I am not being paid to tell you about this camera. These opinions are entirely my own.

If you’re thinking of buying a DSLR, what you’re really looking for is value. What’s going to give you the most camera for your money? Looking at Canon’s lineup, the cameras available now are the Rebel T3i ($600), Rebel T4i ($800), 60D ($900), and 7D ($1500).

In my opinion, the best value purchase is the 60D. It offers the most bang for your buck, and it meets all the requirements of a good travel camera: it’s portable, usable, rugged, and it offers high image quality.

The top LCD screen

The top LCD screen and easy to operate buttons

Why does the 60D offer the best value?

Lets compare it to the other cameras in this price range:

It’s better than the Rebel, and it’s worth the extra money:
The rear control dial and top LCD screen add an element of usability that’s just not found in the slightly less expensive Rebel cameras. The 60D is larger than the Rebel, and it has a much more logical button layout thanks to the larger size. That means it’s much easier and faster to get the 60D to do what you want it to do.

As a travel camera, it’s better than the 7D:
The 7D excels at sports photography. But the 60D wins as a travel camera because it’s smaller, lighter, more portable, and it has a flip out LCD screen. The 7D can shoot at a higher frame rate and it has a better, more accurate auto focus system that offers an advantage for sports shooters. But this advantage comes at a price that’s nearly double that of the 60D, and the 60D’s 5.3 frames per second are more than adequate for the travel photographer (compared to the 7D’s 8 fps).

The rear mode dial

The rear mode dial offers an advantage over the Rebel cameras

What about the other Canon cameras?

The next highest value camera is the Rebel T3i, and it’s a great buy if you don’t want to spend the extra $ for the 60D. The T4i isn’t worth buying considering the 60D does a better job at doing the same thing, and the two cameras are priced within $100 of each other. The 7D is only worth it if you’re heavily into sports photography, or you just feel like spending nearly twice as much as you need to.

Canon 60D

Canon 60D with Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens (non-VC)

How to find the best deal on your 60D

Buy it used or refurbished, and if you just need a new one look for rebates first. Buy the body only and pair it with the excellent Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 non-VC lens (full product name: Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens). The Tamron is another great buy in travel photography – it’s fast, lightweight, sharp, and it’s not terribly expensive especially if you buy used.

What kinds of pictures can you take with the 60D?

I’ve taken a lot of pictures with my 60D; here are a few that show the range and usability of the camera:

Midigama, Sri Lanka

Midigama, Sri Lanka. Typical handheld exposure settings.
1/400sec, f6.3, ISO 100. Sigma 70-200 f2.8 Lens

 

Xitang Red

Xitang, China. Long exposure on a tripod.
4sec, f11, ISO 100. Tamron 17-50 f2.8 Lens.

 

The Traveler's Spirit

Chennai, India. Shot from a moving tuk tuk at dusk. The camera had no problem stopping the action, but there is some shadow noise visible due to the high ISO used.
1/640sec, f2.8, ISO 4000. Tamron 17-50mm f1.8 Lens.

 

Shanghai Running

Shanghai, China. The noise at 1000 ISO isn’t difficult to clean up in post processing.
1/13sec, f4.5, ISO 1000. Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 Lens.

 

Siberian Cold

Irkutsk, Siberian Russia. The camera was unprotected and exposed to the cold and snow with no issues (it’s not waterproof, though, and your mileage may vary)
1/60sec, f4.5, ISO 100. Tamron 17-50 f2.8 Lens.