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I am upgrading from a Canon Rebel that I've owned and worked with for a while now, and I wonder: what are the advantages/disadvantages of a 60D vs a 7D?

I am mainly interested in portraits (and some candids of my kids). I take portraits in my home in a studio setting and have the lights, backdrops, etc, but I am ready to upgrade.

Between the two cameras I can't find a lot of differences except in video, which I'm not interested in. I am okay with spending the extra money for a 7D, if it's worth it.

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The only real advantage of the 60D camera itself for portraits is the screen swivel. The rest of the advantages are with the 7D. –  dpollitt Aug 23 '11 at 13:16
    
Not for portraits in particular, but as Itai suggested - it has many benefits generally. –  dpollitt Sep 20 '11 at 21:07
    
I had the 60D and traided plus some cash for the 7D and I can tell you the 7D is better. –  user7617 Dec 13 '11 at 1:01

8 Answers 8

The 7D is certainly worth it over the 60D, although you may not notice it much while doing portraits:

  • The 7D has a 100% coverage viewfinder. It is liberating to use it and that along is worth the price difference. That means you won't have to crop unwanted elements from your photos, which is most likely to occur outside where you cannot control the environment.
  • The 7D is weather-sealed. You can take portraits of the kids playing in the rain and snow. You can shoot candids on the street in any weather.
  • The 7D burst rate is higher. You are more likely to catch the exact moment between blinks.
  • The 7D allows autofocus finetuning. This will depend on which lens you have but will ensure critical focus is possible.
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+1 - The weather sealing, however, is only as good as the lens attached to the camera... –  John Cavan Aug 23 '11 at 3:24
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So the OP asked particularly about portrait and you say 'although you may not not notice it much while doing portraits' - so do you not think it worth it for portraits then? –  rfusca Aug 23 '11 at 3:59
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Well, he said 'mainly'... That's why I gave examples, to give show situations where differences would have more impact. The first two points would have less impact in a studio environment. I'd say but they are worth it but worth is always relative. –  Itai Aug 23 '11 at 4:10
    
@Itai - It was a genuine question - not a criticism. I've never had any of those 7D features so its really hard to believe that the 100% makes that big of a difference. But I hear it from everybody, so just trying to gauge for myself how much something like that is really worth. –  rfusca Aug 23 '11 at 4:56
    
@rfusca - It does. This month I was using a D5100 with 95% coverage and it drove me crazy. Once you stop worrying about what might lie outside the OVF, it is hard to accept having to do it again. You can never go back! In theory you can probably setup Lightroom to crop 5% on import and never see the problem ;) –  Itai Aug 23 '11 at 13:11

The higher capture rate is probably not a feature you need for portraits (even candid shots), and the sensor is the same so it boils down to only a few things.

7D

  • Up to $500 more expensive
  • Magnesium alloy body for overall durability
  • 19 point customisable zone auto-focus system which could help in candid situations by focusing better and faster on moving subjects
  • Compact Flash cards are generally more durable
  • 100% viewfinder makes it easier to know exactly what you're shooting, not 96% of it

60D

  • Lighter and slightly smaller due to body materials
  • Vari-Angle tilty swivelly screen thing which has come in very handy for me personally as it allows me to do Live View shots in angles I would otherwise have trouble with.
  • Secure Digital cards which many computers have built in readers for and are generally usable in other devices if you need
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In answers to question about comparing SD vs CF, the CF durability argument seems to have received many downvotes. Do you have any data to back up that claim? –  Imre Sep 15 '11 at 4:50

Both of these cameras will give comparable image quality, and for portrait photography, you are probably not going to use most of the extra features of the 7D, so if you are on a budget, I would get the 60D and use the money saved to put towards a better lens.

Both of these cameras have the same very high resolution crop sensor which, in my experience, demands top quality glass to get anywhere near good quality images out of them. When I got my 7D, I was disappointed with the image quality — until trying it with a Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens, which made a huge difference.

Be warned that both of these cameras are challenging to get the best quality images from because of the very high pixel density of the sensor, and I had to put in quite a bit of practice before getting the best out of my 7D. If you're not on a tight budget, then you should consider the 5D Mk II, which will give you better image quality and far better high ISO performance, which can be invaluable for taking portrait shots on location in low light.

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As for the 5DII, you will also get shallower DoF. –  ysap Sep 15 '11 at 1:15
    
@Paul: I read this once before, and it made sense at the time, but, wait ... are you saying that a 7D + 18-55 EF-S lens, say, would give you worse pictures than a T1i + same? –  khedron Feb 13 '12 at 15:48

It looks like the main advantage of the 7D is that it shoots at twice the speed of 60D, which could be useful in portrait taking since it allows you to take faster bursts of photographs. If that's not particularly important to you, then the 60D is definitely a good choice since it is cheaper and lighter.

I would recommend taking a look at this comparison for the full list of advantages and disadvantages of the cameras.

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The 7D, hands down, is a better camera. Don't be confused by the name 60D. It is NOT the next camera in succession after the 50D. Rather, the 60D is a Digital Rebel with a new name. It is still an entry level dSLR camera while the 7D is more of the semi-pro follow-up to the 50D. If your budget is limited though, you may be better off buying the 60D and investing the difference in cost in prime lenses, which will have more effect on the outcome of your portraits than the body you're using.

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Amy, what in your opinion, makes the 50D more "pro" in the scale than the 60D? –  ysap Sep 15 '11 at 1:16
    
I'm in line with @ysap here...what exactly makes the 60D more akin to a Rebel than the 50D? –  jrista Sep 15 '11 at 16:53
    
Ya this is bogus, the 7d is better in terms of speed but that's about it. –  Wyck Dec 13 '11 at 4:21
    
This didn't quite make sense. As the other comments point out, why isn't 60D the succession after 50D? 7D and 60D isn't all that different for portraits. –  Håkon K. Olafsen Feb 14 '12 at 8:44

If what you are interested in is portraits, and have the money to afford a 7D, I think you should consider a 5D MKII. It's not that much more expensive than a 7D, and it is in a completely different league, quality-wise. Full-frame and less noise, two good features to have when doing portraits.

edit: If the 5D MkII is not an option due to its cost, a 60D with a good lens would be the best option. The 7D is a wonderful action/sports/wildlife camera, not a portrait camera.

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A 5D Mk II looks to be almost 1000 dollars more...thats pretty significant to most of us. –  rfusca Aug 23 '11 at 13:36
    
700 USD difference according to a well-known seller from Hong Kong. 1686 USD the 7D, 2414 USD the 5D Mk II. Not that much if we look at the quality difference and the price you already pay for a 7D. But hey, it's not my money. –  pau.estalella Aug 23 '11 at 14:21
    
Well prices are definitely regional - on US Amazon the difference is 900, because the 7D is a little more and the 5D II is a litte less. –  rfusca Aug 23 '11 at 14:31
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Even at $700 more, thats still quite a difference...more than could qualify for "not that much more expensive". If it was only a couple hundred bucks more, then sure...but $700-$1000 more is a lot of money to most people. Thats easily a good, high quality, fast prime portrait lens right there! –  jrista Sep 15 '11 at 16:54
    
And why do you claim that the 60D is better for portraits than the 7D? As @dpollitt mentioned, the only real advantage the 60D has is a swivel screen. Do you think of other, technical, reasons, or is it just the price difference (which is a valid argument as well)? –  ysap Sep 16 '11 at 8:59

Apart from all the points mentioned above, I think it is important to look at the lenses too.

For a 7D "expensive" kit, you get the 15-85mm lens bundled. For 60D, you do not have this option, and the kit will be 18-135mm lens.

15-85mm is a high quality lens on par with 17-55 and some L series lens. Being able to get it in a bundle means its MUCH cheaper than the retail price.

If you buy a 60D body, and want the 15-85mm as a high quality general walkaround lens, then you might as well buy the 7D with the 15-85mm bundled and save some money.

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If I were you I would go for the 60D body only, then spend the money you save on a nice prime lens for portrait. Never settle for kit lens - you'll end up shelfing it after you get your hands on a nice prime. Honestly, I love my 60d, it's an awesome camera and im sure you'll love it if you make that choice. Not only will it be lighter in hand but in your pocket as well. I'm also going to co-sign on some of the comments above about using your money on great and fast primes.

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