Canon 7D vs 60D vs Rebel T2i : Best Choice?

The Great Compromise : Canon EOS 60D

canon 60d with battery grip
The new Canon 60D, pictured with a battery grip.

Since the arrival of the Canon EOS 7D and subsequent release of the T2i / 550D there has been a gap in the Canon lineup. Buying the 50D no longer seemed practical to many advanced amateurs, since it was so outclassed by the features of the T2i, but the price of the 7D put it just beyond the range of what many were willing to spend (and the weight and size beyond what they were willing to tote around). Yet, the advanced amateur still yearned for more features and ease of control, and frankly, more status than is offered by the entry level “Rebel” line.

[Update: The release of the Rebel T3i has added an interesting new dimension to this discussion. See how the T3i and 60D differ, here]

The Canon EOS 60D, announced about recently, is clearly intended to fill this gap. Available since September, its price of $999 falls nicely between the Rebel T2i ($799) and the 7D ($1535). Its features, also, are largely intermediate between the two cameras that were already very similar. The controls are similar, but not identical, to the 7D, while the construction is much more in line with the T2i than the 7D (or the 50D, for that matter).

Lets take a quick look at the differences, side-by-side:

 Canon 7DCanon 60DCanon Rebel T2i / 550D
Canon EOS 7DCanon EOS 60D
canon rebel t2i aka 550D
Amazon Price$1599$999$715
B&H Price

$1599$999 (rebates available)$719
Body MaterialMagnesium AlloyPolycarbonate and Stainless SteelPolycarbonate, Fiberglass Resin and Stainless Steel
LCD Size / Resolution3.0"
920,000 pixels
1,040,000 pixels
1,040,000 pixels
LCD Articulated?NoYesNo
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 Megapixels18 Megapixels18 Megapixels
ISO Range100-6400
Total AF Focus Points1999
Cross-Type AF Sensors19 (dual diagonal)91
AF Light Level Range-.05 to +18 EV-.05 to +18 EV-.05 to +18 EV
Metering System63 Zone Point Linked Evaluative
9.4% Center Weighted
2.3% 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 stops via thumb dial1/2 or 1/3 stops via thumb dial1/2 or 1/3 stops
/ HDR Options
Max Frame Rate : RAW (14-bit)8 fps5.3 fps3.7
Max Frame Rate : RAW (12-bit)n/an/an/a
Max Frame Rate : JPG8 fps5.3 fps3.7
Max Burst Duration RAW (at highest frame rate)15166
Max Burst Duration JPG (at highest frame rate)945834
Shutter Speed Range1/8000th - 30 sec.
1/8000th - 30 sec.
1/4000th - 30 sec.
Maximum Flash Sync Shutter Speed (standard flash)1/250th 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
24/25, 30, 60 at 720p
24/25, 30 at 1080p
24/25, 30, 60 at 720p
24/25, 30 at 1080p
24/25, 30, 60 at 720p
Firmware Sidecar AvailableUnder DevelopmentNoNo
Media TypeCompact FlashSD / SDHC / SDXCSD / SDHC / SDXC
Weight820g (body only)675g (body only)530g (with battery and SD card)
Viewfinder Coverage100% Frame,
1.0x magnification
96% Frame,
.95x magnification
0.87x magnification
Built-In Wireless Strobe ControlYesYesNo

canon 60d with articulated lcdProbably the most important change between the 60D and the previous models in its line is that it does NOT have a metal body. Instead, Canon opted for a lighter, less expensive polycarbonate body which, although lighter than the magnesium 7D, still feels quite sturdy.

And perhaps just as significant, Canon has designed the 60D with a fully articulated, 3″ LCD screen for use in “Live” viewing mode and for video… the first ever on an SLR. Since I never use “Live” mode, and rarely use video, it’s hard for me to get excited about this feature, but perhaps for some photographers out there, it’s just what they’ve been waiting for.

The Deciding Factors

All three cameras share the same basic CMOS sensor, providing very similar resolution and high-ISO performance. All three cameras share the same video capabilities. So which should you get?

Buy the Canon 7D ($1535) if :

  1. You are a professional or use your camera daily. It is the most robust of the three, with a magnesium alloy body that will stand up to the wear and tear of daily use. This is especially important if you’re a journalist and your camera equipment suffers undue abuse.
  2. If you are primarily an action or sports photographer. The dual digic-4 processors of the 7D make it the fastest, and its 19 cross-type point focusing system is the most reliable in difficult situations.
  3. Because the 7D has two Digic-4 processors, it is likely to be able to handle high definition video files better than single processor models, though I’d be surprised if there’ll be much of a practical difference.

Buy the Canon 60D ($999) if:

  1. You want the 7D but can’t afford it. The differences are minimal, and a good photographer can easily work around them.
  2. You shoot a lot of video and the articulated LCD would be helpful to you.
  3. If you’re upgrading from the Rebel line and would like to keep using your SD cards.
  4. You shoot a lot of action. The 9 cross-type focusing points are a major improvement over the Rebel T2i (9 point, but only one cross-type) and even the 5D Mark II, (9 point, one cross-type). It does have the same AF system as the 40D and 50D.
  5. You’re looking for a lighter alternative to the 7D.
  6. You want to wirelessly control Canon speedlites using a built-in pre-flash system.

Buy the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D ($799) if:

  1. You’re on a tight budget but still want an awesome 18 megapixel sensor, full features, and 1080p video.
  2. If you’re looking for a lightweight camera for travel and will be able to treat it with a bit of care, or a backup for your usual camera.
  3. If you primarily shoot portraits or products rather than action, or shoot landscapes/art.
  4. If you aren’t interested in shooting with wireless flash, would prefer to use radio triggers, or wouldn’t mind adding the wireless control unit (Canon ST-E2 transmitter).

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  • Hi Matthew,

    I am looking for some advice on cameras. I have an Canon T2i with several lens, especially zoom lens. I love to shoot willdlife, but mainly soccer, from high school (at night) to club soccer day games. I really don’t understand a lot of the technical langugue. I use the action setting most of the time. Just was wondering what the 60d would have to offer over the T2i. Is there a shutter button on the back of the 60d? Some of the pictures come out great and some are blurred. I am beginning to think it is the operator maybe pushing the button too hard. I have the Tokina 70-400 lens and use it with a tripod. Very limited where I can sit at the club games. At high school I can get closer and for that I use the canon 70-200 f/2 non is. Would appreciate any information you can give.

    • Hi Dolores,

      The first thing is to determine where your blur is coming from. There are three main ways to get blur: motion in the subject, movement of the camera, and poor focus. If the entire image is blurry, it’s usually camera shake. If there’s anything sharp in the image, it’s usually one of the other two. If you’d like to email me an example or two, I’d be happy to take a look and give you my analysis ( )

      The 60D has a better focusing system than the T2i, and you’d get faster bursts of photos, but it doesn’t sound like those are your problems. The 60D has the same shutter button placement, but you CAN use a rear button to focus the lens (rather than the shutter button). Some people prefer that for sports. In general, though, if you’re using the camera mounted on a tripod or monopod and you’re using a shutter speed fast enough to stop action, you shouldn’t be having blur problems from pressing the shutter. Its most likely that you’re just not getting fast enough shutter speeds with your 70-400 lens due to the small aperture.

      On a somewhat related note, you might want to watch my video about aperture/iso/shutter speed. Its quick, and might give you a better understanding of some of the technical stuff.

      – Matthew

      • Thank you for your response. I watch the video several times, just having a hard time processing it. I need to get a small notebook and write it down and keep it with me.

        I will send you a couple of pictures or more to get your opinion. I have never tried using anything but the sports figure on the dial for taking pictures. What I will send you will be the Tokina 80-400 f4.5-5.6 lens pictures. Before getting this lens I used the Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS. It is a fast moving game so I know I will have some not-so-great pictures, but it seems I am getting more of those than good ones.


  • Hi Matthew,

    I’m new to Light & Matter, and you and this site are amazing! Like others, I’m seeking your advice. I’ve been shooting Canon since my first TLB (or was it an FTB?) I received when I graduated high school. It was strictly manual and I learned the ropes and loved the camera, until I dropped it – hard. I then moved into the more and more automated lines and became lazy. For the last 4 years I’ve been shooting a used Rebel XT, and am finally wanting to upgrade as I’ve worn the poor thing out!

    I live in NW Alaska and primarily shoot landscape, and some wildlife, and the occasional candid people shot, mostly for my own enjoyment and to use as reference for my artwork, although I occasionally show and sell images. I’m reasonably competent in Photoshop. I’m not interested in video, I do find an articulated LCD screen occasionally handy but not essential, and am mostly concerned with great image quality. I’ve also been trying to revert back to using manual more often, but find it extremely awkward with the Rebel XT. I do subject my camera to a fair amount of backcountry travel, including by 4-wheeler and snowmobile, and have to admit I’m not a fastidious camera-user. I loved shooting mid-winter at -35 F, and kept my camera inside my parka between shots. And I almost forgot – I’m on a budget!

    I’ve been looking at new, used and Canon refurbed. I’ve considered the 40D and 50D because of the metal bodies. Is this something I should stick with considering my all-season Alaskan shooting and less than tender handling at times?? If not, I’ve considered the 60D as it looks like it may be easier to operate in manual. I’ve also considered the T3i and T2i as I’d expect high quality images from them, but I don’t know if they are easier to operate in manual than my Rebel XT.

    Given all of this, is there a particular camera you’d suggest? Thank you so much for your time and thoughts!

    Sue in Nome, AK

    • Hi Sue,

      Welcome to L&M :)

      First, I think it’s worth mentioning that although I think metal bodies feel a lot better, you’d have to be REALLY hard on your camera for plastic to be a problem. The polycarbonates that are used in camera bodies are incredibly durable; some polycarbonates are literally bullet proof, so don’t worry about it too much. Plastic is going to be a slightly better insulator, and it’s also not going to have as bad a problem with condensation when transitioning from cold to warm temperatures. Just a couple things to keep in mind.

      I’d probably lean towards the 60D  (or 7D if you can find a good deal) if I were you. The T3i and T2i are also good options, but the 60D has better weather sealing (though it’s not 7D level). I rarely shoot in manual unless I’m shooting with flash; I opt for aperture priority usually, and the T2i/T3i are just as easy as the 60D there, but the 60D is easier for full manual. The 60D also uses a larger battery, which, as you know, will make a significant difference in the cold, though if you bought a battery grip for the T2i/T3i, you could extend their power quite a bit.

      So, I guess the question is… how worn out is your XT? I think you can expect similar longevity from the 60D or T2i. I can’t think of any particular reason to recommend the T3i over the T2i for your style of shooting; the articulated screen is a lot less useful on these SLRs than you’d expect, since the AF works so poorly in live-view.

      – Matthew

      • A big thank you, Matthew! I feel much relieved about the plastic body option – although now you’ve got me considering stretching my budget for the 7D! What are your thoughts on buying a Canon refurbed D7? I’ve a 15% discount code from Canon on available refurbs, good through Monday, which will drop the price to $1128. And then there are those offered used through Amazon. The question applies to the 60D as well. Are these worth considering? Thank you again – you are a very valuable resource!



        • If you’re buying a Canon factory refurb, I’d trust it as a new camera, basically…. they test them to make sure that they’re operating at factory standards. Some other vendors sell refurbished equipment, and I’m suspicious of it. Either way, though, I’ve never owned a refurbished camera, so I’m not really qualified to judge.

          My general advice is always to buy the least expensive camera that will fit your needs, and buy the best lenses you can afford, fwiw :)

          – Matthew

  • I was wondering if there would be a review/comparison for the 70d or 60d vs the T4i that is coming out. it seems like it would be an upgrade but both have very different features and was wondering if it was worth switching over.

    • Hi Andres,

      There will be a comparison of the T4i and the T3i later today or tomorrow, and it will also probably discuss differences with the 60D. I’ll be interested to hear what the 70D is going to be like… I don’t expect it any time soon.

      – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew,

    Thank you for a great blog! Hope you can help me solve my dilemma… I used to shoot a lot of landscapes, but recently started to shoot portraits when my son was born. I love shooting people, but I realized that I needed different tools to produce better images. I have the Rebel xti that came with a kit lens that I rarely use. I also have the EF 50mm f1.4 that I love, and the speedlite 430EX II. I know I need to get another lens, but I wanted to upgrade a camera body first and go from there. What do you think? I am looking at the new D60 vs. used 5D. Is it a bad idea to get a used camera? I wanted to purchase it from either b&h photo or, but I don’t know if they’ll give me data shutter count.

    I want to get the 5d because I love shooting in natural/low light and like shallow DOF. I also thought the 5d would allow me to get more creative with my photography. My goal is to be a family photographer. I want to shoot my son’s birthday parties, sport activities, etc., but I’m also interested in capturing unique, creative images.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Natasha,

      If the question were: “new 60D or used 5D Mark II?”, I’d recommend the 5D MkII in an instant, for the type of work you do. If you really mean the original 5D, though, I’m not so positive. The problem is that I just don’t have a ton of experience with that camera (and it’s been 5 or 6 years since I’ve used it), and the technology is old enough that I’m not sure how it will stand up against the newer 60D… I’d really have to do a side-by-side comparison to be sure, but the top native ISO on the 5D is 1600 (expandable to 3200) and the 60D is ISO 6400 (expandable to 25600, but you wouldn’t want to).

      So, at a minimum, the 60D has two stops more of high-ISO range, and I suspect that the image noise quality is roughly equivalent at the top ISO speeds for both cameras.

      In an ideal world, I’d tell you to just save your money for a little longer and buy a 5D Mark II instead of the Mark I. As is, I’d lean towards the 60D. I’ve done some professional work with it, and its just fine. I suspect that you won’t be completely happy until you get a full frame camera, though.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew,

    This is a great article and you are quite an expert. THANKS!

    QUESTION: I am am almost ready to jump into a DSLR (like the 60D but cost is a factor). Would it be wise to wait a few months for newer models? I wonder if there will be significant upgrades to help someone like me, who wants to shoot high-quality stills and video, but I honestly do not have the technical expertise yet. So better auto focus and auto settings would really allow me to focus on my subjects and stories.

    Thanks for any input that you can provide!


    • Hi Chuck,

      Thanks, glad you found it helpful :)

      I think that there will always be room for improvement of some sort; I am certainly looking forward to the days when sensors have much higher dynamic range and much less noise at high ISO.

      To be a little more realistic, though, there are tons of people out there taking great pictures right now with current (and older) cameras. The camera is neither going to make nor break you as a good photographer; it’s just a tool.

      My advice is always this: the practice you get shooting with a camera that you can get your hands on right now is going to be worth a lot more than any minor technical benefits that will come in future cameras. Almost a year ago, now, I started hearing people say that they were going to hold off on buying a Canon 5D Mark II because they wanted to wait for the Mark III, which they thought was imminent. Still it’s nowhere to be seen… and people have missed out on a year of shooting with the (really pretty amazing) 5D II.

      My second piece of advice is to buy that least expensive camera that will suit your needs and use any money saved to buy the highest quality lenses, which are much more important in the end.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

    • Hi Ricardo,

      I don’t have any particular familiarity with the NYIP program, so I can only speculate… but I would say yes, the 60D is a great camera, suitable for use by students and semi-professionals/pros. From a technical standpoint, there’s nothing that you’ll need to do in a photography course that the 60D can’t do. The only caveat would be that IF you’re planning on going into a field that is primarily action-photography oriented (sports photography, primarily), you’ll eventually want a 7D or one of the 1D series. These cameras will make your life a little easier as a professional, but the 60D will certainly work in the short-term.

      – Matthew

      • Thanks for the quick response. I wasn’t sure if my XT would be the right camera for a professional photography course but 60D sounded like it would be great.

  • Three of the most important reasons to buy a 7D and why I bought a 7D.

    1) The 7D has a remote flash controller for fully automatic wireless off camera flash with multiple units in multiple groups. On the other models one must buy an additional flash controller, Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 for $225 – $300 or waste the money to buy a Speedlite 580EX flash to mount on the camera as a dummy flash just to control the slave flashes. The Speedlite 430EX II works great with the 7D for all of your candid people shots or combine multiple flashes for fancier stuff. It comes with a nice little plastic mini stand so you can just sit it on a table elsewhere in the room. Any serious amateur portrait/people photographer NEVER takes straight on flash shots. They always use off camera flash from an angle. I almost never mount the flash on the camera. It’s easier to just sit it down on the mini stand somewhere else. Almost anything is better than straight on flash. It’s nice that the 60D has this, too. 60D was not available when I bought the 7D.

    2) The small top mounted status LCD screen with switchable back lighting to view your settings instead of having to look at the large LCD on the back of the camera is very convenient.

    3) I got rid of the plastic 550D I had because it always overheated in less than 30 minutes of video and shut down. Who wants to buy 2 cameras so you have a second one to use while the first one is cooling down. Not to mention messing up the video in midstream when it just shuts off. The magnesium metal body of the 7D dissipates heat much better. I have yet to have an overheating problem with the 7D and usually shoot video up to 40 minutes. Of course, with any of these cameras you have to do a quick stop and start of the video in less than 12 minutes in HD and less than 30 minutes in SD because of the 4GB maximum file size. Other tricks to minimize heat are quickly switching out the battery and memory card (they get warm, too) between videos, but I haven’t had to even do that with the 7D.

    The second LCD screen, magnesium body and wireless flash capability alone are worth the price difference to me.


    • Hi Tim,

      These are good points, thanks. It is worth mentioning here, though, that the 7D, 60D, and T3i all have wireless flash control, though the T2i didn’t.

      I haven’t found overheating to be a serious problem with any of these cameras, but I shoot very little video, and when I do, I shoot full HD, so I’m limited to quite a bit less than 30 minutes anyway. I appreciate hearing about your experiences, though!

      – Matthew

    • I think the newer T3i has a wireless off camera flash capability. What bothers me is your mentioning the heat buildup such that the camera shuts down. I am looking for a camera for my son and have a limited amount of $ to spend and the T31 looks like a lot of bang for the buck. There is also the Nikon D5100 but we are leaning toward the Canon. IAlthough the camera will be primarily used for stills we will use it for video but for short clips, maybe up to 6 minutes. For longer videos I’d use a camcorder. My thoughts were to put the $ saved by not buying a 7D, into one of Canon’s better lenses like the EF 80-200 or the 100mm – 400mm zoom. A friend commented that if you are going to buy a 7D then why not stretch a little further and buy a 5D MKII? But I think that going that route also implies very expensive lenses.


      • Ron,

        I own both the 7D and the 5D Mk II and they are apples and oranges different. You will not be hard pressed with the 7D. In fact, I think the 7D is a more capable camera than the 5D for an all-around camera. Think of the 5D as a “prima dona” and the 7D as “La Femme Nikita”. As far as lenses are concerned, the 7D will perform better with the expensive lenses. Just because the 5D is a more expensive and full-frame camera, doesn’t mean it *requires* the most expensive lenses. The 7D is just as deserving as the 5D in that respect.

        If you’re considering the 7D, I would still look at the Matt’s lens recommendations and follow them, especially with the EFS-S 17-55mm f/2.8. This lens will become your “kit lens” of sorts and will serve you well in most (if not all) situations.



        • Thanks for the input Alfred. I think in the end we will settle on a 7D or 60D. Now I wish I had kepyt my Nikon D70…this would have been a great camera for my son.


  • Based on the above camera comparisons I had decided to go with a CanonT3i camera but when I saw that the 7D was th camera for action and sports. I do take photos of my son playing multiple sports but that does not constitute not the of my photo taking. So now I wonder if I really need the 7D?

    • Hi Ron,

      As you’ve seen, the 7D is going to give you more frames per second and better autofocus, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot sports with the T3i or 60D. With a fast, high quality lens, any of these cameras will serve you well. Basically, this translates to a higher percentage of good shots with the 7D, but the more practice that you get with any of these cameras, the better results you’ll get. If you’re not shooting professionally, and sports and action do not make up the majority of your photography, I think that the 7D will be overkill; you’d be better served spending the extra money on high quality lenses :)

      – Matthew

  • I’m debating between the 60d and the t2i. I checked out the display models at the store and the one discouraging thing about the 60d is the weight. I’m just getting into more advanced photography. I’ve never owned a DSLR before.

    I know many people complain about the plastic feeling of the T2i, but it seemed fine to me. I’m a girl so I have smaller hands than a guy, so maybe it’s a more comfortable fit. I’m planning on bringing this camera with me on a bunch of travels and trips, and I’m afraid the weight of the 60d will discourage me from bringing it along. I did like the fact that the t2i was nice and light.

    What are your opinions on this? I am having analysis paralysis.

    • Hi Hayley,

      Personally, I prefer a camera with a little more heft; but if you prefer the lighter model, then there’s certainly no reason not to go with the T2i on that count. They’re both well built, and the polycarbonate is not likely to break or crack on you unless you’re seriously rough on the camera. Some people find that it’s easier to hold a heavier camera steady, but I doubt that the difference between the two model will make a significant impact there. It’s also important to keep in mind that the more interested you become in photography, the more you’ll want to equip your camera with high quality lenses. The lenses themselves will be heavy (so having a light camera will be moot) and they’ll feel more balanced on a weightier camera like the 60D (in fact, with the larger lenses that I use, even a 7D doesn’t feel right without a battery grip). But that may never be a serious issue for you.

      What’s more important is whether the camera has the features that you’ll need. Primarily, you’ll want to consider the AF system, the flash sync speed, and the top shutter speed. The rest of the differences are pretty inconsequential, as far as I’m concerned… unless you think you’ll use the 60D’s articulated LCD. The cost difference between the cameras is not terrible ($999 vs $699), but $300 will go a long way in buying a nice lens or flash… so: if you don’t use x-sync flash much, and if you don’t shoot a lot of fast action, then I think the T2i is a good choice.

      Bit of a rambling response, but I hope it helps :) Let me know if you have any other questions!

      – Matthew

      • Hello –

        Just a followup to my comment. I finally purchased a T2i because I knew I’d be traveling with it and wanted something light enough that I could carry around no problem. The lower cost also let me get another lens to play with.

        I’m very happy with the T2i, so anyone hesitant to buying one really shouldn’t be. I’m just getting into the DSLR world so it’s perfect for me. Powerful, but not cumbersome. I guess there’s a T3i out now, but I’m totally fine with my purchase and am totally stoked on playing with it.

        • Hi Hayley,

          Thanks for stopping back with the follow up :) I’m actually pretty surprised that Canon bothered to release the T3i. It’s pretty much the T2i + digital zoom and off-camera-flash control. Of course, the benefit for most people is that the T2i is now really cheap.

          – Matthew

    • Want to add my 2 cents to this running thread on T2i and alternatives. My tradeoff question was 60D versus T2i. Decided that the T2i made the most sense because I use telescope lenses rendering automatic focus considerations a none issue. I did purchase a T2i and have been amazed to find that how much better it is than two older rebels and a 40D. The T2i is a remarkably fine camera IMHO and a real credit to Canon engineering. It is an excellent performer for my nighttime photography purposes.

      • Hi James,

        Good to hear from you again :) Just out of curiosity, what is it about the T2i that you find to be better than the 40D and T1i? (Not that I disagree… ) Is it the high ISO issue?

        – Matthew

  • another question Matthew.

    I recently went ahead and purchased the 60d. Sometimes when I try to take pictures in Manual mode, with AF on the camera just keeps refocusing when I press the shoot button midway. Did you ever experience that with any other canon? Should I just keep it on MF?

    • Hi Andres,

      If I understand you correctly, you might try just switching to a different AF mode. If you’re on AI Servo, for example, you could try switching to “One Shot”, and you’ll get more typical, old school AF behavior… the camera will focus when you half-press the button, and if you move the camera around at all, it will remain focused on the same spot instead of re-focusing.

      Or do you mean that it hunts a lot?

      – Matthew

      • It hunts a lot. Its weird because the 60d for some reason doesnt say servo, one shot or focus (it says AF Live, af (happy face) and AF quick, and on either one the mode screen says one shot

        • Andres,

          We must be talking about different settings… the 60D does indeed say “One Shot” in the top LCD panel. When you hold down the AF button (on top, to the left of the shutter button) and use the finger wheel to switch between the modes, it gives the “One Shot”, “AF Focus” and “Af Servo”.

          I believe that you’re referring to the “Live View” modes. Auto-focus will never work very well in Live View (ie, on the LCD instead of through the viewfinder) because phase detection is not possible with the mirror locked up (The smiley indicates face-detect mode).

          – Matthew

          • I’m a bit puzzled too why a camera this sophisticated is slow when focusing through its LCD, meanwhile my canon point and shoot is very quick. But I’m not complaining though, because my point and shoot doesn’t have the AF points in the viewfinder :) and after a couple weeks of using 60D I’m used to using the viewfinder.

  • Matthew:

    Thanks for all your responses to people like us. It’s good to have an independent, unbias, and professional advise. I just bought the Canon T2i in black friday specials here in the US. I got a deal for $800 for body, 18-55m(IS), and 55-250mm(IS) lens. I wish I would have read all the postings. I did not test drive the T2i at the store before purchasing it and does fee a bit ackward as compared to the 60D. I originally wanted the 50D, but did not have HD recording, and had different memory sticks than SDHC.
    Although, I’m impressed wth T2i capabilities I’m thinking about returning it for the 60D and pay the $450 difference. Although, as someone said before, I may have to pull a amazing “stunt” with my wife considering we’re on a budget. This is my 1st SLR and do not want to upgrade for a while. But, I’ve used other SLRs such as the Nikon D90. I traveled a lot with work, take landscape pics, kids sports, concerts, low lights, and potraits. I also wanted to be my kids photographer since they’re required to have updated porfolio every years by their talent agency. What do you recommend? Thanks.

    Desperate Dad

    • Sorry for the delays; I’ve had a lot of work this weekend :)

      I’m actually a big fan of the T2i, and it sounds like you got a great deal on one. The price step up to a 60D will be pretty substantial, so… what advantages would you get out of it? Well, there’s the issue of ergonomics. This is a lot more important than a lot of people are willing to admit; we want something that is going to feel good in the hands. However, the feel of the T2i may be something that will grow on you… you never know. Another thing to think about would be adding a battery grip. I have long fingers, so I do this with all of my cameras… it really helps the weight and feel of the camera, and of course improves battery life. You can get the Canon model for about $145, which is not cheap but a lot less than buying a 60D, or there are several 3rd parties that make them, starting at about $45… but they’re hit and miss as far as quality goes.

      Looking beyond ergonomics, the 60D probably won’t provide a dramatic difference in any area of photography mentioned except for sports, and perhaps some low light focusing. As I’ve mentioned, the 60D does have 8 more cross-type AF points than the T2i, which is an advantage for sports and low light/ low contrast situations, but only when you’re not using the center focusing point, of course. Whether that difference is worth the money and the battle with your wife is, I’m glad to say, completely up to you :)

      – Matthew

      • Matthew:

        Thanks for your response. I’m definetely planning to get additional batteries if I decide to stay with the T2i and perhaps the batter holder/grip. I’ve read that on top of housing 2 batteries and 6 AA batteries, it also helps with the ergonomics during difficult shots (e.g. vertical, diagonal, etc). I did get a good deal, but again the camera and lenses were refurbished. I’m not sure what this meant but it works fine and so far no issues. How do I ensure the lenses (18-55mm IS and 55-250mm IS) work in the IS mode? I do not see the difference when I switched it to the IS bottom on the side of the lens. I tested all the settings and find it quite easy to customize. But, I’m not familiar with the canon IS lenses. Thanks.

        Desperate Dad

  • I have been shooting with a Rebel Xti for about 2 years now and have constantly wanted to upgrade but havent had the chance nor time to research properly. I was going to go with the t2i when someone at the Levis photo workshop told me to go with the 50d a couple months ago. I shoot mostly portraits, friends weddings, graffiti and landscapes, would it be worth it to get the 50d instead of the T2i?

    • Hi Guys,

      Sorry for the delays this weekend; I’ve been busy with work and haven’t had as much time as I’d like to check in here :)

      Anyway, I don’t think that the 50D is probably the best option these days. It’s still a great camera, but it doesn’t do video, it has a lower resolution sensor (than the T2i or 60D)… basically, there are only two reasons that I’d consider going with the 50D instead of the 60D: the 50D is cheaper now that it’s been supplanted by the 60D, and it is more solidly built. If you’re really hard on your camera and prefer the features of the 50D (metal body, no articulated LCD), I could understand getting it instead. Otherwise, the 60D only costs about $999, and it’s a very solid machine.

      • sorry, I actually meant the 60d when i was asking the question. I think I am going to go ahead and get it this coming week. any good recommendations on lenses, my photography professor told me I should consider upgrading from the 50mm 1.8 to the 1.4…what do you think?

        • Hi Andres,

          Here are my feelings on the matter of the 50mm f1.4: it costs about 3 times as much as the f1.8, but only gives you 2/3rds of a stop more light. That’s hard to justify, when the optical quality of the f1.8 is really top notch.

          Beyond the 2/3rds of a stop of light, the f1.4 has better quality bokeh because of it’s aperture leaf design, and a more sturdy feeling build quality. Of course, the disadvantage to using any lens at f1.4 is that the depth of field is so narrow, it can be very frustrating to find that, for example, the cheeks are in focus, but the eyes are not… but of course, that effect can sometimes be used to your advantage.

          In the end, it really comes down to how dear that extra $200 is to you. If you have the money and think it will be worth it to you, then by all means… it is nice to have the flexibility. On the other hand, if you can think of other things to spend $200 on, you’ll probably be satisfied with the f1.8 :)

          – Matthew

  • Thanks Mathew! I am going for 60D. Do you recommend any good lens Kit I should get with the camera? 17-55 or 17-85 or 18-55 or anything else
    I am thinking about getting about three but not sure, for example one for general purpose (indoor, outdoor, sports, portraits etc), one for macro & one for long distance zooming. May be I am wrong I would just need two lenses & couple extension rings.
    On lenses my budget is about £1500
    What you do suggest?

    • That’s very tricky… of course, it all depends on where you want to spend your money and what is most important to you. For example, you could get a Canon 55-250 f4-5.6 IS for about £156 and get excellent optical performance but not the greatest AF speed or low-light capabilities, or you could cover about the same zoom range and get the 70-200 F2.8 IS USM II for £1650, which is faster and better in low light (and a bit sharper)… and of course, there are good choices in between depending on what you’re going to use it for.

      That said, here are a couple of my favorites. Canon’s 60mm f2.8 macro is a super-sharp lens, not outrageously expensive (although I see that in the US all of this equipment costs quite a bit less, at the current exchange rate), a perfect macro lens and an excellent portrait lens (and f2.8 is quite good in low light).

      The 70-200 f4 IS USM is also a great, pro-quality lens. It’s one f-stop worse for low light than the lens mentioned above, but costs half as much. You might also consider Sigma’s new 70-200 f2.8 OS HSM, which isn’t as good on paper as Canon’s model, but it’s a great lens nonetheless.

      Another good one is Canon’s 17-55 f2.8, which is an optically great, fast, good low light lens to cover the lower end of the zoom range. It is pretty expensive, though. If you don’t think this is going to be your heaviest use lens, you could probably replace it with the 17-85 and be satisfied, though the barrel distortion at the wide end will be significant.

      Personally, I really like the perspective of wide angle zooms, so I’d consider Canon’s 10-22mm or Tokina’s 11-16mm… but I know that not everyone will get much use out of a lens like this.

      Unfortunately, I probably can’t give you a complete set of recommendations, since there are so many choices and it’s so dependent on your photographic goals and style. That’s a little bit of a start, though :)

      – Matthew

      • Mathew
        Thanks for suggestions. I am glad you mentioned couple of lenses which I am going for. I have decided with my 60D, I am getting canon 17-55 2.8F IS USM & canon 70-200 F4 USM. I thought rather than getting another lenses for macro, I would use extension rings. Thinking this would be sufficient to keep me going for a while ;-).
        I am getting the all the kit tomorrow so really looking forward to it.

  • Hi Matthew, your review and comments are really helpful for me in deciding what to buy. I will be shooting my kids activities, vacation, outdoor, kids sport in school (indoor and outdoor), all typical family stuff. Indoor stills and video are also important as I have a newborn. So from your reviews I think 60D is the better choice. I hope you agree. :)

    Now the lens… I’m thinking to get an all-purpose such as the 18-135mm. Because I can’t afford to have multiple lenses in another bag while carrying diaper bag around with a stroller. :D What is your opinion about the 18-135 from Canon? Is it good for me considering the above needs? Or could you please recommend another all-purpose lens from other brand that might be better and cheaper? I would also consider 2 lenses if you strongly feel about it. Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • Hello Dan,

      The 60D is a great choice; certainly a very solid camera for your needs.

      The lens isn’t quite as cut and dry. The 18-135mm IS is a good lens, but not a superb lens. It’s a good walk-around lens, covers a nice range… what I used to cover with a 28-70 and a 70-210mm this lens covers all at once, and the image stabilization will certainly be some help in low light. It’s not a professional quality lens, though. That said, it doesn’t sound like you’re probably going to be trying to sell prints for hundreds of dollars, though, so it sounds like it’s a pretty good option for you. The Sigma 18-125 is a decent lens, too… and will save you $50 or so, but it has a slightly more limited zoom range… I’m not sure it’s worth it.

      So, there are other options that will provide you with higher resolution… but they’ll also cost a lot more money and weigh you down quite a bit, and may not give you any appreciable difference in quality. Probably not what you’re after :)

      – Matthew

      • Thanks for your feedback, Matthew. After checking out your amazon link on the 18-135mm lens, some comments mentioned that there are issue on the wide angle end. I forgot to mention that wife likes to take food pictures, not for pro or selling it though, only for uploading to her facebook. :) I don’t know what that issue will affect the quality though, I’m a newb for this, I’m looking for examples or comparison taking pictures at the wide end with this lens versus the better lens, but couldn’t find it. Can you please give me advise on this, or if you have made some comparisons. Thanks again!

        • Yes, on the wide end, the corners are a bit soft… relatively speaking. You might want to go to and check out the lens review there for some examples of the photos; they usually post at least a few of them full resolution… and you’ll get a good idea of what “soft” means in this context.

          Generally speaking, though, you’re going to have to sacrifice somewhere… either with performance or price. The 17-55 f2.8 is a much better lens, but also costs quite a bit more. Incidentally, Tamron’s 17-50 f2.8 has excellent resolution throughout the range at about half the price, so it’s a pretty good alternative… but 17-50 is a relatively limited zoom range compared to the 18-135.

          Incidentally (and as someone who uses facebook), facebook absolutely destroys images that are uploaded to facebook albums/walls. They compress them and resize them to such a degree that it’s painful for me to upload photos sometimes. If you could tell that there were some softness after you resize for the web (unlikely), it would be absolutely lost on something like facebook. Don’t get me wrong… facebook has its uses, but displaying photography is not one of them :)

          – Matthew

          • Hi Matthey, just wanted to let you know that I bought the 60D + 18-135 and love it. Took many great pictures in the first week (compared to my point and shoot of course). Videos are great too although the AF is a bit unexpected, but after researching, I believe no DSLR to date have 100% AF like a camcorder, right?

            Then I went to my son basketball game (indoors) and pretty frustated that the images are blury, or dark, basically I can’t get a good “still” image of my son, his friends and the ball in action. After research, I bought the 85mm f/1.8 and… it’s world difference. I’m still learning though, but I’m glad I purchased a second lense. For me the only con for the 85mm f/1.8 is that since it is fixed at 85mm often I have to walk away from the subject. But nevertheless I’m very impressed with the lens.

            • Hi Dan,

              Good choice with the 85mm, that’s an excellent low light lens. Just out of curiosity, what ISO were you shooting at, originally?

              You’re right about the video AF, mostly. Sony’s new a55 does have full-time, phase-detect AF during video mode; it’s the only camera on the market with that functionality. It’s able to do it because it uses a fixed pellicle mirror (the mirror is translucent and doesn’t flip up when you take a picture). Needless to say, there are some drawbacks to a system like that as well, though.

              The Nikon D3100 and D7000 both have something approaching full time AF, but it’s a very slow, inaccurate type of AF, and is functionally useless in most circumstances. I always manually focus for video.

              There are better lenses for spots, of course, than the 85mm, but they cost a small fortune. These days, a lot of people can get around it by using a very high ISO instead.

              Good luck!

              – Matthew

              • Hi Matthew,

                WIth the 18-135mm, I initially used ISO 4000 in Program AE, 1/80 and 5.0 (blury), ISO 3200 1/50 also blury most of the pics, ISO 6400 came out dark. Do you have any tips for this lens for sports? Thanks.

              • Well, it sounds as though you’re working in a situation that is simply too dark for that lens to be used.

                In order to get relatively sharp sports action photos, you’ll really need at least 1/500th of a second with ambient light.

                If you were getting 1/60th at ISO 3200, you should have been getting 1/125th at 6400 (assuming this was f/5.6) which is still too slow. With a more expensive lens, you’d get 1/250th at f4 and 1/500th at f2.8, which is workable…. but you’d be shooting at ISO 6400 which is just not going to give you good image quality… too much noise.

                With your f1.8 lens, you’d be at 1/1000th at f2 or 1/500th at ISO3200 (usable).

                Basketball is one of the hardest things to shoot indoors for that exact reason. The light may seem fine to the human eye, but it’s really pretty paltry in terms of absolute energy.

                The only way to really do a great job at it is to use flash. If you use a flash on your camera, you’ll certainly stop the action, but your photos will look like they were shot with flash :) But… if you use multiple flashes OFF of the camera, triggered by pocket wizards, you can get amazing photos. But that’s some pretty advanced technique.

                – Matthew

              • I can’t reply to your last post anymore, I think because the thread is too deep. :)

                Could you please give me a link to the advanced technique mentioned? I’d like to study it. Thanks.

                WIth the 85mm f1.8, I use 1/320 at f1.8 ISO 1000 and came out great. I bought this lene because I was inspired by a picture of indoor basketball took by Tom Martin, it is in Amazon “customer image” for this lense, 2nd page. He uses ISO 500, f1.8, 1/500 on 50D.
                I haven’t chance to try that settings but will do in next game.

              • Sure, I’ll see what I can find. I may have to write something myself.

                I took a look at the image you mentioned. If you understand how f-stops work (doubling of light: ISO 200 requires twice as much light as ISO 400 for the same exposure, 1/250th sec is one stop more than 1/500th… twice as long, twice as much light, etc), you’ll see that if you were getting correct exposure at the exposure you provided, and he was getting the correct exposure at his provided settings, the light there was 1.3 stops brighter in his gym (twice as bright, plus 1/3rd more). So… if you were to try his exposure, you’d find it to be disappointingly dark, unless the lights get much brighter during your absence :)

                – Matthew

  • Hello Mathew
    I found this review & comments very useful regarding the canon DSLR xxD cameras. I am keen point & shoot user But now like to get into fancy world of DSLR. I am completely newbie to DSLR world. Looking reviews of 60D or 7D. I am not sure which one to buy. Money is not an issue. I just want camera which for long term use. I like to get into photography at professional level. I like to do macro, landscape, nature, sports, portraits & night/ indoor photography. So I am thinking might I should get 7D which can help me to learn & later stage I don’t have to think about upgrading or worry about lack of features in 60D.
    Can you advice on this?

    • Hi Sid,

      If cost isn’t an issue, then the 7D is certainly the best camera of the bunch. However, it’s very important to keep in mind that to really enter at the pro-level, it’s the lenses that will be most important, and that’s really where the prices begin to add up. Lens quality and choice is what makes the difference between a mediocre picture and a great one. So, if spending a little less money of the body would allow you to buy the 60D with better lenses, then that’s the direction that I’d lean… the 60D is really a very capable camera.

      No matter what you choose, you’re in for some serious fun with a new DSLR! Hope you enjoy it and come back and post some pictures when you have the time :)

      – Matthew

  • If anyone has any doubt of the 60d body read this:

    Polycarbonate is a versatile, tough plastic used for a variety of applications, from bulletproof windows to compact disks (CDs). The main advantage of polycarbonate over other types of plastic is unbeatable strength combined with light weight. While acrylic is 17% stronger than glass, polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable. Bulletproof windows and enclosures as seen inside banks or at drive-throughs are often made of polycarbonate. Add to this the advantage that polycarbonate is just one-third the weight of acrylic, or one-sixth as heavy as glass, and the only drawback is that it is more expensive than either acrylic or glass.

  • Hi, i’m about to buy a Canon camera. i had notice that everyone is buying digital semi-pro and pro cameras at b&h or bestbuy. I’m planning to buy it at ebay (i’m gonna buy a D60), Is there any con of buying this kind of cam through ebay?

    • Hi Ana,

      Ebay holds some good deals, but it also can be a big pain if you’re not careful about selecting a good seller. You generally don’t get any customer service, sometimes you don’t get a warranty, etc. I generally try to avoid Ebay for major purchases just because I prefer to buy from someone with a solid reputation and history of customer service in case something goes wrong.

      B&H is great, as is Adorama. I tend to find that actually consistently has the best prices and selection, and they have good a good return policy.

      • Hi! Im very confuse as to what to buy?? Canon 60D, Rebel T2i or Sony Alpha A55 :(

        I am very interested in photography but only for hobby purposes (for myself). I currently love to take pictures in my trips (landscape pictures , mother nature) . What I currently have is a Sony Super Zoom Camera DSC H9 and a new Sony 1080 camcorder. I want to enter in the SRL world and learn. I am willing to pay the extra bucks if I am getting a great camera (video is not as important as still pictures and also I already have a camcorder). What worries me most is getting an entry level camara and then wanting to buy an intermediate level one. Should I buy instead the 60D?

        • Hi Guli,

          That’s a good question. My inclination is this: if you’re not a sports photographer primarily, and you’re not going to make heavy use of the video features on the Sony a55, then one of the Canons would better suit your needs. Both the 60D and T2i are great cameras for landscape work. The 60D has speed advantages as well; it takes more photos consecutively and faster than the T2i, and its autofocus system is superior. The superiority of the AF system shines through when you’re taking landscape and macro photos too, especially in low light or foggy or low-contrast conditions. Personally, I find the 60D to be much more comfortable in the hand, and that alone would make it worth the extra couple of hundred dollars (the T2i kit seems to be pretty stable at $799, and the 60D body at about $999).

          To answer your question another way: the 60D is a good enough camera to warrant the price difference, and if (you’re like me and) you’d always wish that you’d bought the better camera, then it will definitely be worth it to buy the 60D. That said, the T2i is also an excellent camera, and is very well suited to the type of photography that you’ve mentioned… so it’s hard to go wrong either way. Good luck!

          – Matthew

  • Hi, I’m between the t2i and the 60d. Here in my country (Peru) They price is the same for both.
    I’d like to know the differences between the manuals ( buttons, easy access functions, etc). Is the 60d easy to use? vs the t2i?
    I’d like to know if the 60d has autofocus for the video mode, Because The 5d mark II has no autofocus option for video and i’d like that function very much.

    I was going to buy the t2i but now the 60d seems like a better option, once know the answer to my questions.

    Thanx a lot!

    • Hi Jeannette,

      Actually, the 5D Mark II (and the other Canon cameras that you mention) do all offer auto-focus while shooting video, but it’s not continuous AF; you have to press the shutter button partially and then the camera will focus (somewhat slowly compared to normal operation when not in live-view).

      The Sony a55, incidentally, does focus full time in video mode (and fast), but it does have some related problems.

      Anyway, if the T2i and 60D are the same cost for you, I’d definitely buy the 60D. They’re both easy to use (with a little practice, of course), but the 60D is really the better camera.

      – Matthew

      • Thank you very much. i was in doubt because the controls in the back of the camera seem different. If the 60d has autofocus for video and photo, I’m definatly buying that one.
        Thanx a lot!

  • Hi,
    I’m considering the T2i vs the 60D. I’m an amateur (more like a complete newbie), but would like to take action shots of my children playing football (soccer). I’d rather not spend the extra for the 60d, but i’m worried that i’ll be disappointed w/ the quality of the pics from the T2i. Is it worth spending the extra?
    Also, any comments on what type of lens you’d recomment?
    Many thanks – very useful page.

    • Hi Rob,

      When it comes to sports, the 60D is going to be a better choice if you can afford it. The T2i is certainly very capable, but since it only has one cross-type focus point, it’s not going to be as accurate in difficult focusing situations, like fast moving sports. The price of the 60D has already dropped down to $999 or less, so the price difference isn’t terrible… probably small enough to justify if your goal is sports photography.

      As for a lens… that’s a little more tricky and will depend on your budget. A great lens for sports (when you have good light) is the Canon’s EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS. It has great resolution across the entire range, and costs only $210. A much better lens is the 70-200 f4 IS USM, which is exquisitely sharp and faster focusing (with a constant f4 max across the zoom range), but it comes at a price…. around $1100. If you want fast focusing and better low light performance, you might consider one of Sigma’s 70-200 f2.8 HSM lenses. They generally run about $799. Another good option if you’re going to be shooting in daylight is Canon’s 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM. It’s just over $500, but it has an extended reach beyond the other lenses mentioned, USM for fast focusing, image stabilization, and uniformly high resolution.

      Hope that helps a bit!

      – Matthew

        • I am in the same boat- I just this evening purchased a package deal from Best Buy- I went with the bundle to get the 60D, and two lenses – the 18-135mm and the 55-200 mentioned in this post. It also comes with a gear bag. I got the whole lot for apprx. $1,413 plus tax…to bring it right to $1,499 with free shipping.

          I was almost positive that I wanted the rebel T2i- (this is my first foray into the DSLR realm) but was worried that I would want to upgrade too soon. I’m looking at the 60D as a camera with lots of room to grow into. I’m also very happy about the enhanced autofocus, especially as my primary target is a fast moving toddler. I am considering also purchasing a canon 50mm fast lens for portrait shots. I can’t wait to get started with this camera!

    • Hi Angel,

      Actually, for food photography, each of these cameras is pretty well equipped, since they basically all use the same sensor. Auto-focus and speed bursts are not important for food.

      The one advantage that comes to mind of the 7D over the 60D is that the 7D allows for saving fine-focus settings for particular lenses, which is particularly important when you’re working with macro. Personally though, this is something that I rarely have to use.

      Beyond that, I’d say that in the hands of a good photographer, any of these cameras would be great. I’d probably steer away from the T2i if you’re doing professional work, but that’s mostly for vanity.

      One word about the 50mm f1.8. It is an excellently sharp lens. However, if you’re buying a lens for shallow depth of field, the bokeh on the f1.4 version is actually better; I believe that it uses more aperture blades. Both are good though.

      – Matthew

  • Hi. My wife is an avid bird photographer for hobby purposes only. sha has aRebel XT and I wish to upgrade her camera to a 7d, 60 D or t2i. She has a 200 mm L lens with a 2x, and she used to take pictures in manual mode mostly. Which camera is the best option for her?

    • Hello Jose,

      That’s a good question, and a little bit trickier than it might appear at first. If she’s using the XT, then the T2i will provide more resolution, but it won’t be a very significant upgrade otherwise. Both the 60D and 7D will provide better auto-focusing, but the 7D will be a more dramatic increase (19 cross type sensors). The 7D will also allow for faster frame rates… and I can see how shooting at 8fps would be useful photographing birds in motion!

      So, I’d recommend either the 60D or the 7D, depending on what she feels the shortcomings of her current camera are, and I’d lean well towards the 7D.

      Where things get tricky is with the lens. There are several L series lenses that include the 200mm focal length; a 70-200 f4 IS L, for example, which by itself is one of my most highly recommended lenses. Is she using a fixed focal length 200mm lens? Canon’s 2x extender also reduces the amount of light transmitted by 2 f-stops, so a 200mm f2.8 becomes a 400mm f5.6, which is great. However, a 200mm f4 lens will become a 400mm f8, and none of the cameras mentioned will auto-focus at f8, so the AF advantages won’t do her any good… and the only advantage to the 60 or 7D would be higher fps (over the T2i, I mean).

      Even if she’s using a 200mm f2.8 (an expensive lens) with the teleconverter, she’ll actually get better image quality and AF performance from a lens like the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6. While it is not an absolutely perfect lens, it will provide better image quality than a doubled 200mm, because a teleconverter doubles the base-camera’s optical flaws (ie, more chromatic aberration, more border softness, etc). But if she’s using an f4 lens right now, using a lens like the 100-400 will change her shooting experience entirely.

      So, the 7D is a great option, but there might actually be a greater advantage to choosing a new lens, instead.

      Hope that helps as much as it complicates things!

      – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew!

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on the 60d and t2i lately because I want an upgrade from the xti. I’ve read about the 7d, but feel I don’t have the need for such a ‘pro’ camera. I’m a student and have been told over and over to save on the body and invest in lenses. After reading your review, I feel that both cameras are about the same. Since photography is more of a hobby for me and I have no intentions of becoming a professional photog, I’m leaning towards buying the T2i. I mainly take night shots and landscapes… so if you were me… which camera would you get?


    • Hi Bev,

      It will really depend on how technical a photographer you are, and how you shoot. One of the major advantages of the 60D is its 9 cross type sensors, but it doesn’t sound like they will be a major benefit to your shooting style. The 60D is also a bit faster all around (faster frame rate, faster flash sync, faster shutter speeds), but again, these are rarely critical for the hobbyist…. and they’re all better numbers than pro photographers had at their fingertips in the 1980s… and they managed to do OK :) And indeed, the T2i has the same AF system as the Canon 5D MarkII, a camera used by many pros.

      So, that’s all just to say… unless you can think of something in your photography that would benefit specifically from the features of the 60D, then I’d also recommend getting the Rebel T2i and getting the best quality lenses that you can, and a good quality ball-head and tripod, if you don’t already have one.

      My one caveat is this: if you get both cameras in your hands and the 60D is a lot more comfortable to you, you might consider getting it instead; the feel of a camera can make a big difference in the way you approach photography, but in an intangible way that’s hard to quantify. Along the same lines, if you are the type of person that will always wish that you’d gotten the more expensive camera and not be satisfied with the T2i, that really is something important to consider. The way that you feel about your equipment has an effect on how you shoot, and the way that you FEEL is ultimately more important to your photography than the camera, period. I guess that might be two caveats :) Anyway, you should be able to get either camera and feel good about it… they’re both amazing machines… but you know yourself better than anyone!

      – Matthew

  • Canon hayyy when you learn that for several year ± os are you blowing the neck, I do not understand this new camera, with important developments, the most remarkable s articulated screen, the rest is already known and nothing else s. A polycarbonate instead of following the line ³ No magnesium alloys, such as Nikon D7000. At last I have over 20 year Canon ± os, and the truth that I like it all the politics being taken by the company (Canon). I’m sure many canon as I and others believe to be n the contrary, as is logical not be satisfied at all. Canon 60D, a failure (to clarify my opinion), I lean a blind eye to the new Nikon D7000. I hope the next-Canon camera know put the lid on his arch rival Nikon. Greetings.

    • Awesome :) What were you shooting before? So far, I’ve heard almost exclusively good things about the 60D from people who have tried them, which is always a good sign.

      – Matt

  • Thanks for this article! It’s very useful to me. I’m looking into buying my first ever SLR and I’ve been feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed. All the things you’ve written really help.
    Thanks! :-)

    • Hi Sara,

      Happy to be able to help :) If you get a chance, you might want to consider joining the community here! Its only been functional for 2 days, so not many people have signed up yet… so the more the better :) , and it will be a good place to learn stuff and get feedback on your pictures, if you choose to share them.

      – Matthew

  • Thank you, Matthew, for your excellent comparison!

    MAJOR ITEM # 1

    Perhaps your comparison chart could have one more important category:

    “Ability to use Canon flashes as off-camera slave units.”

    7D: Included for free – Built in
    60D: $225 optional extra Canon List Price = $350 for Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2
    T2i: $225 optional extra

    The 580 EX II can also control off camera slave flashes, but the flash must be mounted on the camera which defeats the use of it being used off camera making it just a much more expensive Speedlite ST-E2 Transmitter. Don’t forget that the 580 EX II weighs more than one pound to lug around on top of the camera when you’re trying to get those beautiful candid shots of the kids. This is a MAJOR advantage to buy the 7D. Off camera flash with the 430 EX II ($280 street) is almost always better than straight on or bounce and is used by most serious portrait photographers.

    Found the following info at:

    Using one of 4 available channels, take complete control of up to 3 groups of flashes with ratios of up to 8:1. Flash settings are controlled from the 7D’s menu which includes an extensive range of controls for both the built in and remote flashes including ±3 stops FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation – the 50D has ±2 stops FEC).

    I found the remote transmitter capability of the 7D to work fine with two Canon 580EX II Flashes and a Canon 430EX II Flash. E-TTL II auto exposures were accurate and even non-line-of-site control worked indoors in certain setups.

    Also, here’s a blog site with 82,000 members “dedicated exclusively” to off camera flash photography called the “Strobist.”

    If you’re serious about portrait work, the 7D is the choice just for this option.

    MAJOR ITEM # 2

    When upgrading from a Rebel camera only the 450D / Rebel XSi and newer have the SD memory cards. The 300D / Rebel, 350D / Rebel XT and 400D / Rebel XTi have Compact flash, so when upgrading from an older Rebel that’s a second good reason to get the 7D. Your list as reason # 3 why to buy a 60D is only partly true. For some it’s a reason to get the 7D.

    I still own and am only using my Rebel XT with the 430 EX II flash. Your research has convinced me to get the 7D or wait for the next iteration of the 7D. Maybe it will have video continuous auto focus like the just released Nikon D7000. Canon won’t let Nikon be ahead for one day more than they absolutely need to. Don’t think your D7000 vs 7D article mentions the slave flash benefit either.

    • Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the additional input regarding off-camera flash. I’ve been a frequent reader of the Strobist myself for a couple of years. I’ve actually been thinking about adding more detail about flash in general, but it’s one of those subjects than can get out of control pretty quickly. I recall buying an SB-24 in 1992, and the manual was 200 pages (to cover all of the details of the system possibilities). But I’m sure you’re right… there’s probably a reasonable way to distill and compare some of this info, particularly between models from the same manufacturer.

      It’s interesting that you mention continuous focus on the D7000. I’ve been doing some reading at some DSLR Film-makers’ forums, and find that they generally have no interest in it… though there are always exceptions. Mostly, though, they point out that even high-end video cameras will search sometimes, and it would completely ruin a scene if the camera suddenly decided to search for focus… so film makers use manual focus, even when auto is available. But of course, most of us are not film-makers, and we’re just looking for a higher-grade version of what we normally get from our point and shoots :)

      – Matthew

  • 50D: 9 cross-type high-precision sensors for accurate target subject acquisition and diagonal center cross-type AF point with f/2.8 and faster lenses.

    60D: 9 (Cross-type, Center AF point with dual cross sensor for f/2.8)

    Pasted from Canon


    Posted from storyline above

    # You shoot a lot of action. The 9 cross-type focusing points are a major improvement over the previous cameras in this series (40D, 50D, etc) and the Rebel series, and will help tremendously when focusing on action or in low contrast situations.

    No thanks for the misinformation. Like a candidate for the senate you must realize people can go to the internet to get information that the journalist forgot to do.

    • Hi Parker,

      Thanks for pointing out the mistake. I think that I actually had the 5D MarkII in mind when I wrote that, but either way… I apologize for the sloppy sentence. It has now been corrected.

      For those of you reading this, for clarification: the Rebel T2i and the 5D Mark II both have 9 point AF systems, but only the center is cross-type. The 40D, 50D, and now the 60D have 9 points, all cross-type, and the 7D has 19 cross-type.

      – Matthew

    • Hi Raham,

      I don’t really do much with video, to be honest. The cameras are virtually identical in their abilities, though… same resolutions and frame-rates. The controls are a little different, and of course, the 60D has an articulated LCD, which some may find useful. I believe that the HDMI output on the T2i only outputs SD during video recording, so to get better resolution for focusing, you’re better off connecting the camera to a laptop via USB, which will give you full resolution monitoring in real time. I haven’t had a chance to test this with the 60D yet, though. In any case, the cameras are very similar when it comes to video. Obviously neither is as good as the 5D MarkII, but they’re quite a bit less expensive. You might want to take a look at my article comparing the video capabilities for some of the popular Canon models, here:

      – Matthew

  • Thanks very much for your comparison of Canon 60D/7D/RebelT2i. The review was clarifying with regard to differences. I have a semi-serious hobby that involves shooting moving targets located usually miles away and always at night. I use telescopes for lenses so those great autofocus features are of no help. I must manually focus the scope and using the view finder to achieve precise focus is difficult to accomplish in the dark. So I have resorted to using live-view even though it kills my night vision (everything is a trade off). The end product I am after is video as well as stills, but I have never found a camcorder that is worth a darn in my dark shooting environment. So I shoot stills with a Canon 40D using live-view and then string images together to create video. It works, but availability of selectable HD video on the three cameras you reviewed here is enticing. Given my unique photography requirement, I am still unsure which camera would offer the best value for my purposes. Any suggestions you might have in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Jim,

      That’s tricky. Since you’re not using AF lenses, that takes the importance of the AF system out of the picture… so I’d drop the 7D (unless you’re also really rough on your cameras and need the metal body). The 60D has the articulated LCD, which I could imagine being useful if you’re using it to focus, but that’s up to you to decide under your shooting conditions. There isn’t a whole lot else to separate the 60D and T2i. The 60D is a bit faster (more fps if you’re shooting bursts), if that’s important. I think that in your position, I’d probably consider the T2i, but I’d probably go with the 60D.

      However, if image quality is really your main focus, the 5D Mark II has the best low-light image quality in Canon’s line-up. The down side is that it’s twice as expensive as the 60D, and it uses a full frame sensor, which would reduce the effective magnification of your scopes quite a bit (though it is 21 megapixels, so it can be enlarged a bit more, too). But it’s something to keep in mind.

      Incidentally, here’s another focusing option for you. If you have a laptop, you can use Canon’s software to connect to one of these cameras via USB (which provides better resolution than HDMI) and use your laptop screen in live view. Just a thought. Quite a bit worse for your night vision, though :)

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      PS- I’m curious now… if you feel like giving me a bit more info about what you’re shooting, drop me an email :)

  • Hi Matthew,

    So after writing question after question in response to this comparison and deleting them over and over I’ve finally narrowed it down to one. How ‘bad’ is the auto focus system on the 60D compared to the 7D?

    I’ve been dying to upgrade from my Rebel XTi and although I am far from a professional I have friends and acquaintances who would like me to shoot for them (mostly for free) and I really want to produce near to professional images. Your comment about your lack of confidence in the 60D’s auto focus capabilities in comparison with the 7D is making me question if the 60D is going to cut it or if I will be pushing the 60D into the dreaded used camera market 6 months later.

    • Hey Kyle,

      Sorry for the delay; I’m in Colorado/Utah/Arizona at the moment, on an extended photo expedition, and have limited internet access.

      Here’s the thing about the AF system on the Canon 60D : It’s better than the AF system on the Canon 5D Mark II, the 40D and 50D, and most of the other semi-pro models that have come before it. The 7D essentially has the same AF system as the 1D series, which is awesome for sports photographers, but generally overkill for everyone else.

      So, I guess the answer there is, the AF system SHOULD be all that you need on the 60D, unless you’re a heavy-duty sports and action photographer (and it doesn’t sound like you are). Even then, it will still be a great system, just not the very best.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • Hey Matthew,

        Thanks for the reply. Can’t wait to actually get my hands on a 60D to see for myself if I feel if it’s finally the upgrade I’ve been waiting for, I’m really anxious to get a new camera. I do have another question though..

        Do you see a D90 replacement in the near future blowing the current Canons (60D, maybe 7D) out of the water? I love my Canon because it’s so user friendly, and the ability to use L glass is very appealing but I have noticed that Nikons just seem to be more of a “photographer’s camera” in terms of build quality and ergonomics (even the shutter seems to cause less camera shake).

        I have owned my XTi for quite a while now and although I’m dying to upgrade, I am very weary of having buyers remorse in a year. I am very anxious to do some amateur cinematography and I don’t see Nikon attempting to compete in that area but I know they’re probably going to make some strides in terms of dynamic range and noise control. Would you suggest I hold out and see what Nikon does or should the 60D do me justice for another 2 years?


        • Hey Kyle,

          Actually, the Nikon D7000 was just announced. It’s actually very similar to the 60D. It still has a slightly lower resolution sensor (16 mpix), but Nikon did finally step up to full 1080p video, and overall, it seems like it will be stiff competition for the 60D. The Nikon has some absurd number of focusing points (39, if I’m not mistaken), but only 9 are cross-type, just like the 60D.

          The one selling point for me (for the Nikon) is that it has a metal body, unlike the Canon. I prefer the feel and the weight in my hands of metal construction (though I’ve been hiking for the past few weeks, and definitely prefer the weight of polycarbonate). It also has full-time auto-focus, which is a big plus (and will most likely help when it comes to video).

          Anyway, I haven’t received my test model yet, so time will tell what the image quality difference is between the 60D and teh4 D7000, but I expect that it will not be earth-shattering. The price seems to be pretty comparable to the 60D, too.

          I’ve been shooting with Nikon quite a bit over the past 3 years, and I really like them in many ways. I also shoot Canon quite a bit, and find that they’re usually more comfortable for me. As a journalist, most of the sports photographers that I knew shot Canon, and that still seems to be the case, though perhaps not to such a high degree. But many photographers (especially those who use a lot of flash) love Nikon as well. I think it’s a useless debate to try to claim that one is better than the other… they’re both great. The important thing is to get a camera, and get REALLY familiar with it. Know where each button and dial is, and know how to make your camera do everything you need with your eyes closed. The most important thing, after all, is what’s going on behind the camera.

          – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew, this is the best comparison that I’ve seen since the release of the 60D. I wanted to upgrade from my first SLR, a Sony 200 Alhpa to another brand. I thought of buying the Nikon D300S, Nikon D5000 or Canon 550D. It was a quite difficult decision. The price gap was large and I ended up thinking that the D5000 and 550D is still at entry level. Just then the 60D arrived on the scene. Some of the reviews that I read mentioned it as “entry level” and I wanted to do a step up. I think after reading your views that I now feel so much better and will go for the 60D. Thanks for this very helpful information. Regards Luna

  • Hello Matthew. Hope you still remember me as the 400D user who was once considering the 7D or the 5DM2.

    When the 60D was announced. Myself and a couple of mates got together to talk about this camera. We use the 400D, 1000D, 40D and 50D bodies. We all came to the same conclusion is to avoid 60D entirely.

    In our opinion, the 60D is neither here nor there. If we really did buy the 60D, we all know we will have nightmares of “If could have been the 7D, if we were willing to save for a few more months.”. Therefore we would rather wait.

    If you have saw the recent Badminton World championship held in Paris. You would notice some court side photographer are using 7D to shoot the game.

    • Hi Simon,

      I do remember (and I think I still owe you a white balance article). I think that there’s no doubt that the 7D is a professional level camera, while the 60D is intended for the advanced amateur. However, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are quite a few people in this world (especially students) for whom an extra $400-500 is a considerable amount of money… and it would buy a nice flash or lens or tripod or …. I can see this camera fitting in very well for those people.

      I agree, though, that I’d probably end up saving a little extra and buying the 7D if the choice were mine, because my shooting style really would demand it.

      And if I were buying a backup body for shooting weddings, this would be my first choice. I expect the same image quality as the 7D, but I’d be happy to pay $500 less for a camera that will most likely sit in the bottom of my camera bag except for perhaps one day a year :) The 9 cross-type focus points make this camera really very superior to all of the previous models in the X0D line, and most likely even the 5D Mark II when it comes to focusing on action. Definitely worth the extra 2 or 3 hundred dollars over having to use a “Rebel” as a backup.

      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew,
        The 60D does have its merits and I am sure there will be a huge followings of this body.

        When looking for a camera body. I supposed it is all come down to three words — Return of Investment. Your job being a pro can afford you to have the 60D as backup. My wife would kill me if I pull a stunt like that.

        My camera search did thought me to understand my shooting requirements better and avoid all the marketing hype. Sometime back, someone offered me a 1DM3 for the price of 5DM2. I instantly fell in love with the 1DM3 when I tried it out.

        Took me 2 weeks to turn down the offer. Till today I still have a sense of regret, but I rather keep 2400 USD in the bank account. The purchase would have given me ZERO return of investment as I have not been able to get any shooting jobs lately.

        What I have learned from your site is that buying camera equipments is not about cold hard logic and many more times emotions that defy logic as well. Getting over the emotion part is the toughest.

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