"Of course, Canon digital SLRs still don't have swivelling rear screens…" It might have been tempting fate, but I heard a marketing manager from a rival company gloating about this just a few days ago (said company had just announced their new DSLR series). Then, the next day, comes the Canon 60D, complete with, you've guessed it, an articulated LCD screen and a lot more besides for your £1200 (with 18-55m kit lens).
To recap, the Canon 60D is an update of the Canon EOS 50D, a well-regarded but comparatively venerable DSLR that was conspicuous for its lack of HD video recording. The new Canon 60D fixes all that, as it offers full-fat 1080p HD movie recording with full manual control.
While the EOS 60D has the same-sized 18 megapixel sensor as the EOS 550D, it inherits a low-pass filter from the nearly pro-spec Canon EOS 7D. And as with the EOS 7D, ISO can be boosted to 12800; you get the EOS 7D's iFCL metering system too.
But a lot of attention will be focused on that new 3-inch screen, offering a 3:2 aspect ratio and 1040k dot resolution. Obviously, being able to swivel the screen will be a big help to many photographers, especially those focusing on macro, wildlife and action, and it's surprising that it's taken Canon so long to introduce it on a DSLR body.
Canon 60D vs 7D?
So is this new camera a smarter buy than the Canon 7D, which packs the same pixel count? Canon are no mugs, so they are obviously some compromises. You only get 9 AF points as opposed to the Canon 7D's 19, and the maximum continuous shooting speed is slower at 5.3 frames per second compared to the Canon 7D's 8. And the Canon 60D has a single DIGIC 4 processor compared to the EOS 7D's Dual device.
Build quality is different too; as befits the EOS 7D's pro pretentions, it's encased in a magnesium alloy body while the Canon 60D comes in aluminium and polycarbonate resin. But if speed and bullet-proof build aren't primary considerations, the EOS 60D certainly gives its big brother a close run for its money.
Canon EOS 60D vs the world…
So what about Canon's competitors? It's fair to say that the Canon 60D aces anything that Nikon currently has to offer in the mid-range, with the Nikon D90 and the D300S looking rather old-school in comparison to this. Nikon has revealed an upgraded entry level DSLR in the shape of the D3100, and we fully expect an announcement of a Nikon D90 (read our Nikon D90 review) successor in the run up to the Photokina trade show in late September – watch this space…
Sony could threaten to rain on the Canon 60D's parade, too, which isn't something we would have said even last week. Sony's intriguing new translucent-mirror cameras, the Sony Alpha a55 and a33, seem to offer outstanding AF performance (for Live View and video as well as stills) and a whopping great speed hit – 10 frames per second with autofocus must be causing a few jitters over at Canon HQ. The Sonys are keenly priced too, coming in at under £1000 each.
Of course, all this is speculation until we test all these new cameras side by side, but after a fairly light spring and summer release schedule, it's great to see the big Japanese camera makers doing what they do best – bringing out genuinely innovative new kit. The consumer is the real winner here.