The EOS 60D is by no means the first Canon DSLR to offer video shooting, but it is the first to offer a flip-out screen to make filming easier. For anyone looking to shoot serious footage, this feature alone may easily justify the additional cost over the 550D/Rebel T2i. In most respects other respects, though, the 60D offers the same video specifications as the 550D and the 7D.

Video specification

The 60D offers progressive HD video capture at 1080p resolution and 30 or 25 frames per second, or 720p resolution and 60 or 50 frames per second, with the available frame rate dictated by whether you have switched the camera to NTSC or PAL video mode. There's also a 24fps option for 1080p irrespective of the video system you've selected. The 60D can also shoot two versions of VGA video - either taking a 4:3 section of the camera's whole sensor or a VGA crop mode that uses a 640x480 segment from the very center of the frame, giving a much tighter field of view.

The built-in internal microphone captures mono audio, but there is also a socket for a 3.5mm external microphone that allows recording of stereo sound. Furthermore, it is possible to perform basic video editing in-camera, by cutting clips to a selected start/end point. Like the 5D Mark II (and unlike the 7D) the 60D offers the ability to manually control the recording volume.

Sizes 1920x1080p: 30/24 fps (NTSC), 25/24 fps (PAL)
1280x720p (HD): 60 fps (NTSC), 50 fps (PAL)
640x480 (SD): 60 fps (NTSC), 50 fps (PAL)
Audio 44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic), Linear PCM
Format .MOV MPEG-4 AVC, H.264
File size 5.5 MB/sec (1080P), 5.5 MB/sec (720P), 2.8 MB/sec (VGA)
Max file size per clip 4GB
Running time (approx. based on 4GB file) 12 min for 1080P, 12 min for 720p, 24 min for VGA

Using Movie Mode

Like the EOS 550D, movie shooting is accessed on the main shooting dial. At this point, the mirror flips up, and a Live View screen appears on the LCD which is cropped to the aspect ratio of the selected recording format. Video capture can then be initiated by pressing the Record / Live View button just to the right of the viewfinder.

Just as in regular live view, it's possible to select which form of autofocus you wish to use at the beginning of recording - Live Mode (contrast detect AF - slow but no need to flip the mirror down), Face Detection Live Mode or Quick Mode (phase detection AF, which is very fast but requires the mirror to flip down for focusing, blocking the live view). During recording 'Live Mode' AF can be engaged by half-pressing the shutter button, regardless of which initial setting you've chosen, when 'AF w/shutter button during filming' is set to 'Enable'. Alternatively you can of course focus manually.

Exposure can either be set and adjusted manually or left for the camera to control automatically. You can also lock and unlock the exposure during video recording (and have a choice of which buttons perform each action). Still images can be taken at any time by pressing the shutter button, with video capture resuming immediately afterwards, leaving a pause of around 1 second in the playback.

Overall the video shooting isn't as seamlessly integrated as it is on the 7D - you still have to select a separate mode to engage video shooting - but, with the articulated screen, variety of frame rates and control over the behavior of an external mic, it's a pretty capable piece of kit for budding videographers.

Movie mode displays

The menu in movie allows you to configure how the camera handles exposure, focus and button operation during movie recording. The second screen allows choice over options including frame rate and sound recording options. These are the NTSC frame rates.
The 60D allows you to manually set the recording volume. The recording level can be set to one of around 60 positions to ensure a good recording level without clipping and distortion. The standard movie shooting screen is fairly minimalist, just letting you concentrate on framing your scene. Pressing the INFO button cycles through histogram, virtual horizon and a settings display that looks confusingly like the movie Q.Menu.

Video quality comments

Just as with the 550D and 7D, the 60D's video is very good. The results are smooth and fluid and the high level of control afforded over shutter speed, aperture and frame rate should allow the technically aware to get just the 'look' they're after.

With an APS-C sensor the 60D can't produce the very shallow depth-of-field footage that the 5D Mark II offers but still gives much more control in this respect than most movie cameras on the market. Noise becomes increasingly visible in low light, as you would expect and this can be slightly increased if you switch Auto Lighting Optimizer up too high.

There is, as with all current large sensor video-capable cameras, a degree of rolling shutter - the wobbly effect created when fast horizontal movement is captured. This is because, in common with other current CMOS chips, the sensor reads each line of the sensor one at a time. This means the captured subject can move substantially between the sensor starting to capture the frame and it finishing.

Sample videos

Caution: very large files

Sample video 1

1920 x 1080 25 fps, MPEG-4, .MOV file, 16 sec. 88.2 MB

Sample video 2

1920 x 1080 25 fps, MPEG-4, .MOV file, 26 sec. 147.3 MB