Seriously, though, what exactly is this new and exciting camera from Canon? Well, the 60Da is an upgrade to the 60D and is sort of the predecessor to the 20Da, which became popular back in 2005. The biggie here is the advanced features designed for shooting stars and planets and such (aka “astrophotography”). Here is a quote from Canon’s website: “It’s designed to ensure accurate depictions of the reddish hues when photographing diffuse nebulae in the nighttime sky with the increased sensitivity of hydrogen-alpha (Hα) lines (656nm). ”
The bottom line is this: if your going to buy an entry-level DSLR, stick with the Canon 60D, unless you are seriously into photographing stars. In that case, you’ll definitely want to spend the extra $500 to get the 60Da.
If you want to check out the Canon 60Da, feel free to click to link to it at Amazon.com. If you want the regular Canon 60D, make sure to check that link out too! (I’m trying to avoid listing actual prices on any of my future posts, since they will change. So, instead, I’ve provided you with the links).
Since I haven’t done a review of the 60D itself, I though I’d go ahead and do a joint review of both the 60D and the 60Da DSLRs. I’ll compare features when applicable. Here we go!
Canon 60D Overview:
The Canon 60D is Canon’s entry level DSLR camera. If you don’t know what a “DSLR” is, check out our information section (coming soon)! I think this is a fantastic camera and far outbeats the competition on entry level DSLRs and a major step up from the PowerShot series (which are good cameras, in their own right). The 60D is great for entry level, amateur, and semi-professional users.
If you are really starting to get serious, and have the extra cash, I’d recommend going for the 7D or the 5D mark II or III. Pros would benefit from either of the 5Ds or from the 1D series (especially if you are into shooting sports). But, if you are looking for a great entry-level DSLR that will take some fantastic pictures, then look no farther than the 60D.
The 60D shoots at 18 Megapixels! This is a big step up from the highest of the PowerShots, which shoots at 14.2MP. At 18MP, you can print very large prints and retain great quality. Remember, in general to print a good 4×6″ print, you really only need a 2 or 3MP camera (hello early 90s)!
The 60D and 60Da cameras bot feature an LCD that swivels out and around at a 160° angle (approximately). This is very handy if you are shooting in live-view mode (meaning you are watching what you’re shooting through the screen, rather than in the viewfinder), or if you’re shooting movies (in which case, you’ll be using the LCD screen).
The viewfinder is what most professional photographers prefer to use when shooting even today, which is why DSLR makers still include them on the camera bodies. The main reason for using the viewfinder instead of the LCD is the fact that a good viewfinder will eliminate light leaking. Have you ever tried to shoot in the sun while trying to see the image on the LCD? It can become very hard to tell what you are looking at. The viewfinder takes care of the problem (well…for the most part).
Anyway, often times, viewfinders will only show you a portion of what the sensor is going to record. In other words, you are seeing a cropped version of what you are going to end up with. With the 60D, you are seeing 96% of the actual image…pretty good, really.
The biggest viewfinder advantage when stepping up to a DSLR from something like the PowerShot (again, I’m not knocking the PowerShots) is that you move from an optical viewfinder to a true pentaprism finder. Why does this matter? Because an optical viewfinder is showing you approximately what you are going to get in your final image. You are looking through a separate window that is lined up as best as possible with where the lens is pointed.
With a pentaprism viewfinder, which is what you’ll find on the 60D, the camera uses either a series of mirrors or a special mirroring device (a pentaprism) to reflect the actual image from the lens up into the viewfinder. So, when you look through the viewfinder, you are seeing exactly what the lens is seeing (and what will appear in your final image).
The 60D utilizes a 63-zone metering system! This means, when your camera is set to evaluative metering, it divides the image into 63 separate sections in order to determine the correct exposure. This helps to ensure that your camera is very accurate when determing what the correct exposure would be, whether you are in a preset mode, a program mode (like aperture or shutter priority), or just for metering purposes when in manual mode.
The 60D has the ability to shoot bursts of up to 5.3 shots per second! Pretty fast, if you ask me. When shooting JPEGs, you can get up to about 58 shots in a burst (this comes down to 16 if shooting RAW and 7 if using RAW+JPEG mode)!
You also have the option of using a 10-second timer, or a 2-second timer. In addition, you can shoot via remote. THe 60D can also shoot tethered to a computer, so you can capture images directly into Lightroom, or a similar program (like there is one) while shooting in-studio or if you travel with a laptop.
The 60D has a built in pop-up flash (located in the pentaprism). Great news if you don’t have an external speedlight.
If you have the money and/or are very serious about getting great photos with flash, you’ll probably want to invest in a speedlight, which you can attach to the hot shoe, located on the top of the camera. These speedlights (to be featured in an upcoming review) provide a larger flash surface, which helps to spread the light. Plus, you can aim them in other directions, meaning you can bounce the light to diffuse it. The sync speed on the 60D is 1/250 sec.
Full 1080p HD Video:
The Canon 60D has one of my favorite features of Canon Cameras: Full 1080p HD video shooting capabilities! Other camera makers are including this feature, but I think Canon is the leading force in recording video on DSLRs. They have really focused their attention on this and the video quality is excellent (the 5D Mark II has been used to shoot episodes of the TV show House, and the 5D and 7Ds were used to shoot the footage for the title sequence of Saturday Night Live – among others).
Why would HD video footage be better when shot on a DSLR than those shot on a point and shoot (since many of these also offer full 1080 HD video mode, as well)? A couple main reasons: (1) Have you seen the lenses? The are much larger openings, allowing for more light to be let in. This will create much better images than those tiny little lens openings that come on point and shoots. (2) The imaging chips are larger and of better quality. The images will be sharper and should contain more contrast and detail.
Well that’s about it for my review of the 60D. If I missed anything that you’d like covered, please let me know by sending me a message in our contact section. I’d be happy to post a revised-review (is that a tongue twister?). Do the same if you have a product you’d like reviewed. See ya next time!
P.S. – If you are interested in buying, check out both models at Amazon.com, by clicking below: