Customer Review

1,751 of 1,787 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice camera - fits right in between the Rebel series and 7D, September 20, 2010
This review is from: Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Camera)
This addition to Canon's XXD line might initially seem like a minor downgrade to the previous XXD cameras, but several new capabilities actually help make this a nice, well-featured camera that will appeal to many people who don't get caught up in whether or not this is a better camera than it's predecessor. Canon certainly made this camera for the price point and was careful to add just enough features to make it desirable over the T2i, but not desirable enough to compete with the 7D. In some respects though, it seems like a beefed-up version of the Rebel line (a "Super-Rebel") instead of a new addition to the XXD line.

As someone who has now had the opportunity to use all three of Canon's mid-range lineup (the T2i, 60D, and 7D), I have to say that I really like the feel of the 60D. Even though it no longer has the magnesium alloy body, it feels solid. In no way does it feel cheap. I have fairly small hands and the 60D feels like it was made for me. It's significantly lighter than the 7D and feels like it would be much more friendly on long hikes. The 7D feels much more robust; however, the 60D feels much more "comfy". It is definitely bigger in size than the T2i, but the angles and design of the camera have a nicely updated feel to them that makes it seem like you are getting a much more substantial camera. The articulating screen was also done very well. My initial worries that the screen would feel cheap and break easily were immediately relieved after using it. The hinges are very solid and feel almost stiff to the point where you are comfortable with it staying right where you want it. It also is very flush with the rest of the body and offers little space in between.

Aside from the feel, the camera takes beautiful pictures. Quality-wise, there is very little difference between the pictures that come out of the T2i, 60D, and 7D. ISO performance is very similar and therefore can not be much of a deciding factor between the models. Most of the decision factors really will focus on which user interface and camera system best appeals to your type and level of photography. Each of Canon's mid-range models has it's own pros and cons, and while there are MANY differences between each camera, these are the main points I considered when deciding between cameras to purchase (hopefully it helps those going through the same decision I did):

60D vs. 50D:

(+) New Sensor - the same 18MP sensor that the 7D and T2i have, better ISO coverage/performance
(+) 63 zone dual-layer metering
(+) Better viewfinder - 96% coverage vs 95% coverage
(+) Video
(+) Articulating screen
(+) Wireless flash control
(+) Horizontal electronic level
(+) In camera processing (new RAW processing feature and in camera filter effects)
(+) Control over max auto-ISO
(+) Eye-Fi wifi file transfer functions

(-) The magnesium alloy body of the 50D has been replaced with a polycarbonate body
(-) 6.3 fps shooting is down to 5.3 fps
(-) No lens microadjustment in 60D

(+/-) Compact flash card slot has been changed to a SD card slot
(+/-) Joystick replaced by directional pad

60D vs. T2i

(+) 9 all cross-type AF points vs T2i's 9 points w/ 1 center cross-type
(+) 96%, .95 magnification pentaprism viewfinder vs T2i's 95%, .87 magnification pentamirror viewfinder
(+) Articulating screen
(+) Wireless flash control
(+) Horizontal electronic level
(+) In camera processing (new RAW processing feature and in camera filter effects)
(+) Top LCD screen
(+) 5.3 fps vs 3.7 fps
(+) Built in adjustable audio level capability in video

60D vs. 7D

(+) Articulating screen
(+) In camera processing (new RAW processing feature and in camera filter effects)
(+) Control over max auto-ISO
(+) Eye-Fi wifi file transfer functions
(+) Built in adjustable audio level capability in video

(-) 9 all cross-type AF points vs 7D's 19 all cross-type points
(-) Less AF features (such as Zone AF and Point Expansion)
(-) Polycarbonate body vs 7D's magnesium alloy
(-) 96%, .95 magnification pentaprism viewfinder vs 7D's 100%, 1.0x magnification pentaprism viewfinder
(-) Transmissive LCD screen on focus screen on 7D
(-) Only horizontal electronic level vs both horizontal and vertical level on 7D
(-) 5.3 fps vs 7D's 8 fps
(-) No lens microadjustment in 60D
(-) Shutter life of 100,000 vs 7D's 150,000
(-) Dual DIGIC 4 processors in 7D
(-) 3 custom settings in 7D; 1 custom settings in 60D
(-) No PC Sync in 60D

By comparing these features, it's easy to see that the 60D fits well in the price point directly between the T2i and 7D, but of course, a large segment of previous 40D and 50D owners hoping for a true successor that isn't watered down to a certain price point will still undoubtedly be disappointed. It's easy to see in comparing the 60D to the 7D and also to Nikon's newest offerings that Canon chose to limit functionality merely so that 60D sales didn't interfere with the 7D. In fact, if you are not completely entrenched in the Canon camp, I would also suggest looking at the new Nikon D7000. It looks like a spectacular camera for not much more than the 60D. I have not used it nor will I, so I can't comment on whether it's a better choice or not.

Even so, the quality of the 60D and new functionality offer enough new aspects that many customers will surely be happy with it. The articulating screen offers a way to attain tough shots that would have previously demanded extra equipment or odd contortions to reach. It also gives a great new avenue for video capture. Eye-fi wireless transfers work well and help out on those lazy days where you just want to set your camera down and have the work of transferring photos be done for you. Much of the in camera post-production comes off as being a little "gimmicky" to me, but having the option to add effects and process photos definitely doesn't detract from the camera. And many people who don't do much of their own post-processing after transfer to a computer will probably find the in camera RAW conversion and creative effects to be a nice addition.

To me, it really came down to one major factor though: autofocus. I tend to do a lot of shooting involving fast moving subjects, so autofocus for my photography is key. The T1i and T2i were disappointing in this respect. 9 points with one cross-type in the T1i/T2i is respectable, but I found that I really could only rely on using the center point in AI servo mode to get many speedy subjects in focus. I purchased a 7D later, and was blown away by the accuracy. The options of using extra points for expansion, using autofocus zones, having 19 full cross-type points, superior subject tracking, and even the option for narrowing the points in spot autofocus really opened up new areas of photography for me. I get about 10x the amount of usable shots than I would with the T1i and T2i. The 60D isn't THAT good, but it is still much better than the T1i/T2i. In fact, just like with almost everything else about the camera, it's just about right in between the T2i and 7D. Autofocus is fast and accurate, but there are still moments where subjects just move too fast and unfortunately, the 60D doesn't have the capabilities of the 7D. If you are deciding between the 7D and 60D, this is the area you should really look at, because this is the real difference between the 2 cameras. I chose the 7D, and then decided to give the 60D a try just to see if I made the right decision. I am happy with my 7D, but the 60D was no slouch.

In my honest opinion, I think this is a huge sticking point for 40D and 50D owners though. The autofocus system needed to be updated from the previous 2 XXD editions. It has the same 9 cross-type points as the 40D and 50D did before it, and same functionality. To be a good upgrade for previous XXD users, it didn't have to be as good or better than the 7D, but it would have been nice for it to be better than the previous 2 models. Removing the magnesium alloy body and lens microadjustment really comes across as a slap in the face to some users who valued those aspects. I have to say that the body is much lighter, doesn't feel significantly less sturdy (even though it probably is less sturdy), and I've never needed to use lens microadjustment though, so I'm not overly upset about those aspects. I am not thrilled about the "non-update" of the autofocus system though.

Now that I have handled and used all 3 cameras currently in Canon's mid-range lineup, I can definitively say that they are all stellar cameras, but just made for different segments of the market. The T2i is an amazing starter camera and takes great photos for those who want to save a little extra money by going without some of the features they might not use. It might be the best budget option for those who don't take many action shots. For an extra few hundred dollars, the 60D adds some intriguing new features and seems to be aimed at the people who want a slightly higher-end camera than the T2i, but aren't ready to shell out the money for the 7D. It's a great compromise, and to me, the main thing you are missing out on is superior autofocus capabilities. The 7D is more aimed towards the pro-sumer market who want/need a faster autofocus and overall faster, more rugged camera. It's hard to go wrong with any of them, but the 60D offers a great blend of features from both the T2i and 7D along with new features of it's own for a price that won't completely break the bank. It seems to have accomplished everything it needed to do, except for one: giving the 40D and 50D owners an option for upgrade aside from the expensive 7D. If the 60D had kept the magnesium alloy body, lens microadjustment, or even just had a slightly better AF system compared to the 50D, I could easily give this camera 5 stars. As it is, I can only give it 4 stars because it's a wonderful camera for a certain segment of customers looking for a new camera, but completely isolates another loyal customer base looking for their beloved XXD line to continue.

Update: With the release of the T4i, Canon's camera playing field has certainly changed. The minor changes to the T3i didn't warrant much more discussion on the 60D vs Rebel DSLR's than was already posted with the T2i, but the T4i brings some new interesting features to the table, puts picture quality and capture characteristics on par with the 60D, and in some respects ends up being a more appealing camera.

Perhaps the most interesting new features on the T4i are that it now has autofocus during video while using Canon's new STM lenses and has a touchscreen display. For those who want or need autofocus while shooting video, this is a big selling point for the new Rebel instead of the 60D. Granted, it's not going to live up to the snappy autofocus you get when not using live-view mode or that when using specialized video camera's, but Canon did a great job with it over all. In my mind, it is a desirable feature to have access to even if you prefer to manual focus video most of the time.

The T4i also upped the Rebel line's bar to include the 5 fps and 9 cross type autofocus points already found on the 60D.

So back to the question at hand though: If you are choosing between the 60D and the T4i, which one do you go for? The 60D still has some major advantages in my opinion, and it really comes down to the better camera body of the 60D vs. the new video features of the T4i. With the 60D, you get the large dial on the back of the camera for rotating through images and selections and you also get the top LCD. The 60D still has a better, brighter viewfinder and can shoot at 1/8000 of a second opposed to the max 1/4000 of a second that the T4i can do. If those aspects don't concern you and you desperately want video autofocus, go for the T4i instead. It's a great camera. If, on the other hand, you would like a slightly more professional body and can live without video autofocus, the 60D is a great choice too. My personal choice still goes to the 7D if you can afford the upgrade though - the autofocus and 8 fps on it really put it in another level.
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Comments

Tracked by 29 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 205 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 21, 2010 6:04:51 AM PDT
EWG says:
Excellent review. I particularly liked your + versus - feature when comparing each camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2010 7:09:04 AM PDT
C. Tipton says:
thanks!

Posted on Sep 22, 2010 5:54:58 AM PDT
FaithWeb says:
Thanks for this great review, which was perfect for a guy like me who is fairly early in a web communications career and is looking for his first DSLR. In my case, video capabilities are very important. The comparison to the T2i was especially helpful to me, since I'm a budget shopper.

Other reviewers on other sites have agreed with your point that brand new buyers should at least consider the Nikon D7000. But a local video pro tells me that Canon has been winning in the DSLR video category for so long that it wouldn't make sense to jump to Nikon even if they did edge out Canon in the D60 vs D7000 fight (I'm not saying they did; still researching). So the 60D is probably going to be my camera, and this review was helpful in that decision.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2010 6:10:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2010 7:16:58 AM PDT
C. Tipton says:
Glad the review could help to you. One thing to consider if you are after video capabilities is that Nikon has introduced a much nicer autofocus system into their new DSLR video. With Canon, you are going to be pretty much stuck with manual focus... in order to autofocus during video on the 60D, you have to hit the autofocus button and wait while it finds focus. It's extremely slow and tedious to do every time you want to find focus. Manual focus takes getting used to if you aren't used to it already, but is a lot faster and can be more accurate when you get good. Nikon's 2 newest camera's (D3100 and D7000) have incorporated a continuous autofocus which supposedly works well. You might still want to work with manual focus during video, but that's just one thing to look into more since I'm not overly familiar with the Nikons (I have too many Canon lenses to even think about switching).

Honestly, I think lenses are where it's at though. Nicer and better camera bodies are great, but the lens offerings are really what make the photos/videos. I think that's where Canon really has the edge on Nikon. While Nikon has some great lenses, overall, I like Canon's offerings better. And as a fellow budget shopper, you'll be happy to know that Canon's lenses tend to be much cheaper than Nikon's.

Posted on Sep 23, 2010 7:32:39 PM PDT
GREAT review. Thank you so much for taking the time. Would you recommend going with the 50D? I am just getting into photography, but plan on taking classes, etc. Do you think a 7D would be too overwhelming? I really wanted to stick with Canon, but I am just so disappointed in what I keep reading. I doubt I will ever have a chance to upgrade. I want to do it right from the start.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2010 7:55:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 23, 2010 8:06:21 PM PDT
C. Tipton says:
If I were just getting into photography and choosing between the 50D, 60D, and 7D, I would definitely go with the 60D. I hope I didn't give you the impression that the 60D is anything less than a fantastic camera. I think it is definitely better than the 50D. I also think it just isn't quite the upgrade that many people were hoping for. My primary disappointment came with the lack of an upgrade to the autofocus system... but, it still has the same autofocus system as the 50D, so the 60D AF will be at least as good as the 50D AF and from what I hear, probably a little faster (I don't have a 50D to test that out though).

The upgrades you get in the 60D vs the 50D more than make up for the things missing in my opinion. You are basically adding video, articulating screen, better picture quality, wifi photo transfers, wireless flash control, and in camera processing in exchange for slightly slower frames per second shots, a plastic body, and no lens micro adjustment. As a beginner, you will almost certainly not need the lens micro adjustment. The plastic body is still almost just as solid as the magnesium alloy body in the 50D (and is a lot lighter!), so no big deal there. And then, all you are missing is about 1 extra frame per second if you are shooting in continuous mode.

The great thing about the 7D is the customization and autofocus system. It would probably be a bit overkill for a beginner though. The customization takes a thorough knowledge of how you want to shoot, so it would be very difficult to get the settings just how you want them. Even if you are going to take classes, it's going to take a while to learn. The speedy autofocus is great, but probably not worth an extra $400-500 if you are just learning. If you can afford it and really want a camera to grow into, it's fantastic though.

I think the 60D is almost the perfect camera for a beginner. That's mainly what I was trying to get across in my review.... that people looking for an upgrade to their 40 or 50D's might be a little disappointed in how Canon left out some of the features that would make it more of a "pro-sumer" camera and instead added a lot of features that beginners would really appreciate. I think while you're taking classes, you'll really come to appreciate some of the features this camera offers. Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2010 6:44:13 AM PDT
Thank you SO MUCH! I've been sleeping on this decision for over a month and you have helped me make up my mind. Now, I just need to know what lenses you think I should buy. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2010 7:20:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 24, 2010 7:20:45 AM PDT
C. Tipton says:
Haha.... sure, I can definitely make some suggestions. It's really going to depend on a few things though:

1) What are you primarily wanting to take photos of? Landscapes? Portraits? Sports/Fast-moving subjects? Wildlife? Just looking for a general walk-around type lens?

2) How comfortable are you going to be with changing lenses out? Many people want one lens to cover a huge range so they don't have to carry many with them and so they don't have to change the lenses much. Generally, the larger ranged lenses are not quite as good though.

3) Most importantly: What is your budget? I could recommend some spectacular lenses that cost a ton, or I can recommend some more budget-friendly type options that are still very good. Just to forewarn you, photography is an expensive hobby! :)

4) Also, do you need to shoot in low light? Are you planning on doing a lot of indoor photos without using flash?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 7:40:05 PM PDT
Thanks for writing back! I have an almost one year old, so I want to take photos of her/our adventures, but also would like the ability to photograph landscapes. My budget is somewhat limited, but I'd rather be happy with the quality. I'm okay with changing lenses. I am already carrying a diaper bag, what's an extra lense?! I've been thinking the Tamron 18-270 for distance, and something for indoors/closer photos of my daughter. What do you think? Nothing too expensive, but not worst quality. Also, do you think I need a speedlite? Thanks so much in advance!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2010 8:07:32 AM PDT
C. Tipton says:
The 18-270 is not a bad lens. Obviously, the big advantage of it is not having to switch out lenses. The 2 negative aspects of it are that it has slower autofocus than a lot of the Canon counterparts and in some points of the focal range (primarily the extremities), it has some distortion and chromatic aberration (fringes of color around fine details). It's supposed to be a very good lens for the money though and sometimes, it's very nice not having to worry about switching out lenses. In fact, if you are thinking you might want a "super-zoom" type lens to cover a lot of range, it would probably be the best option, with the Canon 18-200mm coming in a close second.

If you don't mind switching lenses though, a better (and cheaper) alternative would be the Canon 55-250mm and the Canon 18-55mm. The 55-250 is a fantastic lens and I used it for years as my primary telephoto until I upgraded to a 70-200L. The 18-55 has some bad press because it is the kit lens that comes with many of the Rebels, but the fact is that it is a great lens - and can be found super cheap. If you want to go for significantly better image quality though, the Tamron 17-50 is amazing. It has been favorably compared to the Canon 17-55, which is arguably the best walkaround lens for any of the crop cameras (like the 60D) - and costs half the price of the Canon 17-55. The other thing that the Tamron 17-50 will offer you is a f2.8 aperture. I'm not sure if you know much about aperture, but the wider the aperture, the better low light performance you will get. The lower the f-stop number (f2.8 in the Tamron's case) signifies a wider the aperture (and thus, it lets in more light). If you are shooting indoors mostly, the lower f-stop will really come in handy. Since it allows in more light, you'll be able to use faster shutter speeds and avoid blur in your photos.

Really, f2.8 is pushing it for indoor use though. Almost any indoor shots you take will either need a flash or you can try to get lenses with even lower f-stop values. If you want a lens with a very low f-stop, fantastic image quality, and very budget-friendly, the 50mm f1.8 is really great. Everyone calls this lens the "nifty-fifty" because it's such a great lens at a great price - it's actually Canon's cheapest lens. It's wide aperture (f1.8) allows you to take a lot of low-light shots without the need for flash. The one bad thing about it that I found is the focal length. If you are shooting indoors and don't have wide open spaces where you live, you're going to be getting a lot of very close shots and won't be able to back up to get more in the photo. In fact, I rarely use mine solely because of this reason. If you have very wide open spaces and can get far away from your subject, it's a very nice lens though. Also, the wider aperture gives you a narrow depth of field, so you can play around with nice blurred effects (called bokeh) behind your in-focus subject.

If you want to take a lot of indoor shots, a speedlite is almost a necessity in my opinion. The on camera flash on the 60D (or any camera for that matter) creates pretty harsh light and because of it's position, can create a lot of red-eye. With the speedlite, you can position the flash so that you bounce light off the ceiling or wall and create much more diffuse, natural looking light. I really recommend the 430 EXII. For your needs, it would be a great addition. With the speedlite, you also won't have to worry so much about the aperture of your lenses either.
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C. Tipton
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Location: Atlanta, GA

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