Canon 60D vs 600D (Rebel T3i) – Camera Comparison

June 20, 2011

Canon EOS 60D and 600D cameras
The Canon EOS 60D is a magnificent camera. Many enthusiast photographers debate whether they should buy this camera or go with its little sister, the 600D. In this Camera debate article, I will compare these two cameras one versus the other. As a previous owner of Canon 60D I can give you my opinion about that camera, what I liked about and what not. So Canon 600D / T3i vs 60D – Let’s start the debate right now.

Before we start, let me give you a short introduction to those two cameras, just so you have an idea what type of cameras you actually looking at.

Canon EOS 60D

The Canon EOS 60D represents Canon’s mid-level APS-C digital SLR camera. It resides between the 7D and the 600D. The camera was announced in August 26 2010, as a replacement for the EOS 50D which was announced exactly two years earlier in 2008. The 60D represents a new milestone for Canon. The 60D enjoys a 18.0-megapixels (effective) CMOS sensor, 3-inch 1040K-dots fully articulated LCD, 5.3 fps burst and 1080p Full HD video recording that didn’t exist on the 50D.

With the 60D Canon ditched the metal body that the 50D has and opted for a Polycarbonate resin with glass fiber on aluminum chassis. The build quality is  less durable than on the 50D, but in no means it’s cheap or clunky, not at all. It feels great in the hands, a “pro” feel if you know what I mean.

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i

Also referred to as Canon Rebel T3i (USA) or Kiss X5 (Japan). The Canon T3i was announced in March 31 2011.  It replaced the 550D which was announced on April 1 2010. Although on paper the EOS 600D doesn’t seem like a well worthy update from the 500D, it’s actually one of those cameras that many photographers learn to love. It features Canon’s latest technologies and the price is just right for many of us. So when it comes to price vs features, the T3i is probably one of the most interesting digital SLR cameras out there.

The 600D features a 18.0-megapixels Multi-aspect ratio (effective) APS-C CMOS sensor (same resolution as the 550D), 1040K-dots 3-inch LCD screen and 1080p Full HD movie recording.

60D vs 600D / T3i – Key Differences

The first question that many people ask themselves prior to buying a new camera is what’s the difference between one camera and the other. It’s probably the most important question to ask because you actually want to know whether you should pay more and get the 60D, or go with the more affordable camera, the 600D.

Let’s start by showing you a 600D vs 60D specs comparison table. In this way you can see the main differences between the two cameras.

FeatureCanon 60DCanon 600DDifference
AnnouncedAugust 26, 2010February 7, 2011The 600D is newer than the 60D
Sensor18.0MP (effective)
22.3 x 14.9 mm
Image ratio: 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
18.0MP (effective)
22.3 x 14.9 mm
Image ratio: 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Same
ISO100 – 6400
(12800 in expanded mode)
100 – 6400
(12800 in expanded mode)
Same
Digital ZoomNoYes (3-10x)T3i has digital zoom, the 60D doesn’t.
Works in video on in 1080p not in 720p. More info below
LCD3-inch 1040K-dots
Vari angle
3-inch 1040K-dots
Vari angle
Same
Top LCDYesNoThe 60D has a top info LCD which some will find it useful
ViewfinderPentaprism
Coverage: 96%
Magnification: 0.95%
Pentaprism
Coverage: 95%
Magnification: 0.85%
Better coverage and magnification
with the 60D
Max. Shutter Speed1/8000 sec1/4000 secThe 60D has a faster shutter speed
Focus Points9 (9 cross-type)9 (1 cross-type)9 cross-type give the edge to the 60D
FlashPopup (13m) +
Hot-shoe for external flash
Popup (13m) +
Hot-shoe for external flash
Same
Continuous shooting5.3 fps3.7 fpsFaster continuous shooting with the 60D
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±1 Difference of maximum EV step increment in favor of the 60D (good for HDR)
Movie Mode
(max. resolution)
1080p (1920×1080 / H.264) @ 30, 25, 24 fps with mono sound + ability to control the recorded volume.1080p (1920×1080 / H.264) @ 30, 25, 24 fps with mono sound+ ability to control the recorded volume.Same (although see read about digital zoom below)
3.5mm socket for External MicYesYesSame
Memory CardsSD/SDHC/SDXCSD/SDHC/SDXCSame
HDMImini HDMImini HDMICanon 600D / Rebel T3i
Build QualityPolycarbonate resin with glass fiber on aluminum chassis, Weather sealedPolycarbonateThe 60D is dust and water resistant (use rubber sealing), the T3i is not. It also feels much better when you hold it.
Battery Life (CIPA)1100 shots
(LP-E6 Battery model)
440 shots
(LP-E8 Battery model)
60D offers more than two time the battery life compared to the T3i
Weight
(w/ batteries)
755 g (1.66 lb)570 g (1.26 lb)T3i weights 185 g less
Size145 x 106 x 79 mm (5.71 x 4.17 x 3.11″)133 x 100 x 80 mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.15″)T3i is a more compact camera especially in its width

Let’s go over the some of the key differences and talk about them juts a bit.

Build Quality and Ergonomics

The 60D build quality is better than the 600D. I had a chance to hold both cameras and own the 60D myself.  Some people have been disappointed with the fact that Canon opted for a Polycarbonate body over Magnesium alloy like the one on the 50D. Even so, the 60D just feel very tough, durable and well built.  Even the Canon BGE9 Camera Battery grip is one of the best vertical battery grips I owned.

In terms of ergonomics, I can tell you that the 60D is very comfortable to hold. If you have large hands, buy the BGE9 grip and be a happy photographer.  The left rubberized hand-grip on the 60D is wider and has more depth to it. I also think that in terms of ergonomics, the Canon EOS 60D is one of my favorite cameras.

The 600D weights 185 g less than the 60D, but I think that the extra weight will be appreciated by enthusiast photographers with heavy and long interchangeable lenses. So this is a positive side, not a negative side. On the other hand, the T3i is lighter and smaller, which will fit better for small hands and feel more comfortable.

 

Shutter Speed & Continuous Shooting

The Canon EOS 60D has the advantage of being faster both in terms of its max. shutter speed (1/8000 sec vs 1/4000 s) and continuous shooting (5.3 fps vs 3.7 fps). It seems like a better choice for sports photographers. Although it depends on the type of scene you frequently shoot.  A faster maximum shutter speed gives you several advantages: better exposure control with ultra fast lenses and a better degree of stopping fast moving subject. Fast burst rate will allow you to get more sequenced shots, whether you are shooting sports, animals, celebs or kids, it’s always valuable to have it in the list of specs.

5.3 vs 3.7 fps it’s not a big difference compared to the 8 fps of the 7D – but it coems with a higher price of course. In comparison, the 60D competitor, Nikon D7000, has 6 fps.

Here is a video which demonstrates the continuous shooting speed of the Canon EOS 60D.

Which is Better for HDR Photography?

I’ve heard this question quite a lot lately. People searching for the best camera for HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.  Putting it straight forwards, the Canon 60D will serve you better for HDR because it has a larger maximum EV step increment 3 vs 2. Both cameras can be set to bracket in 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps.

Note, don’t confuse AE bracketing with Exposure compensation when going over the specs. Exposure compensation will give you an option to tell the camera that the exposure needed varies from ±5 EV steps. With AE bracketing (AEB) the camera automatically captures several sequence shots on after another, each one with different exposure. The problem with manual bracketing is that it takes time to set it up in the camera, which isn’t so useful when shooting a scene with continuously changing and dynamic environment.

Battery Life

The Canon EOS 60D battery life is much better than the one on the T3i/600D. 440 vs 1100 shots, that a lot. Again, it’s very important for photographers who take a lot of shots on a single session (ie. sports, wedding, models, etc.). Of course you can always but a second battery or get a vertical battery grip that support AA batteries.

Image Quality

The image quality is probably one of the most important parameters that describes the quality of a given camera. I stopped by dpreview in order to see how both camera perform in various ISO settings in JPEG mode.

Here is my observation’s conclusion:

  • ISO 100 – 400 – virtually the same image quality, although the T3i apply stronger sharpening in camera in comparison to the 60D
  • ISO 800 – 12800 – 60D images have a bit  more contrast but the T3i/600D images look a bit cleaner and details are a bit more preserved

First of all, the image quality is top-notch. Colors look very natural and well saturated. I must admit that as a Nikon owner, I am in favor of Canon JPEG colors. For me they look more natural. That’s my own opinion of course and somebody might find Nikon colors to look better to his liking. I’ve read on several places that the color accuracy of the 60D is better than on the Rebel T3i. I can’t confirm it by viewing the images by myself, but I thought about letting you know.

Both cameras produce impressively clean images up to ISO 3200. I mean noise start kicking in from ISO800, but it’s nothing that can ruin an image and make it unusable. Really remarkable results!

Overall, both cameras provide very high image quality and I can’t see any difference that will make me recommend one camera over another.

Movie Mode

Finally we get to the movie mode. Both the Canon EOS 60D and the Rebel T3i can shoot gorgeous full HD videos. I had a chance to shoot videos with the 60D and I was more than impressed I must tell you. Canon, in my opinion, makes the best HDSLR cameras in the world right now. That’s the reason why so many professional videographers and cinematographers choose to shoot part of their movies with a Canon HDSLR camera (check Canon Project Imagin8tion to see what can be achieved).

Let’s watch a sample video taken completely with the Canon 60D (made by Canon Europe).

I just can find any word that can really tell you how good the Full HD video quality is. Both the Rebel T3i and the 60D produce very high quality videos.

Which One to Buy?

Having own the Canon EOS 60D myself and played with the 600D, I can easily tell you that the 60D feels much better in the hand. Let’s not forget that it’s weather sealed so you can take it out and use it in harsh weather conditions. The 60D has faster burst, faster maximum shutter speed, top info LCD, more flexible AE bracketing and much better battery life. In favor of the Rebel T3i/600D are a bit better contrasty images in high ISO, Canon’s digital zoom and it’s lighter and more compact. Overall the 60D is in no doubt a better camera for the enthusiast photographer. When it comes to make the final decision, I always recommend going over the differences one again and see if you spot one useful feature that exists in one camera and not the other. A feature that you think you need to use now or will probably use in the near future.  Although many people have raised their eyebrow when Canon first announced the 60D, it is probably one of the best, if not THE best mid-range dSLR for the enthusiast photographer.

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