I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a new camera and can't decide between a new 60d or a used 7d. I can pick them up for around the same price. I know they have similar picture quality. I have not used either, I have just read reviews. How is the autofocus on the 60d. I hear that the auto focus and zone focus on the 7d is really good. Any input would be muchly appreciated
Do you know the shutter count on the 7D?
The 7D has more optimizations for action photography, a fast continuous burst frame rate (8 frames per sec), dual DIGIC processors, it uses CF cards rather than SD cards because CF cards have a faster transfer rate. The auto-focus system uses 19 AF points which are all "cross type". The body is magnesium alloy (metal).
The 60D has a polycarbonate (plastic) body. It has a 9 point AF system (all cross point). The 60D has an articulated LCD screen and is slightly better for video and allows for manual audio gain setting on the microphone. It uses an SD card slot.
Both cameras have weather sealing (not water proof... the seals are gaskets at body seams and o-rings on the dials to keep out moisture (e.g. rain, splashes) and dust... not everything is sealed and if it were submerged in water it would flood.
If you are a fairly experienced DSLR user, tend to do your own thing all the way from camera setup before a shoot through post-processing afterward, and need a durable, fast action camera, the 7D might be the best choice.
If you are more of a snapshooter and/or are new to DSLRs, tend to use the more automated settings a lot, want or need a lighter weight, versatile all-purpose camera, you would likely be better off with the 60D.
If you want to shoot video, I'd recommend the 60D over 7D, too. 60D has that neat articulated LCD monitor screen, which can be handy for vidiography. It also can be useful for low angle or high angle shooting. 60D has some other video related features that 7D doesn't (I don't shoot video with my DSLRs, so really don't know the details).
Image quality isn't a concern either way. For all practical purposes, the two are equally capable (as are all the 18MP models). You'll find high ISO performance the same. 60D images can require less post-processing, be more usable straight from the camera. One thing new 7D users often notice is that it uses a fairly strong anti-alias filter.... This just means it's RAW files need more sharpening than some other models. I suspect Canon dialed back the strength of the AA filter on the 60D (perhaps they learned from the 7D, which was the first 18MP model Canon offered).
The 19-point focusing system of the 7D is more advanced and high performance. You can fine tune it for various situations. This can be great, but it also adds complexity. Used right, the 7D's AF is very good. But it's also easier to set up wrong and get worse results. 7D excels as a sports/action "AI Servo" camera.
60D uses a simpler 9-point AF system, also quite good though not as customizable. For comparison, I used three 50D for a while before getting the pair of 7Ds I've now been shooting with for about four years. 50D use a focus system that's identical to 60D. Using the same lenses to shoot the same subjects in the same way I got acceptible focus about 94-95% of the time with 50D. With 7D I get acceptible focus 97-98% of the time. When I first switched to 7D, my percentage in acceptible focus really dropped off initially... That happened because I wan't using the camera's AF system correctly. Back then, when 7D was first introduced with it's then-unique AF system, there just weren't a lot of the resources we have now. So there was a pretty steep learning curve for us early adopters. Today there are a lot of experienced 7D users, books and tutorials specific to the camera, that can really help. But you have to take the time to study and practice, learn how to really get the best out of the camera. In contrast, 60D is pretty easy for any Rebel/xxxD user or previous Canon SLR/DSLR user to pick up and start using.
In my opinion, the 7D is a more pro-oriented camera, while the 60D is more versatile and general purpose, with features to help less experienced users (but still capable of pro use, if desired). For example, 60D has the Scene or Picture Modes of other Canon models... I.e., the little icons such as the Running Man/Sports mode, Mountain/Scenic mode, etc. The 7D doesn't have those. Instead it offers three user-definable/customizable modes (the 60D only has one of those).
And the 7D was the first model to use an active matrix, transmissive LCD focus screen (since then the 5DIII, 1DX and 70D have all been intro'd with this type of screen). This type screen reconfigures itself to display different AF mode setups. This takes a little getting used to and requires a bit more user "trust" in the camera and themselves, since it doesn't display some of the activity of that the 60D and other more traditional types of focus screens display. (This might be even more challenging with the 61 AF point models such as the 5DIII, where the AF points in the viewfinder are pretty small and harder to see in low light.) This type screen isn't inteced to be user interchangeable, while the one in 60D is. However, the 7D can display "grid on demand" simply by setting it in the menu, where you'd have to change to a type D screen with 60D.
60D has a neat Mode Dial lock mechanism. It's a little button that you have to press to change the dial. Seems like a little thing, but I have too often had cameras that didn't have this feature accidentally get set to the wrong mode and ended up with a series of ruined shots. 7D (and 5DII) can have this feature added, but the camer has to be sent in to Canon Service and cost about $100 US, last time I looked.
7D has a "joystick" to select AF points. Anyone who has used the 50D or earlier xxD models, 1D series, or 5D models will be familiar with this. The 60D instead uses a multi-directional switch for this purpose, more of the style used by Rebel/xxxD series models. Some people prefer the joystick, but the 60D's arrangement has one advantage: It can be reached with your thumb whether holding the camera in horizontal/landscape orientation, or with a battery grip installed and in the vertical/portrait orientatioin. The 7D's joystick can't be easily reached with your thumb in the vert/port orientation (5DIII finally solves this with a second joystick, right on the battery grip, but 7D's battery grip doesn't have this feature). Personally I think with practice most people would get accustomed to either arrangement, to the point where one can change the AF point without removing the camera from their eye. It seems to be people who are accustomed to one setup who complain initiall about the other, and vice versa.... But soon get over it and feel comfortable.
Unlike the Rebel/xxxD series, the 60D has the "dual dial" setup found on all the xxD and higher cameras, including 7D. Both 60D and 7D have the "Main Dial" on top, right next to the shutter release, as well as a "Quick Dial" on the camera back, allowing for various common settings adjustments (exactly which ones depend upon the selected camera mode). Many folks prefer this over what's found on the Rebel/xxxD cameras: a single dial that serves both purposes, but requires the extra step of pressing a button first.
The 7D's viewfinder is a 100% and 1.0X, but the 60D's is a very respectible 96% and .95X. Less than 100% actually might be a little more forgiving of slight compositional errors. And the 7D may be a little heavier as a result of this premium feature (It's a relatively heavy camera.... actually a few grams more than the full frame 5D Mark II.) Both use true pentaprisms (as opposed to the penta-mirrors used in the Rebel/xxxD models, which tend to be a little less bright and contrasty).
7D can shoot up to 8 frames per second (it does slow down fairly often to meter and focus, though). 60D is rated for just over 5 fps. Both use Digic 4 image processors, though the 7D uses two of them (1D series style) to be able to shoot at the higher frame rate. 7D also has a discrete chip handling AF (also similar to 1D series models), to achieve higher AF performance and handle the more sophisticated AF system. 60D shares the imaging processor for AF duties. 60D has a buffer to handle up to 16 RAW or 58 JPEG files. 7D can buffer up to 25 RAW or 130 JPEG files (this depends on a fast and large memory card and upon having latest firmware installed).
7D uses Compact Flash memory. 60D uses SD/SDHC memory. Both cameras use the same LP-E6 batteries.
7D's shutter is rated to 150,000 clicks. 60D's is rated to 100,000. (These are just estimates, not guarantees.... plus if you buy 7D used it will already have some clicks on it that may minimize or negate any differences.) Both cameras offer the 30 second to 1/8000 range of shutter speeds, and 1/250 flash sync.
All in all, IMO 60D in the right hands can probably do 90 or 95% of what 7D can do. I'd say the 7D is still a great camera, though it's now a 4+ year old model. We'll likely see a 7D "Mark II" next year. 60D is a year younger model, but is already being superceded by 70D.
Still, both cameras can take great pics!
Hope this helps with your decision.
EDIT: P.S. One other 7D autofocus feature that might interest you is a macro mode. I didn't know it initially, it's not very well documented, but 7D has a special AI Servo mode that it automatically switches to when used with Canon USM macro lenses at higher magnifications. The camera "samples" focus, recalculates distance, four times as frequently as is normally done in AI Servo, at more typical working distances. Now, this is limited a bit. For one thing, it only works with recognized Canon USM macro lenses, which are the EF-S 60/2.8, EF 100/2.8 USM, EF 100/2.8L IS, and 180/3.5L macro lenses. And it only works in AI Servo mode, which quite frankly is not something I'd have thought of using very often when shooting macro. I most frequently just use manual focus for macro, and sometimes One Shot. This feature has no effect on those... only on AI Servo. Still, it is interesting and something that I've only seen mentioned with respect to the 7D. Maybe some other models have it, I dunno.
The 7D also expands upon the AF modes that are offered. Like all Canon DSLRs it offers All Points/Auto Selection and Single Point./Manually Selected. In addition, there are Zone Focusing (sort of a scaled down version of All Points/Auto Select, using a grouping of 9 points instead of all of them), and Expansion Points (some other models have similar, but 60D doesn't). 7D also has Spot Focus, which uses a smaller than usual AF point for greater precision, but is slightly slower acquiring and tracking. I find this useful for "birds in trees" for example... where a larger AF point can be distracted by tangles of branches... and similar situations. 60D doesn't have this mode and I'm not sure if any other models do. Even though it's 19-point AF appears similar to the 7D's, the relatively new 70D doesn't have Spot Focus. It also doesn't have Expansion Points. It does have All Points, Single Point and Zone Focus modes.
Most of the time with 7D I just use Single Point mode, same as I do and have done with other Canon models. I probably find the Spot Focus mode the second most useful of the choices, using it occasionally. Relatively infrequently I'll use Expansion Points or Zone Focus. Those are best reserved for certain situations, IMO. I almost never use All Points on 7D or any other Canon model. It just leaves too much up to chance that the camera will focus where I want it to focus. WIth 7D and all Canon models, I use Back Button Focusing most of the time.
Thank you everyone for the replies. This really helped me out. I am really just starting to learn more about photography. I am really trying to keep my camera in manual and work my way through it. I am planning on taking some classes after the holidays. Hopefully Santa will be good to me. I found a really good deal on a new 60d. I think i am going to go with it and continue to learn more before i step up to a more complicated camera. I know this will be a big step up from my 450d.
Thanks again everyone and Happy Holidays