Canon D60

Nov. 2002

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After using digital cameras (Olympus C3030 and Canon G2) for more than 2 years, I decided to upgrade again to Canon D60 which was introduce in Feb 2002.

Why do I want to have a digital SLR camera?

Why do I want to upgrade to Canon D60?

There are so many reviews available for Canon D60 (for example, Steve's Digicam, Imaging Resources, DP review, etc.). However, I still need to do some testing myself to see how the camera performs, how it fits to my shooting style, and what its limits are, but I don't care many details shown on those reviews (like GUI control buttons, etc.). I'll use my test results as a guideline for my future use of Canon D60.


Image Quality vs ISO setting

D60 has 5 ISO setting: 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1000. The next few 1:1 croped images show the difference between ISO settings. I also put G2 results for side-by-side comparisons. D60 at ISO 100 (and up to 400) is very clean in image. Even at ISO1000, D60 is cleaner than G2 at ISO400. I'll avoid using ISO800 and 1000 on my D60 unless I really have to.

D60 ISO 100 G2 ISO 100 Provia 100F scanned by Nikon 4000
D60 ISO 200 G2 ISO 200
D60 ISO 400 G2 ISO 400
D60 ISO 800  
D60 ISO 1000  

Noise is usually worse in shadow areas for high ISO settings. More ISO setting comparisons are in this page.



More Image Quality Comparison with G2

The next pair is the crop of sky portion and enlarged by 3x. D60's sky is amazing clean while G2 has visible noise at ISO100. Even Provia100F scanned by Nikon 4000 has more noise than D60.

D60 ISO 100 G2 ISO100 Provia 100F scanned by Nikon 4000


D60's 6MPix image looks soft right out of camera (all images shown on this page were un-processed original images). I think it is due to anti-aliasing filter and lack of in-camera sharpening processing. Consumer level cameras (like G2) tend to do more in-camera processing to please users and therefore their images are sharper (but contain more artifacts). I personally don't mind to do some post-processing in Photoshop (I have to do it all the time when I scanned my slides). Applying unsharp mask (with amount 80-100%, radius 3-4 pixels, threshold 3 levels) in Photoshop brings out many details in D60 images and you will be amazed again by this camera. More resolution camparison can be found here.

show crop 1:1 image show crop 1:1 image



Raw vs JPEG

D60 can save images as RAW format as well as several different qaulity JPEGs. Although RAW format is supposed to be the most original and containing all image information, I really do not see the actual image quality difference when compared with large fine JPEG. The file size is 6.5MB (RAW) vs 2.5MB (Fine JPEG), which means less image storage, longer download time, and longer processing time for RAW images. One benefit of using RAW is that you can choose different white balance when you do conversion (RAW to TIFF) in PC. I think I will just shoot in large fine JPEG for most cases (maybe using RAW for indoor shots because of more difficult of white balance).


Large fine JPEG (1928KB) RAW (6522KB)



White Balance

White balance is a tough topic especially for indoor mixed light conditions. D60 has several white balance settings and I tested them for an indoor with external flash (mixed with halogen light and window light). The following photos show different white balance settings with histograms (luminosity and RGB). It is really hard to say which one is the most correct in color tones, and it will be even harder to predict the outcome when we face more comlicated mixed light conditions. RAW format will be a good choice here so you do not have to have the final decision when you take the picture; everything can be tried on PC later.

Auto WB Daylight


Cloudy Tungsten


Fluorescent Flash



Strength and Weakness

What do I like about the D60?

What do I not like about the D60?

Can D60 replace my film based SLR (Canon A2)? Probably more than 95% of time. I may still bring my A2 around as a back-up in case D60 run out of battery or memory. Can D60 replace my G2? I don't think so. D60 and G2 are for different purposes, and they will play their roles well.



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