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Canon EOS 60D Dynamic Range (JPEG)

Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from the camera's clipped white point down to black (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' (defined as 50% luminance) and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).

To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail above middle gray the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test the line on the graph stops as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.

Note: this page features our new interactive dynamic range comparison widget. The wedges below the graph are created by our measurement system from the values read from the step wedge, the red lines indicate approximate shadow and highlight range (the dotted line indicating middle gray).

The 60D is displaying the tone curve we've seen many times before from Canon, giving good dynamic range (around 8.3EV) and a gentle roll-off as you move towards the highlights. The Neutral Picture Style is a little different from the others, employing slightly lower contrast in the upper mid-tones but clipping a bit more abruptly to highlights, but at the same point above middle grey. Overall this is exactly what we're used to seeing from Canon DSLRs, meaning a little less highlight range than is typically obtained from Nikon and Sony competitors (but much the same as other brands).

The Highlight Tone Priority option (Custom Function II.3) is a method for capturing more information in the brightest parts of the scene. It does this by applying less amplification to the signal coming from the sensor, then compensating for it by using a different tone curve to ensure the correct brightness in the final image. Turn this on and the 60D's dynamic range at least matches that of Sony and Nikon models.

When used at ISO 200, the effect is the same as underexposing a 'normal' ISO 100 shot by one stop, then pulling up the mid tones and shadows to compensate. The result is an image that looks right but doesn't lose the extra highlights you've captured. It means you have to use ISO 200 and upwards, because you're using the sensor at its lowest amplification setting but with one stop less exposure than in normal mode. The penalty is a touch more noise in shadow regions (as shown by the bottom limit of the HTP ON strip being slightly higher), but in return you get around one stop more highlight detail, which can be invaluable on bright, sunny days.

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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