You’ve decided that it’s time to buy a new DSLR and you are debating between the Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D). Although those two cameras aren’t equal in price (D7000 costs about $200 more) still, both are targeted for the same market segment and they both are well worthy to compete one against the other. I assume that you are about to purchase a new DSLR camera and need to choose between either the Nikon D7000 and the Canon EOS 60D.
As we usually do, let’s start with a short introduction of the D7000 and 60D and later on we will be talking about the two cameras in-depth.
The Nikon D7000 is the classic enthusiasts camera, the one that many D80 and D90 owners have been waiting to upgrade to. Luckily I had a chance to shoot with this camera quite a lot because my father has bought it, so I can share my experience with this camera too.
The D7000 comes with a 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and Expeed 2 image processor. The Expeed 2 is not the latest one, there is the Expeed 3 now. The camera can shoot up to ISO 6400 and ISO 25600 in boost. The camera is equipped with a large 3-inch 9210K-dots LCD, can shoot at 6 frame per second, comes with a built-in pop-up flash, has support for AE and WB bracketing and can shoot full HD videos at 1080p24.
The D7000 is well built with partial magnesium-alloy body and it’s also weather and dust resistant. The battery life is excellent, and you can shoot approximately 1050 shots on a single charge.
The Nikon D7000 is a very sophisticated camera for the advanced photographer who needs and wants more than what Nikon’s entry-level cameras can offer. It’s autofocus speed is amazingly fast – so fast that when I used the camera, I thought that the focus isn’t working.
The D7000 won the 2011 TIPA Awards for “Best DSLR Advanced” and EISA Award for “Advanced SLR Camera” Best Product 2011-2012. The D7000 is certainly one of the most popular enthusiast’s DSLR camera on the planet. Nikon certainly proved the it can continue the D90 tradition. The D90 was certainly one of a kind, type of cameras that really gave a new meaning to what price/performance is all about. An excellent camera for enthusiast and a great secondary camera for professional photographers.
Furthermore, the D7000 also feature dual memory-card slot, built-in Speedlight flash with i-TTL, 2,016-pixel RGB (3D Color Matrix) sensor, 39 point AF system 150,000 cycle-rated shutter system, 50mm shutter lag and much more. Camera reviewers all over the world gave this camera very high rating, it’s just a camera that won’t let you down – can we really ask for more, or need to?
Canon EOS 60D
I had the Canon 60D for a few days and had a chance to experience with it. I also had the grip attached and was shooting with the Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L lens (great lens!).
The Canon 60D is a very interesting camera that shows what Canon can achieve when it want to target the enthusiast market segment. The 60D utilize a 18-megapixel APS-C (not full frame) CMOS sensor and Digic 4 image processor. It can shoot up to a maximum ISO of 6400 and ISO 12800 with boost.
At the back you will find one of the best LCDs in the industry, a 1,040K-dots Fully articulated 3-inch LCD. The 60D can shoot at 5.3 fps at maximum resolution, has a built-in pop-up flash, support for AE and WB bracketing and can shoot 1080p30,25,24 Full HD movies. It has an excellent battery life of 1100 shots (CIPA).
The Canon 60D was designed to give enthusiast photographers a tool that want limit their creativity, by utilizing Canon’s latest technology innovation to bring a highly capable HDSLR camera that will find its way in the hand of both stills and video shooters. The Vari-angle LCD is there for a reason. Canon built upon the success of the 5DMKII as a pro-level HDSLR camera and want others to enjoy the same high-quality videos but for a lower entry price range.
The EOS 60D sits below the 7D, but certainly add some functionality that will even make the 60D worth buying over the 7D (for some of us). 60D vs 7D is out of this article’s scope, but what I meant to say is that the 60D is a very attractive camera and offers plenty of useful features for everyone of us.
When I had the 60D I also had it with the grip, which is relatively very big and for my big hands it was just perfect. I felt that I was holding a D3s / D4 not an enthusiast-level camera.
In comparison to the D7000, the 60D features a plastic body (mostly Polycarbonate) instead of a magnesium-alloy body. If you remember, the EOS 50D had a magnesium allot body, so it’s kind of a shame not having that this tough body construction on the 60D. Plastic doesn’t necessarily means cheap, and the 60D felt very durable in the hands – not like the 50D, but still not a like a toy, if you know what I mean.
Oh, and the 60d also features a d-pad plus the Jog dial (rotating wheel) that you can find in the more expensive Canon bodies.
Let’s take a look a very nice 60D introduction video that I’ve found on YouTube, worth viewing:
OK, not that you’ve got a good understanding about the D7000 and the 60D, let’s jump to a more in-depth comparison.
Side by Side Comparison Table
Let’s compare the Nikon D7000 and Canon EOS 60D side by side and then continue talking about the differences between those two cameras.
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There are quite a lot of thing to talk about, but I will start with the most popular questions that I get via mail.
Which camera has better weather-sealing, the 60D or D7000?
This sometimes get very confusing because there isn’t any rating in the specs that states the weather-sealing of the camera and maybe they should do it (something like CIPA for weather-sealing). The Nikon D7000 is marketed as weather sealed camera (quote from Nikon D7000 official website: “Compact but durable with magnesium-alloy top and rear covers, superior weather and dust” source). The 60D isn’t marketed as such.
The means that the D7000 can withstand humidity, snow, dust and rain. Of course the camera is not waterproof. So maybe a few drops of rain won’t kill the camera, I wouldn’t get my camera wet in any way. It’s probably more like a marketing phrase that helps people feel more secure when shooting outdoors. If you want a water-resistant camera, you should go with the pro-bodies that are well protected and sealed against rain, but that’s not turns them to underwater cameras. For that you will need a underwater housing.
In the next video a Nikon D7000 owner was brave enough to try the D7000 weather-sealing by putting the D7000 under the shower and see of it still functional
So the D7000’s weather-sealing might work against rain and water splashes, but as the quote say “don’t try this at home”. (if you have more information regarding the D7000’s weather resistant feature, please drop a comment below).
So the D7000 might be a better choice for the outdoor photographer who shoot in harsh weather conditions. Add the (partial ) magnesium-alloy body to the mix and you get a much durable camera overall, so if the D7000 gets a bump or two, you should be safe.
Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget that you should (better say ‘must’) also use a weather-sealed lens. The combination of the two should make you feel more secure shooting in harsh weather conditions.
D7000 has a Dual-card Slot, how useful is it?
The Nikon D7000 features a dual-card slot, the Canon 50D does not. There are several advantages of using a secondary SD card at the same time and all respond to the embedded functionality that supports this dual-card configuration. There are several options available:
- Overflow – when you reach the first card’s maximum storage capacity, the camera will continue to write to the second card
- Backup – writes the image data to each card at the same time. That means that you have two identical copies of the photos. If one card is damaged, your images are still safe (kind of a RAID 1)
- Raw / JPEG – in this mode tell the camera to write JPEG images to one card, and Raw files to the second card
So it really depends on your specific shootings needs. For example, a wedding photographer will greatly appreciate the ‘Backup’ option, because he just cannot afford losing photos. The ‘Overflow’ option is very useful for sports photographers who shoot lots of sequenced images and don’t want to mass with changing cards. Certainly boost the amount of capacity available, even if you use the largest capacity available on the market.
The thirds option “Raw / JPG” will appeal to those who shoot Raw of course. The JPG can be used for previewing the photos prior to processing them or for sending JPG to client approval before actually processing and editing them on the computer using photo editing software.
18MP vs 16.2MP – Big Difference?
The Canon EOS 60D has a maximum image resolution of 5184 x 3456 pixels, the Nikon D7000 has 4928 x 3264 pixels. The difference is very small and I shouldn’t be used as part of your buying decision in my opinion, but I guess you already know that 🙂
Here’s a comparison that illustrates the relative image size difference.
As you can see, the height and width size differences are small.
Which One is Better for Video Recording (better HDSLR)?
Both the Canon 60D and the Nikon D7000 can produce amazing high-quality Full HD videos, but the two cameras have their differences.
- Frame rates – The D7000 lacks the 30fps for 1080p, but has it on 720p (HD). 60D can shoot at variable frame-rates, including 30,25 and 24 fps
- LCD – 60D has a flip-out monitor for low and high shots, the D7000 has a fixed position LCD
D7000 ~24 Mbps (1080p) max video bitrate / H.264 compression / 20 minutes maximum video recording limit
60D 42 Mbps (1080p) max video bitrate / MPEG-4 AVC – H.264 compression / 29 minutes and 59 seconds maximum video recording limit
- Mic Jack – both cameras offer 3.5 mm stereo input jack for connecting external microphones
- Video AF = D7000 features contrast detection AF during video, 60D non.
Now for a comparison sample videos..
Canon EOS 60D vs Nikon D7000: Low light (make sure you watch it in 1080p)
So in terms of compressions, many enthusiast videographers might prefer the 60D due to its higher bitrate when recording full HD videos and it also comes with variable recording frame rates.
D7000 vs 60D – High ISO Image Quality
Many photographers based their buying decision on various factors, one of them in how the camera performs in high ISO. Dpreview has already established a very useful Studio scene image comparison that also includes same images under various ISO sensitivity levels. I used that to make my own assessment on how good each camera is when shooting at high ISO (above ISO800).
Here’s my observation conclusions (JPEG output comparison):
ISO 800 – at this ISO both the D7000 and the 60D performs very well with almost no visible noise. The D7000 start showing small amount of noise in the dark areas, but absolutely nothing to worry about.
ISO 1600 – at ISO1600 things start getting more obvious. D7000 we can see more noise compared to the 60D, and the 60D image looks sharper (but it’s not just due to the higher MP), D7000 a bit on the soft side.
ISO 3200 – noise is certainly evident, but 60D has the advantage here. Worth mentioning that even at this high ISO, images look very good and usable for even large prints. I would probably throw those images to a noise reduction software to eliminate that noise and get a smoother looking image (my recommendation: Neat Image).
ISO 6400 – at ISO6400 still both cameras produce relatively very clean images and small details are very well maintained. It’s kind of a mixed bag. In some areas of the image (card) that 60D out performs the D7000, while in others (watch), the D7000 seems to resolve more details. I think that it’s related to the NR algorithms and how they attacked various patterns of noise in the image. If you look closely, you ca see that the D7000 JPEG results in spotty image when viewed at 100% scale, while the 60D image looks cleaner. I can just assume that Canon utilize a more aggressive NR to the images compared to the less aggressive approach on the D7000, but I am not 100% sure. In general, I like the 60D output. I’ve read in various places that the D7000 outperforms the 60D in high ISO, but dpreview test doesn’t reflect that (do I need glasses?)
In Raw, we can clearly see that the D7000 was able to squeeze more details and the image looks like it has a wider dynamic range in high ISO (ie. ISO 3200, ISO 6400).
Regarding dynamic range. When you looks in certain part of the image, you can see that the D7000 image resolves more details, especially noticeable in the reds (see the Martini bottle logo). On the 60D is looks like a smooth red (kind of), and on the D7000 you can see more of the fine details. I’ve read other image quality comparison and they claim that the D7000 has a more dynamic range, somewhere like 2.4 stops more.
I think that both cameras performs almost identical in JPEG, although when it comes to personal preference, I prefer the 60D JPEG output. When it comes to details, the D7000 wins and the less aggressive NR approach might be preferred by enthusiast and pros. I probably less aggressive NR (when I don’t shoot Raw), because noise reduction software can result in better output compares to a smudgy noise patterns that are a result of a strong in-camera NR.
I had a chance to try both cameras. There are some things that even the most professional review can’t transfer to the reader. For example, the Nikon Autofocus on the D7000 is incredibly fast and the 39 AF points certainly helps me get better shots when shooting fast moving subjects (shot a horse running in the field). For some shots you wouldn’t notice the difference, but I just felt that the AF works better on the Nikon. Of course the results may vary depends on the lens and other factors, but I am just telling you what I felt with general use.
The D7000 viewfinder offers 100% coverage compared to 96% of the 60D. I personally didn’t fund any viewfinder limiting me from achieving my goals, although some of you might prefer a 100% and a bit larger viewfinder on the D7000.
Regarding ergonomics, I really liked how the 60D felt in the hands, especially when I attached the vertical battery grip. I found the 60D more comfortable for my large hands.
The vari-angle LCD is amazing. I shot many low angle shots that without an articulating LCD, I would have to take several of them to get it right. It really helps me both shooting stills and videos. Certainly a feature that you shouldn’t ignore, especially if you intend to shoot a lot of movies using your camera. The 10% higher resolution of the 60D’s monitor is not noticeable, at least not to me.
Where is my 60D now? – I really wanted to keep my 60D, but I discover that I (probably) got a bad copy. Images turned out soft when shooting both with my 70-200 mm f/4 L IS and 18-55mm IS lens. I’ve sent the camera to the laboratory and they didn’t fund any problem. Maybe they have their own reasons for telling me that, because I bought it from their store. Nevertheless, I was 100% sure that their was a problem there and I returned it and got a refund. After a few weeks I’ve notices that I am not the only one who experienced this. Don’t get me wrong, the 60D is an amazing camera, it was probably a bad luck getting a camera that produce this such behavior. I eventually got the Nikon D3100 instead. I sure miss my 60D + 70-200 mm f4L IS lens. I really wanted to enjoy this camera. BTW, I told the camera lab to check the camera for front and back focus too.
It doesn’t mean that you should consider not buying this camera, I just wanted to share my personal experience with it.
So there we have it, two amazing enthusiast’s DSLR cameras. Both have their cons and pros and you can clearly see what the differences are. I think that choosing between the two might be easier than other comparison that I’ve made before. For video, the Canon EOS 60D is just a better camera for the job (ie. less comparison, various framerates, swivel LCD, etc.). I think that for stills the D7000 might have the edge, especially for the outdoor photographer, because of its more sophisticated 39-point AF system, weather-sealing and durable partial magnesium-alloy body. It has a larger viewfinder with 100% coverage, shoots slightly faster (6 fps vs 5.3 fps) and JPEG and Raw output have more details, NR is less aggressive in JPG but both cameras produce very good results in low-light (high ISO).
Do you own research based on the available information and see what suits you best. It’s not easy, but when you understand what you need, making a decision is not that hard as you might think.
If you already shot with one or both of the cameras, please share your experience by commenting below. Thanks!