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Canon EOS 60D Digital Camera Review$1,099.00
Our first test looks at the amount of noise in images, and how well the camera deals with this. The 60D offers 4 levels of noise reduction, ranging from disabled to strong. As the graph above shows, the noise climbs as the ISO increases, but the noise reduction can reduce it somewhat when on the higher settings. There is a price to pay, though: the images loose some detail that the camera confuses with noise.
If we look at the noise in the different color channels with the NR disabled, we can see there the red noise is a little higher than others, but not significantly. More on how we test noise.
The normal ISO range of the 60D goes from 100 up to 6400 by default, but this can be expanded up to ISO 12800 by enabling a custom function. We have included samples with this expanded range below, but Canon does not enable it by default for a reason: images get rather noisy above ISO 1600.
The 60D offers 9 focus points arranged in a diamond shape around the center of the frame, with one point in the center of the frame. All of these points are the cross type, but the center focus point is a dual cross type, which is more effective with both horizontal and vertical edges: Canon claims double the sensitivity for the center point over the others. 9 focus points is significantly less than many other cameras: the Sony SLT-A55 offers 15, and the Canon 7D offers 19, which provides more flexibility in choosing where in the frame to focus. Also missing is the zone system of the 7D, which allows the user to select a zone of AF points to use.
Switching between the focus points is done by pressing the set button. The user can then select an individual point with the control dial or the directional pad, or select all points so the camera will get as many into focus as possible.
There are three focusing modes on offer: One Shot, AI Focus, and AI Servo.
In our long exposure test, we look at how the color accuracy and noise levels change as the camera takes images with exposure times of between 1 and 30 seconds. Many cameras struggle here, but we found that the 60D did well: shooting in low light with an ISO of 400, the noise actually seemed to decrease as the exposure time increased. We also look at if the cameras built-in long exposure noise reduction reduced the image noise: the answer for the 60D was that it did reduce the noise, but only very slightly. More on how we test long exposure.
We found that the color error did climb as the shutter speed got longer, with the largest color error at a 30 second exposure. But the climb was minor, and the color error remained comparatively low across the shutter speed range.
We also look at the amount of noise in our test images, and we found that the amount of noise fell as the shutter speed increased. Enabling the long exposure noise reduction did reduce the amount of noise in images, but only by a small amount. It also slows the shooting speed, as it works by taking another exposure with the shutter closed and subtracting this from the real image (a technique called dark field subtraction). This means that, with a 30 second exposure, you have to wait another 30 seconds after the shot is taken for the camera to take the second one before you can see the final image or shoot another one.
Video: Low Light Sensitivity
The Canon 60D needed 8 lux of light to pass our sensitivity test, which is a fine score for the DSLR camera. It's the same amount of light that the Canon 7D needed in this test, though, so it appears Canon didn't make any improvements (or worsen) the video low light sensitivity on its new DSLR.