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.


  1. Great Review - thank you. I have one question - can you manually control ISO and WB when shooting video?

  2. Thanks for the compliment Marcus! Yes, the 60D has full manual control of the video which includes aperture,shutter,ISO and white balance.

  3. While the 60D is tempting, I think I'll keep my T2i and wait for the 600D, which should have swivel-screen, most of 60D features, in a smaller and cheaper package.

  4. Just leave it to Canon for another quick model change or upgrade. The Rebel T1i was not even a year old when the T2i was released. As for the 60D upgrade or replacement, I would say 14 months or whatever Nikon model comes out first.

  5. Thanks for the review. I'll take your advice and keep my T2i and buy a prime lens and other video equipment. I love following your blog....It has been very beneficial for me!

  6. You are very welcome and thanks for the compliments.
    May I suggest the Canon EF 35mm f/2 prime lens for your T2i. It is about $300 and gives you a 50mm equivalent on a crop sensor. With the f/2 aperture, you get excellent "bokeh".
    I am glad my PhotoBlog has helped you in your photographic pursuits...


  7. Is there still a hiss in the audio? It's hard to tell with the water shots. I would think so the manual controls just let you turn down the audio levels but it still has the hiss.
    for example if you were to turn the levels all the way up in a quiet room, would you hear a hiss in the video?

    I have searched for a 60d audio test but I have not found anything.

  8. The hiss you are describing in HD DSLR audio comes from the Audio Gain Control found in the "automatic" sound level mode. In periods of silence or minimal audio level, the AGC will indiscriminately raise the level to the point of an audio "hiss".
    I have not personally turned up the manual audio level during silence to provoke a "hiss". In past experience with conventional camcorders with the ability to monitor the audio level with headphones, turning up the audio level in quiet surroundings result in a louder ambient noise but no hiss.
    I hope that helps you in your research...

  9. Thanks for the recommendation Chad! I'll definitely look into it!
    BTW, I purchased my T2i for video but i'm learning alot with photography that can translate into video. thanks again!

  10. Good review. I have a 60D and Rode VideoMic, and I get a very noticeable hiss despite using manual audio controls that the 60D boasted. Has anyone else had this problem?

    Using the Rode VideoMic plugged into the camera is so hissy it's barely usable! I don't get how people are using it without a JuicedLink or Zoom H4N!

  11. Thanks, Rob. Unfortunately at the time of my video test, I did not notice the same hiss as you experienced. Of course, I have seen your problem all over the internet. I am not an audiophile but I certainly know good audio is just as important as good video. Maybe the new Rode VideoMic Pro and the Canon 60D will have better results. Good Luck!

  12. That hiss is probably caused by the camera recording preamps that boost the sensitivity of the mic. The higher the gain, the higher the floor, which is what that hiss is. Usually, condenser mics don't have as much hiss because they're self-powered. I don't have a 60d so don't know if it has phantom power. That's where the camera powers the mic as opposed to using the battery in the mic. If you have both on at once, that can cause problems. You should try the camera with different mics. Most package audio mics kind of suck, but I'm not really familiar with the Rode. Also, try a fur wind screen over the foam. Foam is pretty lousy in comparison but is better than nothing.

  13. Chad, I bought the 60D recently and am wondering what is the best way to export/render for the highest quality possible. As of now I am using final cut pro 7 and after effects. I've mostly been using h.264 exporting and rendering but am think about moving to uncompressed out of after effects and final cut and then compressing the final project to h.264 via apple compressor or any other program. Thanks in advance for any help,

  14. @MonsonJeremy
    I do not use AE in my workflow but I found this great Youtube FCP/AE workflow here...


    As for my workflow for best quality, I use the Canon E-1 Movie Plugin to transcode my h264 files into AppleProRes422 on the timeline. After edit, I use Compressor to output back out to h264 at best quality.

    I watched the tutorial above. He exports individual shots on the timeline to AE using just Quicktime uncompressed. Once done with AE, he exports the finished AE file back to h264 for FCP. My suggestion would be to export to AE using AppleProRes422 instead of h264. Manipulate your video clip in AE with AooleProRes422 if possible.

    I hope that helps.

  15. Chad,
    Do you put the raw camera files onto the timeline first? Once i'm done editing in FCP should i export into uncompressed rather than h.264 to avoid losing quality?

  16. @MonsonJeremy

    I do not edit the raw camera files on the timeline. I use the Canon E-1 Plugin to transcode the camera files into AppleProRes422 on the timeline. When you are done editing in FCP timeline, I use Compressor to export the AppleProRes422 timeline into whatever I need. I use my videos mainly for the web, so H264 is my best bet.

  17. Okay, that makes more sense. So you export in h.264 but use apple prores to speed up renders on the timeline correct?
    Is h.264 the highest quality codec?

  18. @MonsonJeremy
    Yes, AppleProRes422 is a lossless intermediate codec that speeds up renders on the timeline. H264 codec with a Quicktime file extension (.mov) gives you the best quality.

  19. Okay, is there anything that i can do on the camera itself and on the computer to make sure i get the best quality? even when i render in h.264 out of AE and FCP my quality still isn't as good as on your youtube video. I'm using a Canon EOS 60D and here is what i came out with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Kf10GWwLws
    I know it's short but i will upload a longer one when i have more reliable internet.
    Thank you so much for your help,

  20. @MonsonJeremy
    You can upgrade your glass to improve the out of camera quality. I suggest the budget priced EF 50mm f/1.8 or the EF 35mm f/2 lenses. The kit lenses are kit lenses and these budget primes will give you better color and sharpness.
    I checked out your Youtube link and it was hard to tell because of the rolling shutter. Can you send me a static shot of the potted plant with a wide open aperture?
    I noticed your Youtube video was 720p. Are you shooting 720p at 60fps? I shoot 1080p at 29.97fps. So that might be the resolution difference you see in my Youtube channel.

  21. Yes, I am 100% first generation Filipino in the states. Welcome to my PhotoBlog!

  22. Hello from Barcelona.
    The best program I know of for export and change to all formats is MEPG Streamclip program. It is free, and it is wonderful. It works much better than the export from Final Cut 7. It is used in many production and some televisions. It is even more reliable than Compressor.
    Try it and you will see the quality and speed you have. As I said, it's a wonderful.

  23. Hi Chad, Can I use the Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM Standard Prime Lens on this camera?

    1. Dear Adrian Gutierrez,

      Yes, you can use this most envied 35mm focal length for a crop sensor camera such as the Canon 60D. I am looking forward in testing this lens in the future because of the built in IS in a fast prime lens.


      Chad Soriano