Canon EOS 60D Digital Camera Review$1,099.00
The Canon 60D uses the MPEG-4 codec to compress video, which is the same compression system utilized by the Canon 7D. These MPEG-4 clips are a bit different than the AVCHD files that you'll find on most consumer camcorders. For starters, you can drag and drop the MPEG-4 video clips right from a memory card onto your computer (and play them instantly). If you import them to certain editing programs, however, you'll have to render the clips before you can work with them fully.
The camera has multiple recording options, all of which are listed in the table below. There are two Full HD settings, a 720p HD mode, and a 640 x 480 standard definition record mode. There's also a 640 x 480 crop setting that is essentially a zoomed-in version of a 1920 x 1080 recording.The crop mode gives your video a 7x telephoto zoom effect that is essentially a digital zoom.
The Canon 60D also has another trick up its sleeve that may be advantageous to people who will be using the camera overseas. You can switch the video mode between NTSC and PAL in the camera's menu. When shooting in the PAL system, the frame rate options on the camera change from 24p to 25p and from 60p to 50p (30p is available in both PAL and NTSC). This feature will probably be ignored by most users, but certain advanced videographers should be pleased with its inclusion. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
The 60D offers mainly the same manual controls as the Canon 7D camera, which is to say it includes quite a bit. The 60D even added a few features, like the ability to change ISO during video recording, that make it the best video-capable DSLR we've seen in terms of how much control it offers.
The Canon 60D does not have a continual live autofocus feature, which is basically the one control the camera doesn't include. You can use autofocus in video mode, but you must press the AF button or hold the shutter button down halfway (like you'd do to focus a photo). This is annoying, but it is par for the course with video-capable DSLRs. Only new DSLR-esque cameras like the Micro Four Thirds models include continual autofocus features. If this is something that is very important for you to have, we recommend going with a camcorder instead—all of them have autofocus mechanisms that work quickly.
If you have the exposure mode set to auto on the 60D you cannot adjust shutter speed, aperture, or ISO manually. You can make basic exposure control adjustments with EV values, however. To access the shutter, aperture, and ISO controls you must switch the camera over to manual exposure mode in its menu.
How much zoom you get with the 60D depends on what kind of lens you have attached to the camera. The kit lens we used in our testing was an 18mm - 135mm, which is close to a 7.5x zoom. If you want more zoom, you can use the 640 x 480 crop record mode, which adds another 7x telephoto zoom to your video (it's a digital zoom, though).
There's no continual autofocus on the 60D, but you can manually focus using the large lens ring on the attached lens. This would be the recommended way to focus if you don't want the image to pop out of focus for a moment (it does this when you press the autofocus button), or if you really care about getting clean audio (the autofocus mechanism is very loud).
All of these controls can be accessed and adjusted manually on the 60D either during video recording or before you start recording. The controls are easy to set—you simply rotate the dedicated dials—and the camera has a long list of aperture and shutter options.
The 60D has full ISO controls in video mode and you can even adjust them during video recording. We're not sure how many users will actually want to adjust ISO while recording video, but we're still pleased to see this feature available (more control is usually not a bad thing).
The camera also includes an electronic level, highlight tone priority (three dynamic range options), a grid display, and picture style options (which we show examples of in the Video: Color & Noise section of this review). Of course, the camera also has a full set of white balance controls that can work in video mode.
Canon added some extra audio features to the 60D that weren't present on the Canon 7D last year. For starters, the 60D has a manual audio level adjustment feature for its onboard mic and it also offers a wind filter option for cutting down on wind-related noise. When you consider how noisy the 60D is when you use it, this manual audio level control doesn't really come across as all that useful. The onboard mic consistently picks up clicks from dials in addition to the very loud autofocus mechanism. So, adjusting the audio levels won't really do anything to eliminate the noise factor. If you want clean audio with the 60D, you'll have to make use of the 3.5mm external mic jack, which is a far more useful feature.