 DIGIC 4
ISO range • Auto ISO (100-6400)
• ISO 100-6400 in 0.3 or 1.0 EV increments
• H (12800) expansion
• Adjustable Auto ISO limit
• Auto ISO (100-3200)
• ISO 100-6400 in 0.3 or 1.0 EV increments
• H (12800) expansion
• Auto ISO (100-1600)
• ISO 100 - 3200
• 0.3 or 1.0 EV increments
• H1 (6400) and H2 (12800) expansion
Movie resolution • 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
• 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
• 640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)
• 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
• 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
• 640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)
N/A
AF sensor • 9 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at center)
• Center point additionally sensitive with lenses of F2.8 or faster
• AF working range: -0.5 - 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)
• 19 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at center)
• Center point additionally sensitive with lenses of F2.8 or faster
• AF working range: -0.5 - 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)
• 9 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at center)
• Center point additionally sensitive with lenses of F2.8 or faster
• AF working range: -0.5 - 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)
Metering sensor • TTL full aperture metering with 63 zone Dual Layer (iFCL)
• Metering range: EV 1 - 20 EV
• TTL full aperture metering with 63 zone Dual Layer SPC
• Metering range: EV 1 - 20 EV
• TTL 35 zone SPC
• Metering range: EV 0.0 - 20 EV
Viewfinder • Eye-level pentaprism
• 96% frame coverage
• Magnification: 0.95x
• Eyepoint: 22 mm
• Interchangeable focusing screen Ef-A standard (2 other types optional)
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
• Eye-level pentaprism
• 100% frame coverage
• Approx. 1.0x magnification
• Eyepoint: 22 mm
• Fixed screen (Transmissive LCD screen)
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
• Eye-level pentaprism
• 95% frame coverage
• Magnification: 0.95x
• Eyepoint: 22 mm
• Interchangeable focusing screen Ef-A standard (2 other types optional)
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
LCD panel • 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 1040,000 dots (3:2)
• 100% coverage
• 160 ° viewing angle
• Dual anti-reflection
• Articulated
• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots (4:3)
• 100% coverage
• 160 ° viewing angle
• Coating : Anti-reflection and Solid Structure
• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots (4:3)
• 100% coverage
• 160 ° viewing angle
• Dual anti-reflection
Continuous shooting buffer • Approx. 5.3 fps
• Up to 58 JPEGs, 16 images (RAW)
• Approx. 8 fps
• Up to 126 JPEGs (with UDMA card), 15 images (RAW)
• Approx. 6.3fps
• Up to 90 frames (with UDMA card), 16 frames (RAW)
Memory format • SD / SDHC / SDXC • Compact Flash (I, II and UDMA) • Compact Flash (I, II and UDMA)
Dimensions 145 x 106 x 79 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1 in)
148 x 111 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.3 x 2.8 in)
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
Weight (inc battery) 755 g (1.6 lb) 904 g (2.0 lb) 822 g (1.8 lb)

Foreword / notes

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / recommendation / ratings are based on the opinion of the author, we recommend that you read the entire review before making any decision. Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of them, click to display a larger image in a new window.

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Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally also A, B and C.

 
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Comments

Total comments: 2
BobFoster

60D seems a real hybrid and hails the videographers mostly. IQ as good as 7D and video is near the level of 5D mark II at 100-1600 iso range. That is a bargain combo for amateurs and pro-sumers alike.It is necesarry to use it with fast primes to get the most of from the sensor.Still I do not like the motion jpeg compression and so does the video quality of nikons.If You have money to invest some superior Canon primes and wish to get best of both worlds (video&stills;) without bankrupt it seems 60D is the right decisio?n to go for..

1 upvote
reanim888

To my mind Canon EOS 60D is great for the ambitious amateur or dedicated professional, this Canon DSLR camera makes it a snap to produce high-quality pictures and movies. The included UD zoom lens provides a high-resolution photo with reduced chromatic aberration and its refined image stabilization technology steadies the shot and reduces blur, resulting in a sharp and clear picture.

3 upvotes
Total comments: 2