Canon 60d in two words: thank you

Canon’s brand-new 60d camera doesn’t represent a significant video technology breakthrough. So why am I so happy to have one in my hands this morning? The image quality is virtually identical to the 7d, it doesn’t autofocus faster, and its sound capabilities already exist on the 5d. Never mind. I was happy to pay the extra $50 so I could have this beauty delivered to my house this morning from the first place in the country to stock them. Why? For one reason: the articulating screen.

This small, low-tech addition is the difference between wanting to use my DSLR and actually using it. I shoot on a Steadicam Merlin a lot, and having this articulating screen means I’ll be able to use a Canon DSLR without flying blind.

And for “normal” shooting? If I had a quarter for every time I cursed Canon for making me break my neck or lie on the ground to peer through the back of the camera to get a low-angle shot, (which is like half of the time I’m shooting), this camera and the extra shipping would have been paid for long ago. Nice work, Canon!

I’ll be shooting with the Canon 60d this weekend and may have more to say about it. But I doubt there’s much more that needs to be said than this. Oh, maybe one more thing: here’s my recipe for balancing Steadicam Merlin on the Canon 60d (with Canon EFS 18-55mm lens):

Front weights: 1 mid, 1 finish
Lower weights: 1 start, 1 mid, 1 finish
Arc size: 10.75″
Mt. hole: M
Z: -3
G-platz: no

7 thoughts on “Canon 60d in two words: thank you

  1. planetMitch

    Nice post Dan! Since i don’t have much experience with steadicams, i never even thought about how the articulating screen would help, but i see a very good advantage here! Thanks!

  2. Daniel Bean

    I too am very excited about the 60D. I think in many ways it seems to be a better choice for filmmakers than the 7D (from the specs–I haven’t gotten my hands on one yet.) Just the articulating screen and manual gain control alone I think to me probably outweigh any advantages of the 7D’s weatherproofing. (Unless of course you are going to be shooting in very harsh environments, which I don’t see myself doing in the near future.)

    I decided to wait a few months since I also do still photography, and it always irks me not being able to shoot raw until they get the update for Aperture. But I definitely can see myself getting one sooner or later. I’ll be looking forward to see what more you have to say about it after using it on some productions.

  3. Allan Silliphant

    I’m an advocate of dual Canon 3D stereo video. The 60D, having the flip-out angling monitors, can be simply rewired to put the two little monitors in a single stereo dual
    screen mount. By crossing the position of the two, it is easy to see the action and
    composition in “cross-view”3D stereo. It is also possible to check the color balance, brightness and focus. I would suggest using Nikon mechanical iris prime lenses, with the simple adapters available on line to get the cameras closer together, I’d suggest a Z shaped bracket, with rvertical grips on each side. A low cost dual fiber optics trigger switch will start the recording at the same instant. A carbon composite flip-out of the way, speed flapper, will verify sync at start and final moments of a take. This simpler rig, would be much more practical than complex, “clunky” beam splitter rigs. Low compression
    1.3 to 1 anamorphic converters expand the width coverage to the equivolent of 2320p,
    this allows virtual reduction of the dual lens spacing, after image overlay, which is then cut back to the 1920p value. The 60D is a good platform to gain experience in the growing 3D

  4. David

    Hello! I just got the 60d and the merlin and am trying to set it. The very first problem i find is that I cannot attach de camera to the dove plate. Everywhere I find the right hole is M, but that for the little screws not the big one. And the camera has only one hole! I know this may be a stupid question but: how do I do it? should I discard the little screw and only use the fat one? Thank you very much for your orientation!

    1. Dan McComb

      HI David,
      Yes, that’s correct: for DSLR use, you can’t use the locator pin. That will only work with proper video cameras. You’ll find that using the one large screw is enough as long as you use a screwdriver to tighten it each time. Make sure you get it good and tight, or it can come loose during use.

  5. Paul Cassens

    Aloha David,

    What was the weight of your camera and lens for this set up? I just bought a 60D along with a Tokina 11-16mm and have been unsuccessful at finding the “sweet spot” on the Merlin. The weight of the camera and lens is 3.2 lbs. If you have any suggestions for configuring this setup I would be forever indebted to you (or one of your readers) as I am down to my last hairs to pull out.


    1. Dan McComb

      Hi Paul,
      It’s a real bear to balance a Steadicam Merlin. Seriously, it took me about a month of tinkering with it before I figured out how to dial it in. To help you get there, you can use the recipes posted by Steadicam users here: And it turns out you’re in luck, because there is a recipe on this page for your lens and the 60D. Hopefully this will get you pretty close.

      Once you’re in the ballpark, I’ve found the best way to nail it is to do the drop test. That is, hold the rig at a 90 degree angle, and then let go. It should take a full second to come upright. If it’s faster than that, you want more weight on the top, slower, more on the bottom.


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