Monday, September 27, 2010

Canon EOS 60D Verdict and Video Review

The highly anticipated Canon EOS 60D with the first ever articulating screen for a Canon DSLR has landed on the shores of my PhotoBlog. The 18 megapixel Canon 60D replaces the Canon 50D as the prosumer DSLR in between the fabulous Rebel T2i/550D and the more professional Canon 7D. The 60D also puts itself in the middle with its price point. At $1099 for the body only, the 60D is only $300 more than the Rebel T2i/550D. What do you get for $300 more? Read on and you will be pleasantly surprised.

For $300 more, you get an articulating screen for those high, low and hard to reach shots for both stills and especially video. Manual audio control with levels for video makes the 60D only second to the Canon 5D Mark II to have this useful feature. The Canon 60D has a big and bright pentaprism viewfinder compared to the tunnel effect of the pentamirror viewfinder of the Rebel T2i/550D. Finally, the last major feature of the 60D over the T2i is the wireless remote flash control like the Canon 7D. The list goes on but more of that later. Now to the important stuff, image and video quality.

No, this is not a Disney Vacation Club Blog. This is a practical review of the Canon EOS 60D. Real life, real situations and real people are my test material for my PhotoBlog. Just like my previous Canon EOS Rebel T2i Verdict seven months ago, my diligent pursuit of a truthful review, comparison and test of equipment still holds true to this very moment. May I interest you in a lovely Disney timeshare?

I was not kidding about the Disney Vacation Club timeshare. We stayed as hotel guests in the brand new Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort and hit the streets of the Magic Kingdom next door to begin my practical review of the Canon EOS 60D.

The ISO verdict? The family pounded the pavement in search of tough lighting situations and Dole Pineapple Soft Serve. We found both. The race car action of the Walt Disney World Speedway at night proved to be a worthy ISO challenge for the 60D.

As with the Rebel T2i ISO results, you can safely use ISO 1600 all day with no problems. ISO 3200 is fine as long as you clean up the noise in post. As for ISO 6400, you might want to keep that for emergency purposes but not a bad image for those tough spots. Now ISO 12800 is absolutely horrible. Not any amount of post processing cleanup, just shy of a miracle, can salvage the snowy and grainy images of ISO "H".

Now to the true test of image quality in my PhotoBlog opinion is skin detail. I first discovered the mushy nature of in camera digital processing with the Rebel T1i. I discussed this in detail in my Canon Rebel T2i Verdict. My search for realistic skin tone and fine detail came to an abrupt halt with the Rebel T2i. Some magical elixir transformed the T1i mush into beautiful dancing skin tone in the T2i. So how about the Canon 60D skin detail? Despite a small inclination to the soft side, the Canon 60D skin detail comes very close or even equal to the T2i. Compare for yourself in the Canon 60D and T2i galleries listed below.

You can view ISO comparisons and skin detail in my Canon EOS 60D Photo Gallery.

You can view ISO comparisons and skin detail in my Canon EOS Rebel T2i/550D Photo Gallery.

Now for the Canon EOS 60D Video Test. I used a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L prime lens with a Rode VideoMic shotgun microphone for audio to shoot the fountains in the video. The major video feature of the 60D is the manual audio control for video. Besides the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the 60D has level controls and indicators for sound from the built in mono microphone or an external stereo microphone in the mini jack audio input of the 60D. You have to set your audio levels before you shoot because the indicators disappear when you record video in Live View just like the 5D Mark II. So the manual audio control and the swivel screen for those tough POV shots are key features for an aspiring filmmaker. No worry, the 60D and the T2i share the same Full HD resolutions and frame rates for video.

I thought I would share some eye candy for our Canon 60D fans. I had the fortunate chance to visit the Canon EXPO 2010 in New York City for Labor Day Weekend at the Javits Convention Center. I previewed the new Canon EOS 60D along with new lenses and got to shoot a mock fashion show with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II zoom lens. What Fun!

So what is my Canon EOS 60D Verdict? For $300 more than the T2i, the 60D features of the swivel screen, manual audio control for video and wireless flash control like the Canon 7D makes it an unbeatable value. And now for the "But". The only drawback to the 60D compared to the T2i is the larger size and everything associated with the 60D chunkiness. Larger grip and the significant heft of the 60D makes a night and day difference with the T2i. If you have small hands or you want to save the $300 for a better lens, the T2i is perfect for you. I used the T2i extensively and it is an excellent value for the money. Definitely for $300 more, the Canon EOS 60D with all its new features is the new value in the HD DSLR world.

You can view all my Photos and Videos in my Canon EOS 60D Gallery.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Beautiful Wife !

It felt only like yesterday that we were roaming the gorgeous streets of Italy. Tuscan sunsets and mango gelato filled our idyllic days in droves. Zoom back exactly a year ago and the Soriano family was island hopping and soaking up the sunlight on the isle of Kauai.

What is all this travel speak have to do with anything? Despite all my troubles and family obstacles, you journeyed through my difficulty, patience consuming and husbandry hijinks with a nomination for Sainthood.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife and mother of our blessed children who want their own iPad and iPhone with unlimited games from the App Store. I almost forgot, a pink iPhone case for my daughter and a camouflage one for my son.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Cousin Nathan !

Capture the moment because everything else is just filler! Like twisters in the mid-west, cliches hit my PhotoBlog like a freight train. Birthday wishes go out to my nephew in-law and he hit the ground running at the local amusement/theme park.

Cake, soda, arcade games, mini-golf and go karts filled the sugar induced day. Berserk only slightly describes the excitement of grade school kids testing the patience of their wary parents. No worries because it is all for the greater good of childhood memories.

This is a joyful event shot with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with the Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS lens. The 1080p video is shot at 29.97fps and edited with Final Cut Pro. I used Compressor to get a 600mb H264 file at best quality. I also used the Canon E-1 Movie Plugin to transcode to AppleProRes422.

You can view the complete birthday collection in Nathan's 8th Birthday Gallery.
I have more photos and videos in my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Video Test Gallery.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Canon EOS Rebel T2i Video: Bedtime Stories

Lost treasures and dragon slayers fill sleepy heads and yawning faces when the sun sets and the moon rises. PhotoBloggers fall into a deep hole of uncertainty when their families shop for bed mattresses.

The magic potion of Canon EOS Rebel T2i video broke the spell of infinite boredom. Shot with the T2i and the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, the 1080p video at 29.97fps was edited with Final Cut Pro and I used Compressor to get a 577mb H264 file.

You can view more photos and videos in my Canon EOS Rebel T2i Video Test Gallery.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Bronx Zoo Experience !

My trip to New York City would not be complete without a visit to The Bronx Zoo. I just completed my Canon EXPO 2010 Visual Journey at the Javits Convention Center and looked forward for more sights and sounds of the Empire State.

The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the United States. I felt every step as my family pounded the pavement of this "Jungle in an Urban Jungle". Bronx Zoo patrons are transported into a lush environment filled with species contained in natural barriers. From elephants, gorillas, every type of bird, butterfly and of course a petting zoo for kids. I almost forgot about the Sea Lions too!

The best exhibits at The Bronx Zoo were the Petting Zoo, Butterfly Garden, the World of Birds and finally the Wild Asia Monorail. My kids saw prairie dogs up close, every type of deer and a Red Panda that looks more like a fuzzy red fox.

Just like I was "Eyes Wide Open" at the Canon EXPO 2010, my family was enthralled by all the Bronx Zoo wonders. My son said he wanted to live at The Bronx Zoo forever!

You can view more photos and videos in my The Bronx Zoo 2010 Gallery.
Shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.

This is a 1080p video shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II at 29.97fps. Edited with iMovie'09 and compressed with Quicktime. I used the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Canon EOS 60D Video Preview #2 at Canon EXPO 2010

Glitzy Fashion Runway Models, the latest Canon High Tech Gear and the best collection of HD DSLR Filmmakers like Vincent LaForet made the Canon EXPO 2010 in New York City a spectacular event.

The Canon EOS 60D made its physical debut this Labor Day Weekend at the Javits Convention Center. This gave me ample opportunity to get my hands on the new 18 megapixel Full HD DSLR with high resolution swivel screen, manual audio control for video and wireless flash control like the Canon EOS 7D.

At the retail price of $1099 for body only, the 60D is arranged to be a glorified upgrade to the Rebel T2i and an inexpensive alternative to the Canon 7D. It shares the same 9 AF points like the Rebel T2i and the discontinued 50D. The 7D has 19 AF points with a faster 8 frames per second.

The Canon EOS 60D is bigger in size than the T2i but smaller than the 7D. It is an entirely new form factor for the Canon DSLR lineup. The 60D fit my hands comfortably especially with the slightly larger grip. Great features like Full HD video resolutions and variable frame rates, wireless flash control like the 7D and a stereo audio input with manual audio control make the Canon EOS 60D a winner in my PhotoBlog eyes. The SDHC memory card for image and video capture has troubled the prosumer market but I do not mind because this camera is not meant for speed. If it were destined for shooting sports, the 60D would have 19 AF points like the 7D as well as the faster compact flash form factor.

I also handled the new Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye zoom lens. A zoom fisheye is a L lens first for Canon and I am excited to use the lens for unique video capture.

I could not miss the chance to use the new version II of the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens. It is supposed to be sharper and lighter than the previous version but unfortunately more expensive. The Canon rep told me the retail price is around $6000. Yikes!

As you noticed in the Youtube video, there was a mock Fashion Model shoot with a runway and techno music. Definite eye candy! Latest Canon gear and SuperModels are must shoot material for Canon HD DSLR's. When the Canon EOS 60D hits the store shelves before October 1st, 2010, I will give my Video Review and Verdict of this much anticipated camera.
You can view more in my Canon EOS 60D Video Preview at Canon EXPO 2010 Gallery.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Canon EOS 60D Preview At Canon EXPO 2010

One direct airplane flight from Florida and one bus ride into the Javits Convention Center in NYC, I arrived with excitement and hopes of my first hands on experience with the new Canon EOS 60D. As you can witness in the image I photographed with my iPhone 4, the 60D has a swivel screen, manual audio control for video and to my surprise a wireless flash control like the Canon EOS 7D. I will have more to post later on my ChadSorianoPhotoBlog and I will have a quick video preview shot on my iPhone 4 posted on my Canon1dm4 YouTube Channel soon. Ultimately, I will have a full Canon EOS 60D Video Review and Test shortly!