In this section we'll look at some of the key features of the Canon EOS 60D:
The 60D has 9 cross-type autofocus points. The fact it only has 9 AF points can be limiting if you are trying to carefully compose a shot and want to put an AF point over a specific area (an eye for example - sharp eyes can make or break a picture). However the fact the are all cross-type AF points is extremely good, giving better accuracy whether the camera is oriented in the portrait or landscape position. In low light conditions, autofocus was noticeably better than we've experienced with cameras like the Nikon D200 and Nikon D90, and comparable to our Nikon D7000 and D300.
Overall the autofocus is fairly quick. Going from a far object to a close object can cause the autofocus to 'overshoot' then have to readjust, costing precious milliseconds if yous subject is moving. The 60D's ability to track moving subjects is reasonable, the autofocus can be a little jumpy at times (it will adjust too slowly, then make a bigger 'jump' to attempt to catch up). As a result, if you are trying to shoot small yet rapidly moving subjects (e.g. birds in flight), you are likely to get frustrated with the 60D pretty quickly. However for static subjects and more general use (kids running around the garden), the autofocus system works pretty well.
Autofocus during Live View is a different story. Changing from far to near subjects often causes the autofocus to 'oscillate', i.e. the AF will overshoot
one way, then try to correct and overshoot by a smaller amount the other way, and sometimes even again before locking on. As for moving subjects, you are probably better off skipping live view altogether. In our testing, it often takes over a second for focus to lock on using live view, which is unacceptable
for anything other than a static subject.
Autofocus is just not the Canon EOS 60D's strongest feature. For static subjects it works very well, even in low light. For slower moving subjects it is adequate, but it finds rapidly moving subjects challenging. Also missing is the AF fine tune feature that allows you to adjust if your lens consistently front or back focuses. If you are just planning to stick with the kit lens then you'll probably never even discover this feature, but if you plan on building an extensive (and expensive) lens collection over time, the lack of AF fine tune is likely to bite you at some point.
Canon and the other major manufacturers figured out matrix metering many years ago, so any new metering system is typically best described as a small iteration on an excellent existing system. This certainly applies to the EOS 60D - the metering gives consistent results, and we weren't able to fool it in our limited testing. Of course the metering often doesn't give the creative result you are looking for (the camera is trying to keep as much detail in the scene as possible, whereas you want a properly exposed sunset with the foreground in silhouette), but until cameras can read your mind, creative exposures will be the responsibility of the photographer.
In terms of video quality, and the choices of output (size and frame rate), the 60D is a very well specified camera. However what is lacking is continuous autofocus during video recording, which may or may not be a problem for you. If you are doing higher end video work and are used to using manual focus, the 60D is a very competent tool. Most pro video production uses manual focus - for example two people in a car talking, the camera operator changes focus between the two passengers based on who is talking, without re-framing the image.
However if you want to take pictures at a birthday party or of your kids running around at the beach, the lack of continuous autofocus means you have to either keep up with your kids using manual focus, or have them out of focus at times. If this is the primary reason you want a video recorder, you would be much better served looking at a consumer grade HD video recorder.
Our tests were limited somewhat by having only a single lens available to us, the kit 18-135mm, which is perhaps not the best performer in the Canon lens line-up. However image quality overall was generally very good, as you'll see in the Sample Images page further on. The 18mp sensor captures tremendous detail, with good color rendition, and reasonable high ISO abilities.
Capable of taking 5.3 f.p.s. in burst mode the Canon 60D is no slouch. However this number is down from the 6.3 f.p.s. its predecessor could achieve, and less than the current Nikon D7000 (6 f.p.s.). Regardless, 5.3 f.p.s. is plenty for the majority of users.
The Canon EOS 60D is a good overall performer, possibly even great when you factor in the sub $1,000 price point. Image quality is excellent thanks to the
18 mp sensor. If it has one weakness, it is definitely the autofocus system. 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.