These two Canon models look similar on paper. But just like a good photo, there’s a lot more to the story than meets the eye.
The 7D is a top-of-the-line DSLR offering from Canon—can the 60D hold its own against this heavyweight performer? It’s a battle of speed versus simplicity in this bout: Canon EOS 7D vs the EOS 60D.
Canon EOS 7D Advantages
- Faster continuous shooting
- 10 more autofocus points
- Autofocus micro adjustment
- Full viewfinder coverage
- Less shutter lag
- Longer shutter life expectancy
The Canon EOS 7D was introduced in 2009, claiming a spot as one of Canon’s top DSLRs. This model boasts an 18-megapixel APS-C sensor and dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors—and it shoots like a dream.
The 7D is packed full of features, and the feature list includes extra goodies. Among them are a seemingly endless photo buffer and a two-axis level that overlays the viewfinder to help you align your shots. Assuming that you have a speedy CF card, this powerhouse will snap upwards of 100 JPEGs before slowing down, and if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of quality you can easily push that number past 300.
Both the 60D and 7D have autofocus modules that consist entirely of cross-type AF points, but the 7D’s 19-point array is quicker and more precise when it comes to pinning down moving subjects.
The 7D is also lighter on its feet when it comes to shutter speed. The less equipped 60D is more sluggish, often dropping a hefty 250 ms of shutter lag after snapping a photo; the 7D returns to standby twice as quickly.
The viewfinder on the 7D perfectly frames the shot, whereas the 60D only covers 96% of the frame. This will go unnoticed during most shoots, but if you’re trying to line up a museum-quality print being able to see the full picture can be a huge help.
Citing “longer shutter life expectancy” may seem like we’re just digging for details, but it’s actually a significant difference. Rated at roughly 150,000 cycles, the 7D can be expected to last 50% longer than the 60D.
If you’re a weekend project type person, that may not concern you in the slightest. If you’re a trigger-happy sports photographer, that number alone may be enough to seal the deal.
Canon EOS 7D Disadvantages
- No focus peaking
- Only one CF slot
- Noise present above 800 ISO
- Fixed screen
- No touchscreen
The 7D may have been a flagship model, but it does lack a handful of high-end features. I especially would have liked to see an additional storage slot. Being able to shoot RAW + JPEG and have the two file types split between two cards is something you only appreciate once you don’t have it any longer.
Unlike the 60D, the 7D’s screen remains immobile and is a bit lacking when it comes to resolution.
These additional features make me yearn for a touchscreen so that I can spend less time navigating menus. As a small plus, I have always thought that Canon’s UI is much more straightforward, so at least perusing the available options is not a confusing venture.
One thing that stands out about this former flagship model is the noise that is present above 800 ISO. Even in well-lit shots, dark regions appear grainy surprisingly early in post-production.
Obviously, this noise doesn’t present an issue beyond a bit of extra touchup in post, and there is an onboard noise reduction option that does a great job, but it is disappointing in a camera of this quality to deal with such prevalent low-light shooting issues.
Canon EOS 60D Advantages
- Higher resolution, articulating screen
- Longer battery life
- Slightly better flash
- Slightly better color depth
The Canon EOS 60D is a cheaper alternative to the 7D, with a comparable sensor and the same 18 MP resolution.
It easily trumps the 7D when it comes to battery life, offering roughly 300 more shots on a single charge on paper and perhaps more in practice. The battery on the 7D has an extra processor to power, and the 60D still displayed more than three quarters of a charge after shooting half of the 1100 photos that Canon claimed it would take.
The screen on the 60D was a joy to use. This was one of the first EOS models to offer a fully articulated screen, something I have grown to love and cherish for its ability to help with setting up odd angles. Its resolution, which is better than the 7D, makes details that much easier to see in Live View.
To top it off, the screen is smudge-resistant and anti-reflective, and boasts an unobtrusive water-repellant coating.
The built-in flash on the 60D reaches a full meter further than the 7D, 13 meters as compared to 12.
The color depth is slightly better on the 60D than the 7D according to DxOMark.com, though I do have to emphasize how slight the difference is. Both of these cameras have punchy colors, if a bit on the cooler side of the spectrum.
It is important to note that the EOS 60D operates using SD cards, as compared to the compact flash cards that the 7D holds. This may be a bonus if you are looking to upgrade, though it may also be a disappointment if you prefer the heft of CF cards, which I find much harder to misplace during rushed shoots.
Canon EOS 60D Disadvantages
- No touchscreen
- Slower continuous shooting
- Smaller photo buffer
- Less color range
- Worse low-light performance
Just as with the 7D, the EOS 60D lacks features that many newer cameras boast. The articulating display still lacks a touchscreen, and its processor, while nothing to scoff at, is no racehorse.
Neither of these cameras has remote Wi-Fi capability, and neither have Canon’s premium on-sensor phase detection technology. Autofocus while in Live View is slow, and its performance is not consistent enough to use while shooting videos.
The 60D’s continuous shooting maxes out at 5 fps, and its photo buffer is far smaller, though it’s not insignificant: you can still achieve nearly 60 pictures with an adequately fast card.
The 60D boasts performance similar to the 7D, but suffers some of the same pitfalls. Low-light performance lags behind newer DSLRs at comparable price points, even more so in the 60D’s case.
After 800 ISO, noise (or the effects of its artificial reduction) is quite noticeable if you’re shooting JPEGs, and after a few more stops the fine details start fading into obscurity. The differences between these two cameras in practice are striking, even though they appear so similar on paper.
Since the EOS 7D Mark II was released in 2014, the price for the older 7D models has dropped considerably. Without money as a factor, the 7D is a steal—you can pick up a lot of professional features for a very small hike in price.
The increased image quality is not to be overlooked either, and being able to hold down the shutter and hear the 7D’s rapid-fire continuous shooting hum on and on makes me wish I had more of a use for this awesome feature. If you’re looking to shoot hummingbird documentaries, though, then perhaps you’ll put it to use more than the rest of us.Back to Top