Review Canon 60D: Measurements

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This testreport supplements our Canon 60D review. Measurements were made using Imatest. For a brief description of the test method and explanation of terms, see the FAQ section.

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 Sensor Resolution

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If you combine the Canon 60D with a good lens, like the Canon 70-200/2.8 L IS MK2, the Canon 60D will deliver you a jpg file with an average resolution of almost 1200 LW/PH. A RAW file, after a standard development applied in Lightroom, delivers a higher perceived sharpness and an average resolution of nearly 1900 LW/PH. These numbers are considerably lower than the resolution of files from a full frame camera (Canon 5D MK2: RAW 3000 LW/PH; jpg 2000 LW/PH). But taking your pictures with a Canon 60D in RAW, will result in images with the same resolution and perceived sharpness as someone shooting jpg files using a Canon 5D MK2. That sounds much better, doesn't it?

Dynamic range

The Total dynamic range is 9 stops on average over the ISO 100-6400 range for a RAW file and 9.5 stops on average for a jpg file. Which is a good result for an APS-C sensor. The image to the right shows the total dynamic range measurement for a 400 ISO jpg file with a total dynamic range of 10 stops.

In comparison with the Canon 5D MK2 (with a full frame sensor), the dynamic range is almost the same for both RAW files and jpg files. For a brief description of the test method and explanation of terms, see the FAQ section.

Not all of the dynamic range will deliver you pictures with a good signal to noise ratio. Especially in the shadows, noise will be disturbingly visible.

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Dynamic range is, therefore, reduced to a usable dynamic range of 7 stops at lower ISO settings and further down to 3 stops at 6400 ISO. The usable dynamic range of jpg files shown in the figure is - because of in-camera noise reduction - higher than RAW files. That is the result of the development parameters we have chosen for Lightroom. Dynamic range of RAW files is tested without using any noise reduction. By doing that, one maintains the highest possible detail in the images (50% higher in comparison with jpg files). The noise in these developed RAW files, although measurable and clearly visible at 100% on your monitor, will not be visible in print.
If you carefully adjust contrast, sharpening and noise reduction for RAW files, it is possible obtain a usable dynamic range better or equal to that of the jpg files.
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Noise

Even without noise reduction the RAW files can be used up to ISO 1600, before any noise becomes noticable in prints. Even in an A3+ print of a 1600 ISO file, noise will not be disturbingly visible. But a large amount of fine detail will be shown, because of the minimal noise reduction applied.

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Below sections of a gray card, photographed at different ISO settings, are shown. As mentioned earlier, we didn't use any form of noise reduction for the RAW files. By applying noise reduction to the RAW files even better results would have been achieved.

A comparison of the greycard patches and the measurement data shown in the charts of this Canon 60D test with those in our Canon 5D MK2 review, shows that the difference between the Canon 60D and the Canon 5D MK2 is about 1 stop.

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Noise-1 Noise-2

Color reproduction (Delta E 94) Canon 60D in daylight

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Color reproduction (Delta E 94) Canon 60D in daylight

  • Average 4,2 (RAW) / 8,5 (jpg)
  • Best 3,8 RAW @ 6400 ISO
  • Worst10,6 jpg @ 1600 ISO
  • Skintones: 4,4 (RAW) / 8,4 (jpg)
  • Natural colors: 4,9 (RAW) / 6,8 (jpg)
  • Bright colors: 4,1 (RAW) / 6,8 (jpg)
The Canon 60D produces RAW files with good color rendering ((keep your mouse over the left image for larger version), the precision of the color depends on camera calibration profile you in Lightroom uses. The measured saturation of RAW files is between the 105 and 107%. the left illustration shows the color error of an ISO 200 jpg image was shot in daylight. more the ideal color (square) is removed from the color of the camera (round), the greater the color difference. for the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ

On the right you see a direct comparison of the original color map (upper diagonal half) compared to the same ISO 200 jpg file from the 60D (lower diagonal half). The accuracy of color reproduction of jpg files depends on the profile that you set the camera (neutral, faithful, standard, etc.), but is always less accurate than a RAW file. Depending on the ISO setting, the jpg files (standard) an average color error (Delta E94) between 6 and 11. That's as good as the color of daylight at the Canon EOS 5D MK2, incidentally.

Color reproduction in artificial light

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Color reproduction (Delta E 94) Canon 60D in artificial light

  • Average 11,4 (RAW) / 12,8 (jpg)
  • Best 11,1 RAW @ 200 ISO
  • Worst 18 jpg @ 6400 ISO
  • Skintones: 8,6 (RAW) / 10,2 (jpg)
  • Natural colors: 11,6 (RAW) / 13,8 (jpg)
  • Vivid color: 9,0 (RAW) / 11,3 (jpg)

Especially in artificial light, auto white balance of the Canon 60D is not good enough. All of our images shot in tungsten light were too red and too much saturated. In the left image this is clearly shown for an ISO 200 JPG file. On mouse over you'll see a larger version of the left picture.

For more information, see our Canon 60D review.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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