Canon Unveils Astrophotography Centered Canon 60Da

With Nikon offering a niche D800E camera (which, against some expectations, will likely prove to be very popular) next to its mainstream model, the D800, Canon has decided, after a 7 year break, to take a similar step with the introduction of a modified Canon 60D model, the 60Da. Seven years ago Canon brought 20Da, a modified version of a popular Canon 20D DSLR. 20Da was, essentially, the same camera with a different IR filter and added live view functionality which, while having severe limitations at that time (inability to function in a bright environment), was very useful when manually focusing on stars at night. Changes to IR filter made the camera about 2.5 times more sensitive to Hydrogen Alpha wavelenght (approx. 656nm), which helped the 20Da capture space nebulae much more easily.

Canon 60Da and 20Da

Canon 60Da, as you would expect, has a certain number of improvements over its predecessor thanks to recent technology advances. Canon’s great 18 megapixel sensor will help astrophotographers and astronauts capture much more detailed Space photographs, while a high-resolution vari-angle LCD promises even easier manual focusing and composing at night. As with 20Da, you can expect 60Da to have a slightly better high ISO performance compared to the regular model, and an added benefit of video, which, I’m sure, will be very popular.

Milky Way

NIKON D700 @ 24mm, ISO 1600, 30/1, f/2.8

Ever since the 20Da was discontinued in 2006, astrophotographers had to modify their cameras on their own and with an added risk of damaging an expensive piece of equipment. Now, however, it’s good to know there is a choice to buy a great camera pre-modified specifically with astrophotography in mind. It is a specialized camera, though, and thus will be available to order from select authorized dealers only at an estimated retail price of 1,499$.

Here is the official press release:


Canon 60Da Front View

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., April 3, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today introduced the EOS 60Da Digital SLR Camera, a long-awaited successor to the EOS 20Da that is optimized for astrophotography. This DSLR caters to astronomers and hobbyists who enjoy capturing the beauty of the night sky by offering a modified infrared filter and a low-noise sensor with heightened hydrogen-alpha sensitivity. These modifications allow the camera to capture magnificent photographs of “red hydrogen emission” nebulae and other cosmic phenomena.

“The EOS 60Da is a testament to the constant desire to meet the needs of every customer, including those in specialized fields,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A., “This new camera enables an accurate depiction of a part of our solar system which is hard to achieve with conventional cameras but should be enjoyed and celebrated.”

The Canon EOS 60Da camera packs a powerful 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (APS-C) that produces sharp and high-contrast images of astronomical objects, a major enhancement over the EOS 20Da model’s 8.2-megapixel sensor. The improved infrared-blocking filter is a modification suited specifically toward astronomy enthusiasts to achieve a hydrogen-alpha light sensitivity that is approximately three times higher than that of a normal Canon DSLR camera. This produces a 20-percent higher transmittance of Hydrogen Alpha line, or Hα wavelength, allowing astronomers to capture crisp, clear images of reddish, diffuse nebulae.

Enhanced Features

Crisp images of the stars and planets can be viewed on the EOS 60Da’s improved 3.0-inch Clear View LCD screen with 1,040,000 dots for detailed focusing. The flip-out Vari-angle screen allows photographers to adjust the screen for easy viewing without straining even while the camera is mounted to a telescope via a third-party T-ring adapter. Optimized for stargazing with friends or in an educational setting, astronomy enthusiasts can connect the camera to a TV with the provided AVC-DC400ST Stereo AV Video Cable and display the night sky on a TV monitor using the camera’s Live View mode. Moreover, the EOS 60Da’s Live View mode is equipped with a Silent Shooting feature that eliminates shutter-induced vibration for maximum camera stability when the camera is mounted to a telescope or super-telephoto EF lens.

Enhanced noise reduction on the EOS 60Da sensor offers photographers the ability to experiment with the wide array of ISO settings and increased ISO speeds up to 6400 expandable to 12800. Other features include an intelligent nine-point autofocus system, full manual controls, and RAW, JPEG, and RAW+JPEG image recording capabilities.


The EOS 60Da helps capture the wonders of the night sky with its use of Canon’s award-winning EF and EF-S lenses along with other EOS accessories. Additionally, the EOS 60Da is packaged with Canon’s RA-E3 Remote Controller Adapter, providing the ability to connect a Canon Timer Remote Control such as the TC-80N3 (optional accessory). The TC-80N3 is ideal for controlling time exposures longer than 30 seconds as well as capturing a series of consecutive time exposures that can be composited during post-processing for improved image quality. This is especially useful when the camera body is connected to a telescope or an EF super telephoto lens.

Canon has also included an AC adapter kit with the EOS 60Da, allowing the camera to be powered through an AC wall outlet or a battery-powered inverter, ideal for long exposure image or video capture at home or in the field.


As a specialized product, the EOS 60Da is only available to order from select authorized dealers. B&H Photo Video is currently accepting pre-orders for the Canon EOS 60Da for $1499


  1. April 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Very, very interesting!

  2. 2) Tony Padua
    April 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I call this Canon shooting for the stars. In a marketing population with mostly hobbyists like myself who are still trying to get comfortable shooting DSLR subjects on earth, here we have Canon trying to sell us on shooting stars.

    Canon, by heading to outer space prematurely with the 60Da, has now tied the score with Nikon’s D800e for marketing blunders.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 2.1) Romanas Naryškin
      April 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      But even Canon themselves pointed out it’s a very specialized camera and will be sold in limited quantity because of that. I think it’s a good move and I’m happy for all the astrophotographers who’s work I admire. :)

  3. 3) Mark de Vrij
    April 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    This is a lovely idea from Canon. Good timing to pick up on the current interest in this subject from people inspired by the amazing work coming out from the likes of Christoph Malin and others. It’s also a cheap enough specialist at <1500 USD to be affordable for many people as a second body unlike the D800E which is priced at a more either/or scenario for most people.
    At the same time it's using expertise from Canon already has so minimal development costs and adds brand equity to Canon placing them as imaging specialists rather than mass camera manufacturer.
    I would be very tempted if I owned any Canon lenses.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 3.1) Romanas Naryškin
      April 4, 2012 at 4:32 am

      Interestingly, it’s very easy to put a Nikon lens on a Canon body (and impossible the other way around). So it makes sense to have a 60Da if you’re into astrophotography and use Nikon otherwise. :)

      • 3.1.1) Mark
        April 4, 2012 at 4:59 am

        My Wife will not thank you for pointing that out. :-)

  4. 4) Andrea
    April 4, 2012 at 1:29 am

    The D800E has lowpass filter like the D800, so Canon has no rivals in this field.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 4.1) Romanas Naryškin
      April 4, 2012 at 4:33 am

      The only similarity is in introducing a niche product, so both cameras have no similar rivals :)

  5. 5) Srini
    April 4, 2012 at 5:54 am

    How interesting. I wonder if Canon is creating a niche market for itself in astronomy.

  6. 6) C
    April 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Can our Nikon’s sensor be modified to behave like to 60Da?

    Could somebody share some information regarding tweating the Nikon’s sensor to do the same as 60Da? Thank you so much!

  7. 7) A
    April 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Hi Roman,

    Will the introduction of 60DA bring down the prices of ‘normal’ Canon 60D?
    What do you feel?


    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 7.1) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:18 am

      I very much doubt that, A. If prices of 60D will drop, only for other reasons I think. 60Da doesn’t replace the regular model, nor is it better in everyday photography. :)

      • 7.1.1) A
        April 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

        So do you think USD 1200 a good price for 60D (with 18-135 mm Kit lens)?

        How does the camera stand in comparison with Canon T3i?


        • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin Romanas Naryškin
          April 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

          It is a good camera, if it’s worth it – only you can tell.

          As for the comparison, the differences are in ergonomics and speed. For some, those are very important, for some less so. If I had to make the choice, I’d go for 60D, but then I need the ergonomic advantages it has to offer.

          • A
            April 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

            Thanks again!

            Also, what would be your choice between Canon 60D Vs Nikon D90?
            and Why?


            • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin Romanas Naryškin
              April 13, 2012 at 8:05 am

              If video is important, Canon is definitely the better choice with its articulated screen, Full HD resolution and better support for m42 lenses. Otherwise, it’s a very close call and largely depends on which system you prefer overall. Remember, it’s not the choice of a particular lens or camera, it’s the choice of a whole system of cameras and lenses and accessories. :)

            • A
              April 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

              Thanks a LOT, Roman!

              Appreciate your quick and helpful advice n comments!


  8. 8) wouter D'hoye
    April 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm


    At the current price I’m not sure it will sell that well. Specialsit deep sky cameras cost not all that much more and will perform better. though are somewhat more complicated to use. It may be a good solution for absolute beginners and only for bright subjects. But the usefulness for real deep sky photogrpahy is limited. The lack of active cooling or any cooling is most likely it’s biggest shortcoming. If the camera is still well suitable for daytime use as a regular camera it may still be a jack of all trades though.

  9. 9) anik
    June 5, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Thank you wouter D’hoye .It is right .

  10. July 18, 2013 at 9:29 am

    wow! awesome .

  11. 11) Anik
    November 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    i like it.

  12. 12) sayeduzzaman
    November 7, 2013 at 9:53 am

    i chose it.

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