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.