The kit lens offering on the 60D is a nice choice, particularly for someone moving into a DSLR for the first time. The 18-135mm zoom offers a focal range of about 29-216mm in 35mm film equivalents with the 60D's 1.6x crop factor, yet the entire lens and body package is fairly light and makes a nice walking about setup.
The 60D powers up promptly - sensor cleaning is on by default at power up/power down, but a half push of the shutter to acquire focus shortcuts this process and you can shoot as quickly as you can focus after power up.
Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)
|Canon EOS 60D||0.02|
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)
|Canon EOS 60D||0.20|
|Nikon D7000||19||6.4 fps
|Pentax K-r||29||6.4 fps
|Canon EOS 60D||111||5.2 fps
|Olympus E-5||120||5.0 fps
*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera's fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). "Frames" notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.
Single shot-to-shot times were quick - about 0.6 seconds - and basically could be managed as fast as you could focus and shoot. We measured shutter lag at 0.02 seconds and AF acquisition time as 0.2 seconds in the studio. Continuous shooting rates came out at 5.2 fps - the 50D manages over 6 fps, so a net loss here for the 60D, possibly due to those larger file sizes coming out of the higher resolution sensor. Still, 5 fps can capture some nice sequences:
While it might be a fair guess that those advanced amateurs targeted by the 60D would have liked to see more than a carryover of the 9 point AF system from the 50D, the system did a fairly credible job overall. Tracking moving subjects was good, particularly when they were moving across the field of view, and not too bad when they were approaching or receding from the camera. I often use gulls as subjects for AF tracking tests since they tend to fly a fairly stable course but present a small target when moving towards or away from the camera. Here's a tough sequence of a gull with a busy background - the 60D got three of four shots right.
The built-in flash of the 60D has a guide number of 43 feet at 100 ISO - this translates to approximately a 12 foot flash range at the kit lens's f/3.5 maximum aperture. The ability to increase ISO sensitivity while retaining good noise performance allows DSLR built-in flashes to extend their range significantly with relatively little noise penalty, and the 60D is no exception. Flash recycle times were quick, about 3.5 seconds at worst.
If you remember back in the shooting modes there was a flash off option in the basic zone. The 60D seemed a bit more prone to deploy the flash automatically in the full auto mode than other DSLRs I've reviewed, to the point where it began to become annoying at times. Even outdoors, if the scene was leaning toward the dimmer end of the spectrum or had light/dark contrast areas, there was a good chance the 60D would deploy the flash, even though it would have no effect on the shot.
Battery life is listed as about 1100 shots using a CIPA standard - the 60D can also accept a BG-E9 battery grip that allows the use of a second LP-E6 battery and approximately doubles the life; AAs may be substituted for the LP-E6 batteries and provide a life of about 470 shots.
The 60D is compatible with over 60 Canon EF and EF-S lenses. Maximum apertures on our 18-135mm kit lens are f/3.5 and 5.6 at the wide and telephoto ends, respectively, and close focus distance at wide angle is about 19.32 inches. Better still, the 18-135 drops that distance to about 17.76 inches at telephoto, which gives a fairly decent close up capability for larger subjects like flowers without having to resort to a dedicated macro lens.
There is some fairly distinct barrel distortion (verging on moustache distortion) present at the wide end of the zoom which goes away at about 24mm - then a milder pincushion distortion appears once you move past 24 and on out to telephoto. Corners and edges are a bit softer at wide angle, but performance in this regard is good. Telephoto is about the same as the wide end.
Chromic aberration (purple fringing) is present at both ends of the zoom, a bit more so at the telephoto end. In either case the effect is fairly well controlled and is relatively hard to detect except at enlargements in the 200% and up range.
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