Canon EOS 60D review

It’s only natural to view the Canon 60D as a replacement for the semi-pro EOS 50D.

As well as following on in typical numerical sequence, Canon also pronounced the EOS 50D obsolete at the same time as launching the new camera.

Indeed, the Canon 50D was certainly showing its age, being outclassed even in many respects even by the more novice-friendly EOS 550D, including sensor resolution and the ability to shoot movie clips.

Sure enough, the Canon 60D boasts a host of new goodies including an 18MP sensor, 1080p HD film capture with a choice of frame rates and Canon’s fresh iFCL metering system.

Check Canon EOS 60D Price

And while the 3:2 aspect ratio LCD has the same 1,040k pixel quality as on the Canon 550D, this time it comes with full pivoting facilities – a first for any Canon D-SLR.

On top of that, you get an extra stop in the standard sensitivity range, compared with the 50D, offering an upper limit of ISO 6400 (ISO 12800 in expanded mode).

In other ways, the Canon 60D inherits quite a lot from its 50D predecessor. You get the same 9-point autofocus program and DIGIC 4 image processor, making it look a bit of a poor relation weighed against the Canon 7D, which has a more generous 19-point AF system and dual DIGIC 4 processors.

Even though the 7D is something of a speed freak, offering continuous shooting at up to 8fps (frames per second), the Canon 60D is slower even than the EOS 50D, dropping from 6.3fps to 5.3fps.

Another crucial change in the 60D’s design is that, whereas the 50D had a magnesium alloy body that was as tough as old boots, in keeping with its semi-pro aspirations, the 60D has a plastic shell. Couple this with the switch to SecureDigital rather than CompactFlash memory and the Canon 60D starts to look more like an up-market consumer camera than a semi-pro contender.

Specifications

“Of course, Canon digital SLRs still don’t have swivelling rear screens…” It might have been tempting fate, but I heard a marketing manager from a rival company gloating about this just a few days ago (said organization had just announced their new DSLR series). Then, the next day comes the Canon 60D, complete with, you’ve guessed it, an articulated LCD screen and a lot more besides for your £1200 (with 18-55m kit lens).

To recap, the Canon 60D is an update of the Canon EOS 50D, a well-regarded but comparatively venerable DSLR that was conspicuous for its lack of HD video recording. The new Canon 60D fixes all that, as it offers full-fat 1080p HD movie recording with full manual control.

While the EOS 60D has the same-sized 18-megapixel sensor as the EOS 550D, it inherits a low-pass filter from the nearly pro-spec Canon EOS 7D. And as with the EOS 7D, ISO can be boosted to 12800; you get the EOS 7D’s iFCL metering system too.

But a lot of attention will be focused on that new 3-inch screen, offering a 3:2 aspect ratio and 1040k dot resolution. Obviously, being able to swivel the screen will be a big help to many photographers, especially those focusing on macro, wildlife and action, and it’s surprising that it’s taken Canon so long to introduce it on a DSLR body.

Canon 60D vs 7D?

So is this new camera a smarter buy than the Canon 7D, which packs the same pixel count? Canon is no mugs, so they are obviously some compromises. You only get 9 AF points as opposed to the Canon 7D’s 19, and the maximum continuous shooting speed is slower at 5.3 frames per second compared to the Canon 7D’s 8. And the Canon 60D has a single DIGIC 4 processor when compared to EOS 7D’s Dual device.

Build quality is different too; as befits the EOS 7D’s pro pretentious, it’s encased in a magnesium alloy body while the Canon 60D comes in aluminium and polycarbonate resin. But if speed and bullet-proof build aren’t primary considerations, the EOS 60D certainly gives its big brother a close run for its money. So what about Canon’s competitors? It’s fair to say that the Canon 60D aces anything that Nikon currently has to offer in the mid-range, with the Nikon D90 and the D300S looking rather old-school in comparison to this. Nikon has revealed an upgraded entry-level DSLR in the shape of the D3100, and we fully expect an announcement of a Nikon D90 (read our Nikon D90 review) successor in the run-up to the Photokina trade show in late September – watch this space…

Sony could threaten to rain on the Canon 60D’s parade, too, which isn’t something we would have said even last week. Sony’s intriguing new translucent-mirror cameras, the Sony Alpha a55 and a33, seem to offer outstanding AF performance (for Live View and video as well as stills) and a whopping great speed hit – 10 fps with autofocus must be causing a few jitters over at Canon HQ. The Sonys are usually keenly priced too, coming in at under £1000 each.

Of course, all this is speculation until we test all these fresh cameras side by side, but after a fairly light spring and summer release schedule, it’s great to see the big Japanese camera makers doing what they do best – bringing out genuinely innovative new kit. The consumer is the real winner here.

Build and Handling

Far be it for us to be snobbish about plastic, we’d never expect to see a modern Formula 1 race car built out of cast iron. Technically speaking, the 60D is built on an aluminium chassis and has a shell that’s made of polycarbonate resin strengthened with glass fibre, so it should prove reasonably tough.

It’s just that, compared with cameras like the Canon 7D and 50D, or the Nikon D90 and D300s, the Canon 60D really does feel a bit plasticky, more like Canon’s line of budget cameras including the EOS 450D, EOS 500D and EOS 550D. The only plus point is that it shaves 67g off the bodyweight of the 50D.

Dials, buttons and switches feel mostly of good quality but some are a little fiddly. For example, the main on/off switch is on the edge of the primary shooting mode dial, so that it would be easy to switch shooting modes accidentally when turning the camera on or off. Presumably, for this reason, Canon has added a locking button to the top of the setting dial, so you need to press this down with one finger while rotating the dial with your thumb and another finger.

One thing that sets the Canon 60D apart from cheaper Canon DSLRs is that it features the time-honoured top-plate LCD. Again, however, this has been downsized from the 50D’s secondary LCD and no longer includes quality mode or white balance information. You gain an extra control button along with the front advantage of the very best LCD, making four in all, but they’re not Canon’s usual dual-mode control keys and have only one action each, comprising AF, Drive, ISO and Metering modes. An extra switch activates the top LCD’s illumination.

Ultimately, the EOS 60D’s plastic build doesn’t impair handling and the camera feels solid and comfortable in use. Ergonomics are good and rubberised areas on the handgrip, backplate and left-hand side of the digital camera add non-slip confidence.

Far be it for us to be snobbish about plastic, we’d never expect to see a modern Formula 1 race car built out of cast iron. Technically speaking, the 60D is built on an aluminium chassis and has a shell that’s made of polycarbonate resin strengthened with glass fibre, so it should prove reasonably tough.

It’s just that, compared with cameras like the Canon 7D and 50D, or the Nikon D90 and D300s, the Canon 60D really does feel a bit plasticky, more like Canon’s line of budget cameras including the EOS 450D, EOS 500D and EOS 550D. The only plus point is that it shaves 67g off the bodyweight of the 50D.

Dials, buttons and switches feel mostly of good quality but some are a little fiddly. For example, the main on/off switch is on the edge of the primary shooting mode dial, so that it would be easy to switch shooting modes accidentally when turning the camera on or off. Presumably, for this reason, Canon has added a locking button to the top of the setting dial, so you need to press this down with one finger while rotating the dial with your thumb and another finger.

One thing that sets the Canon 60D apart from cheaper Canon DSLRs is that it features the time-honoured top-plate LCD. Again, however, this has been downsized from the 50D’s secondary LCD and no longer includes quality mode or white balance information. You gain an extra control button along with the front advantage of the very best LCD, making four in all, but they’re not Canon’s usual dual-mode control keys and have only one action each, comprising AF, Drive, ISO and Metering modes. An extra switch activates the top LCD’s illumination.

Ultimately, the EOS 60D’s plastic build doesn’t impair handling and the camera feels solid and comfortable in use. Ergonomics are good and rubberised areas on the handgrip, backplate and left-hand side of the digital camera add non-slip confidence.

Check Out: Best Canon EOS 60D Lenses 

Verdict

The 60D has been launched into a market that has changed drastically since the arrival of its previous incarnation, in part due to the introduction of the EOS 7D. For this reason, the 60D does seem more consumer-led than previous models and is designed more for ease and simplicity to allow it to fill the space more naturally between the 7D and the 550D.

The host of new features are generally to its benefit, especially in the case of the vari-angle high-resolution screen and the Full HD video capture. The mode button lock and the new multi-controller won’t suit all users, however – especially those used to older Canon models. For those upgrading or looking for a high-performance mid-range DSLR nevertheless, you won’t be disappointed. The 60D is fast, easy to use and produces stunning results.

Check Canon EOS 60D Price 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here