For a decade, Canon's bread-and-butter mid-line DSLRs (originally an historic breakthrough, in May of 2000) have progressed in a smooth and steady fashion: D30—>D60—>10D—>20D—>30D—>40D—>50D. Then a slight shift was observed with the 7D, a higher-spec camera below the pro models but above the 50D, which it did not replace.
Now Canon has let the other shoe drop, so to speak, completing the bifurcation of the middle of its lineup. The new 18-MP 60D, while still representing an advance in the way of competence and features, is distinctly smaller than the 50D and its forebears, and gains an articulated screen (somewhat curiously, often seen as an "amateur" feature)—positioning a "lower middle" and "upper middle" in Canon's lineup. (This is possibly in response to upstart Sony, which has flooded the entry- and mid-levels with semi-redundant models—many with articulated screens. It might also be a response to Pentax's K-7 ($870), a full-featured, weatherproof semi-pro body of nicely compact dimensions.)
So who is this new model for? Shouldn't take a genius to figure that out. It's for those who want a better-made and more prestigious camera than the (also very capable) entry-level T2i, but who don't want to commit to the semi-pro Canon 7D.
It also strikes us, given our prejudices, as a pretty juicy new option for dedicated amateurs devoted to the "have it with you" school of thought. Smaller size and an articulated viewing screen being just what the doctor would have ordered.
Price, $1100; availability, a month from now. For a rundown of features and upgrades, here's the press release.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by George Feucht: "As a cinematographer, I have witnessed the massive takeover of HD acquisition by 7D's and 5Dm2's. My wife is currently working on an 'America's Most Wanted' episode being shot on the 7D. You would not believe the budget levels of productions now shooting on DSLRs. (The 'House' episode shot on the 5D was a bit of a gimmick, because they wanted razor-thin depth of field for that specific episode.)
"Anyway, having shot motion picture on a 7D and 5D, one of the biggest complaints is viewing the image while camera operating. An articulated screen has been the wish of anyone shooting HD on one of these things. (Ditching the highly-compressed h264 video codec is my next wish).
"Since the 60D does everything video-wise that the 7D does but now has an articulated screen, these things will sell like hotcakes to independent (and increasingly not-so-independent) filmmakers.
"Now about that crappy codec, Canon..."
Featured Comment by Edwin: "Canon is just rationalizing its line-up. Compare its line-up with Nikon's:
- D3100: T2i.
- D90: 60D.
- D300s: 7D.
- D700: 5DII.
- D3s: 1DIV.
- D3x: 1DsIII.
Perfect match. Before the 7D, the 50D was slotted in between. No wonder the 60D is more D90-like than D300-like."