Cameras

Canon EOS 60D Digital Camera Review

The Canon EOS 60D is a top-notch camera in terms of performance, handling and flexibility.

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Introduction

The Canon EOS 60D represents the middle of Canon's SLR lineup, but it is a top-notch camera in terms of performance, handling and flexibility. We found that it had excellent color accuracy and took sharp images, although the 18-135mm kit lens that Canon sells with it has some issues.

Design

Front

Front Tour Image

Back

Back Tour Image

Sides

Top

Top Tour Image

Bottom

Bottom Tour Image

In the Box

Box Photo

As well as the camera, you get:

  • LP-E6 battery pack
  • LC-E6 charger
  • Neck strap
  • USB cable
  • Analog A/V output cable
  • EOS Software CD
  • Manual on CD
  • Instruction book
  • Pocket guide

Not included is a HDMI cable or a memory card: you'll need to buy your own.

Lens & Sensor

The 60D is sold as a kit with an 18-135mm, and the zoom examples shown below are taken with this lens.

The 60D is built around an APS-C sized CMOS sensor, which measures 0.88 by 0.59 inches (22.3 by 14.9mm). This is the same image sensor that is used in the Canon T2i and the 7D, and it captures 18 megapixel images with a maximum resolution of 5200 by 3462 pixels or Full HD video at 1920 by 1080 pixels at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second. It is actually a 19 megapixel sensor with a resolution of 5432 by 3492 pixels: the extra pixels are used in the image stabilization system.

This sensor is twinned with a Digic 4 image processor chip, and this is one of the areas where the otherwise similar Canon 7D has an advantage: the more expensive 7D has two image processing chips, making it quicker to process and save images.

Viewfinder

Like all SLRs, the 60D offers an optical viewfinder that shows the through the lens image, so you can see exactly what the image sensor will be seeing. At the bottom of the frame is a small LCD strip that show shooting information such as the shutter speed, aperture, ISO setting, etc.

When the 60D is shooting images, the viewfinder goes momentarily blank as the mirror flips up to allow the light to pass through to the image sensor. The 60D also offers a live view mode that shows a live preview of this captured image on the LCD screen (see below).

Display(s)

The LCD screen is one of the major upgrades from the 50D: the 60D offers a 3-inch, 1004k pixel LCD screen that is very clear and bright, showing a great level of detail for both captured images and the live view preview. This screen is also articulated: a pivot on the side of the LCD screen allows it to flip out to the left of the camera body and to rotate180 degrees up or 90 degrees down. What this means is that it can be flipped and rotated so you can see the screen from in front, above or below the camera for self portraits or shooting from above or below.

Related content

This hinged arrangement feels very tough: the LCD hinge and pivot is unlikely to break without severe force. And it also allows the LCD screen to be folded flat against the camera body, where it is protected from damage from bumps and knocks when stored in a camera bag.

Secondary Display

The 60D also offers a secondary LCD screen on the top of the camera body which shows shooting information such as the current mode, aperture and shutter speed, white balance setting, etc. The page from the manual that shows the full information is below.

UPDATE: Due to a production error, a previous version of this review contained incorrect information on the secondary screen. This has been corrected.

Secondary Display Photo

Flash

The 60D has two flash options: a small built-in flash, or a hot shoe that allows you to attach a more powerful external flash. the built-in flash is a small pop-up device that is built into the housing for the viewfinder. This automatically pops up when needed in full auto modes, or it can be activated by pressing the button on the left side of the camera body, near the lens mount. We found that this flash unit was fine for very basic shots and for acting as a fill-in flash, but wasn't powerful enough to illuminate more than a few feet into the darkness.

The other option is to add an external flash onto the hot shoe. Unlike certain other manufacturers (I'm looking at you, Sony), Canon has stuck with the standard hot shoe that allows any standard flash gun to connect. Of course, if you use one of Canon's own Speedlite EX-series flash guns, you get some extra features, such as TTL (Through The Lens ) metering and flash compensation. With other flash units, the synch speed can be adjusted to between 1/30 to 1/250 of a second.

Flash Photo

Connectivity

The 60D has a number of ports under a rubber panel on the left side of the camera body. From the top, we have a microphone input, a mini HDMI port, a USB port and a wired remote port. The USB port also doubles as an analog video & audio output with the included cables. Missing from the 7D is an external flash trigger.

Battery

The 60D is powered by a large battery that fits into the camera grip. This battery (the LP-E6) holds up to 1800 mAh of charge, and Canon claims that this will last an impressive 1600 shots with no flash or 1100 shots with. This is an ambitious claim, but it seems to be borne out: we were able to go through several days of intense shooting during our testing without having to recharge the battery.

The battery is charged in the included charger: there is no way to charge the battery within the camera itself.

Battery Photo

Memory

The 60D has a memory card slot which supports SD, SDHC and the newer SDXC memory cards. This is one of the differences between the 60D and the more expensive 7D, which uses the larger CompactFlash memory cards.

Memory Photo

Image Quality

Sharpness

We found that the 60D was capable of capturing very sharp images, but that this was let down somewhat by the performance of the 18-135mm zoom lens that Canon bundled it with. We can tell this because the sharpness in the center of the frame of our test photos was very high, but the sharpness at the edges was much lower. Basically, the 60D is a camera that can capture very sharp, clean images, but the included lens lets it down. If image quality is critical to you, buy the 60D without a lens and spend the money you save on buying some better lenses. More on how we test sharpness.

Image Stabilization

The 60D uses Canon's lens based image stabilization (IS) system, where an element of the lens moves in response to the camera shake detected by the camera body. We have generally found Canons to have effective image stabilization, and the 60D is no exception: we found that it did a good job of correcting for camera shake in our tests, especially at the longer shutter speeds. It is not perfect, though: we found that it sometimes made things a little worse at shutter speeds above 1/60 of a second. Our recommendation would be to leave it turned on if you are shooting indoors or in relatively low light. One thing to bear in mind here: because the IS system is built into the lens, the performance will be different with different lenses than the one we tested with (the 18-135mm kit lens).

Color

Our first test looks at the color accuracy of a camera: how accurately can it capture the range of colors that form photos? To test this, we photograph a color chart with 24 color patches and compare the captured image with the original chart. In this test, we found that the 60D captured extremely accurate color in most of the picture modes it offers, with the Faithful mode being the most accurate by a whisker. The only colors that it struggled to capture were the some of the blues and reds, both of which were a little more vivid than the subtle originals. The 60D aced this test, though, getting one of the highest scores for color accuracy that we have ever seen. More on how we test color.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

In comparison with other cameras, you can see that the 60D was the winner by a significant margin, outscoring even the more expensive Canon 7D and earning a higher score than the Nikon and Sony cameras.

Color Modes

The 60D offers only a limited selection of color modes: 6 preset ones and three user defined ones. The 6 presets (which Canon refers to as Picture Modes) are Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome, while the 3 user defined ones can be customized by changing settings for sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone. These color modes are different to the similarly named scene modes that are available from the mode dial, although a scene mode may include a picture mode. Sample crops from a Gretag Macbeth color chart shot in 5 of the modes (the presets, excluding monochrome) are shown below.

White Balance

White balance is how a camera compensates for different lighting sources. If a camera can correctly white balance, the colors will look the same as the original. If it can't, images will come out with an orange or blue color cast. We test this by photographing a color chart under a variety of lighting sources, and analyzing the resulting images. We found that the 60D was generally able to white balance correctly, but it struggled with incandescent lighting.

Automatic White Balance ()

Our first test looks at the auto white balance setting, where the camera judges the white balance after taking a photo and compensates. We found a low color shift with the simulated daylight and fluorescent light sources, but there was a fairly significant shift with incandescent lighting: the whites had a distinct orange cast to them.

If we compare the performance of the 60D to other cameras, we see that most had no problem with the simulated daylight in our tests: all had a low color error. All of them struggled with the incandescent lighting, though, and all produced images with a significant color error. The 60D had a more significant color error with the fluorescent light source than the other cameras, but this is not a huge concern: the color error is still minor.

Custom White Balance ()

Next, we test with using a custom white balance, where we take a photo of a white card and allow the camera to use this to calculate the correct color balance. This produced much smaller color errors than the automatic setting, and it underlines the benefit of using a custom white balance where possible.

White Balance Options

The 60D offers a good selection of white balance presets and custom features, with 6 presets (listed below) and a direct entry setting. Unusually for a high-end SLR, there is only one custom white balance memory spot, so you can't store several different settings to use in different locations.

Long Exposure

In our long exposure test, we look at how the color accuracy and noise levels change as the camera takes images with exposure times of between 1 and 30 seconds. Many cameras struggle here, but we found that the 60D did well: shooting in low light with an ISO of 400, the noise actually seemed to decrease as the exposure time increased. We also look at if the cameras built-in long exposure noise reduction reduced the image noise: the answer for the 60D was that it did reduce the noise, but only very slightly. More on how we test long exposure.

We found that the color error did climb as the shutter speed got longer, with the largest color error at a 30 second exposure. But the climb was minor, and the color error remained comparatively low across the shutter speed range.

We also look at the amount of noise in our test images, and we found that the amount of noise fell as the shutter speed increased. Enabling the long exposure noise reduction did reduce the amount of noise in images, but only by a small amount. It also slows the shooting speed, as it works by taking another exposure with the shutter closed and subtracting this from the real image (a technique called dark field subtraction). This means that, with a 30 second exposure, you have to wait another 30 seconds after the shot is taken for the camera to take the second one before you can see the final image or shoot another one.

Noise Reduction

Our first test looks at the amount of noise in images, and how well the camera deals with this. The 60D offers 4 levels of noise reduction, ranging from disabled to strong. As the graph above shows, the noise climbs as the ISO increases, but the noise reduction can reduce it somewhat when on the higher settings. There is a price to pay, though: the images loose some detail that the camera confuses with noise.

If we look at the noise in the different color channels with the NR disabled, we can see there the red noise is a little higher than others, but not significantly. More on how we test noise.

ISO Options

The normal ISO range of the 60D goes from 100 up to 6400 by default, but this can be expanded up to ISO 12800 by enabling a custom function. We have included samples with this expanded range below, but Canon does not enable it by default for a reason: images get rather noisy above ISO 1600.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is a measure of how much detail a camera can capture in the shadows and highlights. The wider the dynamic range, the more detail it can capture, and the more realistic the captured images will look. We measured the widest dynamic range that the 60D could manage at 7.48 stops, just a whisker less than the Canon 7D. As the ISO increased, the dynamic range that the camera captured decreased, because of the increasing noise in the images. However, the speed at which the range decreased was not significantly lower or higher than other cameras. The dynamic range decreases as the ISO increases, falling to 2.37 stops at ISO 6400. More on how we test dynamic range.

Noise Reduction

Our first test looks at the amount of noise in images, and how well the camera deals with this. The 60D offers 4 levels of noise reduction, ranging from disabled to strong. As the graph above shows, the noise climbs as the ISO increases, but the noise reduction can reduce it somewhat when on the higher settings. There is a price to pay, though: the images loose some detail that the camera confuses with noise.

If we look at the noise in the different color channels with the NR disabled, we can see there the red noise is a little higher than others, but not significantly. More on how we test noise.

ISO Options

The normal ISO range of the 60D goes from 100 up to 6400 by default, but this can be expanded up to ISO 12800 by enabling a custom function. We have included samples with this expanded range below, but Canon does not enable it by default for a reason: images get rather noisy above ISO 1600.

Focus Performance

The 60D offers 9 focus points arranged in a diamond shape around the center of the frame, with one point in the center of the frame. All of these points are the cross type, but the center focus point is a dual cross type, which is more effective with both horizontal and vertical edges: Canon claims double the sensitivity for the center point over the others. 9 focus points is significantly less than many other cameras: the Sony SLT-A55 offers 15, and the Canon 7D offers 19, which provides more flexibility in choosing where in the frame to focus. Also missing is the zone system of the 7D, which allows the user to select a zone of AF points to use.

Switching between the focus points is done by pressing the set button. The user can then select an individual point with the control dial or the directional pad, or select all points so the camera will get as many into focus as possible.

There are three focusing modes on offer: One Shot, AI Focus, and AI Servo.

Long Exposure

In our long exposure test, we look at how the color accuracy and noise levels change as the camera takes images with exposure times of between 1 and 30 seconds. Many cameras struggle here, but we found that the 60D did well: shooting in low light with an ISO of 400, the noise actually seemed to decrease as the exposure time increased. We also look at if the cameras built-in long exposure noise reduction reduced the image noise: the answer for the 60D was that it did reduce the noise, but only very slightly. More on how we test long exposure.

We found that the color error did climb as the shutter speed got longer, with the largest color error at a 30 second exposure. But the climb was minor, and the color error remained comparatively low across the shutter speed range.

We also look at the amount of noise in our test images, and we found that the amount of noise fell as the shutter speed increased. Enabling the long exposure noise reduction did reduce the amount of noise in images, but only by a small amount. It also slows the shooting speed, as it works by taking another exposure with the shutter closed and subtracting this from the real image (a technique called dark field subtraction). This means that, with a 30 second exposure, you have to wait another 30 seconds after the shot is taken for the camera to take the second one before you can see the final image or shoot another one.

Video: Low Light Sensitivity

The Canon 60D needed 8 lux of light to pass our sensitivity test, which is a fine score for the DSLR camera. It's the same amount of light that the Canon 7D needed in this test, though, so it appears Canon didn't make any improvements (or worsen) the video low light sensitivity on its new DSLR.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is caused by the elements of the lens diffracting colors of light differently, causing a colored fringe at the edge of objects. We found that there was some aberration going on with the 18-135mm lens, especially at the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom range.

Shooting at the wide end of the zoom range, we found that the images were sharp in the center of the frame across the aperture range, but the edges of the frame were a different story: they were rather soft at both the widest and smallest aperture. There was also a noticeable amount of chromatic aberration in all of our test images at the edge of the frame.

Things were a little sharper in the middle of the zoom range, but there were still issues, with the images taken at the smallest aperture being rather soft.

At the long end of the zoom range, we found the same issues as above with slightly soft edges leading to a loss of detail, especially at the smallest aperture.

Distortion

The 18-135mm zoom lens that is sold with the 60D introduces some distortion into images: we found that there was only a very small amount of distortion at the wide and telephoto ends of the range, but there was some significant distortion in the middle and at the long end of the zoom range.

Motion

The Canon 60D can record using a variety of frame rates: 30p and 24p in Full 1080p HD mode and 60p when using the 720p HD mode or the standard definition record mode. This is an excellent set of frame rates to choose from, and the only thing that's really missing is a 1080/60p option. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.

The 60D did well on our motion test and we were most impressed by the fact that its rolling shutter effect was kept to a minimum. What we mean by rolling shutter is a wobble in the video clip when you quickly pan the camera from side to side. It is something we often see on video-capable DSLRs and it was very present on the Canon 7D. Canon somehow appeared to address this issue with the 60D and it is much improved (it is still there, though, just not as bad). On the other hand, the 60D actually had a bit more artifacting in its video and wasn't quite as smooth as what we got with the Canon 7D.

The Canon 7D impressed us with in our motion test and we found its video to be slightly less choppy than the Canon 60D. The camera has the same frame rate options as the 60D, so there isn't any difference in that category. We just found the 7D to capture motion video slightly smoother with a bit less artifacting than the 60D.

The SLT-A55V had minimal artifacting in our motion test, and its video was fairly smooth, but we were disappointed that the camera didn't offer a 24p record mode. You must either record at 60i or 30p on the camera, which aren't awful choices, but many videographers prefer the cinema-like quality of 24p.

The Samsung NX10 uses a 30p frame rate in all of its recording modes, but it is also the only camera in this group that doesn't record a Full HD video image. It has a max resolution of 1280 x 720, which is still technically HD, but it doesn't have the same resolution as a 1920 x 1080 Full HD video. In our motion test, we saw lots of trailing and blur with the NX10 and the camera had a significant rolling shutter problem—similar to what we saw from the Canon 7D.

Video Sharpness

With its Full HD 1920 x 1080 record mode, the Canon 60D is capable of producing a very sharp image for a video-capable DSLR. Unfortunately, its sharpness wasn't quite up to par with the high-end HD camcorders that are on the market right now, but it was certainly close. Compared to the other video-capable DSLRs we compared it to, only the Sony SLT-A55V did better than the Canon 60D in this test. Here are the overall numbers: the 60D measured a horizontal sharpness of 600 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 700 lw/ph. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

Low Light Sensitivity

The Canon 60D needed 8 lux of light to pass our sensitivity test, which is a fine score for the DSLR camera. It's the same amount of light that the Canon 7D needed in this test, though, so it appears Canon didn't make any improvements (or worsen) the video low light sensitivity on its new DSLR.

Usability

Buttons & Dials

There are a lot of buttons, controls and dials on this camera: 21 buttons and 3 dials. These are laid out in a consistent fashion, though, with the most commonly used buttons falling near the fingertips when holding the camera in two hands, so you can easily change the ISO level or drive mode without looking away from the viewfinder. Most of the controls on the back of the camera are designed for use in live view mode or when accessing the menu on the main LCD screen, but the AF-on button is within reach of the thumb. One interesting design touch is the mode dial. To stop this being accidentally turned, Canon has added a button that has to be pressed for the dial to turn, so you can't accidentally change modes while handling the camera.

Canon also carried over one useful feature from the 50D: an additional scroll wheel on the back of the camera body. In the 60D, this sits around the directional pad, which is a positive move, as it provides for quick scrolling through images and menus, as well as controlling aperture in manual mode and exposure compensation in other modes. It is possible to reach down and turn this with the thumb with the eye to the viewfinder, but it is awkward to turn it more than 45 degrees: you have to turn the dial, move the thumb, turn the dial, etc. This is a bit of a pain when trying to go from a wide to a small aperture.

Despite this, the 60D is overall an extremely easy camera to use and shoot with once you get used to the layout, and 50D users will quickly feel at home here. Canon T2i users should also be able to find their way around after a brief familiarization period.

Most of the controls are on the back of the camera. Of particular note are the live view buttons near the top and the Q and main menu buttons.

The 60D has two types of menu: the quick menu accessed with the Q button and the main menu. The idea is that the quick menu provides quick access to shooting controls such as exposure compensation, drive mode, etc. The main menu contains these and the lesser-used options, such as memory card formatting.

Instruction Manual

The 60D comes with a full printed manual in both English and Spanish. This manual is well illustrated and indexed, covering all of the advanced features of the camera in some depth. A pocket guide is also included that offers a quick visual guide to the main features of the camera.

Handling

The Canon 60D is in the middle of the range in terms of size: it is larger than the T2i, but smaller than the 7D. However, the size differences between this and the 7D are small: it has the same hefty feel, especially with the large 18-135mm kit lens. It fits comfortably into the hand, with the large grip and textured coating that makes for a good tight grip.

Handling Photo 1

The overall size and weight is reduced slightly from the EOS 50D, the model the 60D replaces in the line up.

Handling Photo 2

Buttons & Dials

There are a lot of buttons, controls and dials on this camera: 21 buttons and 3 dials. These are laid out in a consistent fashion, though, with the most commonly used buttons falling near the fingertips when holding the camera in two hands, so you can easily change the ISO level or drive mode without looking away from the viewfinder. Most of the controls on the back of the camera are designed for use in live view mode or when accessing the menu on the main LCD screen, but the AF-on button is within reach of the thumb. One interesting design touch is the mode dial. To stop this being accidentally turned, Canon has added a button that has to be pressed for the dial to turn, so you can't accidentally change modes while handling the camera.

Canon also carried over one useful feature from the 50D: an additional scroll wheel on the back of the camera body. In the 60D, this sits around the directional pad, which is a positive move, as it provides for quick scrolling through images and menus, as well as controlling aperture in manual mode and exposure compensation in other modes. It is possible to reach down and turn this with the thumb with the eye to the viewfinder, but it is awkward to turn it more than 45 degrees: you have to turn the dial, move the thumb, turn the dial, etc. This is a bit of a pain when trying to go from a wide to a small aperture.

Despite this, the 60D is overall an extremely easy camera to use and shoot with once you get used to the layout, and 50D users will quickly feel at home here. Canon T2i users should also be able to find their way around after a brief familiarization period.

Most of the controls are on the back of the camera. Of particular note are the live view buttons near the top and the Q and main menu buttons.

Buttons Photo 1

More controls are located on the top of the camera, including a group of 5 buttons near the LCD panel and the power switch below the mode dial.

Buttons Photo 2

Display(s)

The LCD screen is one of the major upgrades from the 50D: the 60D offers a 3-inch, 1004k pixel LCD screen that is very clear and bright, showing a great level of detail for both captured images and the live view preview. This screen is also articulated: a pivot on the side of the LCD screen allows it to flip out to the left of the camera body and to rotate180 degrees up or 90 degrees down. What this means is that it can be flipped and rotated so you can see the screen from in front, above or below the camera for self portraits or shooting from above or below.

This hinged arrangement feels very tough: the LCD hinge and pivot is unlikely to break without severe force. And it also allows the LCD screen to be folded flat against the camera body, where it is protected from damage from bumps and knocks when stored in a camera bag.

Secondary Display

The 60D also offers a secondary LCD screen on the top of the camera body which shows shooting information such as the current mode, aperture and shutter speed, white balance setting, etc. The page from the manual that shows the full information is below.

UPDATE: Due to a production error, a previous version of this review contained incorrect information on the secondary screen. This has been corrected.

Secondary Display Photo

Viewfinder

Like all SLRs, the 60D offers an optical viewfinder that shows the through the lens image, so you can see exactly what the image sensor will be seeing. At the bottom of the frame is a small LCD strip that show shooting information such as the shutter speed, aperture, ISO setting, etc.

When the 60D is shooting images, the viewfinder goes momentarily blank as the mirror flips up to allow the light to pass through to the image sensor. The 60D also offers a live view mode that shows a live preview of this captured image on the LCD screen (see below).

Image Stabilization

The 60D uses Canon's lens based image stabilization (IS) system, where an element of the lens moves in response to the camera shake detected by the camera body. We have generally found Canons to have effective image stabilization, and the 60D is no exception: we found that it did a good job of correcting for camera shake in our tests, especially at the longer shutter speeds. It is not perfect, though: we found that it sometimes made things a little worse at shutter speeds above 1/60 of a second. Our recommendation would be to leave it turned on if you are shooting indoors or in relatively low light. One thing to bear in mind here: because the IS system is built into the lens, the performance will be different with different lenses than the one we tested with (the 18-135mm kit lens).

Shooting Modes

The 60D offers a good selection of shooting modes that provides plenty of flexibility for the user.

Focus

The 60D offers 9 focus points arranged in a diamond shape around the center of the frame, with one point in the center of the frame. All of these points are the cross type, but the center focus point is a dual cross type, which is more effective with both horizontal and vertical edges: Canon claims double the sensitivity for the center point over the others. 9 focus points is significantly less than many other cameras: the Sony SLT-A55 offers 15, and the Canon 7D offers 19, which provides more flexibility in choosing where in the frame to focus. Also missing is the zone system of the 7D, which allows the user to select a zone of AF points to use.

Switching between the focus points is done by pressing the set button. The user can then select an individual point with the control dial or the directional pad, or select all points so the camera will get as many into focus as possible.

There are three focusing modes on offer: One Shot, AI Focus, and AI Servo.

A full manual focus is also available by flicking the switch on the lens body. When in full manual mode, the camera helps a little by flashing the focus points that it detects as being in focus when the shutter is half pressed down.

Recording Options

The D60 offers a good range of image size and quality options, with the size options shown in the table below. All of these offer two different quality levels, described as Fine and Standard. Unusually, the 60D also offers three size settings for RAW images (which contain the raw data from the image sensor for maximum quality): the full raw image, M-RAW and S-RAW. The full RAW images contain about 18 megapixels, while RAW M and RAW S images contain 10.1 or 4.5 megapixels respectively.

Speed and Timing

The 60D offers two burst modes: a high speed mode that shoots around 5.3 fps, and a low speed mode that does about 3 fps.

Running in the high speed continuous mode, we found that the 60D could shoot about 5.2 frames per second (fps), a touch below the 5.3fps that Canon claims. That's a very decent speed, and is only a little slower than the 7.49 fps of its more expensive cousin, the 7D. We found that it slowed down significantly after about 40 shots with the Lexar Professional 4GB SDHC card we tested it with as the camera had to wait to write data out to the memory card. Still, that's a lot of photos: a burst of around 7 seconds should cover most eventualities. The camera also provides an indication of the maximum burst in the viewfinder: a number on the far right shows the probable maximum burst that the camera can handle with the current settings.

A 2 and 10 second self timer delay are available, and the 60D is compatible with a Canon wired remote: the RS-60E3. There is no face or smile detection shutter, though, which are features available on most point & shoot cameras.

Focus Speed

The 60D offers 9 focus points arranged in a diamond shape around the center of the frame, with one point in the center of the frame. All of these points are the cross type, but the center focus point is a dual cross type, which is more effective with both horizontal and vertical edges: Canon claims double the sensitivity for the center point over the others. 9 focus points is significantly less than many other cameras: the Sony SLT-A55 offers 15, and the Canon 7D offers 19, which provides more flexibility in choosing where in the frame to focus. Also missing is the zone system of the 7D, which allows the user to select a zone of AF points to use.

Switching between the focus points is done by pressing the set button. The user can then select an individual point with the control dial or the directional pad, or select all points so the camera will get as many into focus as possible.

There are three focusing modes on offer: One Shot, AI Focus, and AI Servo.

A full manual focus is also available by flicking the switch on the lens body. When in full manual mode, the camera helps a little by flashing the focus points that it detects as being in focus when the shutter is half pressed down.

Features

Recording Options

The Canon 60D uses the MPEG-4 codec to compress video, which is the same compression system utilized by the Canon 7D. These MPEG-4 clips are a bit different than the AVCHD files that you'll find on most consumer camcorders. For starters, you can drag and drop the MPEG-4 video clips right from a memory card onto your computer (and play them instantly). If you import them to certain editing programs, however, you'll have to render the clips before you can work with them fully.

The camera has multiple recording options, all of which are listed in the table below. There are two Full HD settings, a 720p HD mode, and a 640 x 480 standard definition record mode. There's also a 640 x 480 crop setting that is essentially a zoomed-in version of a 1920 x 1080 recording.The crop mode gives your video a 7x telephoto zoom effect that is essentially a digital zoom.

The Canon 60D also has another trick up its sleeve that may be advantageous to people who will be using the camera overseas. You can switch the video mode between NTSC and PAL in the camera's menu. When shooting in the PAL system, the frame rate options on the camera change from 24p to 25p and from 60p to 50p (30p is available in both PAL and NTSC). This feature will probably be ignored by most users, but certain advanced videographers should be pleased with its inclusion. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

Video Controls

The 60D offers mainly the same manual controls as the Canon 7D camera, which is to say it includes quite a bit. The 60D even added a few features, like the ability to change ISO during video recording, that make it the best video-capable DSLR we've seen in terms of how much control it offers.

Auto Controls

The Canon 60D does not have a continual live autofocus feature, which is basically the one control the camera doesn't include. You can use autofocus in video mode, but you must press the AF button or hold the shutter button down halfway (like you'd do to focus a photo). This is annoying, but it is par for the course with video-capable DSLRs. Only new DSLR-esque cameras like the Micro Four Thirds models include continual autofocus features. If this is something that is very important for you to have, we recommend going with a camcorder instead—all of them have autofocus mechanisms that work quickly.

If you have the exposure mode set to auto on the 60D you cannot adjust shutter speed, aperture, or ISO manually. You can make basic exposure control adjustments with EV values, however. To access the shutter, aperture, and ISO controls you must switch the camera over to manual exposure mode in its menu.

Zoom

How much zoom you get with the 60D depends on what kind of lens you have attached to the camera. The kit lens we used in our testing was an 18mm - 135mm, which is close to a 7.5x zoom. If you want more zoom, you can use the 640 x 480 crop record mode, which adds another 7x telephoto zoom to your video (it's a digital zoom, though).

Focus

There's no continual autofocus on the 60D, but you can manually focus using the large lens ring on the attached lens. This would be the recommended way to focus if you don't want the image to pop out of focus for a moment (it does this when you press the autofocus button), or if you really care about getting clean audio (the autofocus mechanism is very loud).

Exposure Controls

All of these controls can be accessed and adjusted manually on the 60D either during video recording or before you start recording. The controls are easy to set—you simply rotate the dedicated dials—and the camera has a long list of aperture and shutter options.

Other Controls

The 60D has full ISO controls in video mode and you can even adjust them during video recording. We're not sure how many users will actually want to adjust ISO while recording video, but we're still pleased to see this feature available (more control is usually not a bad thing).

The camera also includes an electronic level, highlight tone priority (three dynamic range options), a grid display, and picture style options (which we show examples of in the Video: Color & Noise section of this review). Of course, the camera also has a full set of white balance controls that can work in video mode.

Audio Features

Canon added some extra audio features to the 60D that weren't present on the Canon 7D last year. For starters, the 60D has a manual audio level adjustment feature for its onboard mic and it also offers a wind filter option for cutting down on wind-related noise. When you consider how noisy the 60D is when you use it, this manual audio level control doesn't really come across as all that useful. The onboard mic consistently picks up clicks from dials in addition to the very loud autofocus mechanism. So, adjusting the audio levels won't really do anything to eliminate the noise factor. If you want clean audio with the 60D, you'll have to make use of the 3.5mm external mic jack, which is a far more useful feature.

In the Box

Box Photo

As well as the camera, you get:

  • LP-E6 battery pack
  • LC-E6 charger
  • Neck strap
  • USB cable
  • Analog A/V output cable
  • EOS Software CD
  • Manual on CD
  • Instruction book
  • Pocket guide

Not included is a HDMI cable or a memory card: you'll need to buy your own.

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