Canon EOS 60D… who is it for and what else?
“Which camera is better?”, is often what I get asked when someone is looking for a good deal money can buy. Sadly a lot of times, numbers win over potential customers… Them camera makers like Canon, Nikon, Sony or Olympus all know that & these days, the brand with the fastest, best noise control vs high ISO, higher resolution stills/video, features & value for money sells! So camera makers target the most mega-pixels, more auto-focus points, fancy frills & new features to attract potential buyers or even potential would be photographers who are likely to switch from one system to another.
If you had read my earlier article on why the camera doesn’t matter, you’d understand that all this is just another way to move the economy & sell cameras… getting a new camera doesn’t automatically make you shoot better pictures. Double the mega-pixels or double the ISO sensitivity does not help you get double the quality of photos you can take, they just make it easier for the photographer to achieve his previsualization at an interpretation of an image in his mind. The extra mega-pixels allows leeway should the photographer require to crop the image for a more powerful composition or allows him to have his work finished in a much larger dimension, perhaps a poster or a billboard as the final print. High ISO sensitivity then allows him to hand-hold or shoot at a much higher shutter speed than otherwise permitted had the camera been poor at handling low light. Granted the photographer can still achieve this had he (1) paid more attention to his composition a little better or (2) used a speedlight or tripod…. which just means that it’s a little more difficult to get, but it’s still possible if you know what you’re doing.
That said, it doesn’t mean you should continue to be stuck in the stone-age & not progress with the times, however at the same time I know some of my contacts over Flickr who shoots with a D40 & yet get pretty amazing photographs. Goes to say that if you put your mind & soul towards achieving something, it’s quite interesting what we humans are capable of. So if you have maximized your current camera & exhausted every possible limit the thing has to offer, then perhaps it’s time to upgrade.
So when people ask me, which camera is better… I tell them go for the camera which is within your budget & a camera which does not get in the way of you trying to get the shot. Perhaps you are the kind of person who hates swapping lenses & need something lightweight & easy to carry around but at the same time demand good quality optics, perhaps the G11 suits you better than even a 550D. Think of what you are going to be using the camera for & not because it has more pixels or more functions. Your goals are more important than what frills the cameras offer. I will be honest to say that the HD video functions on the new 60D or 5Dmk2 mean very little to me because my idea of a digital SLR is for shooting stills. It’s nice to have the added features, don’t get me wrong but if it wasn’t there, I won’t roll over & die!
So who is the Canon EOS 60D made for?
Now that I’ve fulfilled my quota of two review or review-like articles for the Canon EOS 60D, I can truly honestly & properly write about the camera at a more personal level rather than that weird “review language” that I was using in my last article about Canon’s firsts. LOL!
I’ve used the 60D for a couple of days now… trying out the new features that Canon boasts & fiddling with the new articulated LCD screen. The thing that comes to me when judging a camera is the ease of use… more than anything else. Image quality & low light shooting means nothing if you can’t get to the settings & make changes quickly enough to get the shot that you want. If you have to fumble on deep menu systems & poor designs, then it isn’t a good camera.
Looking at the design, Canon was trying to come up with a system which sits between the lower end 550D & the more superior 7D. It was clear that they were not trying to make a better 50D… gone is the magnesium alloy body… in with the polycarbonate resin, glass fibre on an aluminum chassis & all. The 60D even has a lower buffer memory for continuous shooting & a slower burst rate of 5.3 fps compared to the 50D’s 6.3 fps. The move to have the 60D take SD cards was another clear indication that this was meant for a more consumer market rather than a professional one. Oh the fact that we amateur bloggers were chosen to review this new camera was also Canon’s way of asserting that this was meant for “serious amateur or enthusiast photographers“.
What else has improved?
Despite being for a more consumer based market, the Canon EOS 60D does have some new functions which perhaps wasn’t really marketed by Canon… which I am starting to discover as I continue to explore this what I call, Baby 5D … lol! Think of the 60D as a newly born baby to the 5Dmk2 but imagine that it has evolved & skipped a couple of generations!
Well… you already know the new features that Canon is raving about. You also know some of the short-comings that I have pointed out in my First Impressions post. What else is there?
Moving the controls over to the right hand side of the camera
You don’t know how much improvement this is unless you have been using an older Canon camera all along… or even Nikons for that matter! Being able to shoot & make changes to settings without pulling your eye away from the viewfinder is excellent.
The dedicated “Q” & liveview button
Not Canon’s first, but a copy of what was put on the 7D. Let it be said that a quick button to access camera settings is crucial towards making the camera more user-friendly. Even the changes can be made quicker by allowing the multi-controller to move between settings & the quick control dial to make the changes without having to dive into levels upon levels of menu items. The dedicated liveview button & the more logical default function on it is also welcomed, as opposed to the confusing way that was implemented on the 5Dmk2.
Quick auto-focus selection using the multi-controller
You can make this even quicker by changing the custom controllers, AF point selection method to setting 1. This turned the AF controller button to switch on all 9 AF points & the multi-controller pad including the SET button to control individual AF points directly. When I discovered this, ah! It was heaven! At one press of a button, you have full control of where you want your AF point to be… no longer do I have to mesh buttons or turn the quick control dial to get the AF point where I want it to be. Quick & fast… doesn’t get in the way… in fact improves on the speed of AF point selection. Excellent! … now if only my 5Dmk2 had this! tsk tsk…
Interchangeable AF & metering button controls
Under the same custom controllers function, you can now make changes to how your shutter release, AF-ON & * buttons work. Nice if you needed to customize this to something which suits you.
I have yet to fully explore the entire menu system to see if there is anything else Canon forgot to mention that is under the hood. I’ll share more in the next couple of days… stay tuned!