By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Review] Canon 60D… A real step forward for every DSLR enthusiast
There have been rampant rumors about a possible replacement of the not-so-fantastic Canon 50D for YEARS – actually over a year and half! Where many gave up on a 50D replacement and moved away to Nikon with their fantastic D90, others wanted to believe that one day, Canon will fix the underwhelming 50D and release a better, faster and up-to-date DSLR with what we knew will be the 60D. And today, two years after the 50D was released, Canon officially reveals to the world its 60D, and it does not disappoint!
The 60D keeps pretty much the same “shape” and lines that we have seen since the 20D, but with a huge list of design tweaks and hardware improvements, make it a worthy successor to the 30D, 40D and 50D.
Many things have changed on this camera, and it is difficult to know where to start describing the changes. The first thing however that you will notice if you have ever owned either a 20D, 30D, 40D and 50D is huge weight decrease between the 50D (822g) compared to the 60D, of just 755g. Sure 67g does not look much on the paper, but believe me, after a while you will love the difference! Moving away from the usual, but heavier Magnesium Alloy found on previous models, the 60D comes with a new Polycarbonate resin with glass fiber on aluminum chassis, which, according to Canon, will offer the same level of robustness and quality. As far as I am concerned, although I welcome the lighter weight, I am however not so impressed by the “Plastic” look & and feel of the 60D, and while I would prefer the magnesium alloy body feel in my hands, I have to admit that the 60D body will better handle time than, for example, our 30D, where paint vanished in certain areas, uncovering the “silverish” color of the magnesium alloy body.
Despite its overall resemblance to previous models, the D60 comes with an entirely redesigned button layout similar to the 7D and with, a first, flat buttons on next to the upper LCD Control. One of the primary reasons for Canon to rethink and disrupt loyal customers’ long-standing/groomed/developed habits is the appearance of the nice articulating 3” monitor, a first for Canon on its DLSR line-up.
It is true that at first it was quite puzzling, and I had to completely rethink the way I use the camera to get used to its new button layout – especially for the “Delete” button that is now no longer placed at the bottom left on the rear panel of the camera but on its Top Left just bellow the “On-Off” Switch. Closer to a 7D in its button layout, the 60D offers however a less cluttered design with just what you need concentrated in one area to be easily manipulated with your right thumb, making the transition from any previous Canon DSLR smooth and simple.
One of the major changes on the 60D is its articulating 3” Monitor, and while this may sound crazy for many hardcore DSLR users, I on the other hand welcome the move and hope to see more on Canon’s future replacements of both the 7D and 5D MK II.
So why is such an LCD a good thing on a DSLR? Although it is true that I am not a huge fan of shooting photos with most cameras’LiveView modes, an articulating LCD makes it easier to shoot pictures in previously impossible situations, and believe me on this one, there are many! The second advantage of such an LCD is when you are shooting Video with your DSLR installed on a tripod, having the possibility to control your LCD position is a HUGE plus.
Finally, and this may not seem trivial for some, this new LCD will give you for the first time in Canon DSLR history the ability to safely hide your monitor from scratches or worse.
Add to this long list of improvements, the support of SD, SDHC and SDXC cards (bye bye CF) and a lock on the camera Mode Dial, that I personally can’t stand, and you have here pretty much all that you should know on the 60D once you hold it for the first time.
Let’s Shoot Baby.
On paper, both the 7D and 60D are not too different. Both come with an 18 Megapixel APS-C sensor, are capable of achieving a 100-6400 ISO Sensitivity, have a basic 1/8000 to 1/30 sec shutter speed and the same 1080/24/25/30p and 720/60p Video mode, but, that’s pretty much all. Both the 60D and 7D are in fact very different in that the 7D comes with two DIGIC 4 Image processors offering a stunning 8fps continuous burst speed (126 Jpeg or 15 Raw shots Max), compared to the 5.3fps mode on the 60D (58 Jpeg / 16 RAW Max), a 100% viewfinder coverage on the 7D compare to only 96% on the 60D, 19 Point AF on the 7D compare to the 9 AF point on the 60D and no AF Microfocus Adjustment for the 60D.
Clearly both the 7D and 60D aims at a different target market, but luckily (for potential 60D customers) both offer quite similar results when shooting photo in perfect lighting conditions; with, however, a huge advantage for the 7D in low light, whereas the 60D does not “shine” here and where you will have to quickly jump into higher ISO and take the risk to get pictures with more noise.
Mounted with Canon’s stock 18-55mm Lens Kit, the very same one without a focus ring, the 60D offered some pretty descent shots, but like usual on this kind of Camera we will strongly advise you to go for a better lens like Canon’s latest EF-S17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM, sold in the 7D Kit for example, or even better if you can afford Canon’s higher-end models
To be fair, it is fairly difficult for me to tell the difference between the 7D and 60D under perfect lighting conditions; only when things get darker and the camera needs an ISO speed boost does the gap between both become more visible.
The 60D comes with the same video mode available on the 7D with the difference being the offering of the same manual Audio control on the 60D found so far only on the 5D MK II.
The 60D, unlike both the 7D and 5D MK II for example, does not come with a 100% viewfinder, and only displays 96% of the image making a difference in specific composition. But it comes with an interesting AF mode while shooting video, similar from what can be found on a GH1 or GH2 for example.
Now in reality, I have to admit that I was impressed by the video capability of the 60D, which seems slightly better for me than the one on the 7D. Now, we tested the 7D at its launch and Canon had released several firmware updates since then, and testing a 7D with its latest firmware may produce a different result – although that would be quite difficult to accomplish without one in our hands – but, while the 60D does not match the 5D MK II in video sharpness and quality, the result was way better than what we used to have on entry level Kiss or Rebel models. Even in low light and at high ISO, the 60D was handling things well. You can even check the result here in one of our “Let’s Visit Tokyo” series : Shinagawa Business Center by Night.
Add to this the fact that you can now tilt your LCD at will, the 60D offers a powerful video mode in a nonetheless powerful DSLR.
Last but Not least, the 60D is aimed for a more casual user than the 7D, for example, and unlike the 7D, the 60D does not come with an “All Weather” capable body; but, it does come with many little handy things as well, like an artificial horizon, In-Camera RAW image processing and a very interesting “Creative Effect” mode often found on Point & Shoots or Bridge (offering the possibility to have a “Tilt Shift” or “Toy” effect on your pictures), and support for both PictBridge and DPOF V1.1 if you ever feel like printing pictures without a computer.
There is so much more to say about this camera and its impressive number of features and functionalities, but I would rather advise you to go and check out other reviews made by professionals who are making a living with their photography… Like usual we are giving you here a “user-oriented” review or first impression review if you like. But bottom line, while the 60D aims for casual shooters, it offers near professional – or should I say near-7D – capabilities and quality, making the 60D a highly recommended DSLR for anyone who just want more than an entry level model but does not need a professional tool.
Last word will be to get the 60D only (Body) and get the 7D Kit lens EF-S17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM to go along with your camera if you want the ultimate kit.