Canon T4i vs 60D: Is the T4i the Better Buy?

Canon t4i vs 60D Comparison

New T4i vs Aging 60D: Which is the Better Buy?

The powerful new Canon Rebel T4i surpasses the T3i in several ways, but how does it compare to the Canon 60D, the mid-level but slightly aged SLR? Surprisingly well, actually. With its new auto-focus system and processor, the T4i has caught up to the 60D in a couple of important respects, and bested it in others. The fact remains, though, that the 60D is a mid-level camera while the T4i is an entry-level model. How much difference will this make to a photographer who is progressing beyond being a novice? Enough that for some photographers the Canon 60D will still be the right choice, while for others, the T4i will be just as good or better. Let me explain.

As usual, a glance at the comparison table may be a useful place to start. To see the whole table at once, choose “50” from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner.

 
Canon Rebel T4i / 650D
Canon 60D
Canon Rebel T3i / 600D
Canon EOS 60DCanon Rebel T3i
Amazon Price (body only)$669.00$654.89Price Not Found
Kit Price
(Body + 18-135 STM / 18-135 orig.)
$979.00$999.00Price Not Found
Body MaterialPolycarbonate, Fiberglass Resin and Stainless SteelPolycarbonate, Aluminum, Fiberglass, and Stainless SteelPolycarbonate, Fiberglass Resin and Stainless Steel
LCD Size / Resolution3.0"
1,040,000 pixels
3.0"
1,040,000 pixels
3.0"
1,040,000 pixels
LCD Articulated?YesYesYes
LCD Touch Sensitive?YesNoNo
Sensor Size14.9 x 22.3mm (APS-C)14.9 x 22.3mm (APS-C)14.9 x 22.3mm (APS-C)
Crop Factor1.6x1.6x1.6x
Sensor Resolution18 Megapixels17.9 Megapixels17.9 Megapixels
ISO Range100-12800
+25600
100-6400
+12800
100-6400
+12800
Total AF Focus Points999
Cross-Type AF Sensors991
AF Light Level Range-.05 to +18 EV-.05 to +18 EV-.05 to +18 EV
Metering System63 Zone Point Linked Evaluative
9% Center Weighted
4% Spot
63 Zone Point Linked Evaluative
6.5% Center Weighted
2.8% Spot
63 Zone Point Linked Evaluative
9% Center Weighted
4% Spot
Exposure Compensation1/2 or 1/3 stops1/2 or 1/3 stops1/2 or 1/3 stops
Max Frame Rate : RAW (14-bit)~55.33.7
Max Burst Duration RAW (at highest frame rate)6166
Max Burst Duration JPG (at highest frame rate)305834
Shutter Speed Range1/4000th - 30 sec.
+bulb
1/8000th - 30 sec.
+bulb
1/4000th - 30 sec.
+bulb
Maximum Flash Sync Shutter Speed (standard flash)1/200th sec.1/250th sec.1/200th sec.
HD Video Resolutions1080p, 720p1080p, 720p1080p, 720p
Available HD Video Frame RatesPAL and NTSC
24/25, 30 at 1080p
50, 60 at 720p
PAL and NTSC
24/25, 30 at 1080p
50, 60 at 720p
PAL and NTSC
24/25, 30 at 1080p
50, 60 at 720p
Firmware Sidecar AvailableUnknownWorking: Magic LanternWorking: Magic Lantern
Media TypeSD / SDHC / SDXC
UHS-I compliant
SD / SDHC / SDXCSD / SDHC / SDXC
Weight575g (including battery)675g (body only)570g (including battery)
Viewfinder Coverage95%
.85x magnification
96% Frame,
.95x magnification
95%
0.87x magnification
Built-In Wireless Strobe ControlYesYesYes

Speed

At first glance, the cameras appear to be quite close in this regard; thanks to its new Digic 5 processor, the Rebel now shoots at approximately 5 frames per second, while the 60D shoots at 5.3. However, the T4i did not receive a buffer memory upgrade along with its processor, so after 6 continuous RAW shots (just over a second), the T4i will have a full buffer, and shooting will slow to a crawl until the buffer data is fully written to the SD card. The 60D, on the other hand, can shoot for nearly 3 continuous seconds (16 RAW shots), or more likely, several shorter bursts within 4 or 5 seconds, before the buffer is filled. For both cameras, that number can be increased dramatically by shooting JPG, but of course, subject to the equally dramatic loss of image information that is stored (8-bit JPG files can record only ~1.5% of the data stored in a 14-bit RAW file).

When it comes to shutter speed and flash sync speed, the Canon 60D still holds the advantage. The top shutter speed of the 60D is 1/8000th of second, vs the 1/4000th sec. of the T4i. Despite the appearance, this is probably less significant than it seems; it is rare that photographers are able to shoot at their camera’s top shutter speed due to the bright light requirements, and there are few shooting situations in which a 1/8000th sec. shutter speed would freeze the action but 1/4000th would not. The flash sync speed, though, is slightly more significant: 1/250th on the 60D compared to 1/200th on the T4i. For photographers using flash (without high speed sync) mixed with ambient light to shoot action, such as basketball in a poorly lit gym, any loss of shutter speed below 1/500th of a second can contribute to partially blurred images. Very few amateur photographers shoot with off camera flash mixed with ambient light, however, because of the technical knowledge required. If you’re not interested in learning how to use complex flash setups, or if you only shoot with ambient light, this can be ignored when making your decision.

Features for Serious Shooters

One of the things that differentiates a serious photographer from a novice is the willingness to over-ride the camera’s suggested exposure and dial in something better, a process better known as “exposure compensation”. Indeed, for professionals (and particularly event photographers), the skill is critical. Both the T4i and the 60D are capable of exposure compensation, as are all modern SLRs, but the 60D follows the tradition of all professional-level EOS cameras since the late 1980s and provides the photographer with a thumb wheel on the back of the camera that instantly allows them to add or subtract up to 3 f-stops of exposure. To do the same thing on the T4i, the photographer must first locate and press the exposure compensation button [+/-] on the rear of the camera and then remove their finger from the shutter button to adjust the exposure, then return to it to take the photo. That may sound simple (and I suppose it is), but it is time consuming… and when wasting time means missing an important moment in an event, timing is everything.

Canon 60D vs T4i / Exposure Compensation and Rear Focus Button

Similarly, the top LCD panel on the 60D adds an extra convenience when time is tight; at a glance, you can check all of your camera’s important settings while lifting your camera to your eye. This is something that I usually take for granted, but every time I test an entry level camera, I recognize how much I rely on it. Of course, a display of all of these settings are also available on the T4i by simply pressing the “Q” [Quick Control Settings] button and looking at the rear LCD, but again, it takes time and a conscious effort.

Finally, the 60D also has a rear auto-focus button which allows the photographer to de-couple focus and shutter release. This is a feature that is ignored even by many advanced photographers, but many professional sports and wildlife photographers swear by it. An explanation of why it’s so popular is, unfortunately, beyond the scope of a comparison like this, but a it is well explained on by Canon’s Digital Learning Center. Again, this feature is available on the T4i by using a custom function to assign focusing to another button, but there isn’t a dedicated button for it.

Canon T4i and 60D TOP LCD Panel

Where Does the T4i Excel?

Even as an entry level camera, the Canon T4i has an advantage over the 60D by being a brand-new model, and consequently containing some of Canon’s newest technology. Though it provides several advantages over the older T3i, it holds only two real advantages over the 60D: the touch screen and the new video focusing system. The T4i’s new sensor also provides an additional f-stop of native high-ISO performance (ISO 12800 vs the 6400 of the 60D).

Initial opinions of the T4i’s touch screen have been mixed, but I think that it will generally be appreciated by photographers who are moving up from point-and-shoot cameras and iPhones. Users with large fingertips may, at times, find the menu layout more difficult to navigate than the interfaces of popular smart phones and tablets, as the menu items are relatively small, but this should not be a serious problem for most users, and browsing through photos and videos should be a snap.

Canon t4i Auto Focus Sensor

More important, though, is the ability to use an SLR for video in the same, easy way that most people would use a video camera: with fast, full-time auto-focus. All other Canon SLRs can focus (very) slowly while shooting video when the shutter button is pressed, but the AF system must search for the correct focal plane, then focus past it, and then back to it to make sure that it’s found the sharpest focus. This system is so slow and frustrating that casual video shooting has never been popular with Canon SLRs.

The T4i will change all of that. Not only is the continuous AF system capable of detecting and tracking faces, it is quite fast and no longer has to hunt past the correct focal plane to pull focus with its hybrid phase-detection system [from my limited experience, it still seems substantially slower the camera's AF performance while shooting still photos, though].

It is also worth mentioning that the T4i has a new AF system for still photography as well, having upgraded all of its 9 AF points to cross-type sensors. As such, the T4i is right on par with the formerly superior AF system of the 60D.

Conclusion: Who Should Buy the T4i?

For the casual photographer, the Canon T4i is a very attractive option.

I recommend the T4i to photographers who:

  • want to shoot cinema quality HD video with the convenience of a video camera. The camera is perfect for video bloggers and others who need to record themselves, unassisted.
  • would appreciate the convenience of a touch screen LCD, and are willing to take the necessary precautions to keep it from breaking.
  • need fast performance, but do not shoot fast bursts of shots very frequently (ie, several times a minute)

However, I’d still recommend the 60D to photographers who:

  • shoot events and need quick access to exposure compensation
  • are not interested in shooting video or
  • prefer to shoot video with manual focus (as many film students or professionals will)
  • are not intimidated by browsing through the camera’s menu with buttons and arrows
  • frequently photograph action in RAW format and require frequent high-speed bursts of shots

If you do decide on the 60D, I’d strongly recommend NOT buying it with the old 18-135mm lens. Instead, buy the body alone and purchase the superior new 18-135mm IS STM version of the lens separately instead.

Also keep in mind that there are some tactile differences between the cameras. The 60D is physically larger and a little heavier, and it’s viewfinder provides a slightly larger image to view. Some photographers, especially those with larger hands, prefer the feel of the larger camera, while others will find the T4i’s compact size an advantage (especially those who need to pack light for travel or conceal a camera).

I’ve tried to keep this comparison brief and focused on the most important differences between the cameras, but if you have still have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments section below.

97 Comments

  • Marc says:

    Mathew nice review and I never get a straight answer about the 60D does it have something that takes a good shot. I took some sample shots at best buy with the 60D and the speed that it locks in and the range of celerity of the image is amazing. Am I right about this camera and that was with a 18-135 lens I cant imagine what it could do with 24-105 lens. TY

    • Hi Marc,

      Yes, the Canon 60D is capable of taking great shots with a wide variety of lenses. I used a Canon 60D for years as a backup camera while shooting weddings and portraits, and it was great.

      The old 18-135mm kit lens that came with the 60D is not particularly sharp, optically, though it’s not terrible. The newer 18-135mm STM lens is much sharper and faster, and on an APS-C camera like the 60D, it will perform better than the 24-105 f/4L.

      You’ll get even better performance from some prime lenses, and of course L lenses like the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.

      – Matthew

  • Very useful article, but I find your comment about JPEG having 1.5% of RAW very suspect. Care to explain your math? (Don’t forget JPEG has 24 bits per pixel versus the 14 bits per pixel in a Canon RAW!)

    • Hi Pete,

      Actually, JPGs are 8-bit per channel, with 3 channels…. so there are 256 possible values in each channel. That’s a total of about 16.8 million colors possible (256 x 256 x 256) .

      Canon RAW files are 14-bit per channel. That’s a possible 16384 values per channel. The total number of possible colors, then, is 16384 x 16384 x 16384…

      But I was only referring to a per/channel basis… that is 256/16384= .0156

      Hope that helps.

      – Matthew

  • Alanna says:

    THank you for the wonderful article! But I am curious, I currently use the 60d and although it works well I just seem to have SO many problems with images coming out very noisy and grainy even at very low ISOs (just a week or so ago at a shoot I used between 200-400 and the images were terrible). So I was wondering if you’d suggest switching to the t4i or if you have any tips on getting less grainy images?

    • Hi Alanna,

      Grainy images can be caused by high ISO, of course, but it can also be caused by post processing (if you’re shooting RAW) or your camera’s image settings (if you’re shooting JPG). If you’re shooting JPG, stop. Shoot RAW.

      If you’re shooting RAW, here are a few things to keep in mind:

      • apply some noise reduction in lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw (I find that a setting between 15-20 is usually about right, sometimes I’ll go as high as 30).
      • Apply masking to the sharpening that’s already applied in ACR/LR (if you’re not sure how to do that, watch my video on the subject on YouTube, here.
      • If you under expose when shooting and add exposure in post processing, the effect on the noise/grain is the same (or often worse) than shooting at a higher ISO, so make sure you’re exposing properly in camera. This is especially true for shadow detail.
      • In photoshop, sharpening should be the last step of your workflow, especially if you’re outputting for the web. When you reduce the image size, fine detail like noise may disappear, so it will not be affected by sharpening
      • Increasing contrast in post processing will make the grain more prominent, as will adding sharpening or “Clarity”. Use them in moderation, or only on select areas of the image.

      If you shoot JPG, make sure that your camera’s noise reduction is set to the correct level, make sure that the contrast, color, and sharpening settings are set to a conservative level… and it’s even more important with JPG to expose correctly.

      Regardless of whether you shoot JPG or RAW, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the more you crop your image, the worse the noise will be, so make sure that you fill the frame with your subject as much as possible when shooting.

      Hope that helps! (Getting a T4i or any other current Canon APS-C camera will not make a significant difference in image quality).

      If you’re already doing these things, please feel free to send me an image or two (preferably full resolution) via email and I’ll take a look and see if they seem abnormal to me. My email is matthew@lightandmatter.org

      – Matthew

  • Jay says:

    What would you recommend between the 2 for Private investigators?

    Keep in mind that most pictures and videos are taken in the day time; however in some occasion, we have to do it at night and a higher ISO is always recommended with obviously a good lens.

    Seeing that the 60d has a lower ISO max then the T4i pushes my decision towards the T4i; however seeing that the 60d has a penta prism vs penta mirror(T4i) pushes my decision towards the 60d….

    I guess you can see my dilemma here!!!! Your input would be truly appreciated.

    • Hi Jay,

      Despite the stated ISOs of the cameras, they both use virtually the same sensor to capture… actually, the 60D’s will give you slightly better image quality, though the difference is probably not visible except in lab conditions. Although the T4i can potentially be set 1 f-stop higher, the image quality isn’t actually going to be any better there than if you shot the 60D at the same ISO (you can achieve higher ISO’s simply by setting the 60D to ISO12800 [H] and using the big dial on the back of the 60D and dial in a -1 or -2, and then add exposure in post processing). And you should ALWAYS shoot RAW when using high ISO;  you’ll capture and be able to recover much more information from the frame; it will just take a little more work in post-processing (lightroom or your chosen developing module).

      That said, I wouldn’t shoot either camera above about ISO6400 if you need the image quality to be sufficient to use the images as evidence. The image quality gets bad really fast at high ISO… it gets blotchy and smeary, with weird green shifts with pink… in addition to the expected graininess. But that depends on your needs, of course.

      The brighter viewfinder of the 60D would probably make a difference in your line of work, but otherwise, I don’t see any major advantage of going for the 60D over the T4i. Maybe if you’re going to shoot long bursts of RAW files. Otherwise, I’d save the money for a large-aperture telephoto lens; you’ll need it.

      – Matthew

  • Fer Labastida says:

    Hi Thanks for the information,
    I while I’m using canon for photography, but it will soon be studying film and I want to change my team, really I’ll stay with my camera for photos, but I can not decide between these two cameras specifically for video, need good resolution and D60 makes me more professional, however I was reviewing videos in slow motion and other tests, and I found it quite optimal t4i, I want a professional camera and my budget option gives me these two do you recommend the D60 to cinema? And what could have video defects using a t4i? I need that cinematic look no video blogger.

  • Mridul Ghosh says:

    Very informative review. Thanks!
    I have an Xsi with 18-55, 55-250 and 50mm 1.8 . I am planning a lens and body upgrade this year. I am trying to decide between these two combo :

    1. Canon EFS 15-85 USM with xsi for now and 60D ( or 70D) if it comes out later and within $1000 body
    2. T4i with 18-135STM . This will help my video ( i use a canon HD camcorder and Iphone sometime but too much equipment to carry)

    My top subjects are my busy bee toddler, landscape and some portraits ( dont do telephoto too much except occasional zoo pics). I would appreciate if you coulsd suggest which of the above combo will be better for me for a long time ( 5 years+).

    thanks
    MG

  • Hello Matthew I have bought Canon 60D last month and everything was fine but a great problem I have sought out in viewfinder. When I am looking out with full zoom in the sky then its show noisy look even after focus fixed but it does not affect to the picture. At first I thought it was the problem of body, I went to the shop and tried another body but problem is same. Such day I have exchanged my camera and back to my old one. I don’t know Canon informed or not about the problem. I tried to submit a quarries to them but sending report shown me error. So I request to them who going to purchase Canon 60D. At first try to find out the problem. If you think that its tolerable then fine.

  • Les says:

    I read this week that the 60D gave some owners false messages about a hot-shoe flash was attached when, in fact, it wasn’t. But this prevented the pop-up flash to operate. Any resolution from Canon? Thanks for your fine Q&A service.

    • Hi Les,

      Actually, that happened to me while I was shooting a wedding a couple of years ago… luckily the 60D was my backup camera. The problem was with a little switch in the hotshoe; there’s a piece of metal that actuates the switch that sometimes gets bent down by a flash and continues to hold down the button even after the flash is removed. For me, it was a very simple matter to just us a micro-screwdriver and bend it back up… and I guess I was aggressive enough about it that it was never a problem again…. that was over 2 years ago, and it has still never recurred. I was not happy at all when it did occur, though :)

      – Matthew

  • Jen says:

    I am new to the world of DSLRs, having only used Canon point-and-shoots in the past, or friends’ DSLRs already set up or in auto mode. In comparing the T4i with the 60D, I like the potential ability to “grow into” the 60D, but am wondering if it is going to be too much camera for a beginner. Are there enough presets available to make it user friendly without a lot of training? Is there any reason not to start with a 60D?

    I’ve been advised to purchase only the camera body as opposed to a lens kit, and then pursue something like the 50mm 1.8 lens as a starter. Thanks for your input.

    • Hi Jen,

      On either camera, you can set the mode dial to “P” or the green square, and it will be fully automatic, like any point and shoot. That’s pretty simple… I think that any beginner can handle that. They also both have the same “beginner” modes on the dial: action, portrait, close up, landscape, etc, which are equally easy to use… and then you can work on figuring things out a little bit as you go along.

      So, I wouldn’t worry at all about getting the 60D as a beginner. I would certainly avoid the kit lenses available with the 60D (the 18-135 USM and 18-200 USM are both pretty flawed, optically), and the 50mm is a cheap but great little lens to start with. Whether you’ll be satisfied with a single focal length is another question… you might decide to buy a better zoom lens or additional prime lenses.

      – Matthew

      • Don C says:

        I have the T4i and as a beginner I am quite pleased, but I would recommend the 18-135mm STM as a first lens and research additional lenses as per your personal usage.

  • Subir says:

    Your comments is better than others,,,I used to photography with Nikon D5100 and I was happy with her but due to some reason I have sold it. Now I am wanting to jump up to Canon 60D. I don’t know how will be logical to take it. Because some are saying its performance not good like 50D. On the other hand after hearing some negative comments I have decided to take Nikon D90. But D90 is going to market out gradually. I am entirely being confused with Canon 60D and D90. Could you please tell me what should be better for me. Its important to say that I am not interested on Video so as a still photographer I strongly give priority to good image quality. So please if possible suggest me which one will be the best.

    Subir

    • Hi Subir,

      I’d take the Canon 60D over the D90 any day; but I’d probably prefer the Nikon D7000 or D7100 over either of them. Is there any particular reason that you’re not considering one of them? I suppose there is a price difference.

      – Matthew

      • Laura says:

        Just curious why you’d prefer either of the 2 Nikons over the Canon?

        • Laura,

          The D7000 and D7100 both have superior autofocus systems and metal (partially) body construction, and lower noise sensors than the 60D. I’d still choose the Canon 7D over a D7000. The D7100 has the advantage of being brand new, and has a sensor without an AA filter for extra sharpness.

          All four are great cameras, though… the differences are minor.

          – Matthew

  • Fernando says:

    Excelent,and helpful review!!! A quick question: If for some reason the touchscreen of the T4i doesn’t work, or I don’t want to use it, can I still access and perform allmthe actions by using the buttons and reading on the viewfinder?

    • Hi Fernando,
      That’s right; you can always use the traditional control methods if you don’t want to use the touch screen. The same buttons and dials will also work to navigate the menu and change your settings.
      – Matthew

  • Laura says:

    This was an awesome post as I too was in a quandry between the 60D and t4i/t5i. I have had a Nikon D60 (thankfully it was stolen!), and currently have a Sony A500 which shows purple fringing at the extreme end of the 70-300 zoom. This was making me crazy! I shoot horses moving and birds and nature, so I wanted crisp and sharp, with great color. Sounds like the 60D will be in my future as I am sure the 70D will be way out of my price point, and probably not significantly better than the 60D. Thank you for this helpful article! The comments and reviews were excellent! Happy Shooting all!!
    lk

    • Hey Laura,

      Glad you found the post useful :) Before anything else, let me say that the purple fringing you’re getting from your A500 is actually the fault of the lens, not the camera… and it can probably be removed in post processing, if you use Adobe Lightroom or ACR (with Photoshop). In fact, color is such a subjective thing, it’s really important to learn how to post-process your photos so that you can get accurate, vivid colors regardless of the camera you’re using.

      Anyway… I think the 60D does sound like a great choice :) Hope you enjoy it!

      – Matthew

      • Laura says:

        Do you think that the 7d would be a better choice for me? Or do you know what Canon is coming out with in the future in this midrange price point? The 7d and 60d are both 3-4 years old, nothing new as far as processors in that middle level camera. I don’t want to go to a Rebel, nor can I afford to go up in the several thousand dollar range!!

        • Hi Laura,

          The 7D certainly has some advantages over the 60D, but I’m not sure that it’s a better choice for you at the moment. You’re going to get the same image quality from both of them.

          I expect that Canon will be announcing a new mid-range SLR within the next few months (perhaps on the 31st of this month; Canon has scheduled a press conference for that day)… probably the 70D. I can only speculate about when that will come and how good it will be, though.

          – Matthew

  • Chloe says:

    Thanks for all this great info, I was looking at of these cameras but I’m not sure which one would be best. I was wondering if you have any advice? I currently have a little Kodak point and shoot and the Canon SX20IS but I’m looking to upgrade to get better quality photos. I don’t really have a need for video (I use it sometimes as ive been able to use it to compensate when the speed hasn’t and then go back and edit the video to photos, but it’s not a big deal). At the store where I’ve found these cameras, the lady says it would be best to use the 18-200 IS Lens (which comes with the 60D) as opposed to the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS and 18-55 IS II lens that come with the rebel as she said the latter two have no image stabilization (it wasn’t displayed) however the info above which I got from their website would suggest otherwise?

    • Hi Chloe,

      Sorry for the delay; it’s been a busy couple of days :)

      I think that I have an article somewhere on this site that says Never Buy an 18-200mm lens, regardless of brand. I’ll stand by that today; the image quality just is not good enough to be worth the convenience of having a big zoom range. I’d always go with the 55-250 instead, with an 18-55 lens to compliment it.

      With the T4i, the 18-135mm STM lens would also be a good choice, though.

      – Matthew

      • Chloe says:

        Thanks so much for the information in your reply. Which camera would you recommend overall? There is only a $50 price difference with the two as I listed above, however the 60D comes with 18-200 IS lens as opposed to the T4i which comes with the two separate ones, however it is debatable whether they have image stabilization (it says so on the website but in store it didn’t appear on the boxes). As this will be my first DSLR, I would like the ability to grow into it rather than feel in a few years time that a newer model may provide more of a challenge.

        • Both of the lenses do have “IS” (image stabilization), no question about that. They are not USM lenses, unfortunately, so they don’t focus as fast as Canon’s more professionally oriented models, but they’re still great lenses.

          As for an overall recommendation… there are strong points for both, so it really depends on what you plan to do with it. If video is not a big concern, that’s a mark in favor of the 60D. I’m not sure I can think of anything to say that I haven’t already said in the end of the article above, though.

          If you do decide to buy the 60D, you might consider buying it online, without a kit lens… and buying a lens separately, depending on what you need instead of what is bundled. In the Right-Column of this site, there’s a menu with “Lens Recommendations” that you might find useful, there.

          – Matthew

  • Chappy says:

    Sir,

    Question regarding Canon 60D.

    From reviews and camera enthusiasts, I have essentially been swayed toward the 60D instead of upgrading to the either T4i or T5i. I’ve been using the Xsi since its release…and it’s time to upgrade. In the end, I’m looking for better low light potential and faster fps. I could get either from the 60D or T4/5. I really do not care at all about the video component, otherwise I’d just get a high-end video camera.

    I’m in the Military, so I take a lot of still/action shots (range from alot of light to little at all–and sometimes a flash is not an option due to conditions of blackout)–which is why I’ve leaned more toward the 60D (unless you’d recommend another direction). I do need the ability of great stop action range at times, which the 1/8000 of the 60D may provide over. I recognize that there are more manual options with the 60D vs. the T series. Thought not a beginner, I am an active novice when it comes to photography. It still seems that are some ‘preset’ options on the 60D if, for whatever reason, I would choose to shoot out of RAW for JPEG instead.

    My main question regards the lens options that typically come with the 60D Kit (18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD or -200mm). Since I would not be purchasing for the video capability, should I merely stick with the lens kit option; or, purchase 60D body only and buy the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM . I also own a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. If I go with the 60D, should I keep this lens or sell to upgrade to another lens. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You & Life Blessings,
    Chappy

    • Hey Chappy,

      Sounds like you’re right on about the Canon 60D, although if you were willing to put some more money into it (quite a bit more), the 6D would give you much better low light performance… though it doesn’t have the same top shutterspeed.

      I’m not a fan of the 18-135 USM lens, but the 18-135 STM would be a good option. As as alternative, you might think about a good quality shorter zoom, like the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8, which will give you much more light. Go ahead and keep the 70-300, too… it’s also a pretty good lens, though the USM is a little slower than usual, as you probably know.

      – Matthew

  • Dwayne says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Firstly i am blown away that you take so much time in responding to comments, just reading your responses makes me feel like i you actually care(i want you as a photography mentor lol). I really appreciate that, keep it up.

    I dont know what i would do if i had known about the 60D before purchasing my T4i(which should be arriving tomorrow). I had a really really really hard time choosing it over the T3i and now that i am learning that the 60D is weather resistant i am wondering if i made the correct decision. I am brand new to DSLRs, had a canon powershot A720 for years and i’m finally seeing some of its limitations and it has taken a beating over the years also, so i decided to take the expensive plunge into DSLRs. So i am really a newbie. Both myself and my wife will be using it and she is less experienced that i am. With that being said the touch screen is something that appeals to me and i am 100% sure it would appeal to her as well. However for me protecting this investment(and even though i bought an entry level camera for me its still quite a bit of money) is a huge factor and the thought that rain or whatever else could damage the T4i is something i find myself thinking about a whole lot now. I am just thinking how much better my camera would be if it could resist these elements.

    Do you think i’m being paranoid?

    Also i know this has nothing to do with your article but can you recommend someplace where i can get tutorials on DSLR shooting in general and stuff on using the T4i (preferably free) if there isn’t any free sites then paid sites. Right now i am using a 7 day free trial on Lynda.com and trying to maximize these 7 days.

    • Hi Dwayne,

      When it comes down to it, I never really trust the weather sealing on most of my cameras… and even when a camera body is weather sealed, only a relatively small number of the lenses are, so having a sealed body may not be such a big deal. There are lots of options for you if you think you might get stuck in bad weather, too: any pro photographer (especially here in the Seattle area probably has something like this rain-cover stuffed in a camera bag, or something more professional like this one from Think Tank.

      As for SLR tutorials, I’m afraid that I can’t be of much help. I’ve been thinking about putting together a series myself, but its at the bottom of a long to-do list. You can get a good start on the Theory part of it by watching my video on The Three Basics, and of course, you can start looking at the articles in the “Learning Photography” section in the right-column menu. When it comes to operating your camera, the manual and the videos provided by Canon are probably the best place to start.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

  • James Karamath says:

    Hi Matt,
    This article is exactly what I needed – to chew over whether I want the 60D or carry on with the Rebel line. I am not a fan of flash (except for fill-in) and thus really like good high ISO capable camera (wedding photography in relatively dark churches or reception parties…). Touchscreen I don’t care for and i’m sure I could learn to cope with the video focussing issues. I’d like to know more on how much difference having a 6400 ISO of the 60D compares to the 12800 of the newer two Rebels. If I used 6400 on each one would I notice a difference in otherwise identical photos? Are 6400 images even acceptable on these cameras? I hear the extension to 12800 (or 25600) that they offer is simply the equivalent of changing the exposure compensation and dealing with the noise. Is this true?

    Also – I currently have an old Rebel Xti with a special kind of firmware that allows me to get (noisey and bandy as hell) ISO 3200 pics from it when desperate. Are similar firmware “”””cracks”””” available do you know for these modern DSLRs from Canon? I’m guessing I’ll notice a spectacular increase in higher ISO quality given I’m upgrading effectively by about 4 years…

    Thank you once again for this great stub.

    James K

    • Hi James,

      The ISO performance of the 60D and the newest Rebels is basically equivalent, if we’re talking about RAW images. The T4i / T5i sensor does have the hybrid Phase detection, but there’s no improvement in image quality otherwise (in fact, there’s a slight loss) over the T3i / 60D. There may be minor differences in how the cameras will process the JPGs, but shooting JPG is already throwing away a vast amount of image quality.

      For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t even consider shooting ISO3200 or above, professionally on a Canon APS-C. On the 60D, I will shoot 800, and sometimes will go as high as 1600. Beyond that, I don’t think that I’m providing my clients professional image quality. I don’t have any problem with shooting ISO 6400 on my 5D Mark III; the image quality remains quite good there. If the light is so bad that ISO 1600 and a wide aperture lens (on the 60D) is not going to give me enough light, then I’d feel obligated to use strobe heads to mimic the natural light.

      I don’t know of any firmware hacks that allow you to increase the ISO settings, but I do know that I wouldn’t want to; the highest settings (H1, H2) are already awful. You should look into the Magic Lantern firmware hacks, though… they offer impressive benefits for video and for stills.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

  • Sam says:

    I’m thinking leaning more towards the 60d but the main thing that i want the camera for is video, What is the difference in video between the two? should I switch to 4i and how long can i record?

    • The main difference, when it comes to video, is that the Canon T4i is capable of autofocusing continuously while shooting video, and the 60D is not. With the T4i, you can record for a half-hour (actually 29 minutes, 59 seconds); the camera automatically breaks the file into 4GB sections to work around the file limit on the FAT32 file-system of the SD cards.

      Incidentally, the T5i has a feature that the T4i had dropped (the T3i had it), which is the ability to use the high resolution sensor for digital zoom (3x – 10x), so in theory, you could shoot video with a 50mm f/1.8 lens as a 500mm f/1.8 lens. I haven’t played around with this much, so I don’t know what the quality is actually like.

      So, you might want to consider the Canon T5i instead; it should be shipping now.

      • Lucas says:

        Just to tag on to the video question – I have spent the past 3 weeks deciding between the Nikon D7000 and the 60D.

        In the research I did on the Nikon D7000 and the 60D, I read (repeatedly) that Canons are better for video. However, the advantage the D7000 had was the Auto-focus feature during video shooting (where the 60D has none). This had me leaning towards the D7000 until I read that, “yes, it has autofocus for video but it is barely worth using.” I’ve watched videos of the camera trying to focus during video and it’s sad. With that I went to the 60D because of the swivel screen.

        Then I started looking at the Rebel series and came across this article (very well done by the way, concise but informative). I am looking to shoot videos with whatever DSLR I end up buying so I know both the 60D and T4i are good choices. SO here’s my question. Is the video auto-focus on the T4i just as poor as on the D7000?

  • crystal says:

    Hi Matthew!
    I have another quick question for you. I bought my 1st SLR over a year ago (canon T3) and it has been a good starter camera for me. I recently decided to upgrade and I was torn between the T4i, 60D and the 7D. Of course I loved the 7D, but my big set back was the fact that it doesnt take normal SM memory cards and I have so much invested in those already. Plus the memory cards it takes are super expensive for just 1! So I decided to just either get the T4i or the 60D. I debated for weeks and talked to alot of different people and everyone had mixed reviews on both. I ended up buying the T4i bundle with the 18-135mm lens. I havent had alot of time to play with it just yet because Ive been busy, BUT I am still 2nd guessing just a bit on if the 60D would have been the better option. I mainly shoot engagements, family/kids, concerts, babies, some weddings, and just individual shoots. Most are always outside too. I never use the video on my camera nor do I care that much about the touch screen (even though Im sure the feature is something I could grow to like). I know the T4i and the 60D are alot alike in many ways—but in your opinion for my kind of shooting would the 60D have been the better route or just stick it out with the T4i? Thanks!

    • Hi Crystal,

      I probably would have chosen the 60D over the T4i, given that you don’t care about video, but the differences are pretty minor. For me, it would have been a matter of having a more comfortable, larger body, and being able to shoot longer without the buffer filling up. Nothing that I would return the T4i over.

      Incidentally, I know that Compact Flash memory cards are a little odd to people who usually use SD cards, but they’re really not as expensive as they once were. I have some of these 32GB cards for my 5D, and they work very nicely… and I rarely fill one up in a single day of heavy shooting… and they’re much faster than SD cards.

      – Matthew

  • Hunter says:

    Does the T4i have an available 18-200mm lens that you can pair with the body, or is it only up to 18-135?

    • Hi Hunter,

      Canon makes an 18-200mm lens, and it will fit the T4i or the 60D, but Canon doesn’t offer it as a kit lens. You can always buy the T4i body separately, and then just buy the lens that you want.

      That said, the Canon 18-200 lens (and the Nikon, and all the others) has some serious optical problems. You’ll get much better images from the 18-135 STM.

      – Matthew

      • Hunter says:

        Ok. That sounds great. I’ll go with the 18-135. Was planning to get the body and lens separately. I’m a total novice, so I hope this combination will be pretty comprehensive for me.

      • crystal says:

        I have the 18-200mm IS lens and was going to sale the 18-135 IS lens that I got with my T4i bundle. I assumed the 18-200 lens was better, is that wrong to assume though?

        • Hi Crystal,

          It really depends on what you mean by “better”. In terms of convenience, the 18-200 may be better, since it has a longer zoom range, but in terms of optical quality, the 18-200 is inferior (this is always a drawback of having a longer zoom range in a single lens… it’s harder to engineer a lens that is good at all every focal length in that range). So, if you’re careful with your technique, you’ll notice sharper images with the 18-135 STM than with the 18-200 USM, especially when they’re enlarged.

          However, if you’ve been shooting with the 18-200 for a while and haven’t noticed any problems, then it may be that the difference in image quality is not important for the type of work you do, and the convenience of the 18-200 may be more important.

          – Matthew

  • Memo says:

    Hey man, i just want to know why you think the T4i is better for video than the 60D. I have been doing some reserch between these two cameras for a while and i thought 60D was better because of it´s manual audio control, even it´s mono. I will use video a lot for short films and video documental work.

    Thanks and very good comparison.

    • Hey Memo,

      I believe that both cameras actually have manual control of audio, now. (The 60D supports stereo audio with external microphones, incidentally).

      The only reason that I’ve said that the T4i is better for video is that the T4i gives you full-time autofocus (with hybrid phase-detect autofocus on the sensor) while you’re shooting video, while the 60D does not. You can autofocus the 60D by holding down the shutter button, and it will (very slowly) focus on a region using the live-view contrast-detect system, but it can’t follow-focus a subject

      Of course, for professional video work, manual focus is generally used, so the T4i’s video is generally appreciated by casual video shooters.

      – Matthew

  • carla says:

    I have been going back and forth between these two cameras for a while now and still can’t decide. I really appreciated your recommendations by photographer type. But, I want some aspects of both and would like your viewpoint on this…

    Of your components to the T4i, I want:
    The STM lenses for the video usage, even though I am not a blogger, I am still interested in shooting video at some events (graduations, weddings, etc). I like fast performance and don’t do a lot of fast bursts.

    Of your recs for the 60D:

    I want to shoot events and like the quick access to exposure compensation. I guess I’m willing to shoot video with manual focus (although that defeats the STM lenses doesn’t it?). I believe I will start shooting RAW format when I change to DSLR. I AM intimidated by browsing through the camera’s menu with buttons and arrows.

    I had an SLR for years that worked wonderfully which I always used on manual everything. Now, it seems so complicated with all these menus that even though I’ve gotten advanced point and shoot digitals to prepare for the change over to digital slr, they are so complex, that I don’t really use the manual settings (although I’m mostly using the point and shoots for candid shots) because otherwise I tend to miss things while looking though the menus.

    I am at a loss. I like the more solid body of the 60D, but I am a small person and it seems somewhat heavy, but I can’t stand slow cameras and I want clear pictures for frequent enlargements. I travel and the T4i is definitely lighter. But, will I give up too much?

    Would like you’re opinion of what to give more weight to in choosing. Thanks.

    • Hi Carla,

      To me, it sounds as though you have a choice to make between having the big exposure compensation dial on the back, or having the STM and video autofocus functionality. The other differences you mention are probably not such a big deal.

      Both cameras are very responsive; the T4i is not slow like a point-and-shoot, by any means; it is perfectly suitable for shooting events, as long as you don’t need fast bursts of 6 frames per second. The 60D is a little complex looking at first, but for the most part, you’ll go through the menus (perhaps with the manual) when you get the camera, set it up, and mostly leave it alone after that… with a few exceptions.  With the experience you have, I wouldn’t worry too much about these things. Both cameras have virtually identical image quality, so I wouldn’t worry about one giving you clearer pictures than the other, either.

      Shooting video manually with the 60D will mostly defeat the purpose of the new motor, but it’s still an optically good lens. It’s also worth remembering that the 60D does autofocus when shooting video, it just doesn’t do it continuously… you have to press the shutter button, and then it does it slowly. If you’re pre-focusing and then recording the video, it’s still useful.

      In the end, I’m inclined to think that the T4i with the 18-135mm STM lens would work very nicely for you. You’ll just have to practice accessing the exposure compensation, if it’s something that you use frequently.

      – Matthew

      • carla says:

        Hi,

        Thank you for that earlier info. I have another question somewhat related. As to the T4i vs the new SL1. I saw someplace where it has a new Hybrid CMOS AF II sensor whereas the T4i has the Hybrid CMOS AF sensor. I can only find somewhere that stated that the new AF II sensor covers 80% in live mode but I can’t locate what the percentage of coverage is for the T4i. Do you have that information?

        Thanks!

  • anne says:

    Thanks for all the great info! My needs are slightly atypical and I’m trying to decide between the 60D and T4i. Any advice would be appreciated.

    I’m a graphic designer and illustrator who needs to shoot my printed work close up for portfolio use. Most pieces are 9″ x 12″ or smaller. Sharp focus on details such as type is important to me. I may occasionally shoot portraits and I don’t care about video.

    I was planning to buy a body only, along with the EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Do you think that would work?

    I am used to changing f-stop exposure on a non-digital SLR (Pentax K1000) camera. Is it any less convenient than that on the T4i?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Anne,

      If you don’t care about video and you have some familiarity with photography (I think we all have used a K1000 at some point…), then I’d go for the Canon 60D. It’s a better camera in every other respect.

      However, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 probably is not the best lens for doing copy work or other close up / macro work; the minimum focusing distance is a little long, and you’d end up cropping in quite a bit and losing quality. You could, I suppose, buy some screw-on close-up lenses for it, but again, you’d be losing a little quality (but not too much, perhaps).

      Instead of the 50mm f/1.8, you should consider either the Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro , which is extremely sharp, or the old Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro , which is also quite good and will also work on full-frame cameras… it dates back to the late 1980s or early 1990s.

      – Matthew

      • anne says:

        Thank you, this was vey helpful! I will check out those lenses.

        I should probably clarify that I actually prefer cropping in a lot, rather than shooting my work straight on, and I’m not looking for the entire piece to be equally sharp. But the lenses you recommended look like they’d give me more flexibility in how much area I could cover at a time.

        Anne

  • David says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Great comparison of the cameras, thank you. I am just beginning to delve into the world of photography and I am having trouble deciding between cameras. After reading this article, I find myself leaning towards the 60D. I came to this decision because I am not interested in taking a lot of video, and the heft and durability of the 60D sound appealing as I plan to primarily use this camera in the foreseeable future. Since I am a beginner, should I choose something that is more user friendly, such as the T3i or T4i?

    Thanks you

    • Hi David,

      To be honest, I don’t think that there’s anything more “user friendly” about the entry level models. The 60D also has the program shooting modes (sports, portrait, close-up, etc) on the command dial, and you can turn it to full-auto mode just as easily as a Rebel. There might be a few more buttons here and there on the 60D, but for me, that’s actually easier than searching through menus on the LCD.

      That’s all just to say, I think you’re going the right direction with the 60D, if you’re not interested in shooting video with auto-focus.

      – Matthew

  • Karthik says:

    Matthew,

    Thank you very much for the excellent write up.

    I currently use a 30D with a 24-105 f/4 and a 50mm f/1.8. I’ve been using the 30D for a little over 5 years now, and am looking to upgrade to something similar, but with better low light performance. I typically take a lot of portraits of my kids indoors with available light, and find ISO 800 as the maximum that I can push the 30D.

    From your response to Adam, I gather that neither the T4i nor the 60D are going to perform any better than then 30D at > 800 ISO. If that is the case, would I be better off saving up for a 6D? I don’t upgrade very often, and would hate to buy something because it is less expensive, and then regret it. But at the same time, getting a lesser expensive body with one or two good lens (looking at the 100mm macro and the 70-200 f/4) is also tempting.

    Would really appreciate any input, and sorry for the re-post.

    Thank you

    • Hi Karthik,

      Let me begin by saying that I’m a less tolerant of digital noise than many photographers, so the fact that ISO 800 is MY upper limit probably doesn’t mean that it would be yours. I do shoot the 60D at 1600 on rare occasions, and I can generally get something I’m happy with, with a little extra noise reduction.

      That said, you’ll get much better results from the 6D or 5D3. If low-light performance is a critical factor for you, then I’d really recommend getting the body that will deliver it. I’ve been really amazed at what I get from the 5D Mark III at high ISO; it allows me to get shots that I wouldn’t have even bothered trying to take with an APS-C model.

      My general advice is always to buy the least expensive body that will meet your needs and the best lenses you can afford, but the tricky part is sometimes determining what your needs are. It sounds like you have identified one with high ISO… so it’s probably best not to ignore it :) Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • Karthik says:

        Thanks for the reply Matthew. I was on the fence between the APS-C and the full frame models. I think I will drop the APS-C models, and just consider the 6D or the 5D3. Thanks again for your input.

        -K

  • Ginger says:

    I am looking to upgrade my Rebel xt. I was dead set on the 60d but after reading Cheryl’s comment I am wondering if I want to go to Nikon. I am shooting with the Tamron 18-270 lens (because I don’t love changing lens and carrying around more lens) and I am wondering if this lens would work well with the t4i or the 60d. I shoot mostly portraits and outside stuff but I do shoot some sporting events. I want something with a better ISO result then the XT. And I do not want to have to upgrade for a long time.So if I do want to change to Nikon, which one do you recommend? And which lens? I do not know a lot about them but I do know my friends love Nikon. Also, I might add, I am wanting to purchase something better then an entry level camera unless I go with the t4i. I think I knew what I wanted but now I have rad so many reviews now I am confused?

    • Hi Ginger,

      There are a couple of things that make this tricky. As you’ve read, I think that the Nikon D5200 is an excellent camera (although I think that the Canon T4i is, too). I’m very impressed with the Nikon’s autofocus system, its frame rate, and its sensor performance (I was mistaken below when I said that the sensor was made by Sony; they’re actually made by Toshiba now. Canon makes their own sensors).

      However, the D5200 is missing a few things that more advanced photographers would probably use. There’s no high-speed sync for flash photography, and there’s no wireless flash unit control from the body. For people who shoot action, OR more commonly, people who use fill-flash for daylight portraits, high-speed sync is critical. So, for people who have experience with photography and really are going to be advancing (and flash photography is very important to taking that step to the next level), I wouldn’t recommend the Nikon D5200. I’d either recommend the Nikon D7100, or one of the Canon models that you mention. Canon is a little more generous with flash features; the T4i DOES have high-speed-sync and wireless remote control of flashes.

      If the choice comes down to the T4i and 60D, then I’m not sure what I can say that I haven’t already said in the article above :) They’re both good cameras though… I’ve used a 60D for quite a few jobs and been very happy with it.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • Ginger says:

        If I do go with the Nikon d7100, which lens do you recommend? I really do not like having to stop and change my lens so I want something comparable to the 18-270 that I am currently using. So even if I have to purchase the body only and a different lens I will do so. I just want to be happier with the new camera then I am with the Rebl XT.

        • Ginger,

          I understand the desire to use a lens like the 18-270mm (or the Canon or Nikon 18-200). The convenience is wonderful, and it seems like these lenses can do anything.

          Keep in mind, though, that there is always a trade off. In terms of optical engineering, the more that you ask a single zoom lens to do, the less it will be able to do well. All-in-one zoom lenses are generally very poor quality, optically, when compared to prime lenses or high quality (but shorter zoom range) lenses. For me, this drop in image quality defeats the purpose of using an SLR rather than a good quality point and shoot, so I won’t use them… even though I do still own a Nikon 18-200 VR.

          I would definitely recommend the Nikon D7100, but I’d split that zoom range across two lenses or be willing to accept that you’re not getting the quality that your camera can deliver. As for lens recommendations… how much range do you need?

          – Matthew

          • Ginger says:

            Thank you so much for the info! I just ordered the Nikon D7100! I did order the body only, so I have to make a decision on which lens or lenses I want to purchase! I must decide soon so I won’t be irritated when I get the camera and have no lens to use it!

  • Trish says:

    Hi Matthew,

    I am hoping you can point me in the right direction on where to start…I am looking to upgrade cameras from my iphone to something more professional. My husband and I recently had a baby and I know I’m going to regret snapping all of her pictures from my iphone. The problem is, I don’t know where to start when it comes to purchasing a camera. I obviously don’t know enough about them to know where to start.

    Help!!

    • Hi Trish,

      The good news is that with the current state of technology, most cameras can produce really high quality photos… even an iPhone, really. The downside is that there are tons of options… even if they’re mostly good options, it’s hard to choose. There are good compact cameras, good SLRs, and lots even lots of choices in between.

      If we can narrow it down a bit (for example, if you’re pretty sure that you want an SLR), I might be able to point you in the right direction. Honestly, my inclination is to recommend a Canon T4i with the 18-135m STM lens, plus a second lens… the Canon 50mm f/1.8, which is a great lens for low-light and portraits.  But, without knowing more about the style of photos that you want to take and your general camera preferences, I’m not sure I can do much better :) You might also consider a flash unit: the 430exii is a great general flash unit for when you really need one… using a pop-up flash rarely produces good results.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • Trish says:

        Thanks for your quick feedback! Yes, I’m pretty sure I want a SLR and as for the style of photos, the majority of pictures will be of our little one – making sure we capture all of her firsts and everything else in between. Let me know if you still think the Canon T4i with the 18-135m STM lens is the way to go. From what I’ve seen, some of the Canon T4i’s come with the 18-135m lens?

        • Hey Trish,

          That’s right… the T4i with the 18-135mm STM lens is a great all-around kit, for wide angle to telephoto. Also, the 50mm mentioned above would be a good addition at some point.

          The T5i, announced a couple of hours ago, is exactly the same camera as the T4i… it’s just a name change, for all practical purposes, so if the T4i price drops, this is a great time to get the T4i.

          – Matthew

  • Gustavo says:

    Hi there Mr. Gore,

    Recently I have been facing a lot of internal conflict as to which camera to get. Both the 60D and T4i are so appealing! The camera I decide to get will be my first DSLR, however I am willing to put any amount of effort forth to master a more advanced camera such as the 60D. I am, sadly, one of those individuals you mentioned who is moving up from using their phone’s camera; regardless, the touch screen feature is not something I believe holds enough weight to tilt the decision in any one way.
    What I hope to us the camera for mainly is taking photos of a variety of things and eventually honing in on specific things ( I see my self eventually focusing on landscapes, portraits, and some wildlife, perhaps a few other things as well). So it is important that the camera will allow me to maneuver through a variety of subjects with ease. It’s also important that my camera is good enough to stay with me as I progress onward from just a novice photographer into higher levels as I am confident I will do so, in other words a adept body is desirable even if it means struggling in he beginning. Last but definitely not least, although I mainly plan to use the camera for photography I also plan to start a vlog soon so that is mildly important. I’ve see the T4i’s auto focus and it wasn’t that impressive so I don’t view that as a big advantage.
    Finally I’d like to ask you what lenses you recommend I buy with your recommended camera. Thank you so much for your time!

    • Hi Gustavo,

      I hate to complicate the issue, but I’d like to mention that there’s a good chance that Canon will announce a new camera… the Canon 70D… later this month. Sometime around the 21st or 22nd. So, it may be worth waiting a bit to see what they put on the table.

      That said, my advice is always this: buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and the best lenses that you can afford. In general, it sounds to me as though the T4i would meet your needs just as well as the 60D at this point, and it may be even more helpful when it comes to the vlog. And the advantage to getting the T4i is that you can get the 18-135 STM kit lens at a relatively decent price; it’s more expensive when purchased separately with the 60D.

      For me, the 60D is much more comfortable in the hand, and the exposure compensation dial alone is worth the extra $100 or so, and comfort / usability is an important consideration. If you haven’t already dropped by your local electronics store and felt both in your hand, it might be worth it.

      Unfortunately, you’re the only one who can make that decision. However, they’re both good cameras and both will allow you to advance as a photographer.

      I’d probably go with the 60D :)

      As for lenses, you may have already had a chance to look at my “Lens Recommendations” section. If not, it’s in the menu in the right column —>   I generally recommend NOT getting an all-in-one zoom (because they’re optically junk, usually), although the 18-135 STM is good. Beyond that, it really depends on what you’re using it for… there’s no perfect set of lenses… it depends on your own style and needs. It’s like cars: some people need trucks, some people need minivans, and some people can ride motorcycles. They all have their advantages, and there are some cars that try to be everything… you see where I’m going with this, I hope. The more you know about what you’ll be shooting, the better you can narrow down the lenses. Otherwise, an all-around-kit will tide you over :)

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

       

       

  • Cheryl says:

    Hi again Matthew,
    I was deciding between the 60d and the t4i and had a chance to handle them today. My issue is that, although my hands are not tiny at all, the 60d feels a little big and heavy, and while the t4i feels ok, I was leaning toward the 60d because I love the dial. I’m not a techie and I’ve always shot with canon, was taught that canon has better lenses. So I’m handling everything at the store, and the camera that felt best was, I’m almost embarrassed to say, the nikon d3200. My goal is sharp landscapes and portraits. But I also know if I’m hiking I will dread carrying so much weight. I guess I was impressed by the nikon mp’s. Although as I’m reading reviews, someone said the pics don’t really seem like 23mp. I want to stay with canon out of loyalty and the lenses are better, right? And I swore I would never buy anything Ashton Kutcher sells:] . I guess these cameras are in different leagues, right ? I welcome any of your thoughts and opinions and thanks for the great forum. Cheryl

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Like most things in life, there’s no simple answer with the Canon vs Nikon debate. There are a lot of Canon lenses that are better than Nikon, but there are also some Nikon lenses that are better than Canon.

      The D3200 is not a bad camera, and the D5200 is excellent. When it comes down to it, the difference between 18 and 24 megapixels isn’t much; but the image quality produced by these Nikon (Sony makes them actually) sensors is quite good; you’ll get more dynamic range and less noise than you would with similarly priced Canon cameras.

      So, if I were you, I’d keep the D5200 open as a live option, or maybe the D3200. I shoot Canon and Nikon; I don’t believe in brand loyalty :)

      – Matthew

  • Carissa says:

    Thank you! I don’t plan on using it for video but that is a nice feature to have. My old Rebel G actually has the dial but it’s on the top, it has the +/- button on the back too…Do you know if the lenses that were used on the 35mm EF are compatible with the digital (sorry, been out of the photography loop for some time now). I have several lenses so that might make it easier to decide :-)
    Thanks again! I’ve googled ways to shoot fluorescents and most sites say I need to use a black light??? Thoughts or experiences?

    • Hi Carissa,

      Just so we’re clear, both cameras are capable of shooting high quality video; it’s just that the T4i allows full-time autofocus while shooting video.

      All Canon autofocus lenses are compatible with the T4i and 60D, regardless of age. Some of the old ones are not as desirable, but they’ll work… and some of the old ones are excellent. I have a lens that I got in 1994 that I still use (now and then) today.

      You’re right, of course, that all SLRs have exposure compensation controls; the dial that I mention on the 60D is dedicated for the purpose, though… so you don’t have to locate and press a button and then use the main command dial, you can just use your thumb while looking through the viewfinder, which is great when you’re shooting an event in quickly changing light. It’s not so important if you’re working in an area with controlled light, or you can take your time.

      Using a blacklight is probably the easiest way to make fluorescent graphics glow brightly, although honestly, if you want them to appear as they would to the naked eye, standard daylight should be fine. It will only really work, though, if you’re shooting in relatively dim light, and then you’ll have to be very careful about getting the light ratio so that the non-fluorescent components are light enough and the fluorescent items are not over-exposed.

      I would shoot in daylight (or with studio flash) and if the graphics weren’t as bright as I’d like, it’s an easy adjustment to make in post processing in Photoshop or Lightroom.

      – Matthew

  • Carissa says:

    Hello,

    I am upgrading from a very old, bought in 1998, Rebel G EOS 35mm…I have no idea what to buy but I’ll explain my main purpose for upgrading. I need a camera that will give me the best quality pics for my clothing line. I’ll be taking close-ups of the clothes as well as out in the field with toddlers modeling them. Most of the clothes have fluorescent graphics and I’ve had a professional and I use the term lightly, take some shots and I know that with my previous experience I can do better. Which should I buy for this purpose?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Carissa,

      As long as you know what you’re doing, either camera (coupled with the right lens) will work wonderfully. They have almost identical image quality, they both have good autofocus systems, so it really will come down to what other features you’d find useful.

      Personally, I like shooting with the 60D because of the exposure-compensation dial on the back of the camera, which allows me to brighten or darken the exposure very quickly and easily; all professional-oriented Canon SLRs have this, but the “Rebel” line does not.

      Are you also planning on shooting video? The T4i is better in that regard.

      Actually deciding on the right lens(es) will be more important (and probably more difficult).

      – Matthew

  • ChiChi says:

    Thank you for the great review. I am thinking of replacing my XTi with either a 60D or T4i.

    I am mostly interested in the quality or sharpness in my still images. I do not shoot video so video quality, etc is not a concern for me.

    Right now I have a 28-135 mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM as my walk around lens. I like using my camera when going on trips and just photographing everyday events like my family, pets, and outings.

    I am wondering if I should get a T4i body only to go with my USM lens, buy 44i with a STM kit lens. Or should I stay with my lens and get a 60D?

    If the image quality and ease of photography are the priorities, would you recommend one combination above others?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey ChiChi,
      When it comes to still image quality, there’s going to be very little difference between the T4i and the 60D, although I’d expect the 60D to be measurably (but perhaps not perceptibly) better, generally more responsive and faster, and perhaps most importantly for me, it has a big exposure compensation dial on the back of the camera which quickly allows you to get the best exposure.

      However, if you prefer to carry a single lens, the 18-135 STM is really quite good, and it’s much cheaper to buy it with a T4i (or at least, was the last time I checked). Ideally, I’d go with the 60D and 18-135 STM, but that might not make financial sense for you. With these two bodies, it’s hard to go wrong either way.

      As a third option, I’m expecting the Canon 70D in a month or so. :)

      – Matthew Gore

  • Adam says:

    Matthew, I’m a pilot and I’ve been looking for a camera to shoot low light shots from the plane as well as shots while I’m out on travels. It sounds like the higher ISO in the T4i would be preferable but I’m still not sure if it’s even worth it because it might not even be enough performance to get decent shots. Sometimes there are great opportunities for gorgeous scenic night shots that are purely lit by ambient star and moonlight as well as aerial views of cities. What are your thoughts on the 60D vs T4i or even another shooter? I’m also worried about getting a good exposure because of aircraft vibrations and relative motion. FYI I have never owned anything other than a point and shoot/smart phone. Thanks in advanced.

    • Adam,

      When it comes to high ISO performance, there’s really no significant difference between the T4i, T3i, and 60D. The T4i does have a higher maximum ISO, but you wouldn’t want to use it. With my 60D, I rarely shoot higher than ISO 800, and never above ISO 1600. With a 5D Mark III or 6D, it would be a different story; you’d be able to shoot at 3200 or 6400 and get decent results.

      That said, your best bet with a T4i would be to use a large aperture lens; shooting at ISO 3200 at f/5.6 is equivalent to shooting at ISO 400 at f/2, and if you’re in an aircraft, it will make sense to use a lens with image stabilization (IS).

      Large aperture lenses tend to be expensive (though some, like the 50mm lenses, are not too bad), and there aren’t many with IS. Do you think you’ll mostly be shooting wide-angle or telephoto?

      – Matthew

      • Karthik says:

        Matthew,

        Thank you very much for the excellent write up.

        I currently use a 30D with a 24-105 f/4 and a 50mm f/1.8. I’ve been using the 30D for a little over 5 years now, and am looking to upgrade to something similar, but with better low light performance. I typically take a lot of portraits of my kids indoors with available light, and find ISO 800 as the maximum that I can push the 30D.

        From your response, I gather that neither the T4i nor the 60D are going to perform any better than then 30D at > 800 ISO. If that is the case, would I be better off saving up for a 6D? I don’t upgrade very often, and would hate to buy something because it is less expensive, and then regret it. But at the same time, getting a lesser expensive body with one or two good lens (looking at the 100mm macro and the 70-200 f/4) is also tempting.

        Would appreciate any input.

        Thank you

  • Tom Koehler says:

    Before the digital age, I used a SLR camera (Minolta X-700) and had a lot of fun with it (as a hobby). I had several different lens and loved to play with the telephoto ones the most. When the digital age came upon me, I started with the point & shoot variety of cameras (super zooms) and upgraded every few years as technology changed – my current digital is a Panasonic DMC-FZ30. I’m at a point now where I can afford to get back into the SLR world on the digital side. So I’ve been comparing the 60D to the T4i for a few weeks and just came across your review. I appreciate the insight, nice job. I like the new features of the T4i (touch screen, added video capabilities, new STM lens, scene modes) but I like the size and feel of the 60D. I keep hearing rumors about the 70D. Do you think that the 70D will show its face soon and if it does, do you think that it will utilize the new features of the T4i? I like the 60D but feel if I buy it, I’m buying older technology and if I wait just a little longer, I can get the latest upgrades and have a camera that will suit me for many years to come.

    Sorry for the long winded story and thanks again for the article.
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      I also prefer the feel (and the exposure compensation dial) of the 60D; those things alone would make the camera worth the extra money for the body (over the T4i) to me, and the image quality on the 60D is at least as good as the T4i.

      I doubt that the 70D will have a touch screen, though I could be wrong. That strikes me as the type of feature that won’t make it into the more professional oriented models, and my understanding is that the 70D is going to be more like the 40D, with a heavier metal body and aimed at a more professional audience; I think there’s just not quite enough separation between the Rebel line and the 60D right now. I suspect that it WILL have some form of hybrid phase detection autofocus for shooting video, like the T4i, since video is so important for selling SLRs these days.

      My guess is that the 70D will be announced next month, and hopefully start shipping by April. If you’re concerned about buying older technology (but want to stick with Canon), then it might be worth the wait. Otherwise, the Nikon D5200 or D7100 would both be excellent choices, too.

      – Matthew

  • curious says:

    I was wondering, why would it be better to use the new STM 18-135 over the old 18-135 IS?
    From what I’ve been reading, the 60D doesn’t take full advantage of the STM because it lacks a new capability that the T4i does have, plus the STM focus ring is electronic, so turning it does not mean you are moving the elements directly, rather you are giving the lens the order to move electronically, which feels weird.
    Is this so?

    • In this case, it’s simply a matter of image quality. The older 18-135 USM is simply an optically flawed lens; the resolution is very probelmatic in parts of the zoom range, and that, for me, defeats the purpose of using an SLR. The new STM lens has significant optical improvements.

      Granted, it’s not perfect for every application. I am not crazy about the idea of “power zoom”, but it seems to work well. I’ve used the lens on the T4i and a 60D, and have not noticed any significant difference in focusing speed or accuracy… though of course you won’t be able to make use of the STM focusing while shooting video with anything other than the T4i right now.

      As I say, for me, it’s a matter of image quality.

      – Matthew

      • Cheryl says:

        I have an old eos a2. The lenses I had with it are ef 20-35 3.5-4.5, ef 75-300 4-5.6, ef 35-80 4-5.6. all canon ultrasonic. I’m trying to decide between a t4i or 60d body. Are any of these lenses worth using or should I go with the new 18-135 stm and not even try using the old lenses? I can probably afford 2 lenses. I mostly shoot landscapes and my dogs. I’m impressed by your knowledge of glass so I’m trusting you to steer me toward lenses that will produce the sharpness I want. Thanks.

        • Hi Cheryl,

          I have an old EOS A2, too :) Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience with those lenses in the digital era, so it’s hard for me to evaluate them.  I’d go ahead and give them a try and see how they work for you; it may be that they’ll be fine.

          The 20-35mm has a good reputation, and I think you’ll get good results especially because of the sweet spot effect (the smaller sensor of an APS-C digital camera using the high quality part of the image circle). The zoom range isn’t very long for modern standards, so it may not be very practical, though.

          I do have some reservations about the 75-300; you probably won’t be happy with the image quality there. The 35-80 is probably the cheapest Canon zoom lens made, and the quality is also not their best effort.

          As I say, there’s no harm in playing with them. It probably would be a good idea to get a modern lens to go along with them, though; the 18-135 would be a good place to start… and maybe a 50mm (f/1.8 or f/1.4, depending on your budget) for low-light and portraits.

          – Matthew

  • As I approach retirement, I have been considering a more capable camera than my Powershot G9 (which I just love). I have a couple of EF Ultrasonic lenses from my film days. It is my understanding that they will work with the 60D. Right or wrong? The T4i intrigues me, but my current issue of Popular Photography states that the new AF system works only with Canon”s new STM lenses. Am I misunderstanding that or will other Canon lenses also work with the T4i AF? I am particularly interested in the Canon EF-S 15-85 f3.5 – 5.6 IS USM. Will that particular lenses work with the AF system on the T4i, or is the article just referring to the video AF? Video is not a high priority with me, but I’m sure I would make use of it on some occasions. Stills are my preference. I primarily shoot family outings and a bit of travel, but I want the best image that I can get within a reasonable cost. Also, is there any difference is picture quality between the Digic 4 and the Digic 5 processors. Sorry to be so wordy.

    • Hi Keith,

      You’re right; your old EF USM lenses will work nicely on a 60D, but with a different field of view. Since the 60D has a smaller sensor than a 35mm frame, the focal length of the lens will be multiplied by 1.6x, so a 100mm lens would seem like a 160mm lens. This is great if you like using telephoto lenses, but not so much with wide angle.

      All Canon autofocus lenses will work on the T4i (or 60D, for that matter). The video AF on the T4i will work optimally with STM lenses, but will also work with others… it just won’t be as smooth or quiet.

      The processors don’t make any significant difference in image quality; it’s a difference in processing speed, primarily… at least, if you shoot in RAW format and get the most out of your images. If you’re shooting jpg, the camera throws away roughly 98% of the captured data, and the processor may make some difference in situations where noise reduction is applied or other processing is needed. This is not an issue with RAW.

      – Matthew

      • Keith says:

        Hi there, Matthew,

        It is so enjoyable to receive your insightful response and in such a timely manner.  New to this sight, I inadvertently entered my question twice.  Sorry about that.  Based on your article and your response to my questions, I find myself leaning toward the Canon 60D.  Perhaps by the time I have the coin together for it, I might have another option and questions for you.  I would enjoy learning your opinion on the Canon EF-S 15-85 as a primary carry around lens for a very tight budget, or would you suggest a different lens.  Thanks again, this is really terrific.

        Keith

        • Hi Keith,

          The 15-85mm has its strong points: the zoom range is a good one, with the wide end equivalent to a 24mm lens and the telephoto end equiv. to a ~135mm, a good portrait length. Of course, it’s nice that it has image stabilization and the build quality is good, and optically the quality is good at the wide angle end of the range.

          Unfortunately, it also has its drawbacks. The telephoto end of the zoom range is not particularly sharp, especially away from the center of the image. It’s not terrible, but it’s noticeable… more than I like to see in a lens this expensive. It also has some very heavy vignetting and relatively high distortion at the wide end. For the price, it probably wouldn’t be my first choice, though it’s not a bad lens overall.

          If you’re looking for a single carry-around lens, I think it’s hard to beat the new 18-135 STM lens. The only real drawback is that it’s more like a 28mm lens on the wide end, and I do prefer something a little wider sometimes…. but the optical quality is quite good all around, the STM motor is fast and quiet, the aperture range is the same as the 15-85, and it has better telephoto reach.  I don’t recommend the older Canon 18-135 or the Canon 18-200, both have serious optical problems, although I liked the Nikon 18-135 quite a bit (though it’s discontinued).

          Alternately, you might consider a lens that will give you better low-light performance. I like the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8, for example. If you consider the 50mm @f/2.8  vs the 85mm @f/5.6,  the 50mm lets in 4 times as much light, which is significant. However, you’d be giving up quite a bit of zoom range.

          Good luck :)

          – Matthew

  • Avrum says:

    Other points to consider. (1) auto scene mode in T4i better suited to amateurs (2) 2.5 times battery life for 60D more of a requirement for event photography, particularly if pop-up flash is needed (3) 60D with 18-200 lens is roughly $100 more than T4i with 18-135 STM lens (4) viewfinder takes on increased importance in bright sunlight where it may be impossible to read the screen
    As I generally stick to taking pictures at family events I suspect that the smaller. lighter, closer to point and shoot T4i will be my camera of choice, despite the advantages of the 60D if I was to become a more serious photographer.
    Thank you for your article. It made my decision easier.

    • Hi Avrum,

      Good points. The battery life is significantly better on the 60D. I don’t actually recommend the 18-200mm lens because of the poor optical quality, but any number of nice lenses fit into that same price range.

      – Matthew

      • So far I’ve been impressed by the battery life on my 60D.  I just came home from a 3hr drive where I mounted the camera in on a tripod in front of the passenger seat and set it up to take a photo every 10 seconds.  I was able to turn that into a video fairly easily, but learned after the fact that I should probably have taken one every 3 seconds or so.

        After 3 hours of that however, my battery still showed all 3 bars as full.  I had turned image review off, turned the screen off, and left it closed.  I’d also lowered the resolution some and set focus to manual to avoid it hunting for focus and wasting precious battery life.  I really didn’t know how well the battery would hold up but it performed wonderfully.

         

        • Are you making a video with the images? Sounds like it could be interesting….

          It’s the rear LCD that really eats up batteries on digital SLRs, along with IS motors in the lenses. With those turned off, you should see a really dramatic increase in battery life.

          – Matt

          • Yep.  The video was relatively short, it turned a 3hr drive into a couple minute movie.  I wasn’t happy enough with it to post it anywhere though.  I plan on doing a better version the next time I make the trip.

            I figured the scree would be the biggest culprit.  I tend to keep my laptop brightness lowered when on battery power to make it last a little longer.  The same for the iPad and iPhone.

            I figured IS would be hunting a lot which given that it’s physically moving things, would chew into my battery runtime.  It turned out I had plenty at the end of the drive, but I wasn’t sure going into it.  I was pleasantly surprised!  :-)

  • Larry says:

    Great comparison, thanks!  I’m upgrading from an old but trusty 20D and while I’d love to wait for either the 70D or 7D2, I have an upcoming three week trip to Alaska and need something soon.  The T4i is compelling but for battery life, weather sealing, general build quality, etc., I think I’ll stick with the 60D even though the 70D will probably come out the minute I step on the plane for Anchorage :) .  The T4i does have some nice features, though, and will sell a ton.  Thanks again!

     

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