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 60DThe 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 7DThe 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
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.