Canon 60D - Still a natural choice for shooting video 

Available for around $300, or get the newer 70D that replaces it


For video, the Canon 60D seems like a natural choice. Sure, by now it's getting a bit old, but honestly the newer DSLR bodies are not any better for shooting video. Even today, in 2016, they all still only offer 1080p in 24 or 30 frames or 60 frames in 720p, although I have seen some of the newer bodies offering 4K. You know what? Who cares about 4K? In a consumer body like this is it really making any difference except for taking up hard drive space - especially when most videos shot on these cameras end up on YouTube anyway? 

I picked one up after shooting with full frame DSLRs for the past few years, wanting a crop frame camera for when I want to shoot with more depth of field, where pulling focus is easier and in my opinion resembles a super 35mm frame. I've come to not really prefer the super shallow look that makes full frame DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark ii and iii so popular. Sometimes you want things in focus. 

The Canon 60D makes sense to shoot alongside a 5D or 7D because it uses the same beefy LP-E6 battery, handles very much the same, and delivers images just about identical. There are some drawbacks as well, and I'll go over everything below. 

Ergonomics

The Canon 60D handles very much like the offspring of a 5D and a T2i. It has similarities of both pro and consumer bodies, favoring the consumer realm with the plastic construction and flip screen. Honestly the flip screen is great, but if they threw in a nice electronic viewfinder I'd use that more often.

In the hand the 60D has the pro feel of a 5D, as well as the rear control wheel, but after that things get amateur hour. The buttons and real control dial all have a cheap consumer feel, with one of the biggest drawbacks being the lack of a white balance button. It's true, there's no WB button, so forget having the ability to change it quickly. Obviously during a production once you have WB set you won't really change it often until you change sets, but in run-and-gun situations where DSLRs are most useful, the lack of a WB button is not practical. 

Apart from the missing WB option, the other buttons are useful and even customizable. I changed the set button to allow access to a white balance menu, the next best thing to having a dedicated button - although this doesn't work in movie mode! Only in M and other photography modes - in movie mode you still must push the menu button and click through menus to set the white balance. Like I said, amateur hour.

ISO is settable in 1/3 stops which is a nice step up from the Rebels, and setting movies settings, etc. remains pretty similar to other models, however with the exception that Canon decided to give the 60D a dedicated movie mode setting on the main mode dial, totally making shooting between photos and movies a big hassle compared to the simplicity of shooting with the 5D Mark ii. Now instead of just setting the mode to M and pressing the live view button and then Set button to record a movie, you must set the mode dial over to the movie camera icon first which automatically brings up live view. So if you want to change your movie settings, you can't do it from where you were in M mode, you have to change the mode dial then access the menu to change movie settings. So instead of simplifying things Canon has mucked it up a bit. No big deal, just another example of how newer cameras aren't necessarily better. 

An annoying drawback to this is that if you're not using the live view for anything, you still have to leave the live view on if you want to stay in movie mode. So the only way to close the shutter and turn off live view is to turn the mode dial a click or two over, in which case if you forget to set it back you might miss a shot. Not very smart or intuitive, reminding us that the 60D is just that, a consumer camera for amateurs. 

Images 

The images you can achieve with the Canon 60D will be on par with most other DSLRs, especially Canons like the 5D Mark ii and 7D. With good light and the right settings and lens, the 60D will give you some beautiful images and pretty much leave the work up to you. The only drawback to it being a crop sensor is that you'll have a narrow frame with lenses that are much wider on full frame. For example, a 28mm lens on the 60D will give you an equivalent of a 45mm lens on the 5D Mark ii or iii or any other full frame camera. This is not a big deal, it just means that you might have to pick up an extra lens or two if you want to shoot wide on the 60D if you all you have are FF lenses. No biggy, I picked up a used Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 zoom on eBay and it's nice and sharp and gives me about a 28mm equivalent on the wide end.

Another drawback with the 60D is that in low light you will see more digital noise than a full frame camera at the same ISOs. This comes down to personal preference a lot of times, as I personally don't care about grain or noise, but someone else might. If you're shooting professionally for a company then obviously you probably don't want this, so just be sure to shoot at ISO 800 or below with the 60D, or if this is a big deal, get a new 5D Mark iii or 1DC or other pro camera. The 60D is not a pro camera and at low ISOs is where this shows, but honestly it will give you good images if you know what you're doing- world's beyond what used to not be achievable by even expensive pro video cameras.

 

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