Canon 7D vs 60D vs 550D / T2i

Now that Canon is throwing everyone for a loop releasing every 'in between' type of camera, I just thought i'd throw up a video about a few differences in the Canon 7D vs 60D vs T2i. I too was quite disappointed that Canon didn't release any earth shattering news about new video features on their latest camera. For 5DM2 and 7D owners, the announcement of the 60D was nothing to get too overly excited about. When it was between the T2i and 7D I advised all my friends starting in DSLR video to go with the T2i, save the extra $1000 dollars and buy yourself some better glass. Now the 60D is coming in at just $300 dollars more than the T2i, I'm going to change my tune. For Canon T2i owners who said they wouldn't, I think once you've used it and seen what it can do, you'll make a decision to upgrade.

There are some really nice features for videographers that will instantly improve what you're already doing with the T2i. For one, the White balance settings on the 60D are way easier to control than the T2i, and adds the option for manual Kelvin settings. The Flip out LCD you might be able to live without (I think it's really nice), but the Manual Audio levels are well worth the extra $300 dollars alone. Why bother with an external Audio recorder when you can connect a microphone directly and manually adjust audio levels in the camera? You shoot hundreds of tiny little clips throughout the day and when you come home, you have nothing to sync. You change your settings to 24p to get that cinema look, and instead of running hundreds of clips through Plural Eyes, all that work is already done. This already will save you hours and hours of post work. Sure you can defeat AGC on the other cameras, but in doing so, you'll already be spending a few hundred dollars on a decent device. The upgraded body already puts the 60D in a different class. It's no longer a lightweight Rebel camera, the 60D feels sturdy with a bit more weather proofing. We're not even talking about all the Photography upgrades, so for beginner Hybrid shooters the decision should be easy regarding the $300 dollar price difference.


I was surprised that Canon didn't release any new video features like 120fps or at least [email protected], but not surprised Canon released another camera with obvious Video dedicated ergonomic upgrades. Having spent an extra $1000 dollars for their first 1080 DSLR Video camera, there were thousands of Canon 7D owners who were shocked when the Canon T2i was first announced. I think the announcement of the 60D for just a few hundred dollars more appeals to T2i owners in the same way. Overall the Canon 60D is indeed a great camera at a great price, and Canon has made great strides in adding more professional video features, audio features, photography features, and body upgrades into a more affordable camera.

54 thoughts on “Canon 7D vs 60D vs 550D / T2i

  1. Insane Artistry

    7D for the ballers, the serious photographers who want to make an impact. T2i for peolpe with Mercedes reams yet Toyota budgets.

    I owned a t2i and it was simply awesome to all levels, yet I recently just upgraded to a &D and I will tell you the weather sealing makes it far worth every penny. If you are caught in a storm on a wild life shoot or documentary, I want my camera sealed enough for me to be able to get it under cover. All it takes is a few drops in the wrong area and kiss your investment goodbye.

  2. Apollo

    Hi guys, I got a question on this video, i just wanna know what kind of lens emm's using on his 7D and T2i, cause im planning to upgrade from T2i to 7D.. anyone can answer to my question, thank you.. Im just a Rookie =D

    emm, thank you...your site helps me a lot

  3. Chris

    Thanks for the great review. I have been saving up for a while and I will probably get the 60d because of the manual gain control. Thanks again

  4. @Guy : i think DSLR is more suited to shoot-to-compose videography style. Definitely not for recording long hours, or in this case, 29 minutes. I used 7D for shooting wedding from dawn to dusk and all the way to the end of wedding dinner. Never had a problem with overheating. My longest shot was on steadicam which was around 2 minutes. In your case, I guess there's no better solution but to shut the camera off, let it cool down, and shoot with 2nd body.

  5. Guy

    Whats the best way to avoid overheating with the T2i. I bought mine about a month ago. I was taping a graduation yesterday and it was overheating on me. I was recording in 1080p so I'm not sure if that contributed to the overheating. I plan on using it mainly for HD video.

  6. Randy

    Okay, I see. It would definitely be easier to adjust the kelvin temperature when there's no time to do a custom white balance, or circumstances prevent you from having someone jump up on stage and say, "Just a second! The camera guy needs to photograph this white card." Not sure that would be well-received. But I guess in all circumstances where time and space permit, a custom white balance with a white card (or gray, warm, cool cards) is the best option.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Randy - I eyeball it and you can correct a bit in post if you're just slightly off. Sometimes you don't have the time or the space to do a white card custom balance. The manual kelvin really helps. Like if you're shooting a performance on stage in a night club setting with random colored lights, it's easier for me to manually set kelvin and eyeball what the skin tones would look best at. It's one of those things that once you have it, you'll always want it.

  8. Randy

    Emm -- you make reference to the usefulness of the manual kelvin settings as one of the advantages of the 60d over the t2i. How does that work in practice? With a regular video camera I get my white balance card, zoom in, and set the balance. With the t2i it seems like the same procedure -- only a couple more steps. So with the 60d what steps do you use to set the white balance with the manual kelvin settings? Do you need a light meter that measures the kelvin temperature and then set it on the 60d? Or do you simply eyeball the setting to get something you like? Just not sure how this feature would fit in with a typical video shoot.

  9. Emm

    Post author

    You sound like more of a Photographer. The 60D is built as a better photography camera with more features I think you'll enjoy.

  10. Jon

    I'm about to buy my first dSLR. I've used film SLR and my current Digital Camera (Canon G9) has a lot of manual settings that I like to use for night shots, extended exposures etc. I also have an S3IS which has a swivel screen which I've come to love. But, for a first dSLR user, is it worth spending the extra $300 to buy the 60D over the 550D? Are things like the top LCD and pentaprism worth it? I'm about 6'4" and have fairly large hands, so would the 60D be much better in that regard? I've heard the 550D can be a little cramped. Advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  11. Harley

    What you are forgetting is is that outdoor/action cinematographers move around just as much as photographers. I recently just broke my 7D w/battery grip and snapped my 10-22mm after loosing my footing and falling off a cliff shooting a sunset 🙁
    My point is that I will be shooting lots of snowboarding this year, and I am considering whether to purchase the 60D this time around for the swivel LCD screen, which for me is an amazing tool while shooting difficult angles or follow cams. Nice video though.

  12. Chris

    Thanks Ruben. Great video! That is nice to hear that the 60d did not overheat for you. What was your longest running record time for a clip? Sounds like Canon geared up the 60d to handle video recording more efficiently than the t2i...

  13. Chris

    Has anyone tested the 60D in terms of it overheating yet? I would like to know if this has improved compared to the T2i. Thanks.

  14. But Emm, the camera's input still compresses the audio, so the manual gain is only a half solution if you're going for quality. I wouldn't be using the camera's input for serious work, so syncing in post with PluralEyes would be inevitable. And the mic on these cameras suck so hard anyway.

    If these upgrades are a deal breaker, by all means sell your t2i and get the 60d and loose some money to potentially save some time - I just don't think it's the right advice to be giving current t2i owners.

    Having said that thought, if I where a first time buyer TODAY, and the price and availability was right here in Denmark, I'd get the 60d. - but I'm not, and am more than fine with the t2i for now, and holding off for a Mark III for sure!

  15. Emm

    Post author

    That is correct, whichever comes first the camera will stop recording. Either 29 minutes or 4GB files size. The file size is dependent upon resolution, framerate, pixel information (like shooting a white wall there's almost no color information), and believe it or not ISO makes file sizes larger. So the higher the ISO, the larger the file size will be.

  16. 3pointedit

    Casey I believe that all the Canon cams will shoot up to 29.59 secs of HD video, it's just limited bu the file size. So if you shoot 29.59 secs of clean black it will compress effectively into the 2gb limit, at full HD.

    Lo res SD creates smaller files due to smaller image size so it runs up to the limit easily.

  17. Just read the 60D manual. Looks like it does not output an HD image while recording video. But also noticed that it can record up to 29min at a time. This is an upgrade from the T2i's 12min clip length.

  18. Emm

    Post author

    LOL. There's a few things to read on that link.

    -We know the 5D down res when rec is pressed,
    -The 7D which I have doesn't down res.
    -The 550D of t2i also downres when recording,

    And Also

    The image I am seeing with the 60D does change when the camera goes into record mode. To my eye it does not appear to be a res change, but more of an image quality change.

    Umm..unless i'm missing something ALL the cameras down res including the 7D. What it's NOT doing is changing the aspect ratio down to 4:3. The 5DM2 and 550D will change aspect to 4:3 at 480, while the 7D changes to 480 BUT maintains the 16:9 aspect so it fills the LCD monitor. If he's noticing an 'image quality change' it's because it's doing 480 lines but doesn't look down res because it maintains the same recording aspect of 16:9. The 5DM2 and 550D goes from 16:9 playback to 4:3 during recording which is quite annoying. So unless i'm missing something, somebody correct me? If HD out during recording was in the 60D the world would be shouting it including Canon and you'd be able to record out to a capture card with unlimited Video recording time.

  19. Pingback:

    Manual Audio Levels Canon 60D » CheesyCam

  20. elbee

    I have three T2is. I am in no hurry to upgrade my cameras, but if I were to buy a 4th body, I would definitely pick up a 60D. I would have preferred if the 60D used the LP-E8 batteries, in keeping with the plastic body and SD card that's also found on the T2i, so keeps it simple on a hectic live event.

  21. Emm

    Post author

    Mainly features. But those features can provide differences in stills and video if put in the right conditions. Example the max shutter on T2i is only 1/4000ths which cam affect photography on a bright day. Unless you get some type of ND filter which could mean losing a bit of sharpness. The 60d is smack in between, and has a ton of features over the T2i.

  22. Duff

    Interesting. Are there any discernible differences between the 7D-T2i-60D when it comes down to IQ for either stills or video, or is the main difference ergonomics and features?

    Thanks for all your hard work, it's greatly appreciated.

  23. I've read canon vs nikon debates that were less heated than this. It's interesting how passionate people are about their choice to upgrade or not. I'm a 7d shooter myself looking at camera number 2. Imw excited to read some more reviews once people actually get a chance to put the 60d to the test.

  24. Emm

    Post author

    I bought mine years ago, they have newer aftermarket ones now that are chipped to show life. My workflow in the past was buying a bunch of them and everytime I swapped 32GB cards, I swapped batteries. With a grip, it lasts longer and easy to swap without dismounting your camera. I had more than enough of these things to run through an entire day, then they all go back on the chargers for the next shoot. Heck they were about 8 dollars each and they still work today. They are as old as the Canon 5D Mark II when it was first released.

  25. Duff

    With the ebay batteries not being able to communicate with the camera, how do you determine how much battery life remains?

  26. Emm

    Post author

    LOL, I do have a Zoom. But that still doesn't solve having to sync in post, especially when working with 100's of video clips. If you don't have to deal with Audio sync in post, then it's probably no big deal. For those who do, this is a huge time saver, literally hours of post work. Put money on that amount time, and it's well worth the $300 bucks. The Manual white balance is another option the T2i isn't great at. Manual Kelvin settings really help speed things up if you don't want to keep shooting custom white balance images. Again, we're not even talking photography features yet, and i'm sure some of you guys are getting into that. I was disappointed too on the information Canon released, and I shot it down too. But man you gotta just hold one, shoot with it, and compare it against a T2i physically.

  27. Who Me?

    I co-sign 'Torben Scharling'
    Cheesycam, Are you kidding me? You can't really be suggesting that T2i owner's upgrade! Maybe if someone is new to DSLRs and looking to invest, sure go for the 60D but if the 60D doesn't significantly perform better in low light, then what's the point in upgrading?

    Audio - if manually setting audio levels/stereo is that important to you then wouldn't the quality of the audio be just as important? You probably already own a zoom or it's on your list.

    The flip lcd - is a nice feature but it puts you right back to the level of blurred shots that you swore were in focus.

    Feel/weight, battery life of T2i - get a battery grip, problem solved.

    Canon is making upgrading DSLR's worse then Apple makes upgrading ipod nano's. At least Nano's only come out once a year, the friggin T2i cam out 6-7months ago!

    Sorry, I rather save my money for the next gen of 'Full Sensor' DSLR's then have pissing matches with cameras that produce the same video quality!

  28. marnimal

    bang for buck vid quality still goes to the T2i.. and now there will be a few more used t2i's around for us broke asses.

  29. xlerate

    T2i for sale with Grip + 2 batteries!

    I think I may leap towards that 60D now.
    I love my T2i, but the menus are buried.
    The 60D looks to save me significant time with video.

    Thanks for the clarification on Magic Lantern, I had that in the back of my head as a + until you stated that it is yet another manual process.

    I'm sure in time for the holidays, there will be a 61D that has auto focusing also.

    You just cant win.

  30. Emm

    Post author

    If you've shot with the 7d or 5dm2 you'll notice how limited the white balance is. If you haven't then I guess you wouldn't care as much as myself.

  31. Jeremy

    @Jordan. The T2i does in fact have manual white balance, it's just a bit cumbersome to use. You basically have to take a picture of your white/grey card, then reference that with the custom white balance function. Fun times!

  32. Emm

    Post author

    Yes 3/2 would fit fine, but you wouldn't be able to use the articulating LCD with the loupe. I think it would break it.

  33. Emm

    Post author

    For little LONG clips, yes you can easily do external audio. For wedding guys or event coverage, having to sync hundreds of video clips to hundreds of audio clips is time consuming. Time is money for some people, so they can move onto the next project.

  34. Emm

    Post author

    XLR device with pre-amps will always be better but not always simpler. You can use the Rode into an XLR box too like the DT454 from JuicedLink. With XLR box you can use variety of wireless mics, hand held mics, better XLR shotguns. Start small with a Rode, and if you need to expand the Rode can still be used with the XLR box.

  35. xiaNaix

    What do you recommend for audio with the 60D? Is the Rode VideoMic a good solution for basic audio needs or is it still better to go with some sort of XLR adapter and mic?

  36. Carlos D

    I understand how the manual control helps the videographer or journalist, but am I wrong in saying that most of us who do mostly narrative stuff are probably better off using external audio anyway?

  37. Emm

    Post author

    First off, I love Magic Lantern and everything it stands for. But if you haven't used it yet here's how it works. Make sure you have it on every SD Card you own. Don't format the card, otherwise you'll have to download it again back to the root of the card. Each time the camera powers off, you'll need to go through the menu and load it up again. Then go through the Manual audio levels or whatever you need to change to get the camera working the way you want. Don't let the camera power off or you'll have to start over. Oh and if you have to change cards in the middle of the shoot, let's hope you're as quick getting things setup again.

    Magic lantern is great for the hobbyist, but unless you change the entire firmware of the camera, it's a bit slow in the workflow.

  38. Like Emm said, one of the main reasons for upgrading is manually setting color temperature via Kelvin.

    I have both the T2i and the 7D. So this is the most annoying thing to me about the T2i -- lack of manual white balance. The manual audio and flip lcd are nice and features I will use.

    And yes, there is a T2i majic lantern hack in the works. (There won't be one for the 7D). That should take care of the manual audio.

    As disappointed as I am with the 60D, I do think it's worth an upgrade if you own a T2i. Heck, if you only use a 7D for video, it may be worth the downgrade. Love my 7D for photos though....

  39. Lensdude

    Interesting review...

    Basically the video chips on these cameras are the same, so you are comparing build and features. Better (manual) audio, white balance control, flip LCD etc is totally worth the extra $300 in my book. I find the T2i build is too small for my hands. I also miss the rear control wheel: the 60D has one but the T2i does not. I think the 60D takes the same batteries as the 7D and 5D mkII as well.

    Being able to set the Kelvin color temperature is great as well. I recently picked up a used Minolta Color Meter II. This does not meter light levels like a regular meter, but it meters color temperature very accurately. I like being able to take control of white balance settings and the manual Kelvin option is the key here...

  40. Gonna keep my t2i for sure! Not impressed with the few upgrades. Manual audio levels: I can wait till the Magic Lantern thing is ready
    Flip out LCD: Looks flimsy and you'll need an LCDVF anyway which obviously creates problems as you point out. The rest of the changes you mention I see no significance in. So you spend a few extra seconds manual white balancing, so what.

    If your advice to current t2i owners is to upgrade, I'd say unless you REALLY need these specific new features or you're allergic to plastic, this is not the time.

  41. i had the 60d and the 550d/t2i in my hands at photokina yesterday. and i must say, the 60d feels really more robust than the 550d. add the flip-screen and the audio-levels and you got me pre-ordering the 60d this morning 😀

    i also went and tested the new sony models, the A33 and A55, with the constant auto-focus in video-mode. which was pretty cool. you just point and shoot. works great. but the sony engineers seem to have not thought this models through. the sd-slots are at the bottom of the cam. so if you want to change the card you have to unmount your cam from your tripod or battery-grip or similar. which to me is a total fail. if canon had the auto-focus feature of the sonys, that would be cool.

    but for now i am waiting in anticipation for my 60d to ship 🙂

    Also ordered the sanyo vpc-pd1 (pd2 in the usa), which seems to me a nice little thing to always carry in your pocket...

  42. lex

    on the 60d, when you plug it to a monitor does it output to 1080 when you hit record or 480 like the t2i? in video mode.

  43. Dave

    I really like the manual audio control feature on the 60D. I own a 7D myself, have you heard anything about a firmware upgrade to allow manual audio control on the 7D?

  44. Kevin

    I'm sticking with the t2i.
    Main reason, money.
    I dumped what little I had left into the china battery pack, bunch of batteries and chargers, a DIY LCD /w mag eyepeice.
    Also the t2i has been hacked, havent you heard? Its not 100% what we want right now, but the work on it is moving foward.

  45. Manual audio levels definitely rocks. I have the 7D, and unless I've missed something, they still don't have an update for manual audio do they?

    That and the flip out lcd screen are definitely strong factors for dedicated videographers like me, even though I'm thrilled with the 7D.

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