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Optimize Your Canon EOS 60D: Buying Guide

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Mason Resnick is the editor of the Adorama Learning Center and a lifetime photography enthusiast.

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Optimize Your Canon EOS 60D: Buying Guide

Find the right accessories for your Canon EOS 60D

Here's a guide to products and accessories that will let you optimize your Canon EOS 60D to excell in the kind of photography you want to do.


Out of the box with the standard 18-55mm kit lens (or even the 18-135mm, an extended-range kit zoom lens), the Canon EOS 60D is a solid enthusiast-level DSLR, but you may eventually want to customize it, adding lenses, flashes and accessories that would help you get the kinds of photos you want to shoot to express your creativity. Important! Remember to get a Protective/UV or Skylight Filter  for the 18-55mm or 18-135mm lens, which will protect the front of the lens from scratches. If the front of the lens gets scratched, it's ruined; if the filter gets scratched, you simply replace it for about $13.  Also, it's a good idea to have a microfiber cloth to wipe away any smudges on the filter.

Here are 5 suggested kits for 5 very different kinds of photography, built around the Canon EOS 60D.

Family, portraits, kids



While the supplied kit lens may be fine for general family photography, if you want professional looking portraits, a higher-end lens and better lighting will definitely help. I recommend:

Canon 50mm f1.8Canon 50mm f/1.8D AF lens: Canon's famous “Nifty Fifty” is ideal for portrait photography. The wide aperture produces pleasing focus fall-off that separates your subject from the background. (Don't forget to protect the lens with a UV/Skylight filter)

Canon Speedlite 270EX II Flash: This will give you more light in general; add a flash modifier to soften the light so it looks more natural. I recommend the Sto-Fen Omni Bounce.


Sports/Action



Canon 55-250mm lensSoccer moms who want to get tight shots of their kids' team sports will will benefit from this kit.

Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens: Get close to the action with this long-range telephoto zoom lens! (Be sure to get a protective UV/Skylight filter to protect the front of the lens from scratches).

For extra stability when shooting sports, it's good to keep the camera on a monopod such as the Flashpoint FL2560 via a ballhead.

Travel



Canon 18-200mm kitIf you have the Canon 18-135mm kit lens, you may not really need to upgrade. However, if you have the shorter range zoom the Canon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens (available here bundled with a protective Skylight/UV filter and lens cleaner) is a light, compact superzoom lens on the Canon 60D that provides you with a flexible, lightweight and portable camera kit that's ideal for travel. The extended zoom range lets you shoot anything from scenics to close-up of distant subjects.  

When shooting with the superzoom lens at its longest extension, a good camera support is a very good idea. The 3Pod P5CFH Carbon Fiber Tripod is a light, flat-folding tripod designed to fit in carry-on luggage, and comes with a ballhead that will support the Canon 60D with the 18-200mm lens.

When the sun goes down, bring your own light: The Canon 430 EX II Speedlite flash will illuminate your destination and light up subjects that are more than 10 feet away (unlike the on-board flash, which is relatively weak); add a flash modifier to soften the light so it looks more natural. Use the swivel and tilt head to bounce the flash off walls or ceilings for a more natural look. In addition,  I recommend the Sto-Fen Omni Bounce, which gives the light a “bare-bulb” look which is more pleasing, especially when shooting faces. Even better: The 430 EX II can be taken off the camera and operated wirelessly, giving you endless creative lighting possibilities!

What if it rains? Don't let that stop you from taking pictures! The inexpensive Op/Tech 14-inch SLR Rainsleeve will protect your camera, lens and flash from the elements.

Architecture, landscapes



Canon 10-22mm lensThe ideal lens for landscapes and architecture is one that will take it all in, and the Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens is designed for such use with a dramatic maximum 110-degree maximum angle of coverage. Be sure to order it with a protective UV filter.

Whether you're shooting scenic vistas or dramatic interiors, a tripod is a must-have item. Not only will it stabilize your camera, but it will force you to slow down and compose with greater care. The 3Pod P5CRX is a compact carbon-fiber tripod with a ballhead that is a great tool for both applications. The good news for architects is that the 60D has a built-in electronic level so while most cameras might require an additional bubble level, the 60D doesn't really need one.

Finally, when shooting architecture, it is almost impossible to avoid distortion; DxO's Viewpoint 2.0 is specifically designed to and fix any kind of geometric distortion so your architecture photos are perfect.

Nature/macro



Canon MR14 macro ringliteIf you love to photograph flowers but your kit lens doesn't get you close enough, you need a Macro lens. The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro is Canon's least expensive macro lens, but it provides true 1:1 magnification. Its advantages is that it is small and light, making it a great companion to the 60D. Be sure to get the appropriate protective UV filter for this lens. Alternatively, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro AF lens lets you shoot from farther away but still get 1:1 macro magnification; it also has Image Stabilization, allowing you to shoot macro handheld. You can find its UV filter here.

Since 1:1 magnification also magnifies camera shake, a sturdy tripod is an absolute essential. I recommend the  3Pod P5CRX, a compact carbon-fiber tripod with a ballhead that will give you more than enough stability.

Light it up! A standard flash doesn't really work for macro—the pop-up flash's light will be partly blocked by the lens when working so close, for instance—the best way to add light is to use a ring flash. , which will evenly light your tiny subjects with no shadows. While the Canon  MR-14 Ringflash is outstanding, it is somewhat pricey; the Phoenix SmartFlash RF46C Macro Ring Flash for Canon is a lower cost way to get you started in macro photography.

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