Canon EOS 60D Review

Canon EOS 60D Review

That the Canon EOS 60D was introduced was no surprise. A long history of xxD bodies and a leak from a prominent software company pointed to a fall 2010 availability of the EOS 50D successor, the EOS 60D. The big question remaining in my mind was - "How would Canon slot a 60D between the 50D, the Rebel T2i/550D and the 7D?"

The 60D needed to be an upgrade from the 50D - otherwise, why bother releasing a new model. The 60D had to have advantages over the very-feature-filled, lower model line Rebel T2i/550D. At the same time, the 60D could not approach the 7D's excellence and thereby cannibalize sales of this recent model. And by now, your logical conclusion to my question is probably right on. The Canon 60D slots very nicely between the T2i and the 7D, gaining some new features over the 50D - but also losing some.

As usual for a new DSLR release, the 60D contains a roll-up of recently added Canon DSLR features along with some brand new ones. Here is a quick summary of the new and advanced features found in this DSLR:

Here is a specification chart for a significant number of Canon EOS Digital SLR models:

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon PowerShot G1 X1.9x18.7 x 14.0mm4.3µm4352 x 326414.3  f/6.9
Canon PowerShot G124.7x7.4 x 5.6mm2.7µm3648 x 204810.0  f/4.3
Canon PowerShot G94.7x7.6 x 5.7mm2.5µm4000 x 300012.1  f/4.0
Canon EOS M1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0  f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.7µm4752 x 316815.1 .87x95%f/7.5
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .80x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D1.6x22.2 x 14.7mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.0 .80x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.2 .87x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .81x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .80x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm6.4µm3456 x 23048.0 .80x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel1.6x22.7 x 15.1mm7.4µm3088 x 20566.3 .80x95%f/11.8
Canon EOS 70D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 .95x98%f/6.6
Canon EOS 60D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .95x96%f/6.9
Canon EOS 50D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.7µm4752 x 316815.1 .95x95%f/7.5
Canon EOS 40D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .95x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS 30D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm6.4µm3504 x 23368.2 .90x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 20D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm6.4µm3504 x 23368.2 .90x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 10D1.6x22.7 x 15.1mm7.4µm3088 x 20566.3 .88x95%f/11.8
Canon EOS 7D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 1.0x100%f/6.9
Canon EOS 6D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.54µm5472 x 364820.2 .71x97%f/10.5
Canon EOS 5D Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.25µm5760 x 384022.3 .71x100%f/10.1
Canon EOS 5D Mark II1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.4µm5616 x 374421.1 .71x98%f/10.2
Canon EOS 5D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm8.2µm4368 x 291212.8 .71x96%f/13.2
Canon EOS 1D X1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.9µm5184 x 345618.1 .76x100%f/11.0
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV1.3x27.9 x 18.6mm5.7µm4896 x 326416.1 .76x100%f/9.1
Canon EOS 1D Mark III1.3x28.1 x 18.7mm7.2µm3888 x 259210.1 .76x100%f/11.5
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N1.3x28.7 x 19.1mm8.2µm3520 x 23368.2 .72x100%f/13.2
Canon EOS 1D Mark II1.3x28.7 x 19.1mm8.2µm3520 x 23368.2 .72x100%f/13.2
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.4µm5616 x 374421.1 .76x100%f/10.2
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm7.2µm4992 x 332816.6 .70x100%f/11.5
* Learn more about DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture)

High on my priority list for reviewing a new camera is to determine how well the sensor (and its supporting pipeline/processor/algorithms) performs. You will often find sample results posted on a DSLR review page long before the rest of the text shows up. And in this case, the Canon EOS 60D shares identical sensor size and density with the T2i and the 7D and claims a density advantage over the 50D it is replacing. The image quality out of the three 18-megapixel bodies is very similarly excellent - any differences are not worthy of being a selection differentiator in my opinion. And the 50D does not lag far behind.

Use the mouseover feature in these comparisons to see the similarities and differences in resolution using an ISO 12233 Chart:

Canon EOS 60D vs. EOS 50D Comparison
Canon EOS 60D vs. EOS 7D Comparison
Canon EOS 60D vs. EOS Rebel T2i Comparison

Let's review image/high ISO noise next. Following are a pair of 100% crop comparisons between the 60D and the Rebel XS/1000D, Rebel XSi/450D, Digital Rebel T1i/500D, Digital Rebel T2i/550D, 50D, 7D and 5D Mark II.

Comparing apples to apples. If you have read any of the site's other recent Canon EOS DSLR camera reviews, you will recognize the following color block test that clearly shows and compares sensor noise.

Click on the color block image below to view a pair of image quality comparisons between several current-at-this time DSLR cameras. This comparison was previously featured on this page, but has been moved to its own page to avoid (especially for mobile users) the large file download required.

Canon EOS 60D High ISO Noise Comparison

If you read the image quality discussion on that page, you can skip down to the file size table.

As I said above in this review, there is not enough difference in image quality between the three 18mp DSLRs for image quality (including high ISO noise) to be a differentiating factor. The T2i, 60D and 7D do show some improvement in ultra-high noise levels over the older models shown here. For example, the 50D ISO 12800 sample shows significantly more noise than the 60D shows at the same setting. The 50D falls short (but less so) even at lower, more-commonly-used-in-real-life, ISO settings.

I remain especially-impressed with the 5D Mark II's image quality. With it's much larger full frame sensor capturing more light, the 5D II delivers clean, very sharp images.

The with-noise-reduction examples have a range of noise reduction added - from 1,2 (Luminance, Chrominance) at ISO 100 up to 8,16 at ISO 12800. These examples clearly show that noise reduction reduces the visible noise - and reduces the fine details as well.

Fine details in the fabric better-hides high ISO noise. The Canon EOS 60D shows a slight resolution increase over the 50D, but the up-sized 50D image is not lagging far behind the 60D sample. The 60D sample details appear slightly more refined than the T2i sample in this specific example.

As I've said in other reviews, I'm slowly moving my personally acceptable APS-C high ISO noise level up to ISO 3200. I'll shoot above this setting, but only if the capture is important - and quality requirements are low. The biggest 60D noise improvements over the 50D are at levels that remain very noisy.

The resulting file sizes for the examples used above are:

The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately-high amount of detail taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800
Canon PowerShot G1 X(14.3)19.119.620.220.921.723.124.926.2    
Canon EOS Rebel SL1(18.0)23.724.224.825.827.128.730.833.437.2   
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / T5i(18.0)24.124.525.226.127.629.031.133.737.4   
Canon EOS Rebel T3i(18.0)25.525.926.627.528.730.332.434.9    
Canon EOS Rebel T2i(18.0)25.525.826.527.428.630.232.334.9    
Canon EOS Rebel T1i(15.1)20.621.021.522.423.425.027.129.8    
Canon EOS Rebel T5(18.0)25.425.926.627.528.830.232.535.1    
Canon EOS Rebel T3(12.2)17.818.018.318.919.720.622.0     
Canon EOS Rebel XSi(12.2)15.415.916.617.518.7       
Canon EOS Rebel XS(10.1)10.410.610.911.311.9       
Canon EOS 70D(20.2)25.125.726.527.729.331.133.335.939.5   
Canon EOS 60D(18.0)25.225.626.227.028.329.932.234.8    
Canon EOS 50D(15.1)20.320.721.322.123.224.726.729.5    
Canon EOS 7D(18.0)24.124.525.326.227.328.630.733.2    
Canon EOS 6D(20.2)25.325.626.026.727.929.230.933.135.338.642.5 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III(22.3)28.629.029.530.331.633.135.337.840.644.749.2 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II(21.1)26.927.127.728.629.731.333.636.741.2   
Canon EOS 1D X(18.1)23.723.924.324.825.726.727.929.731.834.537.441.3
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV(16.1)22.022.222.823.424.325.326.728.530.834.235.9 
Canon EOS 1D Mark III(10.1)13.013.313.814.515.316.417.8     
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III(21.1)25.626.527.429.031.033.4      
Canon RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (14-bit is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase). Memory and disk are cheap - buy more. :)

While on the file size and storage requirements topic, I will note that the 60D uses SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards (class 6 or higher for video). The latest Rebel DSLRs utilize SDHC cards, but this format is a change from the xxD line. A consideration xxD owners must make when considering a DSLR upgrade is how much replacement memory cards will cost. The memory card cost will likely help offset the cost difference between the 60D and the higher-end 7D. At the same time, Rebel owners will save this cost by staying with the 60D over the 7D.

60D SDHC Memory Card Door Open

One of the features the EOS 60D inherits from the EOS 7D is the 63-zone iFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance) Metering System. This system uses focus, color and illumination information in the exposure algorithm. As I said in the Canon EOS 7D Review, I have been watching Canon's auto exposure systems improve over the years. I appreciate that they keep getting better - and the 60D's system works very well. Note that the 60D's exposure compensation range has been expanded to ±five stops - a very useful upgrade over the 50D - especially for those working with HDR.

Auto ISO that uses the full range of ISO settings is once again featured in this DSLR. Starting at ISO 100 and going through ISO 6400, Auto ISO is fully featured (Auto ISO settings used to be limited) and works in most modes including M mode. This creates what is essentially an Aperture AND Shutter Priority Mode. I can dial in the M mode fixed aperture and shutter speeds I want and let AE determine the ISO setting needed. I can set the shutter speed I need and the aperture I want to track sports players from shade to full sun, under changing skies and with a rising or setting sun without exposure setting worries. Very nice. It is especially good that AE works well because there is no provided way to set exposure compensation while using Auto ISO in M mode - a shortcoming that Canon has still not addressed.

Auto white balance also seems to improve with each new DSLR model iteration. There are infinite situations to present to the camera, but my subjective evaluation is that the 60D's AWB performs especially well compared to the rest of the Canon EOS DSLRs - including under tungsten light. AWB under tungsten lighting has been a long-time shortcoming of Canon DSLRs and has been significantly improved in the 60D. Though simply changing the white balance setting in-camera or during post processing easily resolved the tungsten WB issue, it is nice to have the camera's AWB take care of this for you.

If an image is OOF (Out of Focus), I will probably delete it with little other consideration. And I often rely on AF, so AF accuracy is important. Chuck Westfall (Canon USA) states "The EOS 60D has the same AF sensor as the EOS 40D and 50D, so all 9 points are standard-precision cross-type effective to maximum apertures as small as f/5.6. There is also an X-shaped high-precision cross-type focusing sensor on the center focusing point that is used with coupled lenses and lens/extender combinations that have maximum apertures of f/2.8 or larger."

So, you and I have seen this AF system before. It worked well in the 40D and the 50D, and it works similarly in the 60D. It works especially well in One Shot AF mode, where Canon's DSLRs typically focus very quickly and accurately (lightning fast if you are used to point and shoot autofocus).

In AI Servo mode, all Canon DSLRs attempt to predictively focus the attached lens at the precise location the subject will be at the moment the shutter opens, but AI Servo AF performance is often a big differentiator between bodies. AI Servo AF performance is also very hard to fully evaluate - simply because there are an infinite number of situations that can be presented to the AF system.

My subjective evaluation, based a large part on shooting thousands of frames at soccer games, and using the best available sports lenses (including the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens and Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens) is that the 60D delivers reasonable AI Servo AF performance. My opinion is that this camera's AI Servo performance falls in line with its position in the Canon DSLR lineup - better than the Rebel models and not as good as the 7D. Of note is that I had consistently better success with the wider angle 300 f/2.8 Lens than with the longer 400 f/2.8 Lens. AI Servo focus shortcomings will be less noticeable in images shot with narrower aperture/consumer grade lenses due to the deeper DOF (Depth of Field) covering for any focus tracking lag. Subjects not rapidly moving toward or away from the camera are less challenging to the AF system and the 60D worked very well in these circumstances.

If your living depends on your ability to capture action quickly moving toward or away from your camera, I recommend that you get a Canon 1-Series body. If you can afford to have a higher percentage of missed shots in these situations, the 60D performs very well for the price.

A focus feature notably missing from the 60D is AF Microadjustment that is found in the EOS 50D.

Rebel (and point & shoot) owners especially will appreciate how large the 60D's pentaprism viewfinder is. The 60D's viewfinder has approximately 96% coverage, a slight increase over the 50D's 95% coverage. 96% is still not 100%, which leaves you to a small amount of surprise in your captured frame. Here is a real life example of what can happen.

Sample Picture

This image was shot with the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens at 29mm, f/8, 1/100 and ISO 200. I wanted a very clean border to this horse and rider picture, but notice the tip of the barn roof near the bottom left of the image. The roof was not visible in the viewfinder (and is more obvious in the full-size image). Removing the stray object during post processing is not hard in this example, but it is another step required in finishing the photo.

I have not made my self-diagnosed HLDS (Horizon-Level Deficiency Syndrome) a secret - it seems that no matter how hard I try to keep the horizon level, I still don't get all scenes framed perfectly level. I typically use grid focusing screens to assist me with this issue (note that the 50D and 60D share focusing screens). A great feature implemented in the 60D is the Single-Axis Electronic Viewfinder Level. To use the Viewfinder Level, C.Fn-IV-2 (Custom Function Menu IV, Option 2) must be used to assign the Set button to option 5 - Viewfinder Level. The Set button is then used to display horizon-level indication in the exposure scale at the bottom of the viewfinder (in landscape/horizontal shooting orientation only). Pressing the camera's shutter button halfway down clears the level indication.

The level has ± 1 degree of accuracy. Handholding the camera to this level of accuracy is not always easy - and any time spent after the shutter button is pressed half way is time during which the camera may be going out of level. I really like the feature, but it is not a 100% guarantor of a level frame.

Easier to adjust the camera for perfect level is the Live View implementation of the Electronic Level (which is again rated at ± 1 degree) when the 60D is tripod-mounted. I have bubble levels on my tripod legs, my self-leveling tripod base, my tripod head and my tripod clamp. Problem is, they are not all accurate for all of my DSLRs. They may be close, but not always right on.

The Manfrotto hotshoe bubble level is my most-consistently-accurate level tool and it is only right on when installed in a specific orientation (and it only works if I don't forget it, lose it - or send it through the laundry). The 60D's built-in level is accurate and always available in Live View with a press of the Info button - in both vertical and horizontal camera orientations. Adjusting a ball head to +/- 1% accuracy requires a little finesse (and there is some pendulum-like swing in the indicator), but this procedure assures a level frame. The 60D's Electronic level detects roll in vertical or horizontal orientation but does not indicate pitch as the 7D does.

The EL is a great feature. I use Live View a lot for still life, product and landscape photography, so I welcome this additional tool. Live view of course uses the rear LCD - which leads us to another Canon DSLR first. The Canon EOS 60D has a Vari-Angle 3" Clear View LCD screen with anti-reflective and smudge-resistant coatings. Check it out:

60D Flip Out LCD Demonstration

One | Two | Three | Four | Five

 
I have to admit that I wasn't interested in this feature when I first read about it. The additional parts would simply consume more space on the rear of the camera - and I was concerned about the nose relief issue this LCD could cause. Would the hinge be another point for failure? And I didn't figure on using it.

But what I've discovered is that I indeed like being able to use the camera in positions that were otherwise very inconvenient. I am constantly finding new angles to shoot from - resting directly on the ground and shooting straight up to standing on a counter with my arms fully extended and shooting straight downward. Yes, these positions were available before, but framing the subject from them was always a guess. The closed-reversed LCD (image "One" above) is well-protected from damage during transport, storage or even use (including nose prints). So, I really like the new twist on the LCD.

The 60D inherits the T2i's wide 3:2 aspect ratio LCD - matching the aspect ratio of the image sensor and better-matching the 16:9 HD Video aspect ratio. The 60D's high quality LCD is 3" and contains 1.04 million dots (a relatively small increase from the 50D and 7D's 3" 920,000 dot/VGA resolution). The LCD's image quality is great.

Canon EOS 60D Back View Comparison

1D IV | 5D II | 7D | 60D | 50D | 40D | 30D | T3i | T2i | T1i | T3 | XSi | XS | XTi | G9

Along with the articulated LCD, the entire rear of the 60D has been changed from the 50D. I'll start with the grip. The thumb position gains a more substantial bump-out for your thumb to hold onto but shifts the grip position to the right slightly, creating a less-full-feeling grip than the 50D has. More fingertip room added on the front of the 60D body is welcomed. The 60D is much more comfortable for me to use than the Rebel bodies (the downside being the additional size required to create this comfort).

The 50D's joystick is gone - replaced by a new Multi-Control Dial. The MCD is basically the old Rear Control Dial with an 8-way controller added between the Set button and the Dial. I found the joystick to give me better control, but the new feature works fine. A bit more care must be taken to select the right function on the MCD. I occasionally hit a directional key while trying to make a dial change. What I really like about the MCD is that it is easily accessible when using the Canon BG-E9 Battery Grip in vertical orientation. The 50D's joystick location is a big stretch for the thumb to reach from the vertical grip position.

Most of the 60D's rear buttons have been moved to the areas above and below the new Multi-Control Dial and many take on new shapes. The delete button remains the left-side button, now residing below the 2-position power switch at its new top-left location. A Lock button works in conjunction with a menu option to enable the Multi-Control Dial to be locked - and functions as the print button (remember - the one that used to get a dedicated button?) in image review mode. There are reasons to lock the rear dial, but I much prefer this new menu-driven option over the power switch position. This setup eliminates the occasion when I do not move the 50D power switch far enough to enable the RCD and am left wondering why the RCD is not working - perhaps even missing a shot while trying to make a setting change. The 7D shares this new power switch location - but ... I'm growing less sure that I prefer it to the previous position.

The Play button has good placement on the bottom right of the raised area on the camera back. The new Live View (Video Start/Stop) button is nicely located. A new Quick Control Button ("Q") opens an easy-to-use settings change menu on the LCD. The three top-right buttons retain their locations and functions.

Though positioned somewhat like the Rebel bodies, I am finding the new, mostly-designed-for-one-handed use button layout to take a bit of time to get used. Once familiar, the controls seem nicely located.

Moving to the camera top shows more changes received by the 60D design.

Canon EOS 60D Top View Comparison

1D IV | 5D II | 7D | 60D | 50D | T3i | T2i | T1i | T3 | XSi | XTi | XS

The change on the top that I am finding hardest to adjust to is the lock release on the Mode Dial. I would still say that I do not like having to press a button to change the Mode Dial. I have not experienced inadvertent changes to my mode setting without the lock, so ... I do not prefer the extra button press being required.

The other big change on the top is that the row of three dual-function buttons has grown to four single-function buttons with White Balance and Flash Exposure Compensation options disappearing. The LCD light button was and remains a single-function button as it should. The center button of the 60D's five has an locator bump on it. From this bump, the other buttons can be found, but they are flush enough to not be so obvious to the searching finger.

The 60D's top LCD (a nice feature that is missing on the Rebel models) is no longer a rectangle but is stylishly designed to better follow the contour of the camera.

The Canon EOS 60D has a total of 15 shooting modes available via the top dial that offer something for shooters of all skill levels. The fully-automatic point and shoot green square mode and near-fully automatic "P" (Program) modes are included along with the "CA" (Creative Auto) setting. Creative Auto mode allows the photographer to adjust the shot settings using easily understood words instead of using f/settings and 1/zzz time value shutter speeds. CA settings are displayed on the rear LCD while adjustments are being made. Missing from the 50D's modes are A-Dep and C2. Video mode is new as is B (Bulb) mode.

Canon EOS 60D Side View Comparison

1D IV | 5D III | 7D | 60D | T3i | T2i | T3

As can be seen in the side view image above, the 60D's eyecup still protrudes beyond the Vari-Angle screen - though not as much as the 7D's eyecup - and not nearly as much as the 1D IV's eyecup.

As would be expected at this point in time, the Canon EOS 60D has received the renowned, game-changing EOS HD video capabilities. While it is not a perfect-for-everyone video package, the 60D, with its huge-to-video-camera-standards sensor, delivers very impressive video image quality. Because of this quality, EOS bodies are much more frequently being used to capture video for everything from interviews to motion pictures. The large sensor combined with the huge range of lenses available gives even those on a tight budget the ability to create incredible video projects utilizing shallow DOF and low/available light. Those with larger budgets can use the HDSLRs as disposables - crashing them or risking destruction of them on set.

What you get with the 60D's HD video is most similar to the 7D's feature set. Here is the list: The EOS 60D HDSLR camera will record full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); 720p HD recording at 50p or 60p (59.94) and SD video at frame rates of 50p or 60p (59.94). The EOS 60D will also record 720p HD at 50p or 60p (59.94) and SD video at frame rates of 50p or 60p (59.94). Cinematic frame rates for both NTSC (National Television System Committee) and PAL (Phase Altering Line) standards are selectable.

The 60D includes a built-in monaural microphone (gets the job done) and a 3.5mm jack for an external stereo microphone such as the Rode Stereo Video Mic. The 60D audio recording levels can be manually set and an electronic Wind Filter can be enabled. In-camera video trimming is available and Canon's Movie Crop mode is featured. The Maximum movie clip size is 4GB (or about 12 min at full resolution) due to file system limitations.

Live View contrast detection AF is available during video recording (as welll as in Live view), but ... it is still very slow and definitely not smooth. Plan on using manual focus or pre-focusing for video recording.

Canon EOS 60D with Flash Up

Like the rest of the xxD DSLR models, a built-in, pop-up flash in provided - as seen above. New to the xxD line and similar to the EOS 7D, this pop-up flash includes an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter for control of multiple off-camera EOS Speedlites. No Canon 580EX II Flash or Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter is needed to completely control as many remote flashes as desired. Using one of 4 available channels, take complete control of up to 2 groups of flashes (A & B, but C is missing) with ratios of up to 8:1. Flash settings are controlled from the 60D's menu which includes an extensive range of controls for both the built in and remote flashes including ±3 stops FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation) (the 50D has ±2 stops FEC). The Integrated Speedlite Transmitter feature alone, if needed, will save you the purchase of a device that costs a significant amount of the cost difference between a Rebel T2i and the 60D - and the convenience factor of having this feature built-in definitely has value.

Canon EOS 60D Wireless Flash Operation Diagram

Like the 50D, the 60D's built-in flash covers lens angle of view as wide as 17mm (the 7D covers 15mm). Also like the 50D, the 60D's flash has a guide number of 13/43 (ISO 100, meters/feet) (the 7D's specs are 12/39). The fastest standard flash synch speed is 1/250 - high Speed Sync flash is supported. The 60D, 7D and 50D all have a full power flash recycle time specification of 3 seconds.

Canon EOS 60D Weather Sealing

As shown in the images above, the Canon EOS 60D has received the same level of weather sealing as the EOS 50D. This amount is slightly less than the 7D's level of sealing.

The 60D feels solid in the hand, but, it does not have the magnesium alloy chassis that the 7D and 50D have - substituting polycarbonate instead. The lack of a magnesium alloy chassis was one of the most vocally complained about missing features on the 60D at announcement time. I wouldn't say I that was happy with the change, but ... I don't think many people will notice the difference unless subjecting their cameras to significant abuse.

The Canon EOS 60D breaks new DSLR ground by offering in-camera RAW image processing and creative digital filters.

Brightness, Picture Style, White Balance (WB), Color Space, High-ISO Noise Reduction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, linear distortion correction and chromatic aberration correction changes can be made to RAW images while still in the camera. The RAW images can then be output to ready-to-use JPG images of various resolution and compression settings including the new 1920 x 1280 and 720 x 480 sizes - in camera. JPG-captured images can also be resized (down) in-camera. Images can also now be rated in-camera.

To be completely honest, I wasn't interested in the in-camera RAW processing features when the 60D was announced - and I'm still not interested in them at review time. I find my 13.3" laptop display too small for serious image editing and it is huge compared to the 60D's 3" LCD. It is likely that, in most cases other than direct printing, a computer will be needed in the image transfer pipeline, so ... I'd rather process the images there. I will note that RAW conversion software is now not needed on this computer - and it is easy to use in-camera. Perhaps editing with a larger HDMI device attached is a viable solution. Not everyone is like me and I'm sure some will find the in-camera RAW processing feature useful. The in-camera RAW processing features are definitely not in the way, so no harm to anyone in having them in place.

The Canon EOS 60D offers 4 creative filters: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Toy Camera Effect (vignetting and color shift) and Miniature Effect (reverse tilt-shift look). These filters can be applied to a RAW or JPG image in-camera. A new image file is created using the selected filter and filter settings leaving the original file unaffected. EXIF information for the resulting files contains the name of the filter used along with the setting strength (no setting for Miniature).

Here is what these effects look like:

Canon EOS 60D Creative Filters

Soft Focus Low | Standard | Strong
Miniature Horizontal | Vertical
 

Do these effects have a place on the 60D? You make the call. I personally find them gimmicky and will probably never use them again. The Miniature is easily the most intriguing to me - maybe I'll use that one. You might see a slight background change in the Vertical Miniature sample - this is because I cloned a limb out of this area above the girl's head.

Along with Picture Style and the shoot by lighting or scene type shooting mode options, additional image control is offered by the new shoot by ambience selection available in Basic Zone shooting modes. Users can choose ambience selections of standard, vivid, soft, warm, intense, cool, brighter, darker or monochrome.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon PowerShot G1 X4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)18.8 oz (534g)
Canon PowerShot G124.4 x 3.0 x 1.9"(112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3mm)13.7 oz (389g)
Canon PowerShot G94.2 x 2.8 x 1.7"(106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5mm)12.9 oz (365g)
Canon EOS M4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3"(108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm)10.5 oz (298g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)14.4 oz (407g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)20.5 oz (580g)
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)20.3 oz (575g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm)20.1 oz (570g)
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.7 oz (530g)
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.6 oz (527g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.6 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm)16.9 oz (480g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9mm)17.5 oz (495g)
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.4 oz (522g)
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"(126.1 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)17.5 oz (497g)
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"(127 x 94 x 65mm)19.9 oz (564g)
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"(127 x 94 x 64mm)19.0 oz (539g)
Canon EOS 70D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5mm)26.7 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 60D5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1"(144.5 x 105.8 x 78.6mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 50D5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"(145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm)29.1 oz (826g)
Canon EOS 40D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"(145.5 x 112 x 73.5mm)29.5 oz (836g)
Canon EOS 30D5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"(144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm)28.1 oz (796g)
Canon EOS 20D5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8"(144 x 106 x 72mm)27.5 oz (781g)
Canon EOS 7D5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9"(148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm)32.2 oz (914g)
Canon EOS 6D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)33.5 oz (950g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0"(152 x 113.5 x 75mm)31.9 oz (904g)
Canon EOS 5D6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0"(152 x 113 x 75mm)32.0 oz (906g)
Canon EOS 1D X6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3"(158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm)54.0 oz (1530g)
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)48.5 oz (1374g)
Canon EOS 1D Mark III6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)47.6 oz (1349g)
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.5 oz (1574g)
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III6.1 x 6.3 x 3.1"(156 x 159.6 x 79.9mm)49.5 oz (1404g)
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.2 oz (1564g)

 
Nicely built, but not big or heavy. The Canon EOS 60D is sized between the 7D and T2i - and is similar in size to the 50D. It weighs in at 23.8 oz (675g), which is very slightly less than the 50D.

ModelShutter Durability Rating
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D100,000
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D100,000
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D100,000
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D50,000
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D50,000
Canon EOS 70D100,000
Canon EOS 60D100,000
Canon EOS 50D100,000
Canon EOS 40D100,000
Canon EOS 30D100,000
Canon EOS 20D50,000
Canon EOS 7D150,000
Canon EOS 6D100,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark III150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark II150,000
Canon EOS 5D100,000
Canon EOS 1D X400,000
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV300,000
Canon EOS 1D Mark III300,000
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N200,000
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III300,000
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II200,000

 
A 100,000 actuation shutter durability rating promises a long life. The xxD models before it share this rating.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.028/11407/875ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.022/306/675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D5.030675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D3.734690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D3.734690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D3.4170990ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D3.0696  
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D3 / 28305110ms150ms
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D3.553690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D3 / 1.5n/a590ms
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D3.02710100ms170ms
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D3.0144100ms170ms
Canon EOS 70D7.040/6515/1665ms97ms
Canon EOS 60D5.3581659ms100ms
Canon EOS 50D6.3901659ms100ms
Canon EOS 40D6.5751759ms100ms
Canon EOS 30D5.0301165ms110ms
Canon EOS 20D5.023665ms115ms
Canon EOS 7D8.0110/13023/2559ms100ms
Canon EOS 6D4.573/125014/17<60ms 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.065/16k13/1859ms125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark II3.978/31013/1473ms145ms
Canon EOS 5D3.0601775ms145ms
Canon EOS 1D X12/141803836-55ms60ms
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV10.01212840-55ms80ms
Canon EOS 1D Mark III10.01103040-55ms80ms
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N8.5482240-55ms87ms
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III5.0561240-55ms80ms
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II4.0321140-55ms87ms

 
Frame rate is one of the specs that took a step backward from the 50D. At 5.3 fps, the 60D clearly takes its place between the T2i and the 7D. Make that 5.36 fps in my testing.

To test burst rate, I shoot in M mode (wide open aperture, 1/8000 shutter speed), ISO 100, MF, IS off, lens cap on and all noise reduction off. The 60D delivers the rated 16 RAW frames at 5.36 fps, 4 more frames at 3 fps and an additional frame about once per second. Here are the MP3 sound clips.

5.3 fps Burst
Single Shot
Live View Quiet Mode - Mode 1, then 2
Canon EOS 60D, then 50D, 7D and then 1D Mark III Burst Comparison

Please note that the 50D and the 60D have very similar shutter sounds. Following is a visual of a 5.3 fps capture. This frame rate leaves some good shots missing, but is still usable for action shots.

60D Frame Rate Example

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

 
An unusuality I'll mention is that, when shooting sports in vertical orientation using AI Servo and the high speed frame, I found a few images improperly rotated - they were off by 180 degrees. In one specific file set, out of 92 images, 3 were rotated 180 degrees. This is not a big deal, but I seldom get an improperly rotated image out of a current DSLR unless I'm shooting up or down, so it is unusual.

Like the 5D Mark II and the 7D, the 60D uses the Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack. The 60D tracks the percent usage (1% increments), the shutter count and recharge performance for the batteries.

Canon rates the LP-E6 + 60D combination at an impressive 1,600 shots. A fully charged battery gave me 1209 shots at 9% remaining with a varied usage that included bursts and Live View usage (making use of the new Vari-Angle LCD). Live view alone is rated at 350 shots, but this number could vary dramatically depending on usage. LP-E6 batteries charge in about 2.5 hours in the relatively compact LC-E6 direct-wall-pluggable charger.

60D with Canon BG-E9 Battery Grip

The 60D is shown above with an optional Canon BG-E9 Battery Grip mounted.

Want more battery life? Shoot in portrait orientation a lot? Add a BG-E9 Battery Grip as shown above. It accepts two LP-E6 batteries (or 6 AA batteries in the included tray). Better yet, it provides a larger horizontal grip and a complete vertical grip with the appropriate buttons. The BG-E9 adds a lot to the size and weight of the 60D, but it is easily installed or removed to give you the best of both worlds.

The BG-E9 works great - I like it a lot. Canon has done a good job integrating this grip to the camera, and as I said earlier in the review, it works very well with the new Multi Control Dial.

A Canon Wireless File Transmitter has not been announced for the EOS 60D. Instead, Eye-Fi SDHC Memory Card support is built into the 60D's menu system. WiFi functionality can be turned off when not required to save battery life.

The Canon EOS 60D is not compatible with the N3 standard remotes that the 50D used. The Remote Switch RS-60E3 (wired) is supported and the small, inexpensive Canon wireless remotes including the Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote are great options. Want to be part of your own family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord? This is the accessory you want.

Studio shooters especially need to know that the 60D does not include a PC port.

60D Top View

When you buy a Canon DSLR, you are buying into an incredible family of lenses and other accessories. The camera body is of course the base and a lens is the other essential piece of kit.

Like the 50D, the 60D shares the APS-C-sized sensor and accepts both EF and EF-S lenses TS-E and MP-E lenses are also compatible. The 60D is available in a body-only kit or in a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. The EF-S 18-135mm IS Lens alone currently sells for about $450, but it is only $300 extra in the kit, making the kit a very good value.

Because the quality of the lens makes a big difference in the image quality delivered by a DSLR, I recommend buying, now or later, one of the better Canon general purpose lenses available. At this review date, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens and Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens are my most-recommended APS-C/1.6x lenses with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens being excellent alternatives.

Then add one of the Canon EF 70-200mm L Lenses to your kit.

The 60D used in this review was purchased retail. Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support. The support provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is. Repair service, though I have seldom needed it, is fast and reliable.

At this point, we (you and I) have reviewed most of the new DSLR features found in the 60D, but the list of not-new-but-great 60D features is still huge. Self-cleaning Sensor, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Peripheral Illumination Correction ... It is easy to get lost in the huge list of features this DSLR. As I've said before ... when I sit down to write a DSLR review, I feel like I'm about to write a book. Canon did write one - it's called the owner's manual. It is a whopping 324 pages long (for reference, the 50D owner's manual is only 228 pages). The owner's manual and the other useful links can be found in the Other Reviews and Information section below.

Perhaps the remaining question is - who should buy a Canon EOS 60D? This is of course a big question with many answers, but I'll pick a few.

Anyone who owns no camera or owns a film camera of any type will love the image quality and features in the 60D. Anyone who owns a point and shoot camera (but does not mind the additional size of the 60D) will find the image quality (especially in low light), fast AF and large viewfinder of the 60D especially valuable. Rebel owners will likely find the grip and control the 60D gives them to be a nice upgrade - and the larger viewfinder will be appreciated for sure. Rebel owners of course must insure that the 60D's additional size and weight are not a problem for them.

The older the xxD body owned, the more sense an upgrade to the 60D makes. But the Canon EOS 7D may also make as much or more sense to this group - especially if a significant memory card investment is part of the equation. I'm tempted to say that Canon has "Rebel-ized" the xxD line with the 60D model iteration, but that statement is probably too harsh. But some features/advantages certainly have been lost - and the "Prosumer" designation has changed to "Consumer" for the latest xxD model.

The 7D holds a number of advantages over the 60D including a more advanced and configurable AF system with 19 cross-sensitive AF points. The 7D utilizes Canon's 100% view, 1.0x magnification, Intelligent Viewfinder that uses a liquid crystal overlay to provide various displays of focusing points and zones, on-demand grid lines and a spot metering circle. This LCD overlay can also be illuminated or turned off completely. The 7D's 8 fps frame rate is clearly faster than the 60D's 5.3 fps rate and the shutter has a 50% higher durability rating.

The least compelling upgrade will of course be from the Canon EOS 50D. To make this decision, you will have to evaluate how the 60D's enhancements affect you personally.

Anyone needing high HD video quality may be able justify a 60D purchase (understanding any limitations in this regard of course). I don't know if the Vari-Angle LCD will justify the upgrade cost for many, but it helps. Fortunately, the 60D's price tag is significantly lower than that of previous xxD bodies - a feature we can all celebrate.

The bottom line is that the Canon EOS 60D turns in very good performance, has great image quality and comes in a very affordable package. It is a camera that many of us will be happy to own.

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