Canon EOS 60D review: Canon EOS 60D

The 3-inch articulated LCD is also a great boon for shooting video. Though it's a very nice LCD, I frequently had trouble viewing it in direct sunlight.

I wasn't quite as enamored of the 15-85mm kit lens this time around as I was when I tested it with the 7D (two different lenses). My more recent shots displayed more distortion and fringing than the ones I shot more than a year ago . I'm not sure why this happened, and as always, user inconsistency is an option, but so is in-camera distortion control and changes to the lens manufacturing over the course of the year.

Like the D7000, the 60D is fast--though it's slower than its predecessor in some aspects. It powers on and shoots in 0.2 second. It takes only 0.3 second to focus and shoot in good light, which rises to 0.5 second in lower-contrast conditions; these are significantly faster than the 50D, thanks to the updated autofocus system. Two sequential shots run 0.5 or 0.6 second, for JPEG and raw, respectively. These lag behind the 50D, but that's likely because of the 60D's much larger files. At 5fps, I can't really call the 60D's burst performance disappointing, but it's a full frame slower than the 50D and a bit more sluggish than the D7000. This may also be attributable to the large files. It's still fast enough for anyone who's not shooting fast-moving pro sports or land-speed-record wildlife. The same goes for the autofocus system: it's fast and relatively accurate enough for most amateurs.

  Canon EOS Rebel T2i Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 7D Nikon D7000
Sensor (effective resolution) 18-megapixel CMOS
(4 channel readout)
15.1-megapixel CMOS
(4 channel readout)
18-megapixel CMOS
(4 channel readout)
18-megapixel CMOS
(8 channel readout)
16.2-megapixel CMOS
(4 channel readout)
22.3 mm x 14.9mm 22.3 mm x 14.9mm 22.3 mm x 14.9mm 22.3 mm x 14.9mm 23.6 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.6x 1.6x 1.6x 1.6x 1.5x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 6,400/12,800 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 3,200/12,800 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 6,400/12,800 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 6,400/12,800 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 6,400/25,600 (expanded)
Continuous shooting 3.7 fps
6 raw/34 JPEG
6.3 fps
16 raw/90 JPEG
5.3fps
16 raw/58 JPEG
8fps
15 raw/94 JPEG
6fps
n/a raw/100 JPEG
Viewfinder
magnification/ effective magnification
95% coverage
0.87x/0.54x
95% coverage 0.95x/0.59x 96% coverage
0.95x/0.59x
100% coverage 1.0x/0.63x 100% coverage
0.94x/0.63x
Autofocus 9-pt AF center cross-type 9-pt AF center cross-type 9-pt AF all cross-type; center cross to f2.8 19-pt AF all cross-type; center cross-type to f2.8 39-pt AF
9 cross-type
Shutter speed 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/160 x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync
Shutter durability n/a 150,000 cycles 100,000 cycles 150,000 cycles 150,000 cycles
Metering 63-zone iFCL 35 zones 63-zone iFCL 63-zone iFCL 2016-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical Optical Optical
Video H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/25p/24p; 720/60p/50p
None H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/25p/24p; 720/60p/50p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/25p/24p; 720/60p/50p 720/24p Motion JPEG AVI
Monaural
Rated estimated max HD video length 4GB
(12 minutes)
n/a 4GB
(approx. 12 minutes)
4GB
(approx. 12 minutes)
20 minutes
LCD size 3 inches fixed
1.04 megapixels
3 inches fixed
920,000 dots
3 inches articulated
1.04 megapixels
3 inches fixed
920,000 dots
3 inches fixed
921,000 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDHC 1 x CF 1 x SDXC 1 x CF 2 x SDXC
Wireless flash No No Yes Yes Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 550 shots 640 shots n/a 800 shots 1050 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 5.1 x 3.8 x 3.0 5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 5.7 x 4.1 x 3.1 5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 5.2 x 4.2 x 3.0
Body operating weight (ounces) 18.6 29.8 27 35 27.3
Mfr. Price $799.99 (body only, est) $1,099.99 (body only) $1,099.99 (body only) $1,699 (body only) $1,199.95 (body only)
$899.99 (with 18-55mm lens) n/a $1,399.99 (with 18-135mm lens) $1,799.99 (with 18-135mm lens, est) $1,499.95 (with 18-105mm lens)
Ship date March 2010 October 2008 November 2010 October 2009 October 2010

Though the camera still only supports a three-shot bracket, the range has been expanded to three stops (in 1/3-stop increments). And at users' request, the company has added a 3:2 aspect ratio setting. From a specification perspective, there are some backward steps, including a less durable shutter mechanism than the 50D.

Canon's version of an easy mode, Creative Auto, now operates via what it calls "ambience selection"--Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker, and Monochrome--for which you can set it to one of three levels. I'm still not a big fan of CA, especially in this class of camera. The scene modes also now utilize the ambiance selection options, making them a little more flexible. (For a full accounting of the 60D's features and operation, you can download the PDF manual.)

Though it lacks the coverage of the D7000's, the viewfinder is still big, relatively bright, and comfortable to use. But elsewhere, my biggest gripe is with the design. It's as if Canon purposefully tried to deviate from the very functional 7D layout just to be different, or--even worse--to make the camera less fluid to use in order to "persuade" commercial shooters to buy the more expensive model. For instance, the new mode dial has a locking button to prevent accidental turns. That's good. But the button is in the middle of the dial, and pressing it down while turning is quite awkward. Worse, rather than offer a dedicated Live View/Video switch as on the 7D, the 60D has a video mode on the dial. When you do a lot of jumping back and forth between still and video, having to constantly rotate the dial back and forth almost completely around gets foot-stompingly frustrating. And the custom settings still don't support most video options. Canon has also replaced the wheel and joystick controls with a wheel with a multiway rocker switch inside it. I found the switch too flat with little tactile feedback.

The 60D is in many ways a great camera; it's fast, with a great feature set, especially for video, and produces excellent photos and videos. It's just not quite as fast as the D7000 for burst shooting, and I wish Canon would stop randomly futzing with its interfaces (which it does with the point-and-shoot lines as well). But if shooting video is your primary goal, it does edge out the D7000 in that respect.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Raw shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim light)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Canon DOS Rebel T2i
0.3 
0.6 
0.5 
0.3 
Canon EOS 7D
0.2 
0.4 
0.5 
0.3 
Canon EOS 60D
0.2 
0.6 
0.5 
0.3 
Nikon D7000
0.6 
0.5 
0.3 
Canon EOS 50D
0.2 
0.3 
0.9 
0.4 
Nikon D90
0.6 
0.9 
0.4 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 15, 2010
  • Digital camera type SLR
  • Optical Zoom 7.5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 18.0 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Lens 29 - 216mm F/3.5
  • Optical Sensor Size 14.9 x 22.3mm