The Canon 60D was the much-awaited 2011 mid-entry level DSLR for advanced amateurs, and it still holds up well against the competition more than a year later. A shade more advanced than models in the company’s popular Rebel line, the 60D is a moderately priced camera in the DSLRs arena, yet it still offers plenty of advantages for beginners and advanced users.
The Canon 60D replaces the older 50D model and is a must-have camera for serious-minded consumers looking to go pro, or even forward-thinking amateurs who shoot hundreds of images at a time. With its heavier, more ruggedly durable body, a flip-out swivel screen that enables live view still and video recording, and slightly faster still shooting capabilities (5.3 frames per second), the 60D is a valuable contender in Canon’s professional DSLR line. Its substantial (and no doubt longer-wearing) body is impressive, and we appreciate the thoughtful ergonomic layout of buttons, immediate ease of functionality, and useful finger grip pad, which can be important in heavier cameras. When paired with a Canon EFS 18-135mm image-stabilizing lens, you simply cannot beat the 60D for its versatility, wide choice of shot types, and overall speed.
A notable improvement (and reason to buy this camera if you’re a low-light enthusiast) is its ability to utilize a wide range of ISO settings, from 100 to 6400 (and expandable to an amazing 12800 for enhanced nighttime shooting needs with little to no noise). By combining great light sensitivity, density of megapixels, accuracy of color, and ability to shoot RAW image files, the Canon EOS 60D is a winner for those looking for professional-quality print worthy images that can be manipulated and enlarged.
Speaking of manipulation, the Canon 60D also comes with a few basic in-camera editing features, including the ability to process RAW files and to save files in different sizes. (RAW file editing features include Picture Style, White Balance, Color Space, High-ISO Noise Reduction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, Linear Distortion Correction, and Chromatic Aberration Correction.) Other in-camera editing features, though, such as the ability to change images to black and white (in three contrast scales), a “toy camera” filter effect (also with three variations, including vignettes), a “soft focus” filter (soft, softer, softest), and a “tilt-shift” filter (employing either horizontal or vertical focal areas), will almost be an afterthought for professionals. What remains useful about those filter effects, however, is that the feature also allows you to save a second altered JPEG while retaining the original file.
The obvious star of this camera is Canon’s fantastic APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor that boasts an astounding 18 megapixels, capturing amazing detail even in low-light situations, such as in darkened interiors, romantic candlelit scenes, sunsets, live nighttime events, and more. Its nine-point cross-type focusing mechanisms enable easy, automatic shooting between points of focus, while switching to a manual-specific focal-point override setting is as simple as the touch of a button. (Pressing the “Set” button enables users to switch between automatic changing points of focus versus a choice of one focal point, while the multi-controller dial on the bottom right will let you select between specific focal points.) Still, adjacent near and far objects sometimes confuse the camera in automated focusing modes, so it’s preferable to learn the camera’s wide range of manual options for the best possible outcomes.
That being said, the Canon 60D performs exceptionally well as an automatic, go-anywhere camera for beginners who may not immediately want to learn all the ins and outs of its menus and varied manual shooting options, though to not utilize this camera’s considerable versatility would truly be wasteful. When you finally opt for one, two, or even three or more preferred shooting options, switching between them is a snap with a rotation of the mode dial located on the top right, as always. (The only difference in this model’s mode dial is that you have to depress and hold the center button to switch between settings, which can be somewhat inconvenient for a moment if you’re accustomed to earlier Canon models. The design change does keep you from unconsciously switching between modes, however.)
In terms of its video shooting capabilities, the Canon 5D’s swivel LCD screen makes live view shooting easy and seeing the action come alive in such a super-high-resolution anti-glare and even smudge-resistant glass makes us instant fans. Flipping the screen back (to protect the glass) is a must-have feature and a wonderful upgrade from earlier models). Canon’s Movie Crop mode, a first in the world of DSLR video shooting, enables users to shoot with seven times magnification, as if using a telephoto lens, without reducing video quality. (It preserves the quality by cropping the image directly from the sensor at standard definition resolution.)
There are a few stop-gap measures in place that will abort or limit video recording in certain situations, however, sometimes to as little as 15-second clips if the menu settings are not correctly optimized, or if it’s very hot, humid, or cold, or if other automated mechanisms are enabled at the same time, such as automatic focus and image stabilization. Obviously other variables also affect shooting capabilities, too, such as your total amount of available battery power or memory capacity.
For someone seeking a simple, straight-out-of-the-box video recorder and nothing more, the Canon D5 is not an optimum choice. However, if you love still photography and want a more multi-faceted experience in shooting video, it pays to go with a HD video-enabled DSLR such as this model. In doing so, you have the option of changing lenses and shooting with manual exposure and ISO settings—all unheard of variations in typical video recording devices. As with most video-enabled DSLR models, you must override the internal microphone for any quality stereo-sounding audio recording, though the D60 model includes an added electronic wind filter to reduce noise.
Consumers purchasing the Canon D60 will be making a solid investment in a quality, precision instrument. With roughly the same features as the more expensive Canon 7D model, its entry into the professional market is bound to excite experienced Canon users and make fans of first-timers looking for their first professional camera.