Canon EOS 60D: Hands-on Preview
A few weeks ago, Canon was gracious enough to allow me to spend and hour or so with a
prototype of the new Canon EOS 60D. Given all the rumors that have been circulating, it’s no big surprise that the 60D has appeared and that it fits neatly into the Canon DSLR lineup
between the Canon EOS Rebel T2i and the Canon EOS 7D.
The Canon EOS 60D retains all the major features of the EOS 50D, plus it adds some new features from the T2i and some from EOS 7D. Here are the main highlights, taken from both the Canon press release and one-on-one discussions with Canon.
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Canon EOS 60D Features
- An 18MP sensor with 4 channel readout. Very similar to the sensor found in the T2i and
EOS 7D, though the 7D has 8 channel readout to speed up operation.
- Full HD video at the same selectable resolutions and frame rates as the Rebel T2i/7D.
Manual exposure setting is possible.
- There is a "wind" filter which can be used when recording audio along with
video. The built-in mic is mono, but there is a jack for a stereo mic. There is manual
control over audio volume (64 steps), but changes cannot be made during shooting.
- The AF system has the 9 points found in the Rebel T2i, but all are cross (dual axis) sensors
as in the 50D. The 7D has a more advanced AF system with 19 cross type sensors.
- 63 zone metering as in the Rebel T2i and 7D
- The viewfinder has 96% coverage (the 7D is 100%).
- The ISO range is 100-6400 plus "H" (12800), same as the T2i and 7D.
- The EOS 60D now uses SD cards like the T2i. The 7D uses CF cards.
- Canon has abandoned the BP-511 battery of the 50D in favor of the LP-E6 which is used
in the EOS 7D (and 5D MkII).
- The maximum frame rate is 5.7 frames per second (fps), between the 3.7 fps of the T2i and the 8 fps of the 7D
- The LCD has a 3:2 aspect ratio and Canon’s current (and excellent) anti reflection
- For the first time on any Canon DSLR, the EOS 60D has a tilt and swivel LCD. This
doesn’t help much for conventional still photography, but it can be very useful in Live
View mode and when shooting video.
- The weathersealing is somewhere between that of the T2i and the EOS 7D. It’s not super
weather sealed, and it’s not designed to be used in heavy rain, but it shouldn’t quit if
it sees a little drizzle!
- The shutter is good for 100,000 cycles. Max speed is 1/8000s and sync is 1/250s
- There is an electronic level, but only for the horizontal axis. The 7D has both
horizontal and vertical levels, the T2i has none.
- There is a dedication position on the mode switch for video and a dedicated
"start/stop" button. When not in video mode, the button starts and stops Live
- The mode dial has a locking button in the center which must be pressed before rotating
the dial to change modes. This makes it harder to nudge the dial and inadvertantly change
modes. Hopefully Canon learned their lesson with the A2, which had a similar, but
notoriously fragile, mode change locking button.
- The on/off switch is now directly below the mode control dial (as in the EOS 7D)
- The buffer should be good for about 58 JPEGs or 16 RAW images. Better then the T2i, not
quite as good as the EOS 7D for JPEGs.
- The 4 way controller used for menu selection, AF zone selection etc. is now incorporated
inside the rear QCD on the EOS 60D.
- Last, but certainly not least is the EOS 60D list price of $1099!
You can look at the EOS 60D as a Rebel T2i but with a better viewfinder, better AF, higher frame rate, a tilt and swivel LCD, an electronic level, a rear QCD, a larger capacity battery and overall better ergonomics. Alternative you can look at the 60D as an EOS 7D, but with a less advanced AF system, less weather sealing, a slower frame rate, no vertical electronic level, a smaller JPEG buffer and using an SD card rather than CF. The unique feature of the EOS 60D is the tilt and swivel LCD screen.
Here’s a sample video shot with a pre-production (beta) model of the EOS 60D.
Handling the pre-production model was a familiar experience with the typical Canon DSLR
user interface. The menus have changed from the 50D and the control buttons have a
different layout, but that’s just a matter of getting used to them. Once you become
familiar with them you may find them easier to use than was the case with the 50D. Video
is particularly easy to shoot since there’s a dedicated mode, a dedicated start/stop
button and a tilt and swivel LCD which makes aiming the camera much easier than using a
fixed LCD on the rear of the camera.
It’s hard to give a detailed assessment of image quality other than to say it looks very much like the image quality of the EOS 7D (and EOS T2i). This is pretty much what
you’d expect since they all use the same basic sensor. There may be very slight sensor
differences between the cameras, but nothing that appears to affect image quality. There’s
no reason why the resolution should be any different from that of the T2i and 7D.
I suspect that the EOS 60D might displace the EOS 5D MkII as the camera of choice for
impoverished videographers since it offers pretty much the same video features, but with a
tilt and swivel LCD and all at significantly less than 1/2 the cost of the 5D MkII ($1099 vs. around $2500)
Based on the brief time I had with the pre-production model, I’d say Canon certainly has another winner in the EOS 60D. It’s a very useful update of the 50D, adding
more pixels, HD video, a tilt and swivel LCD and lots of other small refinements. My
only complaint is that I think I’d rather have had CF card storage than SD card, simply
because I already have a large collection of CF cards that I use in my other Canon DSLR
bodies. The main advantage of SD cards over CF cards is that there are no pins in the
socket to bend. In that regard they may be a more robust solution in the hands of
consumers. The currently available SD cards aren’t as fast as the fastest CF cards at the moment, but the 60D doesn’t need an ultra fast card. SD class 6 is recommended (and probably required for shooting longer 1080p HD video sequences). When I shot with the pre-production 60D I used an 8GB Kingston class 6 card and I had no problem with 1080p HD video. Transcend 8GB class 6 SDHC cards can be found for as little as around $20 each, so even if, like me, you have a collection of CF cards, buying a few new SDHC cards won’t break the bank.
My collection of BP-511/512 batteries is also getting less useful! No current DSLR now
uses that battery size. If you don’t mind using 3rd party batteries from China, you
can get spare LP-E6 batteries for around $8 each, so as with the SD memory cards, buying a
few spare batteries isn’t a big expense (unless you insist on genuine Canon batteries
which currently sell for $65-$70 each).
It’s interesting to note that all of Canon’s APS-C DSLRs now have much the same sensor
and display much the same image quality. They are differentiated by features, not by basic
image quality. The tilt and swivel LCD also looks like a winner and I’d expect to see it
as a feature on many future DSLRs from Canon. The only possible downside to it is that
under heavy use it might make the camera less durable. You could drop an EOS 1D series
body with no serious consequences, but if the LCD was folded out and you dropped it the
wrong way I’m not so sure it would survive intact. I’d certainly expect a tilt and swivel
LCD on the EOS 7D MkII and the EOS 5D MkIII, if and when they are released!
Are there any downsides to the 60D when compared with the 50D? Well, there are a few. The 60D has lost the AF microadjustment of the 50D and it no longer has a PC flash socket. However I suspect that not many owners of the 50D really use either of those features (though they are certainly nice to have and are used by some). The multi-axis controller in the QCD is arguably less easy to use than the separate “joystick” of the 50D. Inside the camera there is more plastic and less metal, though again that might be something the majority of users don’t really care about. I’m sure that for they typical customer the addition of HD video and a tilt and swivel LCD more than make up for the losses from the 50D. For 50D owners looking for a total upgrade, there’s always the EOS 7D, which is coming down in price now.
Sample EOS 60D Images
Here are some sample images. It’s important to note that all of these were taken with a
pre-production (beta test) camera, not a production sample.
Note: each thumbnail links to the full-size jpg of the image.
Full Canon Press Release
CANON’S NEW EOS 60D DIGITAL SLR CAMERA UNLEASHES THE CREATIVE POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND EOS FULL HD VIDEO WITH NEW IN-CAMERA IMAGING FEATURES
New EOS 60D Offers a Vari-Angle LCD Screen, EOS Full HD Video Recording, In-Camera RAW Processing and Creative Filters and 18-Megapixel Resolution Among Class-Leading Specs
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 26, 2010 — High-quality digital capture and skillful post-processing go hand-in-hand for superior end results, and more control over in-camera image processing means less time editing and more time shooting. At the same time, the overwhelming popularity of Full HD video recording with other current EOS Digital SLRs has led to customer requests for more advanced features such as manual audio level control and flexible LCD screens. Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, delivers all of these features and more with the new EOS 60D Digital SLR Camera. For the first time on an EOS camera, the EOS 60D DSLR boasts a three-inch Vari-Angle Clear View LCD screen, EOS Full HD video recording with manual overrides including audio level control, and in-camera functionality for RAW image processing plus Creative Filters to manipulate images after taking them. Designed primarily for advanced amateurs, the EOS 60D replaces the EOS 50D and boasts a broad array of new features that make it easier for photographers to add personal creativity to their images. Whether it’s capturing an overhead shot on the Vari-Angle screen at a graduation ceremony, or converting a color image to black and white for a nostalgic look, Canon is delivering in-camera features and functions that empower advanced photographers to capture, display and print the images they want.
“The EOS 60D has been designed to offer the image-capture and the Full HD video features customers are looking for as they continue to expand their photographic skills. The exciting new features of the EOS 60D make using a DSLR camera more attractive and easier than ever before. We want everyone to experience the great image quality a Canon DSLR can offer with features and functions that they will appreciate and use,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.
Exciting EOS “Firsts”
For the first time in the history of the Canon EOS System, the new 60D camera features a large Vari-Angle 3-inch Clear View LCD screen with 1,040,000 dot/VGA resolution plus anti-reflective and smudge-resistant coatings for bright clear viewing from any angle. The new LCD screen is ideal for composing low-angle or overhead shots whether capturing still images or Full HD video clips.
Another first for the EOS system is the EOS 60D camera’s new Multi-Control Dial, which places a Multi-Controller and Set button inside the Quick Control Dial. This new control layout streamlines camera navigation for vertical as well as horizontal shooting and enables a cleaner camera design. Responding to customer requests, the EOS 60D also features a locking mode dial, which makes camera operation more secure by preventing inadvertent changes to the photographer’s selected shooting mode.
While the photography mantra of “get it right in the camera” still stands true, Canon’s new EOS 60D gives advanced photographers an edge with new in-camera features that enable users to enhance their images without a computer even after they have been shot. For the first time ever in an EOS camera, the EOS 60D features in-camera processing of RAW image files, new reduced resolution image copies, and post-processing creative image filters for exceptional flexibility in digital image rendering.
In-camera RAW image processing features include Picture Style, White Balance (WB), Color Space, High-ISO Noise Reduction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, linear distortion correction and chromatic aberration correction. These powerful in-camera editing tools will allow photographers in the field to produce optimized images on the spot and generate JPEG files at various resolution and compression settings for immediate sharing, without affecting the original RAW data.
Another great new feature for photographers-on-the-go is Canon’s new image resizing function. After capturing full resolution or smaller JPEG images, the camera can generate lower-resolution copies using menu commands. New lower-resolution settings include 1920 × 1280 for optimal display on HD televisions, or 720 × 480, ideal for immediate uploading to social networking and other photo sharing web sites. The original high resolution files remain unaffected by the image resizing function.
Available for the first time in an EOS camera are Canon’s new creative image filters. Familiar to Canon PowerShot users, these fun photo effects help make a great image more dynamic, even after it has been shot. Canon provides four artistic filters that allow photographers to capture an image and then create and manipulate a digital copy of it.
- The Soft Focus effect filter helps dramatize an image and smooth over shiny reflections.
- The Grainy Black and White filter can give a different nostalgic perspective to any shot.
- Canon’s “Toy Camera” filter deliberately adds vignetting and color shift for a creative option when shooting a colorful scene.
- Users can also make a scene appear like a small-scale model, simulating the look from a tilt-shift lens, with Canon’s Miniature Effect filter, great when shooting any scene from a high vantage point.
Each of these filters can be applied to a captured still image in-camera to create a second “filtered” JPEG version, leaving the original RAW or JPEG file unaffected.
Another addition to the camera’s Live View function is Canon’s new Aspect Ratio feature whereby the Live View screen can display cropping lines for 1:1, 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios in addition to the standard 3:2 ratio. These cropping lines make it easier to compose images in Live View, and they can help to expedite printing when using Canon’s supplied Digital Photo Professional software. Custom aspect ratios are also applied to JPEG images whether captured directly in-camera or created with the EOS 60D’s in-camera RAW image processing function.
EOS HD Video: Continuing the Video Paradigm Shift
In addition to its new still capture capabilities, the EOS 60D features Full HD video capture at 1920 × 1080 resolution with selectable frame rates of 24p, 25p or 30p. Native 24p recording helps videographers achieve a more cinema-style look for their footage without the need for post-processing. The EOS 60D builds upon the great video capabilities Canon has introduced in recent DSLR cameras and packs them into a camera photo enthusiasts will love. Full HD video capture, along with selectable cinematic frame rates for both NTSC (National Television System Committee) and PAL (Phase Altering Line) standards, will help the EOS 60D to be the camera of choice among film students and photography students alike.
The new EOS 60D camera’s movie mode also includes manual controls for exposure as well as manual audio levels in 64 steps, much like the latest firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark II HD-SLR. Users can set audio levels on the rear menu screen before shooting begins; once recording is initialized, audio adjustments are not possible. In addition, Canon has added an electronic Wind Filter to the audio controls within the movie shooting menu.
Canon has also included an in-camera movie editing feature, allowing users to shorten a video file by clipping segments from the beginning or the end, removing unwanted portions without outside software. This feature can dramatically accelerate workflow by reducing the time needed to upload video clips to a computer for further editing and assembly. The EOS 60D also includes Canon’s Movie Crop mode, which allows users to achieve 7x magnification when shooting SD video. Unlike the digital zoom feature found in many compact digital cameras, Canon’s Movie Crop mode crops the image directly from the CMOS sensor at full SD resolution to preserve image quality and still provide additional telephoto power.
Providing access to the right lens for any given shooting scenario, the EOS 60D DSLR camera is compatible with more than 60 Canon EF and EF-S lenses. The EOS 60D DSLR’s video functions are supported by two key proprietary Canon technologies, a DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor and a large APS-C-sized CMOS sensor capturing fine detail and color with an amazing cinematic depth of field. The Canon EOS 60D allows for three video recording modes — Full HD and HD in a 16:9 aspect ratio and Standard Definition (SD) in a 4:3 aspect ratio, all at selectable frame rates. The EOS 60D Digital SLR camera will record Full HD at 1920 × 1080 pixels in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); 720p HD recording at 50p or 60p (59.94) and SD video at frame rates of 50p or 60p (59.94). The EOS 60D features a dedicated button to initiate live view for both video and still shooting. Once engaged, the same dedicated button will start and stop video recording.
Valuable Additional Features
Along with the adjustable LCD screen, the new EOS 60D DSLR features a class-leading 18-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor, a proprietary DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor, a 9-point Autofocus system and Canon’s exclusive iFCL Metering System (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance) giving it the power of a professional-level camera. Capable of capturing fast action, the 60D DSLR can shoot full resolution still images up to 5.3-frames per second (fps). The EOS 60D records its images and video clips to the photographer’s choice of SD, SDHC or new extended capacity SDXC memory cards.
The 9-point AF system on the new EOS 60D features f/5.6-sensitive cross-type focusing on all nine focusing points. Like the EOS 7D, the center AF point is a hybrid of standard cross-type and special diagonally-shaped “X” cross, with high-precision sensitivity for f/2.8 and larger aperture lenses. Complementing the AF system, Canon’s iFCL metering system, identical to that on the EOS 7D and Rebel T2i, takes color information into account and includes a 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor that reads both illumination and color for consistent results in all lighting conditions, keeping exposure levels stable from shot to shot, even as the light source changes.
Photographers will enjoy shooting in low light thanks to the EOS 60D DSLR’s wide ISO range from 100-6400 (adjustable in 1/3-step increments from ISO 100-6400 and expandable to 12,800) allowing it to capture beautiful images without flash during family milestone events such as wedding ceremonies, while still being equipped with a built-in pop-up flash for shooting the cake cutting ceremony and reception. The EOS 60D’s pop-up flash features a built-in Integrated Speedlite Transmitter for control of up to two groups of off-camera EOS Speedlites without the need for an external transmitter, providing an economical solution for multi-flash shoots.
Making accurate composition more convenient, the EOS 60D’s optical viewfinder provides 96 percent coverage along with Canon’s built-in single axis Electronic Level Display, which utilizes the exposure level scale below the picture area to let the photographer know when the camera is level. The Electronic Level Display is also visible on the camera’s LCD screen in both Live View and Movie modes. An artificial horizon display illustrates horizontal roll, allowing the photographer to know when the camera is in a fixed level position. The entire camera has been durability-tested to 100,000 exposures making the EOS 60D a reliable as well as a powerful imaging tool.
Where to Buy
Photo.net’s partners have the Canon EOS 60D available in a few different options. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.