The arrival of the EOS 7D, with its highly configurable 19-point AF system and 8 frames per second continuous shooting capability changed much of this - here was a 'mini 1D' that drew the attention of many people who previously would have been X0D customers. However, the price tag (a 30% premium over the 50D at launch) pushed it beyond the reach of most people who weren't making at least a bit of money from their photography.
The 50D (and by extension the X0D range) was starting to look somewhat redundant: expensive (and in some ways outdated) compared to the rebel T2i (EOS 550D), underpowered compared to the EOS 7D. It seemed obvious that Canon needed something to balance out the EOS range to fill the big gap between the Rebel and the 7D. And so we have this, the EOS 60D.
With the 60D Canon has unashamedly moved the X0D range out of the 'semi pro' bracket and instead focused on the enthusiast photographer looking to upgrade from their Rebel. As a result, it's not the obvious continuation of the 30D - 40D - 50D pattern that its naming might suggest. Instead it sits pretty well precisely in the same market position as was once-upon-a-time occupied by the 'Elan' series of 35mm film SLRs (which in Europe were not-so-coincidentally given double-digit model numbers).
So gone is the magnesium alloy construction that featured in previous models, replaced by a lighter weight plastic shell. Naturally the 60D gains some key 'step up' features from the Rebel line (top panel LCD, rear control dial, higher burst rate), including a few that have trickled down from the EOS 7D. There's also a video- (and tripod-) friendly 3:2 ratio articulated LCD. In imaging terms it brings the EOS mid-range in line with those above and below by upping the sensor resolution to around 18MP and adding full HD movie capture.
The EOS 60D also gains a couple of brand-new features of its own. There's now a wide range of color variations (or 'Ambiences') which can be applied to the image when using the scene modes, and whose effect can be previewed on screen in Live View. The 60D also finally gains the ability to convert raw files to jpeg in-camera, including the option to correct for lens aberrations including distortion and chromatic aberration. As an added bonus, you can retrospectively apply new 'Creative Filters' to files you've shot, including 'Grainy Black and White' and 'Toy Camera' looks.
And so, from a spec and feature point of view, the EOS 60D sits almost exactly half-way between the EOS 550D and the EOS 7D, with a few new tricks of its own. Which, we think, is exactly where it should be (regardless of the inevitable howls of protest at the apparent 'dumbing down' of the venerable X0D line).
- 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-3200 (expandable to 12,800)
- 5.3 fps continuous shooting
- 1080p HD video recording with manual controls
- SD / SDHC / SDXC storage
- In-camera raw development
- Subject modes with 'Ambience Selection' (Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker and Monochrome)
- In-camera Creative Filters (special effects)
- Fully articulated 3.0" screen (3:2)
To be continued for more in-depth review of Canon 60D..