Entry Level DSLR Canon 60D Vs. T3i

If you’re starting out in DSLR video the options can be overwhelming, and if your on a budget you may not know which features are worth having or not. Canon is one of the most popular brands in DSLR filmmaking for their video features. Now, I’m not saying that the other brands don’t have anything to offer because they do (some of the Sony autofocus systems for video are outstanding compared to Canon’s), but when you buy into DSLR your investing into a system and brand for many years.

The Options

Canon currently offers the T2i, T3i, 60D, & 7D for full HD video on APS-C sized sensors. The APS-C sized sensors are best on a budget and currently range from $ 600-1,600. Two of these cameras, however, offer a great feature: the swivel screen. The 60D was the first to offer the swivel screen and the T3i followed. If you don’t care about the swivel screen, although it does come in handy, trust me, I would recommend buying the T2i because the price difference between that and the 7D is very large.

Why Not the 7D?

All of these cameras offer the same exact sensor. Same megapixels same great low light performance etc. So the video that is created on the T2i will be the same as the video on the 7D (provided the same lenses are used, same ISO, shutter speed etc). The 7D, however, does have a dual chip processor so it can shoot stil images faster. If you are a photographer this means a lot, but if your a videographer that doesn’t mean quite as much. The only other differences between the 7D and the others for video are a few buttons here and there. For example, on the 7D you can switch into video on any mode instead of having to switch to it on the dial. Also, the 7D is fully weather proofed and made of stronger materials.

60D Vs. T3i

So now to the point. You want a swivel screen, you want canon. There’s the 60D and T3i with about a $200 difference. It is hard to see the difference on the surface and whether the 60D is worth the $200. The two biggest things that the 60D has to offer is Kelvin white balance and more buttons. Kelvin white balance is the option to dial in a specific color temperature for color balance. This is more useful than one might think. With this mode it is very easy to change on the fly and get the exact color you want. On the T3i you can manual white balance, but even when using a white balance card you may not get the result you want. More buttons is also a big deal from the T3i to the 60D. I’ve used both and on the 60D you can control all of the camera controls: ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, all without looking at the camera or going through menus. Using the T3i it was much more difficult to cycle through all of these options quickly because the lack of the dial on back and buttons on the top of the camera. Also, you can use interval ISO settings on the 60D and you cannot on the T3i, but that is not a huge deal for me.

So, unless you are REALLY strapped for cash I would recommend spending the extra on the 60D.

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Posted on July 27, 2011, in DSLR, Gear and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hey patmharris i praise your blog well done!

  2. Hey, tks for the post. I’m just curious why everyone who compares these cameras overlooks the digital zoom feature that only the t3i has. This is actually a big deal especially when using primes. At 3-5x the quality is amazing. Its more important than the other 60d features, imo. Tks, Mark

    • To be honest, I did not know about this feature of the camera when writing this post.
      However, I feel that if you have the need to zoom a lens in you should be using a zoom lens. Especially if you are using a prime lens, you want the image to be as sharp as possible and digitally zooming in will degrade the quality (if only slightly).

      To me, Kelvin white balancing is a MUST, and interval ISO’s is helpful also. Although you can always add those features via Magic Lantern. (I’m curious if you could add a zoom feature through Magic Lantern also).

      Very good catch however, thanks. Hopefully, the next line of these cameras will all have that feature.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. About 90% of the sites out there doing a presentation on 60d vs 7d will try to sell you the 7d because of its paper specs. Whatever! I’m not saying the 7d isn’t superior, I’m just saying for the majority of people out there that aren’t shooting sports or need serious weatherproofing should use the hundreds of dollars they’ll save on a 60d vs a 7d and INVEST IN BETTER GLASS. If you want great IQ, all of these cameras will perform almost identically. Better glass will make a much greater difference. Also, no camera will help you compose your shots better; that is something that only time, patience, and a willingness to learn will get you. There was a time when dslrs with xsi and 40d specs were the best in the industry, pros used cameras with those specs, paid thousands for them, and took great shots. Now, the cheapest Rebel out-specs those former pro bodies. Again, the body is a small part of the equation. Between a 60d and t3i… i would say go and play with both and choose whatever feels better to you, and suits your budget.

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