Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent resolution, lives up to the six megapixel label
- Improved colour, reds are stronger other colours toned down a little
- Noise free 'silky smooth' images (still has the "D30 look")
- Noise very low all the way up to ISO 400, manageable noise levels at ISO 800 and 1000
- Images not 'over sharpened' or damaged by visible sharpening artifacts
- Unrivalled long exposure capability, no more waiting double the exposure time
- Reduced shutter release LAG
- Very clever 'smart buffering' means you can almost always take the next shot
- Good metering
- Good manual preset white balance, average automatic white balance
- Much less of a 'dust problem' than other competitive cameras (special filter?)
- Better low light AF if you enable the AF assist lamp
- In-camera programmable 'parameter sets' to control image processing algorithms
- RAW mode provides the 'digital negative', about 1 stop of latitude in over exposed images
- New RAW Image Converter software provides far more flexibility (digital exp. compen. etc.)
- Extraction of 2048 x 1360 JPEG from RAW file provides 'virtual' RAW+JPEG shooting
- Remote capture software for studio setups
- Full Canon EF lens compatible
- Good IBM Microdrive performance (less of a penalty than we have seen on other cameras)
- Built as a Digital SLR from the ground up
- Easy to use, integrated digital / photographic controls and displays
- Good combination of both full auto, scene and manual exposure controls
- Highlighted AF points
- Top panel LCD illuminated
- Improved power switch
- Double battery charger (although can only charge one battery at a time)
- Custom functions to control camera operation
- Excellent battery life, light weight and small batteries
- Superb value for money
Conclusion - Cons
- Strange dots ('drop out' pixels) which can appear between high frequency lines
- Opening the CF compartment door shuts camera down, loses any buffered images
- Overall auto focus performance virtually identical to D30
- Viewfinder view is smaller than 'higher end' D-SLR's (such as the EOS-1D)
- Not selectable colour space (stuck with sRGB)
- Not enough latitude of control over image processing parameters (currently only +/-1 step)
- White balance not fine-tunable
- Image playback magnification only at one level
- ISO sensitivity not displayed on viewfinder status bar while being changed
- Slow RAW conversion (20+ seconds per image on a high performance desktop PC)
When Canon came along at the end of 2000 with the EOS-D30 it took the market by storm, superb image quality in a digital SLR built as such from the ground up and all for $3,000. But let us not forget Nikon's contribution, before the D1 it wasn't possible to buy a D-SLR for under $5000.
Here we are a year (and a few months) after the first D30's hit the streets looking at an improved D30 with a six megapixel sensor which can deliver the same silky smooth noise free images. Best of all this camera is priced at just $2,200 for the kit. As recently as August 2000 Kodak were selling the six megapixel Canon SLR based DCS 560 (also known as the D6000) for $16,000 (before that it had been $25,000). It's amazing to think that eighteen months later we're looking at a six megapixel Canon D-SLR for a little over $2,000.
For me the D60 outperformed many of my expectations, I didn't expect resolution to be as good as it is and I didn't expect Canon to be able to keep noise levels down in the way they have. In almost every respect the D60 has performed flawlessly. There are the diagonal jaggies and 'strange dots' but these occur very infrequently in every day shots and even then they are hardly visible.
Colour has been tweaked and improved so that reds are stronger but other colours are more equally balanced, there's no chance of over-exposure of any particular colour before another. If you want the extra colour 'zing' you have control over the camera's internal processing algorithms. I still would have liked to have seen a colour space output option (that's still there for third party RAW conversion tools).
Little touches like the reduced shutter release LAG, illuminated AF points, illuminated top status LCD, in-camera parameter programming are all welcome improvements and go to show that Canon are well aware of, and act upon user requests. One area I think a lot of people expected to be improved is auto focus, and this may be the D60's only achilles heel.
This is the first of the new big four D-SLR's we've had the pleasure to review (Nikon D100, Sigma SD9, Fujifilm S2 Pro, Canon EOS-D60). I'm looking forward to comparing the EOS-D60 to the other cameras (especially Nikon's D100).
So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.
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