Canon re-rigs the 60D for the stargazers among us

Canon’s enthusiast digital SLR range last received an update in 2010 with the 60D, an 18 megapixel shooter with a 3 inch multi-angel screen. While we’ve yet to see a 70D, Canon has seen fit to release an update to its almost two year old camera.

Announced today, the Canon 60Da is a camera for people keen to look at the stars, as it’s a specially modified and slightly improved version of the original 60D meant for use in astronomical photography.

This update, however, isn’t the one most photographers will be looking for, technically refreshing a camera that is far older than the 60D. Rather, the 60Da updates 2005’s 20Da, an astrophotography friendly version of the 8 megapixel 20D camera.

Image taken with the Canon 60Da (left) and the original Canon 60D (right)

Like the original 60D, the new 60Da features a 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, Digic 4 image processor, and 3 inch articulated screen. Unlike its predecessor, however, the new camera features a different type of infrared cut filter, which should meet the needs of astrogeeks and space enthusiasts.

Infrared filters can be found inside every digital camera, but are normally fairly thick and stop the transmission of infrared wavelengths. Without them in place, your pictures may look unnaturally red, or even confuse the focus capabilities of the camera and result in ridiculously soft images.

Cameras that let more infrared light in take a very different type of image. While more heavily saturated than the 60Da's low-pass filter is likely to be, this image shows this simulated with an infrared filter.

With a lighter gauge infrared filter, the 60Da is setting itself up to be perfect for capturing the sort of light and colours the stars give off, effectively capturing photos that are more true to what the night sky looks like through a telescope.

Interestingly, like Nikon’s new cameras, Canon isn’t announcing a recommended retail price for this camera, instead suggesting the customers check stores for the best pricing.