I was asked the following – If I was on a budget would I choose the T3i or the 60D?

Currently Prices

Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Sensor DIGIC 4 Image Processor and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens | $750

Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with CMOS APS-C Sensor DIGIC 4 Image Processor (Body Only) | $899 (body only) need to spend $1199 to pick that up with the 18-135 Lens.

 

There have been a few deals floating around that might help you lower the 60D price by a hundred or so but lets take a moment and look at the important differences between these two cameras and then I will give you my opinions, yes I have multiple opinions.

 

The 60D came out a few months earlier and is actually a bit older, released in 2010 and the T3i was released a few months later in 2011.  The body is larger, folks with larger hands find it to be a bit more comfortable to hold.  It include a top LCD screen whereas the T3i does not.   The top LCD allows you to quickly adjust exposure and other common controls without looking at the back of the camera, small difference but if you shooting efficiently is important this can make a difference.

Canon T3i top

Canon 60D top

Additionally the body is a little stronger and some reports mention weather proofing on the 60D, it isn’t really weatherproofed but it is sealed a bit better than the Rebel.  I wouldn’t worry or spend much time thinking about this, both cameras are pretty sturdy and will handle your normal use in their likely life-spans.

 

Image quality is going to be virtually identical, both cameras use the same processor and sensor. The 60D does offer faster frames per second 5.3 vs t3i’s 3.7fps  – this combined with a slightly larger buffer will allow you better continued shooting,  The T3i is not a slouch but not well suited for sports photography or other photography where you need or want to fire off a series of shots very quickly.   60D also offers fast shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second versus 1/4000 in T3i.

Video quality is also going be identical but the T3i offers a neat video zoom feature of 3x and 10x, this lets you get high quality HD video at much higher magnification with no loss of quality.

60D has a pentaprism viewfinder which will be bright and a bit roomier feeling but this is one of those things you mostly notice when you look through the two cameras side by side.

The 60D uses the larger Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack which gives the 60D about twice the battery life nearly 1100 shots per charged battery.

 

Summary – 60D bigger, top LCD, faster FPS and buffer, no Video Zoom.

If I was just shooting for fun. Photoing my kids, travel etc I would go for the T3i and spend the savings on an external flash or a nice prime lens like the 50 f/1.8 or even better the new 40mm STM.   An external flash that can be used on and off the camera (both T3i and 60D have built in speedlight transmitters) will offer a world of possibilities and do wonders for your indoor AND outdoor photography.  Personally I love the Canon 320EX, acts as a flash, video light and wireless remote for your camera.

If I was shooting for money and shooting faster action sports, weddings where you need to fire off several during the kiss and at other key moments I would go for the 60D – reasons being the faster FPS, the top LCD screen which lets me quickly adjust settings and the better battery life.   Of course if I was really shooting sports or weddings the Canon 7D would probably be the best choice.  A used 7D is hovering just above $1000 right now, that is a pretty serious camera for not a lot of money. Again though, image quality is going to be nearly identical, you are paying for a weatherproofed, sturdy body with quick manual access controls. If you want to know how tough the 7D is?  Just watch Digital Revs Canon 7D Hardcore Durability Test

Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Sensor DIGIC 4 Image Processor and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens | $750

Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with CMOS APS-C Sensor DIGIC 4 Image Processor (Body Only) | $899 (body only) need to spend $1199 to pick that up with the 18-135 Lens.

Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Body Only) | $1549

 

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