Overall the Canon EOS 60D is a solid performer. With an impressive 18mp resolution and snappy autofocus system, the 60D is capable of producing impressive results in all but the most demanding shooting environments.
The video implementation is relatively comprehensive, one of the best we've seen in a DSLR to date, and again capable of producing exceptional results in the right hands. The tilt/swivel flip screen only makes video recording easier. The biggest weakness is the lack of continuous autofocus during video recording - if you are expecting to be able to take videos of your kids running round the back yard then you'd be better served with a consumer grade video HD camera,
at a fraction of the cost.
Overall, the Canon EOS 60D is a solid all round camera, the phrase that comes to mind is "Jack of All Trades, but Master of None". In the sub $1,000 category, the 60D is possibly the best all-rounder available today. We'll expand on this below, in our Recommendations section, outlining the 60D's suitability to different applications.
The Canon EOS 60D is available from B&H Photo as either a Kit with 18-135mm Lens, a Kit with 18-200mm Lens or as a Body Only.
The Canon 60D as the 'Soccer Mom/Dad' Camera:
Given the sub $1,000 price point, by far the biggest demographic interested in the 60D will be the parent of a growing family, wanting better quality pictures and videos with the minimum of hassle. From this perspective the Canon 60D delivers fairly well. The high resolution gives highly detailed images with some ability to crop if your lens isn't long enough (kids on the other side of the soccer field etc). The 5.3 f.p.s. frame rate is useful for sports events and kids running around the garden, as is the snappy autofocus. The low light/high ISO ability is reasonable, so you should be able to get at least Facebook quality pictures of the school play, or from the sports event in the school gym, without too much trouble. What the 60D isn't a substitute for is a reasonable HD camcorder - until Canon implements continuous autofocus, video results can be lacking.
The flip-out LCD is a big plus, especially for video shooting. Overall, the Canon 60D a decent choice for the 'Soccer Dad/Mom' type user.
The Canon 60D as the Sports/Action Camera:
With reasonable high ISO abilities and a fairly good autofocus system, the 60D can be used as a sports/action action camera fairly well. The autofocus system does find moving targets challenging at times. The 5.3 f.p.s. burst rate is a little slow for sports/action camera, and having to change your grip to manipulate autofocus points is less than ideal, and will slow you down. The lack of weather sealing also means the 60D needs protecting should it rain any significant amount. Overall the 60D makes for a reasonable budget choice for a sports/action photographer.
The Canon 60D as the Wildlife Camera:
The 18mp resolution puts more pixels on your subject with your longest lens than any other camera from Canon (or Nikon) as of the time of writing, so from that perspective the 60D is excellent. The reasonable high-ISO capabilities also make the camera very useable in dawn/dusk shooting sessions, when wildlife is typically most active. However it also has several points against it as a wildlife camera:
Overall, we would have to rate the 60D as a poor wildlife camera, if it weren't redeemed by its super high pixel density. Given that, we'd rate it as 'OK' as a wildlife body, providing it works with your lenses.
- Only 9 AF points makes it harder to put an AF point over the eye of your subject. Getting the eye in sharp focus is probably the single most import aspect in creating a successful wildlife portrait. However all 9 AF points are cross type, so when you do have an AF point over the eye, focus is typically fast and accurate.
- Lack of Autofocus Fine Tune. If you are shooting wildlife, you are almost certainly using telephoto lenses, which probably cost more than your camera.
While the majority of lenses need no adjustment, every now and then you'll come across a telephoto that either consistently front or back focuses a little too much for your liking. Without the ability to fine tune your AF for a particular lens, you are either stuck with slightly substandard results, or have to play the game of returning lenses until you find one that is sharp enough with your particular camera body. This is a minor to irrelevant feature, until you purchase an expensive telephoto that doesn't yield truely sharp images, then it becomes an extremely important feature.
- Lack of weather sealing. Wildlife is most active at dawn or dusk. This is also the time that the light is best, and that there is more likely to be moisture in the air.
The Canon 60D as the Landscape/Architectural Camera:
The super high resolution makes the Canon 60D very well suited for creating landscape images, as does the low base ISO of 100. The only real weakness is the lack of weather sealing, since most landscape photography occurs at dawn or dusk, but even so we'd have to rate this as a good landscape camera.
The Canon 60D as the Studio Camera:
Here the 60D gets a good to very good rating. The high resolution and low base ISO makes it a good candidate as a studio camera. The only ding we'd give it is the lack of AF fine tune - if you are dumping a lot of money into prime lenses for studio use, the ability to tweak the camera to compensate for a lens that consistently front or back focuses is important: As with wildlife photography, the ability to get an eye in really sharp focus can make or break a portrait.
The Canon 60D as the Video Camera:
If you are happy manually focusing, then the comprehensive video controls make the 60D a very good to excellent choice for your movie project. However if you are only taking home movies and want something simple to operate, the lack of continuous autofocus means you will get better results from most consumer HD video cameras costing half as much.
The Canon 60D as the Photojournalist/Travel Camera:
The EOS 60D has a reasonable mix of features, from resolution to high-ISO to the 5.3 f.p.s. burst rate, that makes it well suited to basic photojournalism and/or as a travel camera. As stated above, this camera is a jack of all trades, but master of none. As a travel camera, we'd perhaps prefer something a little smaller (Nikon D7000 or D5100 sized) making it easier to pack and carry. On a camera that is going to be predominantly used outside, a little more weather sealing would be nice. But still, the Canon 60D is a very versatile tool and well suited for travel and/or photojournalism, especially considering the sub $1000 price point.
At $999.99 (body only), the 60D is a versatile and competent tool. It is simple to use for someone stepping up from a point and shoot or entry level DSLR, and offers a comprehensive feature set that gives significant creative control over the final image. As noted above, more demanding users may miss certain features, but Canon also has higher end bodies that address those needs. Overall the Canon 60D is a great sub $1000 camera, and if you are not producing outstanding images with it, it is more likely to be down to the photographer than the equipment. The Canon EOS 60D is available from B&H Photo as either a Kit with 18-135mm Lens, a Kit with 18-200mm Lens or as a Body Only.