Canon EOS 60D

Canon EOS 60D front
Released September 2010

After a longer wait than normal, Canon introduced the EOS 60D to a market keen for its arrival. It arrived into a world where digital SLRs can be seen gracing the neck of everyone who’s ever thought of being a photographer, so it wasn’t surprising that Canon seemed to have rethought its entry-level prosumer digital SLR. The design of the Canon 60D is slightly smaller, and more specifically aimed at the advanced amateur market, better fitting into the niche occupied by the Nikon D90 and now the D7000, while the Canon 7D remains a better match for the Nikon D300S, as both are cameras aimed more toward those making money with their photographs. The redesign still mostly adds and improves features, like the 18-megapixel sensor, Full HD Movie mode, and Vari-angle LCD, but there’s at least one feature deletion that is a little frustrating, which we’ll get to shortly.

We’d begun to wonder whether Canon would introduce another semi-Pro digital SLR in this price range, as it’s been over two years since the 50D debuted. But the 50D was introduced six months early, only one year from the 40D’s announcement, so the 60D marks a return to the original schedule, and we don’t expect an upgrade for another 18 months.

In past reviews, we’ve noted that Nikon had Canon SLRs bracketed, introducing SLRs that didn’t quite compete directly with Canon’s models in price or features, and that was no more true than when the Canon 50D was left to duke it out with both the Nikon D80/D90 and the Nikon D300/D300S. With the 7D now in place to take on the D300S, the Canon 60D is now aimed more directly at the Nikon D90 and D7000, losing a few of its pro features in favor of a more consumer-driven focus and a smaller body.

The upgrade to an 18-megapixel sensor brings the Canon EOS 60D up to date with the Rebel T2i and the 7D, and splits the difference between the two in frame rate, with the T2i shooting 3.7 fps, and the 7D ripping through 8 fps, while the Canon 60D can shoot at 5.3 frames per second. That’s down from the 50D’s 6.3 frames per second, one of the first downgrades on the list.

A major improvement is the addition of a 1.04-million pixel, 3-inch Vari-angle LCD screen on the Canon 60D, opening up more unique composition possibilities to the class of shooter that Canon is seeking with this new design.

Though it’s the sixth EOS SLR to support HD video capture, the Canon 60D is the first of its class to do so. Resolutions include 1,920 x 1,080p, 1280 x 720, and 640 x 480, saved in H.264 compression with linear PCM audio. Frame rates include 30, 25, and 24 fps for Full HD, and 60 fps and 50 fps for HD and VGA. Also included is a feature only recently added to the 5D Mark II’s video mode, the all-important audio-level adjustment; so in this sense, the Canon 60D is a more advanced video capture device than the 7D.

Other basic specs on the Canon 60D include an ISO range from 100 to 6,400, plus a high setting for 12,800; a 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor; a 9-point all-cross-type phase-detect autofocus sensor; 100,000-cycle shutter durability; and shutter speeds from 30 to 1/8,000 second. Electronic leveling first seen in the 7D also makes its way into the Canon 60D, indicating pitch and roll like an airplane’s attitude indicator. Compact flash has been replaced with SDXC compatibility, and the Canon 60D uses the same battery as the 7D.

A great many of the Canon 60D’s controls have been pared down, and most buttons no longer have a dual purpose depending on the mode. Even the four top buttons that used to control two functions via the Main dial and the rear Quick Control dial are now dedicated to just one function per button. In this sense, the Canon 60D is more like a large Rebel with an LCD status display on the top deck than an evolution of the xxD line. Another, more welcome change integrates the 8-way joystick with the Quick Control dial. The major unfortunate omission to our minds is the Lens AF Microadjustment Custom Function, a firmware feature that anyone who cares about sharp images will want in their semi-pro camera. It’s another example of how the Canon 60D is now aimed at the advanced amateur, not the semi-pro market.

Finally, you can use the Canon 60D’s built-in flash to wirelessly remote control other Canon wireless EX flashes.

In another challenge to the Nikon D90 and D7000, the Canon 60D ships with the EF-S 18-135mm IS kit lens instead of the rather long-in-the-tooth and poorly matched EF 28-135mm IS lens that shipped with the 40D and 50D.

The Canon 60D began shipping in September 2010 and comes in a kit with the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens for a list price of US$1,399.00, or body only for US$1,099.00.


Model Number: 60D
Camera Format: SLR
Currently Manufactured: Yes
Retail Price: $1399.00
Street Price: $1163.48
Date Available: 2010-09-30
Tripod Mount: Yes (Metal)
Weight: 43.5 oz (1,234 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Weight With Batteries? Yes
Weight Includes Kit Lens? Yes
Size: 5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1 in.
(145 x 106 x 79 mm)
Waterproof: No
3D: No
Panorama: No
Image Sensor
Sensor Type: CMOS
Sensor Manufacturer: Canon
Total Megapixels: 19.0
Effective Megapixels: 18.0
Sensor Format: APS-C
Sensor Size (dia.): 1.06″
Focal Length Multiplier: 1.6
Color Filter Type: RGBG
Self-Cleaning: Yes
Sensor-shift Stabilized: No
Image Capture
Image Resolution: 5184 x 3456 (17.9 MP, 3:2),
3888 x 2592 (10.1 MP, 3:2),
3456 x 2304 (8.0 MP, 3:2),
2592 x 1728 (4.5 MP, 3:2),
1920 x 1280 (2.5 MP, 3:2),
720 x 480 (0.3 MP, 3:2)
Image File Format: JPEG (EXIF 2.3), 14-bit RAW, MRAW, SRAW
Video Capture
Movie Mode: Yes
Movie Resolution: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480
Movie Frame Rate: 30/25/24, 60/50, 60/50
Movie Audio: Yes
Movie File Format: .MOV (H.264)
Lens Mount: Canon EF, EF-S
Kit Lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Focal Length (35mm equivalent): 29 – 216 mm
Zoom Ratio: 7.50x
Aperture Range: f/3.5 – f/22 (wide) / f/5.6 – f/38 (tele)
Normal Focus Range: 45 cm to Infinity
17.7 in to Infinity
Macro Focus Range:
Optical Image Stablization: Yes
Digital Zoom:
Digital Zoom Values:
Filter Thread: 67mm
Auto Focus
Auto Focus: Yes
Auto Focus Type: AF-dedicated CMOS Sensor, 9-points, all cross-type AF points, center dual cross-type point for f/2.8
Face Detection: Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light? Yes
Manual Focus: Yes
Optical Viewfinder
Optical Viewfinder: Yes
Optical Viewfinder Type: SLR type; eye-level pentaprism, 96% coverage, 0.95x magnification, 22mm eyepoint, -3 to +1 diopter
LCD Viewfinder: Yes
LCD Size (inches): 3.0
LCD Resolution: 1,040,000 dots
Articulating LCD: Yes
Max Playback Zoom: 10.0x
ISO Settings: Auto, 100 – 6400 in 1/3 or 1EV steps, H=12800
Auto ISO Mode: Yes
White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent, Flash, Custom, Kelvin 2,500K – 10,000K
Shutter Speed Range: 30 – 1/8000
Bulb Mode: Yes
Exposure Compensation: +/- 5.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Metering Modes: 63-zone (dual layer) Evaluative, Center-weighted, Partial (6.5%), Spot (2.8%)
Program AE: Yes
Aperture Priority: Yes
Shutter Priority: Yes
Full Manual Exposure: Yes
Creative Exposure Modes: Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Night Portrait, No Flash, Custom User Setting
Self Timer: 10 or 2 seconds
Time Lapse:
Built-in Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: E-TTL II
Flash Guide Number (ISO 100): 13 m / 43 ft.
Flash Range Description: Lens aperture dependent
Max Flash Sync: 1/250
Flash Exp Compensation: +/- 3.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Ext Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
Image Storage
Usable Memory Types: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Memory Included (MB):
File System: FAT32
DCF Compliant: Yes
Composite Video Out: Yes
NTSC/PAL Switchable: Yes
Video Usable as Viewfinder: Yes
HD Video Out: Yes
HD Video Connection: HDMI
Built-In Wi-fi: No
Computer/Printer: USB 2.0 High Speed
PictBridge Compliant: Yes
DPOF Compliant: Yes
Remote Control: Yes
Remote Control Type: Optional Wired or Wireless
Other Connection: HDMI mini out, external 3.5mm microphone jack
Battery Form Factor: Proprietary
Usable Battery Types: LP-E6 Lithium-ion rechargeble
Batteries Included: 1 x Proprietary LP-E6 Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Charger Included: Yes
CIPA Rating: 1,100
Included Software: Canon Solutions Disc (EOS Utility, ZoomBrowser EX/ImageBrowser, Digital Photo Professional.Picture Style Editor, Movie Edit Task, PhotoStitch, Memory Card utility,)
OS Compatibility: Windows XP SP2/SP3 / Vista, Mac OS X 10.4-10.5
Notes & Features: Full HD movies, vari-angle LCD, 5.3 fps burst mode.

Canon 60D Conclusion

Pro: Con:
  • Excellent 18-megapixel sensor with superb detail
  • Very good high ISO performance, especially for 18-megapixel subframe sensor
  • 3.0-inch, 1,040K-dot Vari-angle LCD is very useful for video and Live View
  • Quick Menu system
  • The usual Canon enhancements: HTP, ALO, Lens Peripheral Illumination
  • Sharp 18-135 kit lens with above average zoom range and I. S.
  • Live View mode works very well
  • Live View mode offers a choice between phase-detect, contrast-detect modes, plus Face detect mode
  • Improved Live View focusing speeds
  • Very good color and saturation
  • Saturation and contrast settings work well
  • Fast shutter lag
  • Wireless flash support built-into pop-up flash
  • Fast flash recycling (2.6 seconds)
  • Full HD (1920×1080)¬†movies at 30/25/24p, 60/50p at 1280×720 and 640×480
  • HDMI output for direct playback on HDTVs
  • Dust removal technology largely eliminates sensor cleaning chores
  • Integrated status display conveys a lot of information
  • Fast image transfer eliminates the need for a card reader
  • Picture Styles makes choosing and customizing color modes fast and easy
  • Compatible with over 50 lenses and accessories
  • Horizontal electronic level
  • Good software bundle
  • 14-bit RAW files
  • RAW files serve up incredible detail
  • Reduced-size RAW options
  • In-camera RAW conversion
  • Supports both wired and wireless remotes
  • Excellent battery life with optical viewfinder
  • Optional battery grip
  • External stereo microphone jack
  • Print quality is excellent, making sharp 20×30-inch prints
  • Body probably not as rugged as mag-alloy 50D
  • AF assist only works when flash is up, though flash can be forced off
  • Auto-exposure not reliable in very low light
  • No in-camera image stabilization (lens based)
  • 18-135mm kit lens has noticeable chromatic aberration and geometric distortion; also doesn’t focus very closely
  • In-camera distortion and chromatic aberration correction only available in post-capture RAW processing
  • Flash exposures sometimes inconsistent
  • No PC Sync connector for external strobes
  • No continuous autofocus in Movie mode
  • Auto and Incandescent white balance leaves tungsten lighting too warm
  • Default high ISO noise suppression has trouble with low-contrast areas, especially in the red channel
  • Single-area full AF lag and burst mode slower than 50D
  • Imatest high quality dynamic range score not as good as some competitors
  • No AF Microadjustment
  • Need to use Mode dial to switch to Movie mode
  • Sluggish buffer clearing times
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