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Thread: Upgrading: how do you like the 60D?

  1. #1
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Upgrading: how do you like the 60D?

    I tried searching the forums for opinions on the 60D, but that search term is too small to be used. So...

    I am ready to upgrade to a new body. I've had the XSi for three years now, and I've really liked it, but I think I've gotten to the point where I would like to have better AF, better metering, and video. I know the video in DSLRs is not the easiest thing to use, but I'm hoping to learn to use it for videos of my kids, nothing really ambitious or anything.

    My ultimate camera to have would be the 7D, but I can't afford one, and I won't be able to for at least 2 or 3 more years.

    So I'm trying to decide between a new/refurbished T3i and a refurbished 60D. The 60D is obviously more expensive.

    I'm leaning toward the 60D, because it has more cross-type AF points, better build, faster fps, brighter and larger viewfinder. But I remember when it first came out there was a lot of talk on this forum about how weird it was that it has the variangle screen, it uses SD cards, and it lost the AF microadjustment feature the 50D had. Basically, that Canon had "Rebel"-ized the xxD line.

    Do people still feel that way about it? If you have a 60D (or even if you don't), what do you think about it? Very interested to see how people feel about this body now that it's been out for over a year.

    Mostly interested in finding out if this camera performs. I don't really care what people think about it in terms of "respecting" Canon's decision to make it more like a Rebel. It would still be an upgrade for me, without a doubt. I guess I'm just wondering if there are any quirks about it, common problems I should be aware of, glaring issues with the body, etc.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughts!

    Alex

  2. #2
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    The people who complained most and loudest about the 'rebelising' of the xxD line were probably the 50D-owners/lovers who couldn't afford a 7D.

    Basically, the 7D is the upgrade from the 50D, the 60D is the 'new' line in between the 7D and xxxD/rebels for most respects (no AFMA or decent sealing is the biggest gripe from 50D owners, and the compact-flash "downgrade" to SD-card and polycarb-body instead of magnesium in the 50D), the 7D is a big upgrade on things like the 19-cross-type AF points and higher FPS.

    But coming from a lower-body (XSi is the 450D in real-speak?), I don't think you'll be disappointed. Compared to the T3i/(600D?) you get the same swivel-screen (which isn't weather-sealed) and sensor (if you use your camera in full manual for static subjects, the 600D will give exactly the same photo), both have the Speedlite master-control inbuilt.

    Upgrades 600D to 60D are 5.3fps from 3.7, pentaprism instead of mirror (brighter, and you see more, 95% vs 85%), 9-cross type AF-points compared to 1 cross + 8 line-points. The electronic 2-line spirit-level I use a lot on my 7D, 60D has one-line, 600D has none (if you've got a bubble on your tripod head, you may not need it though).

    And there's one downgrade by spending the extra money on the 60D instead of the 600D, video-zooming, which greatly depends on if you want/need this feature.

    Ergonomically, if you can work your 450D with any speed, you'll be fine with either, buttons on the 600D or the wheel on the 60D. I've got a 7D and I use the wheel/joystick with my thumb probably more than I do the shutter button but i'm lost using a friend's 550D, once you get used to a wheel you can't go back.

    They're probably the main differences you'll notice, what are the price differences of the bodies you're looking at? It's always going to be up to you to decide if the extra cash is worth it (think of what lenses/filters/accessories you could get for the extra cash). Just be aware that more than likely "something" will be announced at CES/PMA in 2 weeks. That could mean saving up a bit more for the newest body, could mean whatever it's replacing comes down in price, could mean that whatever's announced won't be on a shop shelf before July (given canon's latest track-record), or if nothing's announced soon my guess is that nothing will be announced before April (think of how many shots you might miss waiting for the 'next' body).
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  3. #3
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    Only thing I really wish my 60D had for my needs is AFMA.

    My reasons for choosing it over the 600D or lower were: larger viewfinder, increased battery life, better ergonomics and AF as well as the slave/master flash control (I've used this yet, but it's an option I want to have for future).

    Weather sealing doesn't bother me as I'd be unlikely to take many pictures in adverse conditions, I have no problem with using SD rather than CF, and the build quality is still a step up from the XXXD line (still not as nice as the 7D).

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    I have a T3i and fiddled with this exact decision back in September.

    My points were -
    Image quality is about the GLASS, the sensors are the same. it is the only reason why you can even have this debate.

    I don't use the extra stop between 4000ths and 8000ths on the shutter
    I have medium size hands (large cadet in golf glove size - big furry palms and short fingers) and the 3ti fits better. Recently went into best buy and doubled checked this conclusion.

    I wanted to play more with video than with stills - tiny and I mean tiny advantage to the 3ti. I think you can recapture most the meaningful difference through the Magic Lantern wrap around software - I use it and it is really very powerful.

    RE: autofocus - which is a most meaningful issue.
    In Video mode, you will find that manual focus is the only way to handle moving objects at this time - perhaps something cool will be anounced at CES. Live view autofocus is just way too slow. Not sure if it is any faster on any body - that would be something I would double check.

    Had no idea of the meaning of the additional autofocus capabilities (cross types, etc) - I came from really old FD lens worlds. - I am not sure I know what I am missing here but I have gone to only using the spot for metering/focus when shooting stills. I have upgraded to all USM lenses (except the nifty fifty that I don't use autofocus on anyway) so I can fine tune any missed focus points "on the fly"

    I don't do "burst" shooting all that often as in if ever. I have a series of slides from my F-1 & motor drive days of an empty race track then on the last slide you can see the back of the wing of an indy car? I learned a pick and lead mode for stills - I am an OLD dog - perhaps this is a new trick I need to learn. If I can stand "low resolution" mode - I go to 60 frames/sec on the HD video and then pick off the frames - this pretty close to 100% on most video monitors.

    Build materials - I looked at the this decision as a bridge to the next major upgrade (1dx isn't it) in technology and figure this body is worth 2-3 years. I am a weekend not so warrior type. I am outdoorsy but I am not strapping my camera to my head and doing a tuck and roll down a boulder strewn valley.

    And finally this will contradict everything I just led you to. Evaluate you historically shooting and what did you 98% of the time and the feature set you found useful. Then think back about those 10 pics that you just didn't/couldn't get and would the additional feature set allow you to get them? If so get the expanded feature set. The couple of hundred bucks will be long forgotten, but the image (or lack there of) will live on. This just happened to me, and I am so pissed at myself.

    I bought a battery grip that gave me time lapse and for $60 it came with two chinese batteries that seem to have the same life as the Canon so battery issues which might be an issue if you are on trip/on location are now a non issue.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member rlriii13's Avatar
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    I went from an XSi to the 60D. I've never used the T3i, so I can't offer the comparisons you're looking for. What I can share is that I wanted to have the larger body. It felt more substantial in my hands and I am hoping it prepares me for an eventual upgrade to an 8D or 9D or something in the future. I got my 60D for a good price, plus a rebate, which made my decision a bit easier than if I were making it now.

    Rather than the comparison you're considering, I was weighing the 50D against the 60D because of the lack of AF microadjustment. I chose video capabilities over AFMA, and I would make the same decision again, but I wish I could have both. If a 60D Mark II was released that had AFMA, I'd upgrade without question.

    Like you, I'm shooting videos of my children with the 60D, and using the AF is a challenge, but it lets me feel like a cameraman. I can definitely tell when things are out of focus while shooting, and it just takes a moment to adjust. When you play the video back on a monitor, it's painfully obvious that parts are OOF. Still though, the videos turn out OK, and that's good enough for my home movies. Shoot me a PM if you want to see an example of what I'm talking about.

    Also, be certain you have a large and fast card that can buffer your video while you shoot.

  6. #6
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    My primary reasons for disappointment with the XSi have been poor ISO options, OOF shots, and poor AE in some situations. And I want video.

    T3i and 60D seem to be equal in all these regards except for better AF in the 60D, so I think that's what I need to do to be fully satisfied. The larger body will be very nice, and the more solid sound of the shutter won't be bad either. I'm shopping refurbished, so the difference in price (new T3i vs. refurbished 60D) isn't that great, less than $200.

    I've been watching Adorama for a while to see if a 60D comes up on their refurbished list, but so far no luck. I don't know how often they get those in. Anyone know?

    Busted Knuckles brings up a great point about looking back at pictures you've taken, are there any you missed that you could have gotten with a different body? Yes, definitely, in my case.

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate it!

    Alex

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    If you are going to do video w/ the either or any DSLR I strongly recommend getting LCD lupe and magic lantern.

    The lupe I bought an extended eyepiece and a loop and just screwed the two together with a soft foam spacer so as to avoid the sticky frames and not lose the articulating screen. It slips on and off easy enough. The loop is a must for video shooting - I have the "perfect 3.0x" it has some diopter adjustment. The comedy is that when I take it off and look through the penta mirror I wonder where all the extra information went .

    With Magic Lantern turn on the focus peaking in focus edges now have annoying colored dots on the viewfinder but it tells you where precisely the focus is, the depth of field, etc and make manula focus pulling in the video buckets easier.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    I love the 60D. Improvements I like versus the 600D / T3i are:

    -- Better ergonomics
    -- Faster burst rate
    -- 1/3 ISO stops increments instead of 1 stop
    -- Electronic level
    -- All cross type AF instead of only the center
    -- "C" setting to have a pre-set mode, this concept seems to work nicely for unexpected shots like birds
    -- 1/8000 shutter speed versus 1/4000 max
    -- Nicer viewfinder
    -- Far superior battery life

    Both are nice cameras, but if you spend a lot of time taking pictures I would say the 60D is the superior tool fort the job.

    Dave

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    One year and about 20,000 clicks later - I am very pleased! No complaints.
    It has not replaced a video camera for the kids and family gatherings - but that is not what I expected from it.
    I would highly recommend the 60D especially if the price difference is only $200.

    Brian

  10. #10
    I upgraded from an XTi to a 60D a few months ago. The quote below is from a review I posted on Amazon.com last month and sums up most of my early impressions of this body.

    I've had the 60D for a month now and it seems like a good time to summarize my early impressions. During this time I've clicked off nearly 1900 photos. I took it to Indianapolis to photograph and video record events at the Percussive Arts Socity International Convention; I've photographed two concerts; I photographed the LoneStar Classic drumline competition; I shot a wedding; and I shot a family's Christmas photos. That's a pretty good workout for a new camera.

    What works?
    * Pretty much everything. The AF, metering, high ISO noise suppression, speed, image quality, etc. are superb.
    * Off-camera flash capability. It works easily and flawlessly (error below notwithstanding). It is far more convenient than using cable or RF triggers.
    * Body. The robustness of the body makes this worth every penny over the price of a T3i/600D. I used it in a moderate rain storm without worrying about it being damaged by a smattering of H20. The grip is perfect for my large hands. The shutter just sounds so tight and solid. It is heavy enough that it feels steady and solid, yet light enough that it is easy to manage. It is a nice counterbalance to the weight of the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens that I primarily use.
    * Dials and buttons. Several reviews maligned the vague feeling buttons and condemned the eight-way rocker control. This "shortcoming" is much ado about nothing.
    * SD memory card. So far I have discovered nothing to hate about using these SD cards. I was prepared for the worst. This feature made me hold my nose when I purchased this camera. I wanted CF memory cards like my other DSLR. It's no big deal. I would have been buying new larger capacity cards for the new camera anyway.
    * Batteries and battery monitor. These batteries seem to go forever. I've only had to recharge them once. That was just prior to shooting the wedding. At that point each battery had more than 25% capacity left after shooting about 1000 photos, many with a flash. After shooting the wedding, each battery is only about 25% depleted.

    What doesn't?
    * Live view is quite limited for taking photographs. While it's great to be able to swing out and tilt the LCD when taking a photograph with arms extended above your head, it is really quite slow and has a hard time focusing. I'll only be able to use it for static shots. It is unusable for photojournalist-style shooting of a mass of people moving around, such as of people dancing at a wedding reception.
    * Error: "This option not available when external flash connected." On Saturday while shooting the family, I removed the flash and attempted to use the off-flash feature when I started getting this error. The camera would not let me open the internal flash for the same reason. I was really quite frustrated. Eventually I had an assistant hold a reflector and I bounced the flash into it from the shoe. I later discovered the problem is a tiny switch located under the right hot shoe rail that was stuck in the down position. Apparently this is a common Canon problem. I'm glad I know how to easily fix this should it happen again, but I would have been furious if this had happened at a fast moving wedding.
    * White balance. Actually, I can't say this doesn't work. It just doesn't work well all the time. I couldn't get the WB right at the wedding. In the future I may pack a white card so I can custom set the WB for difficult situations like that. Having shot RAW, this is easily fixable, but it definitely lengthens post processing.
    As for comparisons to the 7D, I have not regretted purchasing the 60D rather than the 7D. In fact, if I were to buy another body right now I would get another 60D rather than upgrading to the 7D even if my budget allowed for it. The primary advantage the 7D has over the 60D is speed: the 19-point AF is faster and more accurate across a broader swath of the viewfinder, the dual DIGIC IV processors are faster, the CF card interface is faster, and the buffer is larger so you can shoot more images before data bottle-necking in continuous shooting. Thus 8FPS vs. 5.3FPS. Due to the speed issue, the 7D is a better sports photography camera. If that's your gig, then you'd better save your pennies and get one. For everything else, the 60D is fantastic. And BTW, it's pretty damned fast too.

    Everything else is pretty much a wash:
    • 100% viewfinder - slight 7D advantage
    • Video shooting - slight advantage 60D for articulating LCD and manual audio input control
    • Weather sealing, magnesium alloy frame - weather sealing is very similar but the metal frame gives a slight advantage to the 7D
    • Size, weight - tiny advantage to the 60D
    • Ergonomics - some like the joystick nubbin on the 7D over the 60D's rocker control, but you can't reach it with your thumb from the vertical grip position. I use a battery grip, so I say this is the 60D's advantage
    • AF micro adjustment and PC socket - features apparently nobody uses; I don't: theoretical advantage to 7D but really none at all


    Versus a Rebel: You know, I have to give the Rebel credit, my XTi was surprisingly durable even though it felt like a cheap piece of plastic junk. But all you have to do is pick up the 60D and you'll know it is the right choice even if the T3i is capable of most of the same things the 60D can do. In your hands you'll feel that the 60D is far more durable and better sealed for sand and dust. If you have large hands as I do, the 60D will fit your hands much better (I always despised my XTi becuase it never felt right in my large hands). The quick control dial on the back is worth its weight in gold compared to the awful up/down/left/right buttons on the back of the Rebels. And the pentaprism viewfinder is larger and brighter than the Rebel's. These are tangible advantages for the 60D that IMO are worth the extra $230 (Amazon.com stocks the 60D at $899 and T3i for $669).

    One more note, I looked into buying a refurbished body from Canon. However, after looking into it I changed my mind. I live in Texas and Canon charges state sales tax of about 8%. Therefore, it was a little cheaper for me to buy new through Amazon.com since I avoided the tax. You might discover the same thing in Oregon.

    Good luck.

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