This might come as a bit of a surprise reviewing a camera that is nearly 2 years old – but I’ve been using in our studio for the past year, and I’ve got a few things to say.
In the wake of the highly esteemed 7D, the 60D took the XXD line in a new direction with a slightly dumbed down feature set. Having been a long time user of the XXD line, what I’ll do mostly in this review is address each of these changes. Here we go…
One of the best features of this camera, in my opinion, is the swivel LCD screen. I’ve done more than a few studio shoots where this swivel screen was a life saver. With it, you can shoot at low or high angles without having to crouch down or get in awkward positions to see the screen or adjust your settings. I can’t state how valuable this is. I only wish it would trickle up to one of Canon’s full frame cameras…
The 60D was widely derided upon release in part due to its cheaper plastic shell. Personally, I don’t think it makes one bit of difference – except for maybe making the camera lighter. Also, how often have you heard of these things breaking or cracking? Right…
I was concerned about the locking mode dial, thinking it would be a pain to adjust each time. While I would still prefer no locking button, in practice it hasn’t been that bad. But why they placed the movie mode on the far side of the wheel is beyond me, especially when you can’t rotate non-stop. Even my humble little S100 can do this.
The 60D lost the joystick of the previous models and replaced it with an 8-way controller around the set button. It doesn’t have the most precise tactile sensation, but it works well enough, and I’d say at least as good as the joystick did. It also works double as navigation in the menus, not just for AF points, which is nice.
The new swivel screen forced all of the buttons form the left over to the right side of the camera – which is just as well because it means one handed operation is much easier now, especially with the Q button right by your thumb. The top plate controls have been simplified to one function – which actually makes things less confusing. Ergonomically, it’s a fantastic camera.
The 60D inherited the 18MP sensor of the 7D, and you can’t argue there. While not as good a performer as the sensor in its rival – the Nikon D7000 – it’s no slouch and produces fine looking files. Just don’t count on ISO 12,800 anytime soon, although 6400 can be useable in a pinch.
THe 60D was the first Canon to include TTL control of Canon Speedlites – which is a feature that Nikon has had for years. This is a huge advantage for those doing off-camera flash photography. No need to buy an ST-E2 or other triggers. Although if you’re firing speedlites other than Canon, you’ll need some triggers.
My conclusion? Despite the fact the camera was subject to quite a lot of abuse and criticism, it has served my needs well. Aside from what I’ve already mentioned, it has a wonderfully comfortable grip, reduced size for more portability, and a bargain price that comes in under a grand. Despite it not being full frame, or housed in a magnesium alloy shell, or sporting the latest and greatest AF – it has been my go-to camera in the studio, thanks in large part to the extremely useful swivel screen and rock solid image quality.