Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canon 60D and Nikon D90 (D7000) to deathmatch for all eternity

(or, at least the next two years)


I haven’t written about Canon cameras very often on this blog.  This is simply because I don't shoot with Canon cameras (although I did enjoy their A series of compacts for a while).  Still, the new Canon 60D (announced yesterday) caught my attention.  Mostly because it's a continuation of the previous 20D-30D-40D-50D line of cameras, but not strictly a continuation, part upgrade and part downgrade from its predecessor.

The upgraded parts: it gets the same 18mp sensor used in the Canon 7D and Xti, and also the movie modes of those cameras.  It also adds a swivel LCD if that's something that interests you.

The downgraded parts: The smaller body is made of plastic and aluminum instead of the stronger magnesium alloy of the 50D.  It loses a few frames per second, from 6.3 to 5.3, and it now takes SD cards rather than Compact Flash.  Of course, the price will also be downgraded slightly, to $1100 at launch (body only).

The same: The 9 point AF system is unchanged.  The viewfinder increases from 95% coverage to 96%-- basically the same.

Most of the commentary that I've read have called this a "repositioning", but no one has really talked about what Canon is repositioning this camera for.  In my opinion, it's to better align their camera line up with the competition, specifically Nikon’s popular D70-D80-D90 line.  The D90 has always had a slight price advantage over the 50D, but lacked the 50D's more robust body.

Here's where things get interesting in dorky camera nerd land.  The next version of the D90 is coming in September (likely called the D7000), and rumors point to it having a bunch of pro features previously reserved for Nikon's D300 and up.  Here's the most recent wish list:

Magnesium alloy body
100% viewfinder
Dual memory card slots
39 AF points
ISO up to 25600
Somewhere between 6-8 fps.
1080 HD video
16 megapixels for the pixel self conscious
Improved flux capacitor

(note: I culled this list from these two Nikon Rumors posts, except for the last one that made up)

Of course, all of that is just rumor at this point, but even if only some of those specs are included, what we'll be left with are two cameras: one from Nikon that's aspiring to be a professional camera, and one from Canon aspiring for the serious amateurs. 

Which one do you think will sell better?  A lot will depend on price. (Update: the D7000 has been announced and will sell for $1199.95 at launch. The Canon 60D will sell for $1099.95).

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