Form and function combine in this enthusiast’s DSLR
In the Field
While the Canon 60D doesn’t break new ground with its body design, it’s a pleasure to use. Its dual command wheels make changing settings a breeze. Especially nice is the fact that you can use the rear command wheel to set exposure compensation in aperture- or shutter-priority modes—without having to hold down the exposure comp button at the same time, as you do on the D7000.
At long last, Canon took a cue from Olympus and included a fully articulated LCD screen in the 60D. Presumably, the designers did this to benefit video capture, which delivers very pleasing footage at up to 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. While it certainly does make shooting video more convenient, we found ourselves just as often moving the monitor around for shooting stills in live-view mode.
The flexibility made it much easier to frame shots of glass-enclosed exhibits in the American Museum of Natural History, for instance: With the front of the lens pressed to the glass to avoid reflections, we ended up looking down at the LCD, as you would when framing with a waist-level reflex camera.
Granted, the contrast AF in live-view mode remains sluggish compared with the phase-detection AF used with the optical viewfinder, but when your subject isn’t moving, and you can take some time to compose the image, it works well. We did like Nikon’s flip- switch better for entering and exiting live-view mode, and its proximity to the video-record button makes shooting movies a much more seamless experience than with the Canon. On the 60D, you have to enter a special video mode using the mode dial to record video.
Burst shooters should appreciate the 60D’s ability to capture up to 58 full-size, highest-quality JPEGs at 5.3 frames per second. That’s significantly more than the D7000’s 31 shots, though the Nikon captures at 6 fps. When the difference in frame rate is as small as this, we tend to prefer the ability to shoot more images per burst. Typical of cameras in this class, the 60D has plenty of options for customization. You can reverse the direction of the command wheels, and assign the function of numerous buttons to configure the camera to your shooting style. As with the EOS 7D, there’s a handy screen that shows you the buttons that you’re changing so you don’t have to hunt for them when setting up the camera.
Two minor places where the 60D doesn’t match the Nikon D7000 are its viewfinder and memory card slot. The Nikon’s finder is 100 percent accurate, while the 60D sports a 96% accurate finder. If you’ve never shot with a 100% accurate finder, then you won’t notice the difference, but if you have, or if you are extremely picky about what you place at the edge of your frame and don’t like to crop, then you might want to consider the Nikon, or Canon’s EOS 7D.
The D7000 also has dual SD card slots. This can come in handy for backups, but isn’t as big a deal as the viewfinder.