Field Review: Canon EOS 60D (Day 3)

This close focussing shot shows a strength of smaller sensors in DSLRs - more depth of field for a given aperture. Combined with great high ISO performance, and stabilized lenses, it's easy to get great shots in close. ISO400, 1/160th @ f/10, 85mm.

Take a camera along when you’re out for a walk and there’s a good chance you’ll bring back some pleasing images, especially when the camera is Canon’s EOS 60D equipped with an EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom.

So my morning walk with the dog also became a photo walk, and I was very pleased with the images I brought back.

My first stop were the flowers in the front yard of my house. The close-focusing ability of the lens helped me capture a nice image of my wife’s prized frangipani, although the auto exposure was a little under – something easily fixed in Aperture 3.

Mr Furry: 60D, EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, ISO400, 1/1000 @ f/5.6, 85mm.

Next up was a spider in one of the numerous webs I seem to catch most mornings. He was basking in the morning sun and the 60D got this exposure right.

With the sun still rising I wondered how the equipment would cope with flare, so a basketball half-court with the sun peaking over was composed, and I was impressed with the lack of flare displayed in the image. There’s a couple of spots, but for a wide-ranging zoom which isn’t Canon ‘L’ glass it’s done quite well: but I do wish Canon would supply a hood with all lenses.

The auto white balance of the 60D was a bit disappointing - shooting on 'shade' resulted in the image on the left, which is much closer to reality than the havily blue-cast image shot on auto.

Although the colors in this image aren't perfect, selecting a white nbalance of 'shade' has produced colors much closer to the actual scene.

Less impressive was the auto white balance, which returned very blue landscapes. Switching to ‘shade’ (which did match the conditions) got me a much more pleasing image directly from the camera.

A Nice Balance

The 60D is mid-range in most respects – weight, size, price, megapixels and performance. It’s well suited to travel photography because it’s not too heavy, and EF-S lenses – which can only be used on Canon cameras with an APS-C sensor – are usually light for the zoom range but often not very fast. So far it’s proven to be very competent at most of the challenges I’ve thrown at it.

There’s no doubt the 60D is a quality camera. It’s really up to you to decide if the price premium is justified over the T2i or if the loss of features compared to the 7D means the 60D suits you, but over the next few installments we’ll be trying to make that decision clearer for you.

Even at 1/4000th of a second the bee's wings are still showing subject movement. Try capturing that with a compact!

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