New Canon EOS 60D

Posted by The A-Team on

Canon has just announced the long anticipated EOS 60D, carrying on the popular XXD line. If you take a look around, you’ll see the internet is up in arms – many see it as an apparent step down. We’ll examine these qualms in a bit. But first, the headline features:

  • 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800)
  • 5.3 fps continuous shooting
  • 1080p HD video recording with manual controls
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC storage
  • In-camera raw development
  • Subject modes with ‘Ambience Selection’ (Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker and Monochrome)
  • In-camera Creative Filters (special effects)
  • Fully articulated 3.0″ screen (3:2)

The Good

  • The biggest change to the body is the new swiveling LCD screen. No one does one quite like Canon. If you’ve ever used a G-series or A-series with a swivel screen, you’ll realize how useful they really are. So it’s good to see one finally make it onto a DSLR body. It’ll come in handy for night shooting on a tripod and potentially studio work, and of course overhead and ground level shots.
  • It has wireless speedlite flash control. This is huge. No longer do you need an 580EX on your camera to trigger your speedlites. It’s good to see this feature trickle down from the 7D, and Canon is finally following Nikon’s lead. Although we might lose a few sales on this one!
  • Auto-ISO is now programmable by setting an upper limit, and the standard range extends to 6400 instead of 3200. This foretells good things about high ISO image quality.
  • Exposure compensation extends from -5 to +5 and exposure bracketing extends from -3 to +3. Good move there.
  • The price is darn attractive at USD$1099, fitting in nicely between the 550D and 7D. We can see a big market for this camera, but those former XXD owners won’t be too happy with shelling out $500 more for the 7D.
  • The in camera effects and RAW processing are nice to have, and don’t hurt you if you don’t use them. A first for Canon

The Bad

  • It has only one custom mode and fewer customization options. What happened to the 3 modes of the 40D?!
  • It only shoots 5.3 frames per second (as opposed to the 50D’s 6.3fps) Do most XXD users really need an extra frame per second? Higher level cameras exist for that.
  • The top control buttons longer have dual functions. One one hand, it will sure make things simpler and easier to remember, but on the other, no direct access to WB, while the 550D does…what?!! There’s also no more direct access to Picture Styles, and no programmable function button.
  • It shoots HD video, but lacks auto focus during filming, which the new Nikon and Sony models DO have. Live-view shooting also seems to be unimproved from previous models, relying on slow contrast detect auto focus. And we thought this was supposed to be the “video-optimized” dSLR.
  • No more lens AF microadjust. We actually never used this feature on our 50D, but we do lament it’s omission.

The Uncertain

  • Surprisingly, one thing people don’t seem to be talking about is image quality, and to us that is the most important quality indicator. This is Canon’s third shot at a 18 megapixel sensor, and you’d assume they’d have nailed things by now. However, we are not overly impressed with the samples on DPReview.
  • Many people are upset the body is now plastic; somehow less robust. However, it’s made from polycarbonate plastic, which is nearly indestructible, and weighs less. We think this is a good thing, but we’ll see how the body actually holds up under harsh use (and we’ve been known to ding ours up!)
  • The multi-directional joystick is gone, but a new 8 way controller has been placed inside the control dial. It looks quite nifty, but remains to be seen how user friendly it actually is. DPReview was not to keen on it.
  • The mode dial now requires a button press to adjust, apparently in order to prevent unwanted mode changes. We never had a problem before, so we’re not sure about this one, but CNET sure didn’t have good things to say about it.
  • The viewfinder is now .96x instead of .95x, but it’s still probably a bit small for our tastes, and we were hoping for one more in line with the 7D. Anyways, we’ll see…
  • It uses SD cards instead of CF cards. It depends where you are coming from. I’ve you’re an XXXD user, you’ll be happy. If you’re an XXD user, you won’t. At least SD cards are cheaper.

The Final Word

It’s hard to know what to think about the new EOS 60D. On one hand, we are excited about some features, such as the swivel screen, video function, smaller body, wireless flash control, in-camera effects, and pricing. But on the other hand, it could have been a little bit better. It would have been easy for Canon to retain some features of previous XXD models at a similar cost. With a 50D in our hands and planning to make the upgrade when the 60D is available, now we are not so sure. At least we have a 7D on hand. But for the price, you can’t really go wrong with this camera.

Around the Web

Camera Preview from DPReview

Bob Atkins preview on Photo.net

Hands on preview from PDNGuide

Hands on preview from CNet

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