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.
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.
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