Review: One Full Week with the Canon 60D

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I’ve had my new Canon 60D for one full week now, and thought I’d share a few things about it … both what I like and what I feel needs improvement. I have a few high-res/long exposure photos I’ve also uploaded for you to check out, but this isn’t a crazy in-depth scientific review, (I’ll leave that to the expert reviewers). I wanted to share some of my thoughts on a more user-friendly basis with the camera.

A few of these I already mentioned in my previous blog post, after only having the camera for a few hours, but thought they were well worth repeating in this more detailed “review” of the camera. I’ve had a few solid events to use the camera with: one was a full fledged stock (work) photo-shoot, and the other was a night-time/sunset photowalk, so I didn’t just tinker around and find things randomly. Many of these observations were discovered when I actually needed them, so it was all very organic process.

Articulating Screen: Yes, I really do like this feature. I’m not sure if I’d want it on my pro bodies, but for a small compact-ish DSLR this feature is really fun to have. One of the great things about it that you might not realize is the ability to flip the screen completely around to hide the LCD monitor. This is a bonus for two reasons: #1 is that you can keep yourself from chimping all the time, and #2 is that you can keep that screen protected while in your bag, sitting on your car seat, etc. I also like that I can lift the camera up really high and shoot down on something. I’m shorter than most people, especially in a crowd so it’s nice to be able to get those shots without having to guess on the composition. I guess the only “bad” thing about this screen that I’ve noticed is that when it’s turned outward (so I can see the screen) then it sticks out more than most LCD screens do, which means my nose touches it a LOT more than my other cameras.

Buttons on Back: The buttons on the back of the camera had to be re-arranged and limited due to the articulating screen. The biggest changes to these are that, when compared with the 50D there is no “Picture Style” button (which I rarely use and won’t even miss) and the Multi-controller is also changed (also known as the “joystick”). It’s now an up-down-left-right button that reminds me of a Nikon feel, something I never did like about those cameras. As long as they keep the joy-stick in their pro-line bodies and also keep the scroll wheel (Quick Control Dial) in place then I’m totally okay with it.

Buttons on Top: The buttons on top of the camera, just above the LCD panel, are nicely recessed and not sticking out nearly as much as some of the other cameras. I also really like the little bump on the ISO button … makes it easier to find when I’m in the middle of shooting (looking through the viewfinder) or in a dark environment and it’s hard to see the labels. This is a nice improvement and I hope to see this on the newer pro cameras when they are released as well. And, on a side note I really do like the slanted LCD panel … I don’t think it will really make a difference in my shooting but it’s kinda cool looking.

SD Card Slot: I’ve never really used SD cards with my DSLR cameras, so this is new to me. It’s not much different than using a CF card, except that I’m more likely to lose my SD cards and I don’t have a very fast card reader for it and I had to buy some SD cards to actually use with it. It’s nothing, IMO, good or bad, just worth mentioning.

Creative Filters: These are fun, and I have a feeling that the only one I’ll ever really use is the “miniature” effect (see my blog post about it here). I personally don’t see any real practical use for the filters, since I mostly enjoy processing photos from my iPhone in this way, but it’s kinda neat to have. Maybe this is just a stepping stone to future enhancements of the Canon cameras … either way they are fun to play with.

RAW editing: This is a nice feature if you know you want to quickly blog an image or transfer it somewhere you want to use it right away without putting it through Photoshop/Lightroom (like with an iPad). What you can do with this is edit a photo (global adjustments like plus/minus a stop exposure, white balance, picture style and a few other things) and then save it on your card as a JPEG. It would be nice if you could actually overwrite the RAW file with those settings, like with white-balance, but it’s a fun and possibly useful feature to have when traveling if you need to output a JPEG really quickly.

No PC Terminal: This just seems weird to me … why would this be kept off the camera completely? I only discovered this while showing my camera to another photographer, and I’m not sure that this will affect my shooting … but I know it may be annoying for others. Just so you know what I’m talking about … the PC terminal is the place you plug in an external light to (like a studio light or flash). When I shoot in my studio I use PocketWizards, which just sit on the hot-shoe and don’t need to be plugged in, but not everyone has (or can afford) PocketWizards so the next best thing is to be connected to the light. With no PC terminal you have to find an adapter for your hot-shoe … they aren’t always real expensive, but kinda a pain to have to use.

No Micro-adjustment: This will probably not be a big deal to me, since I won’t be using the 60D as my primary “work” camera, but I have had some issues with the focusing on the 24-105 f/4L IS lens that I had to adjust with the settings on my 7D (blog post here). I don’t expect to be hung up over this not being in the menu, but it would be nice to have.

Video Dial: Since video is a new addition to this line of camera, they had to place it somewhere on the dial (I guess they didn’t like the way it sits on the 7D). I have to say that I really don’t like the way they placed it all the way at the bottom of all of the “basic modes”. I personally never use these modes, and all of the still-image shooting modes I use sit above the green square so having to dial all the way to the bottom is kinda inconvenient. It would have been nice if they set it in the middle somewhere, that way it’s not a near-full turn around to get to it. The only nice thing about it is that you know you’re there when it won’t go any further … might make it easier to find in a hurry, but I haven’t had to do that yet.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT:

I really like this camera. We can be as nit-picky as we want, but for the price-point and expectations I had I’m very happy with it so far. I’ve only used a 5DMkII and 7D from the canon line (my old film Rebel from 1997 doesn’t really count) so I have a little bit different view on what it could be like. For me this camera is going to be my “walking around” body that I take to social events, photowalks, etc. I’ll probably still use it for work but mostly just as a back-up or second body. It’s a much nicer size for taking around casually, and it will allow me to keep my 7D packed up and safe when I’m not in “work-mode”.

I used it at a recent stock photo-shoot (work) over the weekend as my second camera body. I wanted to get a good feel for it in an actual working environment and never had one problem. I didn’t even realize I had a different camera in my hand, other than the LCD being a little bit closer to my nose than my 7D was (and the fact that I still don’t have a battery grip for it … they should hopefully be shipping in a few weeks). At ISO 100 I am so far very pleased with the results. I rarely go over 100 for my controlled work shoots, so that’s something that is important to me.

I was also able to take it out with me to a night/sunset shoot and took some high-ISO long exposure photos with the camera. I have them below (click on each image for a full-res version) so you can decide for yourself what you think of the quality at those settings. It was in no way a controlled environment, but it’s a true example of a low-light poorly lit scene when a high-ISO is likely to be used.

There are obviously more details and features on the 60D that could be covered in a review, but these are the ones that really stand out to me and will affect my daily work and use of the camera. If you have any questions about it feel free to ask below in the comments … I’m also starting to write a book on the 60D with the “Snapshots to Great Shots” series (similar to my 7D book) that should be available in a few months. As soon as it’s available for pre-order I’ll be sure to post it here on my blog. :)


Click on image to see full-res

Canon 60D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens
Shutter Speed: 30 seconds
Aperture: f/9.0
ISO:  400


Click on image to see full-res

Canon 60D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens
Shutter Speed: 15 seconds
Aperture: f/9.0
ISO:  800


Click on image to see full-res

Canon 60D, Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens
Shutter Speed: 8 seconds
Aperture: f/9.0
ISO:  1600

By | 2016-12-18T17:01:17+00:00 September 23rd, 2010|27 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & educator living in Portland, Oregon, USA. When I'm not making photos I'm writing books and tutorials for my online store, Learn more about me and my story here.

27 Comments

  1. Liana September 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the insight. I appreciate your user-perspective. Sometimes I feel like we get too caught up in the science and specs, and I really just want to know how a camera feels and fits based on use – not over thinking things.

    Question about the your statement, “I have had some issues with the focusing on the 24-105 f/4L IS lens that I had to adjust with the settings on my 7D.”

    What issues? Why and how did you adjust? If you’ve already blogged this, and I missed it, I apologize. I just dropped the cash for the 7D and the 24-105 f/4 and am waiting for delivery.

    Thanks again.

  2. Nicole September 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    @Liana – I blogged about it here:

    http://nicolesyblog.com/2010/06/21/lens-af-micro-adjustment/

    It’s a good lens, you won’t be disappointed. I’m just extremely picky with the focusing on my lenses since I shoot stock and look at every detail of the images I create. :)

  3. […] (Update: more detailed review HERE) […]

  4. Matt Vanecek September 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Nice review. Chase Jarvis’ review of the new Nikon had some 3200 ISO images that were better (less noisy) than this 1600 ISO image, in my opinion. :( (http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/nikon-d7000-preview-images/). Looking more and more like the 5DMKII will be my next upgrade, or its successor, since I seem to tend to take lots of pictures in low-light situations..

  5. Nicole September 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    @Matt – It’s really hard to tell exact differences in quality for those two images (the Nikon 3200 ISO & Canon 1600 ISO) since they are different subjects shot in different light at different aperture/shutter speed settings. Also, an 8-second exposure (Canon image) is probably going to add a bit more noise from the shutter being open than a 1/40th second (Nikon image) exposure. To get accurate comparison results it would need to be controlled light with the same exposure for each image with each camera.

    I’m not saying one is better than the other (and personally don’t really care), I’m just saying that they aren’t good examples to put side-by-side.

  6. Thomas Emmerich September 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I 2nd the video dial comment. Very inconvenient. T2i is the same.

  7. JJ Kim September 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you so muh for posting this.
    I’ve had mine for 2 days now.
    I only shoot video with this camera, so having designated video mode is very helpful, though being at the very last doesn’t really bother me. That little button really saves us from dialing to anything other than M on 7D (and movie mode for T2i).
    But I do see being inconvenient for going back and forth with video+photo, though.
    Your very first blog helped me getting mine from Pictureline as well.
    I used to own a T2i (until someone stole it at the church before the cermeony!!), and this camera is def. step up closer to 7D,
    Thanks again for the great post, Nicole!

  8. Patrick September 24, 2010 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you very much for the review. I got this camera as an upgrade from the Canon XSi and I’m very impressed! I was looking at the 7D but the specs looked very similar to the 60D at a better price. With much debate I made the plunge with the 60D.
    So far, I’m very happy with my purchase. It’s very fast and feels great in my hands. The ergonomics feel very nice in my small hands, and reaching all the buttons is very easily done.
    I’m eagerly looking forward to your book to use my new camera to it’s full potential.
    Keep up the great work! It’s always great to hear you on ThisWeekinPhoto.

    Patrick
    An aspiring amateur photographer

  9. […] Nicolesy » Review: One Full Week w&#1110th th&#1077 Canon 60D […]

  10. James Benet September 24, 2010 at 9:14 am - Reply

    I feel the same as Matt,

    I can’t help but feel limited by the ISO on the 7D and now that I see the 60D output it’s a little bit worse still.

    My old 40D used to output images that were at least one stop cleaner. I like my 7D a lot but the pains you have to go through in noise even from 100-400 just to get stock ready images is not an encouraging feeling. Sizing down is a common practice now.

    I always liked the tilt screen on my Powershot G6 and this is probably going to be an awesome addition to a 5D Mark III if it is used there. There is absolutely no reason why they can’t really make the body deep enough to make the screen recess as a regular screen when closed down.

    Thanks for the review Nicole!

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liana Lehua, Nicole S. Young, creativebloke, fryeme, Paul Downing and others. Paul Downing said: RT @nicolesy: New post at NicolesyBlog.com – "Review: One Full Week with the Canon 60D" http://bit.ly/bJC6K6 […]

  12. Stephen Cupp September 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    While this maybe a good camera on it’s own I think it’s a bad choice if you have one of this camera’s predecessors. Take me for example. I have a 50D. If I wanted to upgrade to the 60D I would need to buy a bunch of new cards (the 50D uses CF cards), new batteries, a new grip, and a new shutter release. It would be cheaper for me to upgrade to the 7D then the 60D. Oh and the 50D has the micro adjustment feature.

  13. Nicole September 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    @Stephen – Well, if you buy a 7D you’ll also need to buy a new grip & battery to go with it, so be sure to add that to the total. ;)

  14. Stephen Cupp September 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    I did.

  15. Paulie September 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    “No microadjustment”

    That’s the showstopper for me… to be able to individually dial in each lens is a feature that I now don’t want to live without, now that I have it on my 5D2. No 60D for me.

    Great review Nicole, you covered it well!

  16. Paulie September 24, 2010 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    I think a lot of 5D Mark II owners were hoping the 60D could be that inexpensive backup camera, but it appears the 7D is the target. Microfocus, same battery, CF Cards, lettuce onions and pickles.
    ;-)

  17. Will McClure September 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    One question about the 60D: I am interested in shooting HD video with an HD-DSLR, and want to refer exclusively to an external monitor or a laptop for focus, color, and framing. Have you had a chance to work with either of these setups, and is the output on the monitor reliable compared to the Canon LCD?

  18. Nicole September 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    @Will – Sorry, I don’t do a lot of video with my cameras and haven’t tried using an external display while shooting video. You might want to try searching for DSLR video and/or 60D forums to see if anyone has given that a try.

  19. Jack Hoggard September 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    I have your 7D Book as part of my decisionmaking process (7D or 60D). I really like your writing style. When will we see the 60D book?

  20. Nicole September 29, 2010 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    @Jack – Not sure when the release date will be, probably in a few months. I’ll post more here on my blog as I get more information. :)

  21. Jack Hoggard September 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ma’am.

  22. dhurwitt November 26, 2010 at 11:05 am - Reply

    I love the camera, but for some reason cannot upload the RAW images to Lightroom 3.2. I’ve used LR for years without problem. Any suggestions?

  23. Ben December 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    That is really odd that they excluded the PC terminal! I use Pocket Wizards too, but sometimes like to have on-camera flash w Pocket Wizard connected to PC terminal. Good that you pointed this out!

  24. K. Chandra Shekhar October 21, 2011 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Actually am interested in purchasing Canon 5D Mark II with 50mm 1.4. Right now I’m confused with purchase as several sites are predicting a Canon 5D Mark III in the pipeline. Do you want me to go with the purchase or else settle for the Canon 60D as of now and later purchase the new model.

  25. Paul Abrahams November 3, 2011 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I think the flash sync via wireless is the way to go, the 580 is programmable and the other speedlites can be set via the camera. A few pros wish other high end DSLR’s had this. I guess its hard for pros who already have money invested in other flash setups. I’m going to grab a 320 speedlite for off camera flash and get a diffuser for the on camera flash… see how that goes.

  26. Justin August 14, 2012 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Hi can someone please tell me the exact settings for my cannon 60d for a sunset shot.

    Or close enough. Thanks

  27. Heather November 8, 2013 at 8:07 am - Reply

    “Review: One Full Week with the Canon 60D | Nicolesy” was a relatively pleasant post, .
    Continue creating and I’ll try to keep on reading through! Many thanks -Vernita

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