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The original Canon EOS 60D was released roughly a year and a half ago and has adequately filled a niche for small-form DSLRs able to capture quality images and video without bearing the bulk of higher-end cameras. This camera’s flexibility and neutral position between professional and consumer-grade cameras has inspired Canon to make a number of notable changes in order to enhance its characteristics for a specific, post-universal task: Astrophotography.
The EOS 60Da features almost an exact replica of specs from the 60D: it has an 18.0 megapixel CMOS APS-C sensor; expanded ISO sensitivity to 12800; the DIGIC 4 image processor for low noise and fast performance; and the highly useful 3.0-inch 1,040K-dot articulating LCD monitor. Where this new model significantly differs is in the IR cut filter; it has been modified for increased infrared light sensitivity. It is now able to achieve a hydrogen-alpha (Hα) light transparency (656nm) that is approximately three times higher than the standard 60D. This allows you take much clearer images of diffuse nebulae which exhibit a reddish tone when viewed without filtration. The 60Da also comes bundled with the RA-E3 remote controller adapter for use in combination with the optional TC-80N3 timer remote controller.
The major difference between the 60D and 60Da is the modified IR cut filter. Canon has altered the filter to provide the 60Da with greater infrared light sensitivity and enabled it to achieve hydrogen-alpha light transparency. Hydrogen-alpha, also referred to as H-alpha or Hα, is a very specific red visible spectral line created by hydrogen, with a wavelength of 656.28nm. This red visible line in the spectrum occurs when hydrogen electrons fluctuate between the second and third-tiered orbits (or energy levels) of a hydrogen atom (according to the Balmer Series). When they move between these levels they absorb or release energy, and this emission and absorption of energy occurs at 656nm. The IR cut filter modification of the 60Da helps to allow as much light as possible to pass through this narrow bandwidth at the H-alpha frequency. The modification essentially allows you to photograph reddish, diffuse nebulae and other astronomical phenomena in a clearer, more brilliant manner—void of the IR attenuation associated with traditional hot mirrors and other IR-blocking technologies on most cameras. The need to photograph light at this wavelength is paramount because the color of light emitted from nebulae is strongest, and most pure at the hydrogen-alpha line. The color of this light is outside the parameters of the visible spectrum, and our eyes, or camera, cannot accurately render this light without filtration. While most cameras are slightly more sensitive to this light than our eyes, the 60Da is three times more sensitive to this frequency than the 60D.
One thing worth noting with this camera, if you intend to use it for everyday photo shoots, you should plan on using an external IR cut filter to adapt the camera for normal use. Otherwise your images will be more susceptible to infrared radiation and color shifts, especially noticeable in darker lighting and shadows.
While the 3.0-inch 1,040,000-dot LCD monitor is a component of the original 60D, it proves to be just as functional for the 60Da, if not more. By having the monitor swivel and tilt, you can gain a much better perspective and view when your camera is mounted on a telescope; there is substantially more comfort afforded you versus a fixed monitor when shooting at high or low angles. The high resolution of the LCD also substantially increases the detailed focusing abilities when using the camera in Live View mode for astrophotography.
The RA-E3 Remote Controller Adapter provides compatibility with the TC-80N3 Timer Remote Controller for accurate control of long exposures. This interface also allows you to make automatically programmed, sequential shots using the interval timer. This can be especially useful when shooting in a scientific, regimented way where accuracy and timing is crucial.
The 60Da is geared for a specific niche in photography, and by making the necessary modifications in-camera, results are more seamless and easier to attain. The ability to clearly render images of outer space, free from the drawbacks of a normal camera, is a huge boost in efficiency. This camera is, of course, compatible with a number of T-mount adapters for connecting directly to a telescope. The 60Da will prove to be a valuable asset for astrophotographers by allowing for a more clear and concise workflow, providing you with a better view and greater photographic possibilities of the proverbial infinite frontier.
|Camera Type||Interchangeable Lens DSLR|
|Lens Mount||Canon EF|
|Sensor Size||APS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4|
|Infrared Light Sensitivity||H-alpha light transparency (656 nm)|
|Low-Pass Filter||Fixed position in front of sensor|
|Dust Protection||Self-cleaning sensor unit, dust delete data acquisition, manual cleaning|
|Still Image File Formats||JPEG and RAW|
|Movie File Formats||MOV (H.264)|
|Audio Formats||Linear PCM|
|Focus Type||Auto and Manual|
|File Size||Large/Fine: Approx. 17.9MP (5184 x 3456)
Medium/Fine: Approx. 8.0MP (3456 x 2304)
Small 1/Normal: Approx. 4.5 MP (2592 x 1728)
Small 2/Fine: Approx. 2.5 MP (1920 x 1280)
Small 3/Fine: Approx. 0.35 MP (720 x 480)
RAW: Approx. 17.9 MP (5184 x 3456)
M-RAW: Approx. 10.1 MP (3888 x 2592)
S-RAW: Approx. 4.5 MP (2592 x 1728)
|Color Space||sRGB or Adobe RGB|
|Picture Style||Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined 1–3|
|White Balance||Auto (AWB), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom (Custom WB), Color Temperature|
|Color Temperature Compensation||Blue/amber bias: ±9 levels
Magenta/green bias: ±9 levels
|Viewfinder Type||Eye-level pentaprism|
|Viewfinder Coverage||Approx. 96%|
|Viewfinder Magnification||Approx. 0.95x|
|Viewfinder Angle of View||27.0°|
|Eyepoint||Approx. 22 mm|
|Built-In Diopter||-3.0 to +1.0m|
|Autofocus Type||TTL-CT-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS sensor|
|AF Points||9 points (cross type)|
|AF Working Range||EV -0.5 to 18|
|Focus Modes||Autofocus and Manual Focus|
|Exposure Metering Modes||Max. aperture TTL metering with 63-zone SPC|
|Metering Range||EV 0 to 20|
|Exposure Control||Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual exposure, Bulb, Full Auto, Flash Off, Creative Auto, Programmed Image Control modes (Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait), E-TTL II autoflash program AE|
|ISO Sensitivity||100-6400 (up to 12800 in expanded mode)|
|Exposure Compensation||Manual: ±5 stops in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments
AEB: ±3 stops in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments
|AE Lock||Auto AE lock and Manual AE lock|
|Shutter Type||Vertical-travel, mechanical, focal-plane shutter with all speeds electronically controlled|
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb|
|Self-Timer||10 or 2 sec. delay|
|Shutter Lag Time||0.06 sec.|
|Built-In Flash Type||Auto pop-up, retractable, built-in flash in the pentaprism|
|Flash Metering||E-TTL II autoflash|
|Guide Number||43' / 13 m (ISO 100)|
|Recycle Time||Approx. 3 sec.|
|Flash Coverage||Up to 17mm focal length (28mm equivalent in 35mm format)|
|Flash Exposure Compensation||Up to ±3 stops in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments|
|Drive Modes||Single, High-speed continuous, Low-speed continuous, Silent Single Shooting and Self-timer (10 sec. self-timer/remote control, or 2-sec. self-timer/remote control)|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||Up to 5.3 fps|
|Maximum Burst||JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 58
RAW: approx. 16
RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): approx. 7
|LCD Monitor Type||TFT color, Vari-angle LCD monitor (3:2)|
|Monitor Size||3.0" / 7.6 cm|
|Monitor Resolution||Approx. 1,040,000-dot|
|Monitor Coverage||Approx. 100%, Approx. 160° vertically and horizontally tilt|
|Interface Languages||English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukraine, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified/Traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese|
|Electronic Level||LCD: Up to 360° horizontal pitch in 1° increments
Viewfinder: Up to ±9° horizontal pitch in 1° increments
|Video File||MPEG-4 AVC / H.264|
|Video File Size||1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480|
|Frame Rates||1080: 30, 25, 24 fps
720: 60, 50 fps
480: 30, 25 fps
|Continuous Shooting Time (8GB memory card)||1080/30: 22 min.
25: 22 min.
24: 22 min.
720/60: 22 min.
50: 22 min.
480/60: 46 min.
25: 46 min.
|Movie Exposure Compensation||Up to ±3 stops in 1/3-stop increments|
|Image Playback||Single image display (Two types of single-image full display and two types of shooting information display), Index display (4-image index and 9-image index), Jump display (1/10/100 images, shooting date, by folder, video, stills, rating), AF point display, Histogram (1. Brightness 2. RGB), Magnify zoom display (1.5x to 10x enabled in 15 steps), Rotated display (Manual, Auto) Slide Show (Image selection: Playback according to All images, Date, Folder|
|Interface||USB 2.0, AV Out, Remote Control terminal|
|Recording Media||SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards|
|Power Source||LP-E6 lithium-ion battery pack|
|Operating Temperature||32–104°F / 0–40°C|
|Operating Humidity||85% or less|
|Dimensions||5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1" / 14.5 x 10.7 x 7.9 cm|
|Weight||23.8 oz / 674.7 g|