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Field Review: Canon 60D (Day 2)

by Nigel Paterson on 01/22/2011

Canon 60D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, ISO400, 1/250th, f/9.

For my second day of shooting with the Canon EOS 60D I took it along to capture both stills and video for a motorcycle magazine’s print edition and website. Before going on, you can take a look at my findings from Day 1 here.

Using the flip-out screen I was able to put the camera on the ground and look down to compose the image. 60D, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, 1/500 @ f/8

Sport Riding

The motorcycle in question was the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R—one of the fastest, sportiest machines available today, so it was definitely going to be a test of the camera to see if it could ‘keep up’ with the thoroughbred machine.

We started with video, shooting the magazine’s editor talking about the bike. The flip-out screen certainly made life easier than using the magazine’s 5D MkII, and shooting directly to SD made reviewing the footage on a MacBook Pro a lot easier, because the 60D shoots to SD and the latest MacBooks have built-in SD card slots.

The 60D also shoots a variety of useful formats, too: 1080p HD might be all the rage, but if you want to do slow-motion (slowing down the footage in post-production that is), capturing at 60 frames is better, so the 60D’s option of 60fps at 720p was used for a lot of the action sequences (we would have shot everything in 720, but the 5D MkII doesn’t support it, so for the multicamera shots we have tried to standardize on 1080p).

I was concerned the 60D wouldn’t capture stills of a moving motorcycle very well – the specifications relating to capturing action certainly don’t indicate the 60D will be well suited to sports photography. The burst rate, (frames per second capture speed are all actually slower than the 50D), and the focusing system is from the earlier camera, too, rather than from the 7D. However, I was reasonably impressed with the 60D – it focused and tracked on the bike better than I expected, with plenty of sharp images from the series I shot. The frame rate – 5.3fps – is quite slow by modern standards and it felt that way too.

Scenic Photography

Long lens close-ups¦ 60D, 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, 1/2000 @ f/2.8, ISO400

Some other shots I captured on the day included some scenic and flowers while I was waiting for other members of the crew, and found the focusing screen nice and bright, enabling me to use a 300mm lens at close focusing distances without difficulty.

Vs the 7D and Rebel?

By the end of day 2, I had decided the 60D isn’t a camera I’d recommend to anyone wanting to shoot sports, but not because it’s bad at doing so: it’s just the 7D is so much better for not too much more money. However, if you’re after a camera better-built than the Rebel T2i but lighter, more affordable and better for video (because of the flip-out screen) than the 7D, the 60D is well worth a look.

60D, 300mm f.8L IS USM, 1/1000 @ f/2.8, ISO 400

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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