Photo packs have come a long way in the past decade, especially those that are targeted toward outdoor and adventure photographers. Alaska-based adventure photographer Dan Bailey takes a closer look...
The Canon EOS D60 is an update to the very popular EOS D30 first released in
October of 2000. Some of the key changes are:
Increased resolution from 3.1 Megapixels (2160x1440) to 6.3 Megapixels
Reduced shutter lag time to ~100ms
Improved buffer system
Highlighted AF points in viewfinder
Illuminated top LCD
Improved white balance
There are more changes, but these were all I needed to make the decision to
purchase this camera.
The body is a unique design from Canon, on par with the
Elan 7 or Elan 2. It is bulky, especially with the
optional BG-ED3 battery grip attached, yet is still ergonomic. It weighs almost
as much as an
EOS-3 and feels heavier than
The CMOS is the exact same size as that of the
D30, 15x23mm in size. This continues the 60% field of
view cropping we saw in the D30. Please note that the camera only crops your
field of view, the depth of field is not the same as the equivalent effective
focal length exposed on a full frame of 24x36mm film. Canon calls it a 1.6x focal
length multiplier which is an incorrect term. Your 200mm 2.8 lens becomes a 320mm
2.8 effectively, but still looks like a 200. This is great if you are a fan of
long lens shooting (that would be me), but is still a thorn in the side of wide
angle fans, as your 28mm becomes a 45mm roughly.
What is truly amazing is that to my eye, the noise level is the same as the
D30. Generally when you keep the imaging
sensor the same size but reduce the size of the photosites your noise increases.
This can be easily seen by comparing same images from the Canon S30 and S40,
and other cameras. According to tests done at
DPReview.com the D60 has equivalent noise levels up
to ISO 400, and only slight increases in noise vs. the
D30 after that. I've made prints up to 12x18 as of
this review on an Agfa D-Lab 2 digital minilab system at ISO 1000 that didnt
exhibit noise above and beyond a similiar speed negative film.
The nearest competitor in resolution is the Kodak DSC-760 digital camera. It
too is a 6.3 megapixel slr, but it costs over $3000 more than the D60, putting it
out of reach for many consumers. I dont see too much of a difference in the files
from either of these cameras on inkjet prints of 13x19 and silver halide prints
The exposure meter
is as accurate as any of the consumer EOS bodies. It will underexpose a
predominantly white composition and will overexpose a predominantly black
composition, just as any 18% grey reflective ttl metering system. The
D30 was notorious for being a little extreme with the
underexposure and this has been addressed in this camera.
White balance has been tweaked. According to Canon only the daylight preset
was made cooler, but from I've seen it's been changed throughout. This may have
to do with the overall change in color balance. I find color to be very accurate
in Auto White Balance mode in all compositons except those with people. It's a
bit like shooting with Velvia. Wonderful saturation for landscape or nature
photography, but is too saturated and red in photoshop. On my calibrated monitor
and on my prints I get best results by reducing the red channel to 96% then
reducing saturation around -15 or -20. It's rather consistant and I've set an
action in photoshop to do this for me when I hit F12.
The RAW files from this camera will force you to rethink your storage options.
D30 a 256MB compact flash card would
cold 68 RAW files, almost two rolls of film. On the D60 this is cut down to 32,
or less. The average size of the RAW file is 7.5mb-8.5mb, with the higher the ISO
giving you larger files. Consider at the very least doubling your current storage
capacity, as well as investing in a CD burner or DVD burner for you computer. The
files will add up fast and you'll need a place to put them besides your hard
shutter lag is noticeable, making the camera feel more responsive than a
D30. Overall startup speed is about a second faster
D30 from the time you turn it on and
when you can actually shoot it, which is not a big improvement. The illuminated
LCD makes my frequent trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium a lot more enjoyable, as
I generally need to work with ISO 100-400 at different times and I'm not a fan of
'guesstimating' how many times I actually clicked over when changing a setting in
This is a source of a lot of heated debate. Some state there is an
improvement, others see no difference from the
D30. As the D60 and the
D30 share the exact same sensor, and from my personal
experience, I tend to agree with the camp that says there's no difference. This
is not to say it's bad.
This is a consumer body camera, and performs as such. Using slow zoom lenses
indoors will not net you good results. Using fast primes like the EF 50mm 1.4
will greatly improve the usability of the AF indoors. If you need reliable AI
servo autofocus or a through the lens infrared focusing system you'll do better
with the EOS 1D or the
D1X/D1H if you are a
Nikon user, if the $3000 difference in price doesn't bother you that is.
In a word:
Amazing. There is enough detail in the files to make crisp, sharp 12x18's. If you
live or work in the Palo Alto, California area near the California Business
District, there is a 12x18 print of
Guy over the photofinishing counter in Keeble and Shuchat Photography.
The D60 is a great addition to your existing Canon system. The resolution is
approximately the same as a 2700 dpi film scanner, with no time invested in
scanning and retouching. The files are as smooth as they are on the D30 and the
new bundled software is many leaps and bounds above the simple converter that
came with the earlier camera. For many, at this resolution, this camera is
replacing their 35mm bodies.
as a kit at
Camera which is more likely to get it to you earlier because of their buying
power. (Editorial note: They also told photo.net that they offer an unusual
extended warrantee that covers breakage of the camera, that might be useful for
those of us who will be running around shooting a lot with this camera.)