Operation and Controls (con't)

Like most modern DSLRs the rear LCD is one of the major ways of interacting with the camera's settings, rather than simply being a more colorful duplicate of the status LCD on the shoulder of the camera.

The 60D has a 3:2 aspect ratio display but doesn't output these proportions via either its AV or HDMI output. When it does this it rearranges some on-screen elements, giving an inaccurate impression of the camera's display. As a result we've taken the unusual step of using the graphics provided by Canon.

Status Screens

There are three main display screens available when shooting through the viewfinder. There's the traditional 'Camera settings' display, an electronic level display and the interactive 'Shooting functions' display. These are accessed by pressing the Info button (or the Q button in the case of the Shooting function display), which also cycles between the different options. There's also an option in the Setup (yellow) section of the menu that allows you to remove some of the display options to help you access your chosen display faster.

Camera settings Electronic level
Shooting functions Menu option allowing displays to be enabled or disabled.

Quick Menus

Pressing the Q button takes you directly to the interactive Shooting function/Q Menu screen. You can use the four way controller to navigate around the parameters - the control dials continue to control exposure at this point. Once you've settled on a parameter you can either press 'Set' which enters a screen listing all its options or you can use the dial to scroll between them, without taking you away from the main screen.

The Shooting functions/Q Menu screen lists the key shooting parameters. Once you've navigated to one of them you can either spin the control dial... ...or, if you want to see all its options, you can press the Set button and be taken to another screen listing all the possible settings.

Ambience (in Scene modes)

A new feature for the 60D which gives some idea of its new positioning is the Ambience option in scene modes. Rather than having to accept the fully automated results of the scene modes, you can choose to apply an 'Ambience' to the resulting image. These are like rather more extreme versions of the picture styles - giving more dramatic changes in color and contrast response.

In addition to setting the ambience you can also get the camera to consider what type of lighting you're shooting under - allowing you to set white balance in scene modes without having to learn what white balance is.

You can specify the 'ambience you wish to apply to the scene modes, including options such as 'cool' and 'intense.' You can also select the 'Lighting or Scene type' which looks a lot like a list of white balance presets.
Ambience modes are also available in Creative Auto mode, though not as post-shooting effects. The menu can also be accessed in live view mode by pressing the 'Q' button.

Live View/Movie Displays

Pressing the DISP button while in Live View toggles between the four available display modes, each with differing levels of overlaid information. As with previous models you can also add grid lines and you can choose to use 'Exposure Simulation' (which will attempt to reflect the brightness of the photo using the current exposure settings). The 3:2 aspect ratio means the preview image fills the entire frame, so the 'status bar' at the bottom is now semi transparent (on previous models it was outside the picture area on a black strip). To be honest it was easier to see before...

1: Live view with magnification area indicated + status line showing shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, frames remaining, ISO sensitivity and battery status. 2: Live view with magnification area + status line + brief overlay (Picture Style, AF mode, drive mode, white balance, image quality)
3: Live view with magnification area + status line + brief overlay + live histogram 4: Live view with magnification area (and nothing else)
5: Virtual level overlay  

Record review & play displays

The playback screens are absolutely standard Canon, with the review image shown with various amounts of shooting information overlaid. Because of the 3:2 screen, the full-screen modes now take up the whole screen with the information displayed as a white text overlay, rather than in a black status line at the top. Sadly it's impossible to take 3:2 screen grabs so these examples have been rearranged to 4:3 by the camera and hence still have black status lines.

1: Large image, no overlay 2: Large image + basic info + image number
3: Small image + lum histogram + detailed shooting info 4: Small image + status line + lum histogram + RGB histogram + detailed shooting info

Post processing options

The EOS 60D has a broader range of in-camera post-processing options. Not only does this include the JPEG processing 'Creative Filters' such as 'miniature mode' but now extends to a well-featured RAW conversion mode.

The RAW processing allows a range of camera settings, such as Auto Lighting Optimizer, Noise Reduction, White Balance and Picture Style to be retrospectively applied to a RAW file. The size of the output JPEG can be altered and the brightness of the image pushed to optimize the exposure. Not only does it give a preview but also allows you to zoom this preview to check the exact effect of your changes.

The raw conversion doesn't offer the same level of white balance fine-tuning as you get when shooting: you can set the value in Kelvin (Blue/Amber axis), nut you can't adjust in the green compensation (green/magenta) axis. You can, however, choose to apply distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting corrections that used to require a visit to your PC and Digital Photo Professional.

A range of 'Creative Filters' can be applied to JPEG images after they've been shot. Alternatively a broad range of settings, including digital exposure adjustment, can be applied to RAW files and saved as JPEGs.

Image tagging

The 60D offers the ability to tag each of your images with a 'Star' rating. These can then be used to find and filter your images or as a criterion for setting up slide shows. Once applied to images, these tags are also accessible through the supplied Digital Photo Professional software or third-party packages such as Adobe Bridge and Lightroom.

Each image can be rated individually, either via a menu option or through the on-screen playback 'Q' menu. Once rated it's possible to jump to rated images or use ratings as the basis for slide show image selection.