Sunday, November 7, 2010

Canon 60D First Impressions from a 50D user

My Canon 60D arrived Friday night. I spent some time with it Friday and Saturday, and here are some quick impressions, and photos.

Overall, it handles well, and for someone coming from a 50D, it take minimal getting used to. I'm mostly impressed. The early review is below.

The Good


The image quality is fantastic. At ISO 3200 and 6400, it's far,far better than my 50D.

It's pretty damn good at lower ISOs as well.

Autofocus is speedy and accurate. Not better than my 50D when it's working (50D is currently in the shop with AF issues), but not worse. It's not a 7D, but that's why it costs less. So, far it's done OK in low light.

As a side note,I was really worried about the lack of Micro Focus Adjustment- the ability to adjust the camera/lens focusing to correct for consistent front or back focusing errors. My 50D has it, and I had to do it all of my telephotos. So far, the 60D has been spot on, although I haven't taken it out with the 300 yet. It did prove to me that both my 50mm f/1.8 lenses have issues, so it's time to replace them with something else.

I have large hands and AF on button fits perfectly under my right thumb.

The articulated LCD is a huge improvement. It's far easier to use for making setting adjustments when the camera is on a tripod, and either low, or high, or turned vertical.

Best of all, you can close it so the screen faces the camera. Not only does this protect it from nose grease, it makes me work faster by curbing my tendency to chimp after every shot.

The metering system has doe a fantastic job with everything I've thrown at it so far, including backlighting and crappy compact fluorescent lighting.

Auto-bracketing now can cover plus/minus 3 stops, not just two.

The Bad


Canon changed the remote shutter switch to the same one used on the Rebel series. So I have to go buy a new remote shutter release, as the two that I have, and that worked with the 10D, 30D and 50D, will not work with the 60D.

Even worse, one of those releases is the expensive TC80N3 - Canon's intervalometer model for time lapse and extremely long shutter speed photography. And guess what Canon doesn't make? That's right, an intervalometer for use with the Digital Rebel series.

While I realize that Canon needs to differentiate between the 7D and the 60D, I figured the 7D's much better AF, faster frame rate and higher end build quality were enough. I don't think it's ridiculous to anticipate that buyers of a $1,000 camera would expect to be able to do time lapse photography with it.

Auto-bracketing still limited to only 3 exposures ( 1 under, 1 on target, 1 over ). For HDR, I want 5.

The Takes Getting Used To


The joystick from the back of the 50D has been changed into an 8-way rocker switch in the middle of the command dial on the back of the camera. The command dial itself is smaller and further down the back than on the 10D, 30D, 50D.

This works and it doesn't. It mostly works for setting the AF point, but when working through the menus, for example, turning mirror lockup on and off, it's easy to jump to the wrong place. Since I'm not used to the command dial's revised location yet, I find myself searching for it with my thumb. I assume that will improve with practice.

Annoyance that isn't Canon's Fault


I use Aperture to manage my photos. Apple hasn't updated Aperture to understand the 60D RAW files yet, and it even chokes trying to import them, so I've been forced into the following convoluted work flow:

1) Use Canon's Image Browser Utility to import the files from my SD card.

2) Use Adobe's DNG Converter to convert the RAW files into DNG format (yes, Adobe has updated DNG Converter, Adobe Camera RAW, and Lightroom 3 to read 60D RAW - go Adobe!).

3) Import the DNG files into Aperture.

Come on Apple, get with the program. (Update: Apple updated Aperture to read 60D RAW files shortly after I published this initially).

And now, some sample images:

ISO 800, Canon 100mm F/2.8 L IS Macro



ISO 100, Canon 100mm F/2.8 L IS Macro

Sunset Sweetgum Leaf

ISO 100, Canon 100mm F/2.8 L IS Macro



ISO 100, Tokina 12-24 F/4 (3 Shot HDR using autobracketing )

To really appreciate this shot, you have to view it large - larger than this layout allows.

Lonely Bush At Sunset

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