A trend in digital cameras is that the new models often have some improvement in comparison with older, more professional models. The Canon 60D is a camera for "amateur photographers", and can be placed between the amateur Canon t39 and semi-pro 7D. In terms of characteristics, some things have been removed compared to the 7D, while other aspects have been improved: in some cases, the 60D may be a very interesting alternative to the 7D. Let’s look at a comparison to understand what is the best choice for nature photography. Thanks to Luigi "Kitten" who lent me the Canon 60D to do this test!
Advantages of the Canon 60D
The first obvious advantage of the 60D is the price: it costs 599$ on Amazon while the 7D 1399$ on Amazon … a substantial difference. The 60D is also less expensive than its direct competitor, the Nikon D7000 ($819 on Amazon).
The 720x480px 3" swivel screen is another positive aspect of the 60D. Although not essential, it helps a lot when you take pictures or video from unusual angles; for example, in macro photography, the swivel screen of the 60D is far preferable to the fixed one of the 7D. There is no disadvantage (other manufacturers, such as the Olympus E-5, have shown that a camera can be solid and strong even with a swivel LCD) and there are several advantages. The screen has a resolution slightly higher than that of the 7D and, more importantly, has a ratio of 3:2 instead of 4:3, which takes full advantage of the area available in live view mode and when you scroll through the photos.
The 60D uses SD / SDHC / SDXC, instead of the CF used in the 7D. Nowadays, SDXC has reached the same capacities as CF, with a more affordable price. Some examples: the huge 128 GB SDXC memory cards (20MB/s) cost 100 dollars, the fast SanDisk 32GB SDHC Card (45 MB/s) costs 20 dollars. Although these speeds may seem low in comparison with certain CF, remember that for the full HD video on current DSLR, there is just a real speed of about 10 MB/s on my camera I still use cards to 133x (20MB/s) and also when shooting bursts of photos, I’ve often had problems with the buffer, this usually clears within a few seconds, unless you have particularly long bursts. Another small advantage of SD is that many computers have an internal card reader that supports this format, while the CF requires an external reader.
The 60D is a bit ‘smaller and lighter, but the difference is marginal.
In many ways the two cameras are quite similar: the same 18 megapixel sensor, ISO 100-12800 and similar functionality. The live view is the same, both cameras have the silent shutter, which can replace the mirror lock up. The video mode is identical, both in terms of quality and characteristics, despite the 7D having a key for the video, which is a bit more practical.
Disadvantages of the Canon 60D
The speed of the 60D, 5.3 FPSx 15 RAW is not bad, but the 7D is much faster with its 8 FPSx 21 RAW. When taking pictures of moving subjects and primarily animals, the 7D has a definite advantage, while for macro and landscapes the burst does not matter.
The 60D does not have the AF micro-adjustment. Canon has deliberately chosen to remove this feature to create greater differentiation from the 7D, although, in my opinion, it should be a standard feature of each camera, considered that its purpose is to correct problems caused by the manufacturer. Those shooting with manual focus will not be interested, but for those who rely heavily on AF, this is one more reason to take the 7D instead of the 60D.
The 7D has a better autofocus, with 19 points and plenty of customization options, while the 60D is still using the old system with 9 AF points of the 50D … not bad, but the 7D is certainly better (faster, more accurate).
The 60D is less customizable 7D, although many of the custom features that have been removed are anything but basic, with the exception of the aforementioned AF micro-adjustment.
One last thing is that the 60D has a little smaller viewfinder, with 96% coverage instead of the 100% coverage of the 7D (though not a big deal).
Image quality: details and noise
Although I did not expect to see significant differences in image quality, since the sensor is the same, I took some pictures side by side to compare the two cameras at ISO 100, 800 and 3200 (the highest sensitivity for use in nature photography with the 60D).
|Canon 60D||Canon 7D|
As I thought, the image quality is identical, both in terms of detail and noise.
Image quality: sample photos
These are a couple of photos taken with the 60D. As with the most professional 7D, the new Canon has excellent image quality: very detailed and noise content for a relatively APSC camera, even if from the point of view that there is always room for improvement.
It ‘s the choice for you?
Save 600 dollars (2014.04.11) by taking the 60D (Check Real-time Price on Amazon) instead of the 7D (Check Real-time Price on Amazon) is definitely a temptation, but is it the right choice? It depends.
When taking pictures of mainly birds, animals, action, reports, or other types of photography where a fast and accurate AF are important, where you need a fast and highly customizable SLR, the EOS 7D is a better choice of 60D.
If your main interest is macro photography, I recommend the 60D. In the macro, you do not need fast AF nor micro AF, as the manual focus is almost always used, the speed does not count, and the swivel screen of the 60D is a good advantage. The 60D SLR is less expensive and more suitable for this kind of photography!
For landscape photographers there is no clear answer. Of course, speed is not an issue, but what about AF? If you take most of the pictures in manual focus, I recommend the 60D, but if you rely on the 7D AF can often be a better choice. Obviously, if you have a limited budget I always recommend to buy and invest in less expensive SLR optics.