Canon EOS 60D: mid-range, vari-angle, HD shooter

Canon has formally announced the anticipated Canon EOS 60D, plugging the gaping hole in the mid-range of its DSLR line-up and knocking the 50D into the annals of photographic history.

The new Canon EOS 60D spec sheet looks an awful lot like that of the Canon EOS 550D, which isn't a surprise considering the high-spec of that entry-level model. Many of us questioned what space this left in the mid-range and now we have our answer.

Internally things look very similar to the 550D with the 18-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC4 processor, 9-point AF, and an ISO range that runs from 100-6400 in normal shooting, with 12800 as a selectable high sensitivity option. You also get Canon's iFCL metering, and a built-in Speedlite transmitter, a nod to more advanced shooting.

You get a slightly faster frame rate at 5.3fps for up to 58 JPEGs (16 RAW) and the camera accepts SDXC cards, as well as offering dedicated Eye-Fi support.

The mid-range model gets the benefit of the aluminium frame with polycarbonate resin body that brings strength to the camera that the 550D lacks, along with that rear-mounted control dial, which has been redesigned for this new model. Ominously missing, however, is the magnesium alloy body that previous generations of this level of camera had (thanks David).

Another big change is the inclusion of a vari-angle LCD display. A new 3-inch high resolution 1040k-dot display will let you capture those high or low angle shots with ease, and makes the Canon EOS 60D an interesting alternative to its capable smaller brother.

The real difference over the Canon EOS 50D is the inclusion of video for the first time in this level of camera. You'll be able to shoot Full HD (1920 x 1080) movies at 30, 25 and 24fps, as well as 720p movies at 60 of 50fps. Full manual controls are available to those shooting movies and the inclusion of an HDMI makes it easy to view your images on the big screen.

There is an external mic socket too, so we expect the 60D to find itself deployed on movie projects fairly quickly.

But Canon has also added a little fun to the shooting modes on offer, with a range of Basic+ modes where you can shoot by ambience (something we'll have to examine when we review the camera) and a selection of creative filters - including the miniature mode and "toy camera" amongst others.

We suspect that many consumers would pick the more affordable EOS 550D for its similar capabilities, but the vari-angle screen will give it protection and shooting flexibility.

The body only price is £1099, with the 18-55 IS kit coming in at £1199, available in October. 

Does the Canon EOS 60D impress, or would you pick the 550D? Let us know in the comments below.