Canon Digital SLRs > 60D Guide
Published: April 2011

Canon 60D Guide

Writing this Canon 60D guide was a bit like spending time with an old friend that I hadn't seen in several years.

Much of what I experienced using the camera was old and familiar: I've used a lot of Canon DSLRs in the past and the 60D doesn't deviate too far from the Canon standard.

However, there were some surprises: Canon changed around the button layout on the back of the camera and introduced a new LCD that I'll talk about more in just a moment.

The rest of the features on the Canon 60D are what you'd expect from Canon's mid-range line. What do I mean by mid-range?

Canon has four separate camera lines as I see it:

  1. Entry-Level: for people just getting used to an SLR camera
  2. Mid-Range: for those more familiar with SLRs looking for more robust features
  3. Semi-Pro: cameras designed to be used by pros or as backups to their high-end models
  4. Professional: incredibly expensive cameras reserved for people who take pictures for a living

A mid-range Canon camera is typically not the best option if you're a true beginner: instead, look to the Canon Rebel line. Those cameras cost less, and you probably won't miss too many of the features that you'll find on a camera like the 60D.

Yes, you CAN use a 60D if you're a beginner: it does have a full AUTO mode.

But using full AUTO mode on a camera such as this is a bit of waste, given the level of fine-tuning that you have over the "look" of the images that you capture.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get started with this Canon 60D guide so that you can find out what sorts of "fine tuning" are available.

Quick Overview

  • 18 megapixels
  • Compatible with all Canon EOS lenses
  • 5.3 photos per second
  • ISO settings from 100 to 12800
  • Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second
  • 1.6 times crop factor
  • Stores photos on SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
  • 9-point autofocus system
  • Dust control system
  • 3.0 inch flexible live view LCD
  • Full HD 1080p movie mode

Key Feature

Canon 60D Flexible LCD

Probably the most prominent new feature on the Canon 60D is its LCD screen.

Now, LCD screens by themselves aren't all that special - after all, they've been on every digital SLR ever made.

What makes the LCD on the Canon 60D interesting is that it's the first on a Canon DSLR that flips out and rotates.

This type of LCD screen is great for high and low-angle photography. It lets you shoot with the camera held at hip height or well above your head, allowing you to capture angles of view that are not possible - or just highly uncomfortable - with SLRs with fixed LCD screens.

The flexible LCD is also immensely helpful when shooting video. You can hold the camera at any angle and still clearly see how your video shot is framed. I found that I used the flexibility of the LCD much more often for video capture than I did for stills.

Finally, there's one "hidden" benefit of a flexible LCD screen: when not in use, you can flip the screen so that the LCD is facing in TOWARD the camera.

This protects the screen when the camera is not in use, resulting in less scratches and smudges over the long term.

In addition to its flexibility, this is one of the clearest and sharpest LCD screens I've seen on a DSLR.

The ability of an LCD screen to display a sharp, colorful image is measured in dots: the LCD on the Canon 60D is packed with 1.04 million of them.

This results in a bright, colorful image that makes it pretty clear when you've nailed the focus and when you haven't.

Like any LCD screen, it is easier to view when you're not standing in direct sunlight. Here's where the ability to rotate helps once again: if you can't see the image on the LCD head-on, just give it a twist to view it from a different angle.

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Who The Canon 60D is For

As I mentioned at the start of this Canon 60D guide, this camera is really not designed for true beginners.

Canon 60D Back

The speed and performance are aimed at photographers who take pictures more often than the occasional family vacation.

Access to the camera's functions are also designed with more seasoned SLR users in mind.

Example: one button on the back of the camera gives you quick access to settings like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation, drive mode, flash exposure, color mode, autofocus mode and points, metering and image quality.

If you like changing these settings manually often, having access to them all in one place makes it easy. If you've never heard of things like "exposure compensation" then this is a lot less useful.

Regardless of the level of photographic skill, the 60D will get used the most by people who take lots of action shots. With a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second and the ability to capture 5.3 photos per second, the 60D is well-suited for fast-moving subjects.

The 60D is also a good camera choice for anyone who wants to make professional-looking movies. There's a catch to that, and I'll talk about that more when I get to the video feature later in this guide.

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In Comparison

The 60D's closest relative is the Canon 50D, the last camera released in Canon's mid-range line.

The main differences between the two are that the Canon 60D can capture High Definition video, while the 50D cannot (you may see this as either a benefit or a drawback) and the 60D has the flexible LCD screen while the 50D does not.

Otherwise, these two cameras have a lot of features in common. Let's take a closer look:

canon 60d
canon 50D
Release DateSeptember 2010August 2008
StabilizationIn LensIn Lens
Memory CardSD / SDHC / SDXCCompact Flash
Max. Shutter Speed1/80001/8000
Max. Photo Capture5.3 per second6.3 per second
ISO Range100 to 12800100 to 12800
Movie ModesH.264
1920 x 1080p
1280 x 720
640 x 424
No Movie Mode
LCDFlexible 3.0in (1,040,000 dots)Static 3in (920,000 dots)
ViewfinderPentaprism (96% coverage)Pentaprism (95% coverage)
Autofocus9 point9 point
Face Detect AFYesYes
Sensor Dimensions22.2 x 14.8 (1.6x crop factor)22.2 x 14.8 (1.6x crop factor)
HDMI PortYesYes
Live ViewYesYes
Built-in FlashYes (Sync: 1/250)Yes (Sync: 1/200)
Compatible LensesAll Canon EF and EF-SAll Canon EF and EF-S
Dimensions5.0 x 3.9 x 2.6in
126 x 98 x 65mm
5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9in
146 x 108 x 74mm
Weight17.7oz (502g)24oz (822g)

Another more subtle difference is the weight: Canon changed the materials of the 60D to make it lighter than its predecessors. See my analysis of this change just below.

The closest competing model to the 60D from another manufacturer is the Nikon D7000. To see how the 60D compares to the D7000, see the page that compares Canon vs. Nikon cameras.

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How It Works

In Use

The Canon 60D is slightly lighter than the other Canon intermediate-level cameras that have come before.

For the 60D, Canon switched the material that they used for the body from magnesium alloy (metal) to polycarbonate and aluminum (plastic).

While this does make the camera easier to tote around, it also makes it feel somewhat less solid than its predecessors.

For some this is an issue: if you want your expensive semi-professional SLR to feel like it has some heft then the 60D might feel bit flimsy. However, if you don't like carrying a 10 pound camera around your neck all day then the weight savings is a real relief.

Weight aside, the contoured grip on the camera means that you can easily hold it in one hand without fear of it slipping out of grasp. This doesn't provide the most stability, but it does mean you can hold the camera at arm's length and use the flexible LCD to frame shots from unique perspectives.

Controls and Operation

The top of the the camera is dominated by an LCD information display and the main control dial.

The main control dial lets you choose between the standard shooting modes, the scene modes and the movie mode:

  • Standard Modes — Full AUTO, Program (P), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Manual (M), Bulb (B) and Custom (C)
  • Scene Modes — No Flash, Creative AUTO, Portrait, Landscape, Closeup, Action and Night Portrait
Canon 60D Top

The 60D does something different from other cameras: you have to press down on a button on the top of the main mode dial to get it to turn.

The rationale for this is that you don't want to "accidentally" change modes when you don't want to. I have to say, in all my years of using digital SLR cameras I have NEVER accidentally changed the camera's mode, even when I've carried around a camera all day long in a bag.

I also happen to change modes a lot. For me, having to push down on that button every time was more nuisance than benefit. If you don't change main modes all that frequently, then you'll probably not be bothered by this.

In addition to the main mode dial, the 60D has one-button access to the features and settings that more advanced photographers change frequently:

Autofocus Modes (AF)Choose between one-shot autofocus for static subjects or continuous (servo) autofocus for subjects in motion
Drive ModeChoose between one-shot, high speed continuous (5.3 images per second), low speed continuous or timer (2 seconds or 10 seconds)
ISOSelect an ISO value from 100 to 12800 (higher ISOs increase the shutter speed when taking pictures in dim light)
MeteringChoose between evaluative (entire viewfinder), partial (about 7% of viewfinder center), spot (about 3% of viewfinder center) and center-weighted average
Autofocus PointsSet the camera to use all 9 autofocus points or manually select just one
Multi-Directional Controller

The ancestors of the 60D - like the 50D, 40D and 30D - all have TWO ways you can change camera settings:

  1. Front Control Dial — positioned near the shutter release, this control dial can be rotated with your index finger to change camera settings
  2. Rear Control Dial — attached to the back of the camera on the right, this secondary control dial can also be used to change camera settings (by using your thumb)

The 60D also has both control dials. In addition, it sports a new multi-directional controller that sits inside the rear control dial.

This new multi-direction controller can be used for a variety of purposes:

  1. Manual AF Points — if you don't want all 9 autofocus points to be used, you can select just one using the directional controller
  2. Image Cycle — in playback mode, you can use the directional controller to go forward and back through the images stored on the memory card
  3. Move Image — when you are zoomed in on a photo (and parts of the photo are off the edges of the LCD) you can use the directional controller to shift the image around

The multi-directional control is especially well-suited for #3. I had the good fortune while using the 60D for this guide to take some pictures of a full lunar eclipse.

I was using a relatively long telephoto lens, but the moon still appeared quite small on the LCD. In order to check that my focus was accurate, I had to zoom the image a lot during playback.

The multi-directional controller allowed me to center the moon on the LCD so that I could make it fill the screen and be sure that the moon was in focus.

Quick Menu

I'm not really sure how I used to get along without a quick menu feature.

I've said it before, but I'll mention it here again: the Canon 60D really is designed for photographers who like to take manual control of their cameras.

Such photographers will often tweak a variety of camera settings depending on the subject, available light and time of day.

On older SLRs, this could be achieved by punching a variety of buttons, or scrolling through menus hunting for different options.

The quick menu button on the 60D eliminates the need for that, providing one-touch access to the majority of features that you change frequently:

Shutter SpeedSets how long the shutter remains open
ApertureSets the size of the opening in the lens
ISOAdjusts the speed with which the sensor can absorb light
Exposure CompensationLets you intentionally over expose or under expose images
Drive ModeChoose between one-shot, continuous or timer
Digital LevelDisplays a level on the LCD to show you if the camera is tilted
Flash CompensationAdjusts the amount of light put out by the flash
Color ModeLets you match a color mode to the subject (portrait, landscape, neutral, etc.)
White BalanceAdjusts colors depending on the source of light (sunlight, tungsten, fluorescent, etc.)
Auto Lighting OptimizerSelect a level to determine how the camera handles extreme contrast
Camera SettingsAdjust access to camera controls
AutofocusChoose between one-shot for static subjects or continuous for moving subjects
Focus PointsLets you select just one of the 9 focus points
MeteringAdjusts how the camera judges correct exposures
Image QualityChoose between different JPG sizes or full-size RAW files

Whether you're changing just one setting or three at once, it's nice to have quick access to all of them from the same screen.

Live View
Canon 60D Image Sample

You can activate the live view mode on the 60D at any time by pressing the live view button on the back of the camera.

Once in live view mode, you can leverage the flexibility of the LCD screen to take shots from all sorts of odd angles: above your head, at ground level, around corners or even completely reversed for self-portraits.

There are several different autofocus modes that you can use in live view, and you'll need to find the one that works with your shooting style.

One mode lets you autofocus without using the camera's 9-point system. While this keeps the live view image visible on the LCD, it's also incredibly slow, and really only useful for subjects that are willing to remain VERY still.

You can also choose to use the 9-point autofocus, but the image on the LCD screen will go black each time you try to autofocus.

In the end, I found that the solution that worked for me was to just use manual focus for live view images. I could see the image continuously on the LCD screen, and I could quickly adjust my focus for subjects moving around in space.

NOTE: the issues that I have described above are common ones for DSLRs with live view modes. The problem is that the mirror (which reflects an image up to the viewfinder) must be in its upright position to allow live view to work. When the mirror is up, it blocks the camera's sophisticated AF system. If you're looking for a camera that can autofocus quickly in live view mode, then consider a mirrorless DSLR instead.

Movie Mode

Let me get the griping out of the way first: I'm not fond of how Canon provides access to its movie capture feature.

In order to take videos with the 60D, you have to turn the main mode dial all the way around to select the movie mode. There is no button on the camera that will let you just start capturing video.

This is a problem for people who enjoy using manual modes, because they are on the opposite side of the mode dial from the movie mode.

Let's say that you're taking still images in Aperture Priority (Av) mode. Suddenly, you decide you want to grab some video. You have to twist the main mode dial all the way around to get to movie mode.

You take your video, then want to go back to shooting stills. You got it: you twist the main mode dial all the way back to the Av setting.

This process is further slowed down by the fact that you have to press the button to unlock the mode dial every time you turn it.

Once you get the movie mode selected and start taking some movies, the video quality is SO good that perhaps Canon can be forgiven for how it's activated.

The 60D has plenty of video formats to choose from, and different frame rates depending on whether you use the NTSC video standard or PAL (see the standards by country).

The three main formats are Full High Definition 1080 progressive (p), High Definition 720p and 480p.

In addition, you can choose between several different "film speeds": for example, for NTSC video you can pick 30, 24 or 60 frames per second (fps). The 24fps mode emulates big-screen movie cameras and lends a more cinematic look to your videos.

Regardless of the format and speed you choose, your movies aren't going to look like regular old handycam shots.

Thanks in large part to the large sensor size (and the right lens), you can achieve VERY selective focus, blurring out both foreground and background to isolate your primary subject.

I mentioned toward the beginning of this Canon 60D guide that the movie mode is geared more toward professional movie-makers instead of family vacation videographers. Here's why:

  • Manual Focus — just like with live view, your best bet when capturing video is to focus manually. Autofocus is simply too slow in movie mode to keep up with moving subjects.
  • Huge Files — if you intend to capture movies at Full 1080p, you'd better have a nice big hard drive in your computer and a good size SD memory card.
  • Exposure Control — you can manually control exposure settings to over or under expose your movies.
  • External Microphone — the 60D has a jack so that you can plug in an external microphone for improved audio (the microphone mounts to the flash bracket on top of the camera)

Simply put: independent film-makers now have access to a high-quality movie camera for an exceptionally low price. Those who want to take home movies of their kids playing sports should probably look elsewhere...unless you want to become very proficient with your manual focus technique.

ISO Performance

When I first started using digital SLR cameras, the level of visible image noise at ISO 800 would pretty much ruin an image - it just didn't work to increase the ISO that high.

With cameras like the Canon 60D image noise is virtually a thing of the past.

At ISO settings between 800 and 1600 you have to look very carefully to spot any amount of grain/noise. At ISO 3200 the noise becomes more apparent and obviously it's also quite present at ISO 6400 and 12800.

However, if you don't inspect your photos at 100% size OR if you don't print them at poster sizes, you CAN get away with shots in the upper ISO ranges.

Canon 60D Image Sample

Take the sample photo at right.

This image was captured with available light at ISO 6400. At the size that I have included it here, you will probably have a tough time spotting the noise.

Here's the part that I find astonishing - the available light was a nearby strand of tiny white holiday lights - that's it.

Besides those small pinpoints of light there is no other illumination for this scene - it is taken at night.

Images like this one would simply not be possible without the advanced noise reduction included in the 60D - they would either be a blurry mess (due to a shutter speed that's too slow) or a grainy mess (due to an ISO that's too high).

Image Quality and Size

At its highest resolution, the Canon 60D captures a full 18 million pixels per image.

This means that you can print at rather large sizes (posters anyone?) OR you can crop out large portions of your image and STILL make 11x17 or 8x10 prints.

Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample

The exact dimensions of a full-size image are 5184 x 3456 pixels, and this will take up about 9 Megabytes of space (you'll get about 114 photos per Gigabyte of storage).

Now, you may not need to capture full-size photos every time you use your camera. For example, if you're just taking some snapshots of a family gathering - birthday party, for example - then you may not ever want to make huge prints or crop aggressively.

For moments like these, you can reduce the size of the JPG image files captured to preserve space on your memory card and ultimately on your computer's hard drive.

Each JPG size also lets you adjust the level of image compression (either "fine" or "standard") but I would personally recommend that you always stick with "fine".

The full suite of image size options on the 60D are as follows:

JPGLarge Fine or Standard18
Medium Fine or Standard8
Small Fine or Standard4.5
Smaller Fine2.5
Tiny Fine0.35
Medium (M-RAW)10
Small (S-RAW)4.5

You can also combine RAW + JPG so that you're saving JPG images for every RAW image that you take (useful if you don't want to process every single RAW file just to see if the shot turned out).

Color Modes

Like other Canon digital SLRs, the 60D comes with a wide range of color control options.

There are three main ways you can adjust color on the 60D:

  1. Select one of Canon's pre-set color modes depending on your subject
  2. Make adjustments to the Contrast, Color and Clarity of one of the pre-set modes
  3. Create your own custom color mode from scratch
Canon 60D Image Sample

There are plenty of people who will use this camera and will never leverage this feature. After all, if you're happy with the ways the colors look right out of the box, there's no need to adjust them right?

For others, having some level of control over the color and clarity of the images captured is essential.

Even if you don't want to dive all the way into setting a color mode from scratch, you can use one of Canon's pre-set values.

These color settings allow you to match the color captured by the camera to your subject. For example, if you're taking a portrait you want skin tones to appear smooth and natural. But if you're taking a picture of a spectacular landscape, then you want the blues and greens to be more vibrant.

All you have to do is pick the color setting that matches your subject:

StandardWorks for all manner of subjects, or if you don't want to select a specific color mode (the equivalent of AUTO)
PortraitResults in more pleasing skin tones
LandscapeMakes primary colors more saturated for an image with more punch
NeutralReduces color saturation and image contrast to preserve fine detail and prevent over-exposure in bright sunlit conditions
FaithfulAttepts to capture colors that match what you saw with your eyes (when the scene is lit by sunlight) - a good choice when you want to match the colors you see precisely
MonochromeColor? What color?

As I mentioned above you can fine-tune the level of sharpness, contrast and color saturation with any one of these settings to get just the look you want. There are 8 levels of sharpness and 9 levels for contrast, saturation and color tone.

If you really want to make your pictures look unique, then you can set up 3 different Picture Styles of your own, where you set the sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone from scratch.

In short, the color capabilities of the Canon 60D are just about endless.

Black and White (Monochrome)

Five years ago, the black and white mode on any DSLR camera was pretty straightforward: it just captured images in shades of gray.

Today, however, there are a variety of different options that you can apply to your monochromatic photos to give them just the look you want.

The first option that you can apply is a filter effect. These effects mimic the look of lens filters that were often used with black and white film cameras. The different colors of the lens filters block different colors of light, resulting in some fairly dramatic shifts in the gray tones.

Yellow Orange
Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample
Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample

The second option that you can apply is a toning effect. This adds a wash of color to your monochromatic image, letting you re-create the look of images taken a very long time ago.

Sepia Blue
Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample
Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample
Image Processing / Creative Filters

One drawback to storing your photos in the RAW format (an uncompressed image file) is that you need to use special software to convert these RAW files into JPG files that you can e-mail and upload to photo-sharing web sites.

This issue is eliminated with the 60D: it provides you with the ability to process any RAW image on the memory card into a JPG.

This feature alone is pretty useful, but the 60D also includes some image enhancement effects that you can apply to any photo on the memory card. These image effects are quite similar to what's included in Olympus DSLRs — Olympus calls them "art filters". Canon calls them "Creative Filters".

The 60D provides four effects filters that can be applied to any photo you take:

Grainy Black and White Soft Focus
Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample
Toy CameraMiniature Effect
Canon 60D Image Sample Canon 60D Image Sample

These effects filters are clearly not for everyone, but they are entertaining to use if you don't want to take "just another photo" or if you have some free time and want to get creative with your shots.

Nothing gets the right side of the brain fired up like trying to figure out how to make a city look like a miniature model.


When it comes to lenses for the Canon 60D, there are literally hundreds to choose from.

The 60D is compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, as well as a large number of lenses made by third-party companies like Sigma, Tamron and Tokina.

The lens that is sold with the 60D as a kit is the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 with Image Stabilization (IS).

While this may serve you well for general everyday use, there are plenty of other lenses you can use for more specialized types of photography.

Here are just a few alternatives from Canon - just remember, for any lens that I list below there are also some third-party equivalents that cost less without sacrificing image quality.

Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USMWide Angle ZoomLandscapes, Interiors $860
Canon 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 USM ISRegular ZoomLandscapes, Portraits $450
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 ISTelephoto ZoomPortraits, Wildlife, Sports $255
Canon 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 ISSuper ZoomAll $640

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Key Points

In this section I will call out some of the key points of this Canon 60D guide.

This is a quick review of the features of the 60D that I found most useful and some things that you should know about the camera before you buy.

  • Main Mode Dial — harder to operate than others since you have to press a button every time to "unlock" the dial
  • Movie Mode — not easy to select on the main mode dial, especially if you often use manual modes (they are on the opposite side of the dial)
  • Video Quality — exceptional, with great shallow depth of field
  • Autofocus — very fast in regular mode, extremely slow in live view and movie mode (I found it easier to focus manually)
  • Low-Light Performance — superb, with very little visible noise even at relatively high ISO settings. The max ISO of 12800 allows for some unique hand-held shots.
  • Flexible LCD — most useful when recording video, harder to use (due to the slow autofocus) for still images. Great for photos from extreme high and low angles.
  • Quick Menu — easy access to settings most frequently changed by more advanced photographers
  • Multi-Direction Dial — harder to use than the multi-direction joystick included on older Canon models

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With its wide range of features and numerous settings, the Canon 60D has a lot to offer to both still photographers and videographers.

As a still camera it excels with a variety of different subjects and can capture everything from still life to fast-moving action.

It works especially well in dim available light with very low image noise even at extremely high ISO settings. Anyone who doesn't like the look of flash photography and prefers natural light will be able to capture useable images well after the sun has set.

On the video side, the 60D is capable of capturing exceptionally high quality moving images.

However, people who want to shoot family movies are going to be challenged by the lack of continuous autofocus. The movie mode on the 60D leans more toward those with the time and the money to produce short films.

For quick, spur-of-the-moment videos the 60D is not ideal.

You can capture many unique points of view with the variety of Canon lenses you can use with the 60D, but the sheer number of options can be overwhelming to people who aren't used to strategically planning out their video shoots.

People who do plan to use the 60D for video should get a LOT of use out of the flexible LCD. Since the viewfinder is blacked out in movie mode, the only way to compose your movie shots is with the LCD.

The flexible LCD lets you shoot video from ground level to high above your head, and helps to create unique points of view (the camera doesn't always have to be at your eye level).

My main gripe about the movie mode is how you get to it: by turning the main mode dial to the dedicated movie mode. Since movie mode is on the opposite side of the main mode dial, I spent a good deal of time rotating the dial back and forth to switch from still image to video mode.

This process was further slowed down by the button that you have to press every time to "unlock" the main mode dial. Many people will have no issue with this, but it bothered me to no end.

Canon makes up for this bit of frustration with the Quick Menu feature: one-press access to all of the most common camera settings. I used that feature often, and it was nice to not have to dig through tons of menu settings to change camera settings.

I still haven't made up my mind about the other new camera control feature — the multi-directional controller. This replaces a controller on previous models that was more like a small joystick.

I found the circular multi-directional controller harder to operate than the joystick, but anyone with no prior experience using Canon DSLRs probably won't have such issues.

Simply put: if the Canon 60D is the first digital SLR that you've ever laid hands on, it should be a joy to use. It's fast, it's responsive and it takes film-like quality video.

If you are upgrading from an older Canon model, then you may find that some of the changes made to the 60D take some time to get used to.

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Canon 60D Photo Samples

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Memory Card

If you just want to take pictures with the 60D, then just about any SD card will do.

The speed of the card will come into play if you want to shoot rapid consecutive shots, but if you are more likely to pause a bit between each photo, then you don't need the fastest card on the market.

The Canon 60D works with three different types of SD memory cards: regular SD, SDHC (SD High Capacity) and SDXC.

The type of memory card you get will determine its maximum megabyte capacity. SDHC and SDXC cards can store more data on a single card. The speed of the card is determined by its class.

A class 6 memory card should be able to read and write data faster than a class 2 card. I say "should" because the speed and performance of cards varies between manufacturers.

In the end, it really boils down to this:

  • If you just want to take still photos with the 60D, then an 8GB SDHC Class 6 card should serve you well. Even if you take pictures at the highest quality setting, you'll be able to store hundreds on such a card.
  • If you want to take video with the 60D, then you'll need a larger capacity card with a higher class number. Even small video files will eat up huge amounts of space so the more storage you can get the better.
External Flash

If you want to take a lot of flash pictures with your Canon 60D, then at some point it makes sense to upgrade from the built-in flash to an external flash unit.

These types of flash offer a lot more versatility when it comes to lighting and they are much more powerful than the built-in flash.

The 60D is compatible with three Canon external flash units:

  1. 270EX - offers more power than the built-in flash, but still basic
  2. 430EX II - a good compromise between price and features
  3. 580EX II - a full-featured flash unit and the most powerful of the options

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