Canon 60D, T2i, or 7D? Kit lens or Body only? I posted a similar discussion over on the 60D-Body only page, but I am adding some further thoughts on the kit lens here.

The big question is: do you get the 60D, the 7D or the 550D / T2i ?? This decision has become infinitely more difficult as all three of these cameras now share so many specifications and features. And because they also share an image sensor that is very similar, and all with 18 megapixels, the image quality of these three cameras will be nearly identical.

Here are comparisons of some of the similarities and differences of these three cameras. Remember that all of these comparisons and features are relative. Of course the fact that the 7D can take 126 consecutive photos at the rate of 8 frames per second makes it "better." Advanced features like that differentiate it from the other models and are also why it costs more. But do you ever need to take 15.75 seconds of continuous photos? Ever?

Exposure Metering: The three cameras all share the latest 63-zone exposure metering system and 4 metering modes. That means they will all determine the exposure virtually identically and enable you to take properly exposed photos in most every situation, including difficult back-lit scenes. The size of the areas metered for Partial and Spot metering vary slightly between the cameras, but that isn't anything critical.

Autofocus: The 60D shares a similar autofocus system to the 550D and the previous 50D, with 9 focus points and three auto focusing modes. It is much less complex than the sophisticated autofocus system of the 7D with its 19 AF point system and its additional Zone and Expansion focus modes - not to mention the custom settings of the 7D which will allow one to customize how the AF system works. However, if you are not a professional sports photographer or someone who understands, needs, and will use the elaborate features of the 7D AF system, then this shouldn't dissuade you from the 60D.

Construction: As you can probably figure out from the prices, each camera is not built the same. The 60 has relatively strong construction of aluminum and polycarbonate. It is better built than the 550D but not as strong as the 7D's magnesium alloy frame. The 60D also has some amount of weather sealing - more than the 550D/T2i, less than the 7D. But for most users, including even those using the camera daily or in travel situations, the construction of the 60D is far more than good enough, strong enough, durable enough, and weather resistant enough.

ISO: Since the 60D shares a very similar sensor with the other two cameras, its ISO sensitivity and performance at high ISO settings is virtually the same. But don't take my word for it, don't be swayed by pixel peepers on forums, instead check out the camera sensor tests at dxomark to verify this.

Controls: As with construction, the buttons and controls vary with these cameras. The 60D sits between the other two. It has nearly every control one needs on the exterior of the camera and it has the top LCD display screen that is not on the 550D/T2i. Any other controls can be easily accessed with the Q button and menu or in the other menus on the rear LCD monitor. The top buttons of the 60D set only one setting each, so this is less complicated than the multiple-setting buttons of the 7D. Canon has removed the WB button that the 7D and 50D have, but that isn't a big deal - use the Q Menu. Another change is that the Multi-controller has been moved from the thumb joystick like the 7D and 50D and placed in the middle of the rear Quick-control dial. This doesn't change how it functions, and should just be a matter of getting used to the difference.

Menus and Custom Functions: The 60D has many more Menu and Custom Function settings than the 550D/T2i and nearly as many as the 7D. These settings allow you to customize the operation, function, and controls of the 60D to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, peripheral illuminations correction for lenses (fixes dark corners) and customizing which button does what.

Wireless Flash: Like the 7D, the 60D incorporates wireless flash triggering. It allows you to trigger multiple off camera flashes at different output levels. The 550D/T2i does not have this feature.

Articulating LCD Screen: The big new feature that the 60D has that the other two cameras do not is the articulating rear LCD screen. This may prove useful for videographers, as well as for setting up compositions while the camera is on a tripod, for macro use, or for using it from unusually low or high vantage points. Some users will be able to avoid buying an expensive angle finder because of this feature. There is also an electronic level, visible in the viewfinder, rear LCD monitor, or top LCD panel (when this feature is activated, the camera uses the exposure scale as the level in the viewfinder and on the top LCD panel).

Viewfinder: The 60D has a large, bright viewfinder with 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, a tiny bit better than the 550D/T2i but not quite as nice as the nearly 100% view of the 7D.

Processor: The 60D shares the same Digic 4 processor as the 550D/T2i. The 7D has dual Digic 4 processors. However, as I said above, if you don't need to shoot dozens of continuous images, you probably won't notice any processing speed issues.

Continuous Shooting Speed: While the 60D can't shoot a blazing 8 frames per second like the 7D, it can shoot a respectable 5.3 fps which is actually a more useful rate, and is a higher rate than the 550D/T2i rate of 3 fps.

Memory Card: The 60D uses the SD memory card like the 550D/T2i, not the CF card of the 7D and 50D. This doesn't affect anything except perhaps your collection of CF cards.

Battery: The 60D uses the LP-E6 battery like the 7D and 5D, which is a nice feature as this battery can often last through a full day of shooting.

Size and Weight: Larger and heavier than the 550D/T2i, smaller and lighter than the 7D. It is a very nice size, weight, feel, and design that should be comfortable for most users.

Lack of AF Microadjustment: Many are disappointed that the 60D does not include the ability to micro-adjust the focus so that each lens is completely accurate. However, if you have a focus issue, send your camera and/ or lenses to Canon while under warranty and ask them to calibrate them.

Locking Mode Dial: This is a new feature for a Canon dSLR that keeps the Mode dial from accidentally rotating. A nice touch.

And of course the 60D has full HD video, just like the other two cameras.

Shameless Plug: If you'd like to get up and running with the 60D quickly and competently, be sure to check out an eBook I wrote called Real World 60D. It describes how to set up ALL the Menu settings and Custom Function settings (except movie menus), plus explains how, when, and why to use the settings, controls, and features of the 60D in everyday use, including Av and Tv. Plus information on exposure, composition, using depth of field, and basic video settings. It is nearly 40 full-text pages of solid and helpful information to help you use your 60D to its full potential and take great images. See my Wordpress blog "Picturing Change" or go to this link to learn more:
http://dojoklo.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/canon-60d-users-guide-and-tutorial/

Kit Lens: The 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 is a nice lens with a broad range that will take you all the way from wide angle shots to a medium telephoto focal length. The image stabilization (IS) will help prevent against blur caused by camera shake when hand-holding, and will enable you to use slightly shower shutter speeds than the situation calls.

That being said, just because Canon paired this lens with the 60D doesn't mean it is the best lens for you. Determine what lens is best for the way you work, and buy the body only with another lens if necessary. And consider an upgrade to a higher quality L-series lens to get the most out of the 18 megapixels of the 60D
[UPDATED] asked by dojoklo on September 22, 2010
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Showing 1-9 of 9 answers
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The following could be a reason why Canon is dropping the price, every month, on this camera.
The Canon Kit for the EOS 60D and Lens 18-135mm has been nothing but a disaster. I experienced the following problems:
Canon EOS 60D problems:
1. When trying to photograph I got clicking sounds that would not let the camera function. I do not believe it was a mirror lock-up, I believe it was the built-in flash trying to open up. This problem occurred 3 times.
2. On at least two occasions I experienced a mirror lock-up.
3. Camera had extremely poor quality for 18mb even with my 70-200 Canon L lens.
4. Macro and focusing problems occurred mainly on close-ups. I had to manually focus and manually set the aperture and speed on close-ups. My 70-200 Canon L lens can focus up to 1.5. I was over 3 feet away and had a problem focusing on my subject. My 40D experienced none of the above problems. That is why I know it is the Camera and not I. I have been working with digital cameras for 8 years and before that I had medium format cameras (2 ¼ " film) and 35mm film cameras without auto-focus so it is not that I do not know how to operate a simple digital camera, it is the camera not operating like a simple digital camera.
Canon 18-135mm lens problems:
1. I was not able to focus at times whether close-up or from a distance with this lens. I was able to focus with my 70-200 Canon L lens and my Tamaron 28-75mm DI lens without a problem. Though I did have times when I had to go fully manual while in Macro mode with my other lenses!
2. I experienced an anomaly I never experienced throughout my career and that is vignette while the lens is fully extended to 135mm. Vignette usually occurred when the lens is wide open (18mm) with the wrong filter or filters gang banged or the wrong lens hood attached. The wrong lens hood being one that is not a lens hood for a lens as wide as 18mm. Webster's dictionary defines vignette as:
(verb [ trans. ] portray (someone) in the style of a vignette.
* Produce (a photograph) in the style of a vignette by softening or shading away the edges of the subject.
Michael Thomas answered on January 27, 2011
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Sounds like you need to return this one. Other reviews of this model (both consumer reviews and professional) have been glowing. Send it back and demand a replacement.
DK answered on February 5, 2011
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Thanks for taking the time to provide this information. I am researching these models, so this is very helpful.
M. Trotter answered on November 9, 2010
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Michael--I have this lens as well, and so far everything has been fine with it. I had read from quite a number of readers that the lens could cast a shadow at the extreme end, but as long as you watch for this, there are of course things you can do to avoid that. Haven't heard too much about vignetting so far, but then I wasn't looking specifically for that. And then of course this problem can be fixed in PP, but it's always nice to have it turn out right from the beginning, isn't it?

Did you return your 60D? I'm really thinking twice now, as I was thinking about getting one. Thanks for your contribution!
TechWriter answered on January 31, 2011
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Michael--I have this lens as well, and so far everything has been fine with it. I had read from quite a number of readers that the lens could cast a shadow at the extreme end, but as long as you watch for this, there are of course things you can do to avoid that. Haven't heard too much about vignetting so far, but then I wasn't looking specifically for that. And then of course this problem can be fixed in PP, but it's always nice to have it turn out right from the beginning, isn't it?

Did you return your 60D? I'm really thinking twice now, as I was thinking about getting one. Thanks for your contribution!
TechWriter answered on January 31, 2011
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Did you demand a replacement? Also like other members have pointed out your problems seem unique, or may I haven't looked hard enough but everyone seems to be rating this camera rather well.
Aditya answered on February 23, 2011
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My wife loves to take pictures but is a novice photographer. I want to buy her something nice so that she can take shots of the high school marching band and vacation pictures and this looks like a nice camera. Maybe too much for a novice but something we can both certainly grow into.
Michael Grantham answered on December 16, 2010
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My wife loves to take pictures but is a novice photographer. I want to buy her something nice so that she can take shots of the high school marching band and vacation pictures and this looks like a nice camera. Maybe too much for a novice but something we can both certainly grow into.
Michael Grantham answered on December 16, 2010
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[Deleted by the author on Nov 9, 2010 4:44:11 PM PST]
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