Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D

The Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 60D are two of Canon’s top DSLRs, offering very similar specs in some areas. We compare these two cameras to determine which is the better buy.

To compare the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 60D we have analysed the findings from our reviews of each camera to see which camera comes out on top.

The specific criteria we have compared included, features, image quality, value and performance, with a final score and verdict for each. You’ll also be able to compare specs on the conclusion page.

Click on one of the links below to see how these two cameras compare:

Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Features

Features

Both DSLRs feature the same resolution, at 18MP, and
video mode at 1080p. There are some subtle differences though,
especially when the vari-angle screen of the EOS 60D is considered.

Canon EOS 60D

The
sensor in the Canon EOS 60D is the same 18MP model that features in the
mid-range 550D, though with the low-pass filter from the 7D, for better
colour reproduction. The processor is the same DIGIC 4 as the previous
50D but only a single unit, rather than the dual processors of the 7D.
This provides burst shooting at a conservative 5.3fps compared to the
6.3fps of the 50D, due to the larger file sizes created by the
higher-resolution sensor. The ISO offers a 100-6400 range in standard
mode, with an extended ISO 12,800 available for extreme low-light work.

The
metering system is Canon’s latest iFCL (intelligent Focus Colour
Luminance) 63 zone affair, as featured in the 7D, and features a nice
wide exposure compensation range of +/-5 EV.
The shooting modes
cover the usual manual and priority modes (PASM), with the addition of a
Bulb and Custom mode, allowing you to save your favourite settings.

One
of the more landmark additions to the 60D is the inclusion of advanced
creative modes. These are post-processing options that allow you to add
creative effects such as grainy Black and White, miniature, toy Camera,
and soft Focus to an image and save it as a separate file. Each mode
offers a degree of control to tailor the effect to the image.

The
optical viewfinder offers a 96% coverage with a 0.95x magnification,
for a reasonably large display, though not to the same extent as the 7D.

The LCD screen is 3in in size with a huge 1024k-dot resolution.
If that’s not enough the 60D is the first EOS model to have its screen
on a vari-angle mount, giving 180° horizontal and 270° vertical
adjustment, allowing it to be viewed from almost any angle. Like the 7D
and 550D it features Full HD 1080p capture at 30/25/24fps. Video
exposure can be controlled in both Auto and full Manual exposure, with
autofocus available via the AF-on button.

Overall Score; 17/20

Canon EOS 7D

The
7D features a brand new 18MP CMOS sensor. This is a fractionally higher
resolution than previous APS-C models but not excessively so. It
outputs at 5184 x 3456 pixels, in a choice or combination of .CR2 Raw
files and JPEGs. Data is converted as a 14-bit process, rather than the
standard 12-bit, for extra tone. For processing power, the 7D utilises
dual DIGIC IV processors, outputting in eight channels for added speed,
allowing the camera to shoot up to eight frames per second. The
processing power is also better able to deal with noise levels, with
levels at ISO 6400 similar to those at ISO 1600 from the previous DIGIC
III processor. It also allows for an expanded Hi-1 setting of ISO
12,800.

The metering system is a 63-zone dual layer arrangement
that analyses focus, colour and luminance information (known as iFCL).
Exposure compensation is available up to +/-5EV, and up to 8EV using the
exposure bracketing, though only a maximum of +/-3EV can be shown on
the top screen. The autofocus uses 19 cross type points, 10 more than
the 60D.

The viewfinder offers an impressive full 100% field of
view and a 1x magnification for a larger view. The shooting info appears
underneath the image, but the focus and grid points are projected onto
the viewfinder and can therefore be turned on and off to allow it to be
clear of unused AF points. The 7D is also the first EOS model to feature
a dual axis electronic level, which is viewable through the viewfinder
to avoid unwanted pitch and roll. The rear LCD screen is a 3in Clear
View II TFT, with 920k-dot resolution, anti-reflection coating and an
ambient light sensor.

Canon has improved on the class-leading
video by offering full manual exposure when shooting, and full 1080p HD
at 30, 25, or 24fps. Video can also be captured at up to 60fps at lower
resolutions.

Overall Score; 20/20

Conclusion

Although
the EOS 60D provides plenty for the step-up amateaur, the EOS 7D has
better fundemental advantages such as a quicker drive mode and dual
DIGIC processors. 

Winner; Canon EOS 7D

Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Design

Although looking good isn’t a huge concern for DSLRs, the layout and functionality of the EOS 7D and EOS 60D are hugely important.

Canon EOS 60D

The design and build of the Canon EOS 60D has changed quite significantly from the 50D. Because of this it fits more naturally between the 550D and 7D. To start with, the body is made from aluminum and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre, as opposed to the magnesium alloy seen on the 7D and the previous 50D.

This has been a bit of a sticking point for EOS users, as it means that the body is lighter and not quite as rugged. Yet, in the hand it still feels very solid and actually has better waterproofing than the old 50D.

The mode dial has added a locking button, which requires you to press and hold the button to allow it to turn. This is to stop the dial accidentally moving but is not a problem I had ever come across and the new dial takes some getting used to.

On the rear the biggest change is the vari-angle nature of the screen. This does mean that the screen can be stored facing the camera for protection and having the ability to use the screen at extreme angles is very handy for shots with live view, and for tripod use.

Most of the functions can be controlled from the dual d-pad/dial; rotated, pressed around its edges, or the centre button pushed. Though this is a clever use of space it does seem to be trying to do too much and operation can be a little tricky because of it.

The rotation does have an auto locking facility too, which, when enabled, is released by a button below it. The power switch has been moved to the top left and more angular Menu, Info and Quick menu buttons sit above the d-pad controller.

The camera feels modern in its design and, though heavily consumer-oriented in its buttons and layout, remains a solid and well built unit, with only slight nuisances in the mode and rear dial.

Overall Score; 19/20

Canon EOS 7D

The body is made from a rugged magnesium alloy structure and weather sealing on a par with the professional EOS 1n film SLR, making it feel very sturdy. Buttons are plentiful but useful and well spaced to avoid accidental presses, with the large rotating dial featuring a lock function.

The new live view button sits just neatly to the left of the thumb’s natural position, with a start/stop button and a switch between the two modes. Other additions include a Quick button for access to the main feature set and a Raw/JPEG button, which adds dual format to the next shot, no matter which you are currently shooting in.

The rest is reminiscent of the 5D Mk II and therefore already a proven success. The menu is divided into colour-coded icon-based sections, which can be scrolled through using the mini joystick control or the finger dial and large rear dial.

The camera seems designed to be fine-tuned and customised to your own style of shooting. At first this can seem a little like overkill, but for extended use and those used to working in set ways, does make a great deal of sense.

The one criticism is that, with so many menus and option screens, finding the function you’re looking for can be tricky, and until you get to know how it works you may find yourself experimenting with button combinations and having to scour sub-menus.

Overall Score; 19/20

Conclusion

Although the EOS 60D has some impressive attributes the locking mode dial is annoying more than useful, where as the EOS 7D keeps things simple.

Winner; Canon EOS 7D

Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Performance

A camera may well be able to take a high resolution image, but the performance determines how rapidly it can take another and the speed of focus and accuracy of focus.

Canon EOS 60D

Canon has seemingly adopted an ‘if it’s not broken’ approach to the 60D’s AF system and there is certainly merit in it. The nine-point AF is fast and accurate and, for most users, offers more AF points than they are ever likely to need.
 
The move to use of pre-flash for AF instead of a dedicated AF beam is becoming more common in consumer DSLRs and though it might not suit everyone’s tastes it does allow a much quicker focus time, though is far from subtle.

The Canon EOS 60D’s metering system certainly shows its pedigree. Using the evaluative mode, the 63-zone iFCL system had no problem in keeping both highlights and shadow detail, and only occasionally were highlights clipped to maintain an even exposure.

The Canon EOS 60D uses SD memory cards in a move from CompactFlash cards in the 50D. This, Canon tells us, is in part to support the new SDXC high-capacity cards for video users.

Write speeds, using a Sandisk Extreme III 8GB card, are around 2.5sec for a combined Raw and JPEG, 2sec for a Raw, and 1sec JPEG. This means at its maximum burst of 5.3fps it can shoot eight Raw/JPEG, 16 Raw, or 105 JPEG images before filling the buffer.

Battery life is stated in the specifications as approximately 1,100 shots at 23°C, but after I’d taken over 500 shots, plus video, the battery indicator was still showing three-quarter charged.

Overall; 18/20

Canon EOS 7D

The 7D’s 19-point AF array is pretty impressive and covers the main areas well. Though all sensors are the cross type, only the central point features an f/2.8 sensor, as the rest are f/5.6 based.

This means that the centre point still has increased sensitivity when used with lenses with f/2.8 apertures or brighter. Focusing was difficult to fault though, and the additional sensors really helped for tracking subjects.

The metering system demonstrated flawless performance, managing to retain highlight and shadow detail in almost all instances, only occasionally helped from a more specific metering mode or 1/3 EV compensation and still producing punchy images in low light too.

The high-speed burst mode on the 7D is a standout feature, offering a blistering eight frames per second. Using a Lexar 300x UDMA CompactFlash card this fired out 18 Raw files effortlessly, around seven Raw+JPEG files, and managed an earth-shattering 358 shots before slowing.

Battery life is listed at around 800 shots though expect less when using live view or shooting movies. It also features intelligent monitoring, providing percentage capacity, shutter count and recharge performance in the menu.

Overall; 19/20

Conclusion

Even though the battery life on the EOS 60D was extremely impressive the raw power of the EOS 7D’s burst mode wins through

Winner: Canon EOS 7D

Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Value

Value

Value for money is an important consideration when purchasing a camera, whether it’s a £1,000 DSLR or £80 compact.

Canon EOS 60D

With an RRP of just a touch over £1,000 body only, the 60D is currently selling at just under the £1,000 mark, or around £1,200 with the 17-85mm IS lens (as on test here). For Canon fans the real question may be whether to spend the extra £200 and buy the 7D model, and certainly for those upgrading from the 40D or 50D it probably is worth it.

While those not already tied to a system may be looking at Nikon’s similarly priced D7000 that, certainly on paper, seems to offer a more generous specification. For those looking to upgrade from a budget DSLR, however, the Canon EOS 60D still offers a lot for the money and is a natural progression from cameras such as the 450D and 500D.

Overall Score; 19/20

Canon EOS 7D

With the recent spate of camera price increases, value has to be readdressed. The price gap between older models and their new counterparts remains vast, making it more difficult to recommend any new model. The Nikon D300s can now be found for as little as £1,250, while the 7D’s lowest current offering is around £1,500.

Canon’s well-established 5D Mk II is still fetching more than £1,800, and in many respects the 7D is just as good – though the 5D mk II’s full frame sensor demands a premium price tag. With a little time to bed in, the 7D is likely follow the Nikon D300s price closely, and at that point the marks for value may even rise. For now, though, it would be fair to say that it’s a premium product worth paying for.

Overall Score; 17/20

Conclusion

The EOS 60D doesn’t offer a huge amount less in terms of features or functionality, but is around £500 cheaper. For that the EOS 60D wins the value award.

Winner: Canon EOS 60D

Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Image Quality

Image Quality

As the most important element of a DSLR’s performance it’s imperative both cameras offer exemplary image quality.

Canon EOS 60D

Tone and Exposure

Images are well exposed from the 60D in all conditions, and the metering handles even the most extreme lighting with little trouble. In widely contrasting scenes the camera can lose some highlight detail to maintain a balanced scene, however, the use of the Auto Lighting optimiser does help or the Highlight Tone Priority setting.

White Balance and Colour

The auto white balance copes well in most conditions though appears slightly on the cool side under studio lights. Colours in the JPEGs appear to be punchier than older Canons, and more like those from the 7D and 1D Mk4. This makes the images far more useable straight from the camera if needed.

Noise

Noise levels are well controlled though above 800 ISO the noise reduction does become quite noticeable in the JPEG images and from 3200ISO starts to degrade detail from the images. The extended setting of 12,800ISO shows signs of multi-colour noise despite the noise reduction and is best avoided for critical work.

Sharpness and Detail

The 18MP sensor allows an impressive level of detail to be captured. The 17-85mm lens supplied as part of the kit does show some signs of fringing around the edges but using one of Canon’s L series lenses, especially one of the prime lenses, show just how good this camera can be.

See test images

Overall score; 18/20

Canon EOS 7D

Tone and Exposure

The metering system ensures an extensive tonal range but manages to keep both highlight and shadow details with little problem. For trickier scenes the 7D features a Highlight Tone Priority function to avoid losing highlights by altering the metering before taking the shot, and an Auto Lighting optimiser that can be set to Low, Standard, or Strong and uses processing after the shot to adjust the brightness and contrast

White Balance and Colour

The auto white balance is as reliable as you could ask for, whether shooting indoors, outdoors, in daylight or low light. It was consistently accurate no matter what light source was thrown at it. If anything, tones did verge onto the cool side but this was often against skin tones, which were perfectly balanced. Colours didn’t feel as muted as with some EOS models, especially when the Auto Lighting optimiser was used or Raw images were opened into Adobe Lightroom.

RAW/JPEG

JPEG images show definite signs of noise processing, which manages to make even ultra-high ISO values appear usable by removing the nasty colour noise with very little loss in image detail. The unprocessed Raw files show some fairly heavy colour noise above ISO 3200 but in turn retain a little more detail, so by using the Raw file, and adding your own noise reduction, it is possible to get the best of both worlds.

Image Noise and ISO

When examining the Raw files, noise is visible in images above ISO 800. However, this is minor and only shows sign of the more abrasive colour noise above ISO 1600. If you allow the camera to perform noise reduction, however, noise is very minimal in appearance even at ISO 6400, and even the High-1 ISO 12,800 is not beyond use. With this level of quality on output almost no scene is beyond the camera, though for optimum results you should try to stay below ISO 800.

Sharpness and Detail

For most of the testing I used pro L series lenses to ensure the maximum quality from the 7D and I wasn’t disappointed. Images were extremely well detailed throughout, and blisteringly sharp even on some of the moving subjects.

See test images

Overall Score; 19/20

Conclusion

Even though both cameras have similar sensors and metering systems the EOS 7D is that significant amount better, producing some stunning images.

Winner; Canon EOS 7D

Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Conclusion














Specs comparison
Name Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 7D
Price £1099 £1700
Sensor 18MP 18MP
ISO 100-6400 (12800 expanded) 100-6400 (12800 expanded)
Burst Rate 5.3fps up to 58 images (JPEG) 8fps up to 126 images (JPEG)
Metering 63-zone iFCL 63-zone dual layer SPC
HD Movie 1080p @ 30, 25 or 24fps 1080p @ 30, 25 or 24fps
LCD 3″ vari-angle 1040k LCD 3″ 920k LCD
Viewfinder 96% coverage pentaprism 100% coverage pentaprism
Card Type SD/SDHC/SDXC CompactFlash
Size
144.5 x 105.8 x 78.6mm

148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5 mm
Weight
755g

820g

Conclusion

Although the EOS 60D offers plenty of advantages over it’s bigger brother, such as a vari-angle screen and better battery life, the superior performance and image quality win the day for the EOS 7D.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Features
  3. 3. Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Design
  4. 4. Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Performance
  5. 5. Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Value
  6. 6. Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Image Quality
  7. 7. Canon EOS 7D vs Canon EOS 60D: Conclusion
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  • Wessam Atif

    Brilliant review, thanks for the hard work, u really help a lot :)

  • Thatgirlblogs

    I have a 60D and love it. Will wait toseewhere Canon goes next…

  • JOHN

    Thanks for a great site-have purchased a 7D,up from a 450D,a learning curve but learning a lot from your Tips from this site and the magazine by the time we get the Mag in Australia we are a bit behind but the site is right up there,pity we can’t enter the competitions,keep up the great site -cheers from Australia