Canon’s EOS D30 was a breakthrough product that brought the price of digital SLRs down from the stratosphere, without sacrificing features or image quality. Now, Canon has upgraded the D30 with a higher-resolution sensor, performance tweaks, and a new name: the EOS D60. What’s most surprising, though, is that it managed to do all of this and lower the price. The result is a great camera that should appeal to serious amateurs and professionals alike.
The D60 uses the same body and interface as the D30. The only design change is the addition of a backlight for the camera’s top-mounted LCD screen. Canon’s decision to keep the camera’s basic design shows how well-designed the D30 was. Comfortable to hold and easy to use, the camera’s ergonomics and control layout make it possible to get to any feature quickly, without having to delve into the camera’s menus. What’s more, the D60’s zippy performance means that you won’t wait when viewing images, or making menu changes.
The D60 keeps the D30’s same three focus spots, but adds illuminated focus-spot indicators to the camera’s viewfinder. This is a much-improved indicator, but some users might still lament the paltry three focus spots.
Canon claims to have improved the camera’s shutter lag – the interval between when you press the shutter button and when the camera takes a picture – but we felt no discernible difference between the D30 and the D60. This is mostly because neither camera has a marked shutter lag.
Canon also claims to have improved the camera’s autofocus speed. Though fine for everyday use, the camera’s autofocus is still too slow for serious sports or nature photography.
Other improvements include an improved burst speed, which allows for shooting up to eight frames per second at full resolution, and an improved image-buffering system that means the camera is rarely preoccupied with processing or saving images. If you need to shoot, the D60 will most likely be ready.
Canon has made a number of other tweaks under the hood of the D60. Though Sharpness, Contrast, and Saturation were all adjustable on the D30, you had to use special software to make the changes. These parameters are now adjustable in-camera on the D60, a great improvement. In addition, a new Color Tone parameter lets you fine-tune the rendering of skin tones.
Canon has also greatly improved the camera’s long-exposure noise-reduction feature. Noise reduction is now real-time and more effective.
The biggest change to the camera, of course, is the improved resolution. Canon has boosted the D60’s sensor to six megapixels, while maintaining the D30s characteristic lack of noise and excellent image quality.
Like the D30, the D60 still lacks some features that hardcore professionals would want – for instance, weatherproofing, speedy autofocus, FireWire interface – but for most users, the D60 combined with Canon’s excellent lenses is all the camera you’ll ever need.