Review: Canon EOS-D60
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Thursday, April 11, 2002
Monday, April 15, 2002
months of playing with boring point-and-shoot cameras, how could
I pass up a chance to use Canon's latest digital SLR, the EOS-D60
($2199)? This camera is an update to the popular EOS-D30, with the
biggest change being the new 6.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor. The resolution
of the D60 is so high, you could make billboard-sized prints!
other digital cameras, the D30 and D60 use a CMOS sensor instead
of a CCD. One of the big advantages of the CMOS is noise-- there
isn't any. When doing long exposures, the D60 doesn't need to do
any noise reduction.
is a lot of competition for the D60 on the horizon: the Sigma SD9
(which uses the Foveon X3 sensor), the Nikon D100, and Fuji FinePix
S2 Pro are all coming this summer.
it sounds like I'm going to like this camera, you're right. Here's
in the Box?
EOS-D60 can come in two different packages. The one you'll probably
want is the "kit" version for $2199, which includes everything
you need. However, if you don't need the battery, AC adapter, or
battery charger, a $1999 basic version is also available. Items
in bold only come on the $2199 version. Here's what you'll
find in the box
6.3 (effective) Mpixel Canon EOS-D60 camera
Li-ion rechargeable battery pack
Power Adapter (battery charger)
coupler (used like an AC adapter)
featuring EOS Digital Solution Disk 2.0 and Adobe Photoshop LE
page camera manual + software manual (both printed)
first thing to understand about all digital SLRs is this -- they
do not include lenses. Some resellers will have bundles which include
lenses, but usually it's just the body only. If you've already got
some Canon EF lenses sitting around, you're ready to go, they should
work without issue. For those (like me) who don't own any Canon
lenses, the purchase of such a camera gets expensive quickly.
thing not included is a memory card of any kind. The D60 supports
the IBM Microdrive, and it's what I'd recommend picking up. Do note
that Microdrives are power hungry, and will drain the batteries
faster than a standard CompactFlash card.
D60 uses the same BP-511 battery as the PowerShot G1, G2, EOS-D30,
and some Canon camcorders. This 7.4V, 1100mAh battery has a total
power rating of 8.1 Watt/hours (Wh) which is pretty darn impressive.
When you combine a high power battery with a camera that doesn't
use the LCD nearly as often as most digicams, you get impressive
battery life. Canon estimates that you can take 620 shots per charge,
if you don't use the flash. If you do, the number falls to about
490, which is still great. In my own use of the D60, the battery
seemed to last forever. I'm not a big fan of expensive proprietary
batteries but if you can afford a camera this expensive, buying
an extra battery or two isn't a big deal.
adapter with batteries
you buy the $2199 kit, you'll get the CA-PS400 "Compact Power
Adapter", which is a fancy way of saying battery charger. This
puppy can hold two BP-511 batteries at a time, though it charges
them one at a time. It takes about 90 minutes to recharge each battery.
you want to plug the camera into the wall, Canon includes a DC coupler,
which is essentially a battery with a cord sticking out of it, that
plugs into the battery charger.
far as accessories go, if you can name any one accessory, it exists.
Want a different eyecup? Done. Flashes? Take your pick. Filters,
flashes, carrying cases, and more are all available. And don't forget
Canon EOS Digital Solution Disk includes the usual software: ImageBrowser,
PhotoStitch, Remote Capture, and RAW Image Converter. There's also
TWAIN drivers for Photoshop, and a USB Mounter for the Mac. The
camera is *not* compatible with Mac OS X at this time, nor is the
software. You will need to use a card reader, reboot into Mac OS
9, or wait for Apple to get it fixed, before you can connect. Canon
has a Mac OS X native version of ImageBrowser and PhotoStitch that
will be sold for $19.95 through their customer service department.
Canon also includes a version of Adobe Photoshop LE with the D60.
D60's manual isn't as user-friendly as their PowerShot manuals,
but it sure is complete. Everything you ever wanted to know about
your camera is here.
EOS-D60 is a traditional SLR camera -- most people won't even know
it's digital unless they catch you looking at the LCD. The body
is very well built and it feels perfect in your hands -- Canon has
been making these for a long time, you can tell. The camera is definitely
heavy (not nearly as much as the EOS-1D), but it's par for the course
when it comes to digital SLRs.
official dimensions of the camera, sans lens, are 5.9 x 4.2
x 3.0 inches (WxHxD), and it weighs 780 grams totally empty. Let's
take a tour of the D60 now, starting with the front of the camera.
removed the lens so you can get a look at the EF mount. Any Canon
EF lenses you have will work. One thing to keep in mind is that
you must multiply the lens focal length by 1.6 to find the "effective"
focal length on the D60. For example, a 50mm lens is really an 80mm
lens on the D60.
to the right of the lens mount is the lens release button. To the
northwest of the lens mount is the AF illuminator which doubles
as the self-timer lamp.
the lens mount, you can see the built-in flash on the D60. The working
range of this flash depends on many things, including the ISO setting
and what lens you're using. At ISO 100 on a 24 - 85 mm lens (which
is what I used), the range is 1.0 - 3.4 m at wide-angle, and 1.0
- 2.6 m at telephoto.
the built-in flash doesn't do it for you, the D60 has a hot shoe
as well. More on that later.
the back of this beast. The D60 has a 1.8" LCD display which
displays your pictures quite nicely. Here's another possible wake-up
call about digital SLRs: you cannot preview images on the
LCD before they are taken! The only time you see a picture on the
LCD is after it has been taken!
thing that will happen with the LCD is nose smudges. Buying a larger
eyecup would probably take care of that problem.
optical viewfinder is huge, and covers 95% of the frame. There is
an information line at the bottom, which shows exposure info and
settings. Also, there are three boxes in the middle of the frame
which show the points that the camera is focusing on. A diopter
correction wheel (not seen here) will help out those with less than
switch directly to the left of the optical viewfinder is the power
switch for the camera. The on/off switch to the southeast of the
viewfinder turns that command dial on and off.
are five buttons to the left of the LCD, and thankfully, they don't
have a million functions each. From top to bottom:
- shows settings in record mode, or exposure info + histogram
in playback mode
- quickly jump through photos in playback mode
- toggles between full screen image, 9 thumbnail mode, and zoom
& scroll in playback mode
- enters playback mode
button below the LCD will delete the current photo on the LCD. Don't
worry, it'll ask first.
big wheel on the back is known as the "Quick Control Dial".
It will be used for menu navigation and changing settings. The button
in the middle ("Set") will accept a setting in the menus,
or turn on the backlight on the LCD info display that you'll see
in a moment.
you see when you press the "Info" button
are two more buttons, whose labels you cannot see here, located
at the northeast corner of the camera. The one on the left is the
AE/FE (exposure / flash exposure) lock button, and the on the right
enters manual focus point selection. You can redefine what the AE/FE
lock button does via the custom settings menu (more on that later).
The manual focus point selection feature will let you choose between
three preset focus points.
we're moving on, to the top of the camera. There's plenty to see
here, so I'll work my way from left to right.
on the left side is the mode wheel, which has many choices. There
are task-specific modes ("scene modes") and general shooting
modes. Here goes:
(auto depth of field)
priority (Av) mode
priority (Tv) mode
what are all those? hopefully the last six are self-explanatory.
So I'll tell you about the others.
depth-of-field mode will attempt to put all subjects, even at varying
distances, in focus. For example, you may want this mode if you're
taking a picture of a group of people where everyone is in different
places in the frame.
mode will let the camera pick the best shutter speed and aperture,
while giving you control over all the other settings. This is in
contrast with Auto mode, which is basically a point-and-shoot mode.
you want control over aperture, you can use aperture priority mode,
where you pick the aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed.
The aperture range will vary according to your lens.
priority mode is the exact opposite of aperture priority mode. You
will have a choice of shutter speeds ranging from 30 - 1/4000 seconds,
and the camera will pick the aperture. There is also a bulb mode,
where the shutter is kept open for as long as the shutter release
button is pressed. This feature works best with a remote shutter
release (of which there are many available).
manual mode lets you choose both the shutter speed and aperture.
along in our tour now. Right at the center of the picture, you can
see the D60's hot shoe. The D60 is fully compatible with Canon's
EX-series Speedlites. If you want to use a non-Canon flash, you're
doing so at your own risk. It may or may not work correctly.
towards the right, we reach the LCD info display, and more buttons.
First, the buttons. Unlike the EOS-1D, you don't have to hold these
down to make changes. You press them once, and you have 6 seconds
to make changes. Depending on what you want to change, you'll use
either the main or the quick control dials. The buttons change:
(Evaluative, partial, center-weighted average)
exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV, 1/3EV increments)
(Single-frame, continuous shooting, self-timer)
mode (One shot, AI servo)
balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, flash,
surprisingly, the D60 features a host of white balance choices,
including a manual mode. One difference between the D60 and much
more expensive EOS-1D is that you cannot manually set a color temperature.
one shot AF mode is the one you'll use for everyday shooting. AI
servo is for action shots, when objects in constantly in motion.
I used this for many of the basketball
pictures I took.
shooting mode will take up to 8 photos at either 2.5 or 3 frames/second
(depending on the focus mode you're using).
other items around the LCD info display include the shutter release
button and the main control dial. And that leaves us with the LCD
info display. Here's a closer look.
so this is not the greatest picture of it, but you get the idea.
This display shows just about every option under the sun. Here it's
shown white balance (Auto), shutter speed and aperture, quality
and resolution, self-timer, metering, focus mode, beep, battery
life, and exposure compensation. That's a lot of stuff!
nice thing is that by pressing the "set" button, you can
turn on a backlight for the display.
this side of the camera, there are a couple of things to notice.
Just to the right of the lens mount, there are two buttons (three
if you count the lens release). The top one will pop-up the flash,
while the bottom one is used to preview the depth of field.
to the right, under a rubber cover, you'll find all the I/O ports
on the D60. Let's take a closer look.
bottom two ports are for external flash sync (left) and remote shutter
release (right). Above that you'll find USB and video out ports.
illustrates one big difference between the D60 and the really
expensive D-SLRs: no FireWire. The EOS-1D and Nikon D1X use FireWire
to transfer photos to your Mac or PC. Here you're "stuck"
with USB, which is considerably slower.
on the other side, you'll find the CompactFlash slot, which is behind
a reinforced plastic door. This is a Type II slot, so the Microdrive
(not included) is fully supported.
the door while the camera will shut it off. If it's still recording
images to the CF card, it will stop doing that too.
the bottom of the camera, you'll find a metal tripod mount as well
as the battery compartment. There's an additional compartment for
a watch battery that stores your cameras settings.
the Canon EOS-D60
D60's startup time depends on the memory card being used, but it's
still snappy. It took about 2.5 seconds with a 128MB CF card, and
3 seconds with a 1gb Microdrive. Auto-focus is fast (0.5 sec) when
there's a good amount of light, but when there's less light it can
take two seconds or more, especially if the AF illuminator is used.
Shutter lag is virtually nonexistent.
I was doing my action shots at the basketball
game and at Fort Point (see surfing pictures in the gallery),
the camera was quick enough to capture the action.
EOS-D60 does not have a TIFF mode. Rather, it uses a lossless RAW
format, which you then process on your computer (and can then export
to other formats). The big advantage of RAW is the file size: it's
at least a third of the size of a TIFF. You can also fool around
with the exposure settings with a RAW file, since it's the raw CCD
take a look at the many image size and quality choices on the D60:
Images on 128MB card
3072 x 2048
2048 x 1360
1536 x 1024
that RAW mode only works at the Large size. If you want to know
how many photos the 1gb Microdrive can store, just multiply the
last column by 8.
let's talk menus. The D60 has just one menu which contains options
for recording, playback, and setup. Each is designated with a color:
red, green, and yellow, respectively. You maneuver through the menus
with the big dial on the back of the camera, and use the set button
to select items. The menu choices are:
(see chart above)
bracketing - auto exposure bracketing, in 1/2EV steps
speed (100, 200, 400, 800, 1000)
WB - use a white or gray card to set manual white balance
(Standard, Set 1, 2, 3, Set up) - store your custom settings
here for easy access
- prevent images from being deleted
- rotates an image
Order - DPOF print marking
playback - slideshow
power off (1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30 mins, off)
(on/off) - is picture shown on LCD after it is taken?
time (2, 4, 8 sec, hold) - if so, for how long?
brightness (Standard, bright)
- set it here
numbering (Continuous, auto reset)
(English, German, French, Japanese)
system (NTSC, PAL)
- format memory card
functions (see below)
function reset - changes them all back to default settings
version - shows the current firmware version. Mine was 1.0.0
how about those custom settings now? These really let you customize
your D60. Here goes:
Shutter button / AE lock button - define what these buttons do,
in terms of AE and AF lock
Mirror lockup (on/off) - lock the mirror out of the way when you
need an ultra-steady shot
TV/Av and exposure level (1/2, 1/3-stop increments) - Change how
precise these are
AF-assist beam/flash firing (Emits/fires, Does not emit/fires,
only ext. flash emits/fires, emits/does not fire) - for messing
with the AF illuminator and the flash
Shutter speed in Av mode with flash (Auto, fixed at 1/200 sec)
AEB sequence/auto-cancellation - which order the shots are taken
in AE bracketing mode, and whether it turns off when done
Shutter curtain sync (1st, 2nd-curtain)
Lens AF stop button - used on some super-telephoto lenses
Auto reduction of fill flash (on/off)
Menu button return position (top, most recently set, most recently
set + save in memory) - the latter will remember the last menu
option, even when camera is turned off
SET button function when shooting (default, change quality, change
SO, select parameters)
Sensor cleaning (on/off)
Superimposed display (on/off) - whether or not focus points are
shown in viewfinder
Shutter release w/o CF card (on/off)
that's enough of that! On to photos now!
usual night shot location was fogged in, so I ended up here at City
Hall. As you'd expect, the camera had no trouble taking in the necessary
light to get a great shot. The shot above was a 30 second exposure
(view 8 second exposure).
But what really stood out was the complete lack of noise in the
shot. As I said back at the beginning of this review, the D60 doesn't
need any noise reduction tricks, because there's no noise to reduce.
There are a few mysterious specks, but overall, wow.
I didn't have a macro-capable lens, the usual Mickey statue isn't
in this review. But you can check out the above shot if you want
to inspect the details of my plastic fruit and vegetables. There
are some semi-closeups in the gallery
can you say about the D60 photo quality other than "stunning".
The photos I took with the D60 were incredible -- colors are deep,
there's no noise, edges are soft, and it's truly photo-realistic.
A few times, it seemed like the D60 underexposed the shot, but if
I tinkered with the settings, it would have been perfect. But don't
take my word for it, check out the standard
photo gallery plus the basketball
gallery, and judge for yourself!
self-respecting D-SLR would be caught dead with a movie mode!
playback mode on the D60 is actually pretty basic. The PowerShot
cameras have a better playback mode, but perhaps the people who
would be buying the D60 don't care?
already listed the basic playback features back in the menu section,
but here they are again: image protection, thumbnail mode, DPOF
print marking, and slideshows.
fancier features include image rotation and "zoom and scroll".
The zoom and scroll feature is poorly implemented. You hit the thumbnail/zoom
button and the camera goes to 9 thumbnail mode. You hit it again
and then it's in zoom and scroll mode. Unfortunately, that's it,
you can zoom at 3X and nothing else. You can use the big dial to
look around in the zoomed-in area.
can use the jump button to quickly move ahead 10 images (or 9 in
thumbnail mode), which is handy when you've got lots of pictures
on the memory card.
you'd expect, the D60 tells you plenty about the photos you've taken.
A histogram is also shown. The camera moves through images very
quickly, showing a low-res version instantly, with a high-res version
about a second later.
Does it Compare?
going to be frank in my conclusion (but aren't I always?). I currently
own (and very much love) an Olympus E-10. I'm also trying to find
room on my credit card to pay for a Canon EOS-D60. From the quality
construction, familiar SLR feel, responsive controls, and, of course,
superb photo quality, the D60 is at the top of my list. Of course,
at over $2,000, it's not going to be on many people's lists. But
if you're whether you're a pro photographer, or just a serious amateur
like myself, you want the D60. There's some competition on the horizon
from Sigma, Nikon, and Fuji, but for now, the D60 is king.
image quality (I'm running out of adjectives)
positively, no noise, even with 30 sec exposures
quality body is easy to hold
are more intuitive than on more expensive D-SLRs
in accessories, from flashes to lenses to remote controls
every manual control conceivable (though the EOS-1D has more)
Type II slot - Microdrive supported
good battery life
I didn't care for:
Mac OS X support (yet)
a great value, still too expensive for many people
wants me to send it back so they can let other people review it
D-SLR's to check out include the Canon EOS-D30 (the predecessor
to this one), the EOS-1D ($$$), the Fuji FinePix S1 and S2 Pro,
the Nikon D1X ($$$) and upcoming D100 (which looks to be a close
competitor to the D60).
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out
the D60 and it's competitors before you buy!