You don’t have to be a stargazer to like the new Canon EOS 60Da but it helps. Back in 2005 Canon announced the EOS 20Da, a camera with the internal infrared filter removed for more sensitivity to infrared light. That request came from the thousands of Canon shooters who had their cameras attached to the end of telescopes. That was fine for a long time but in the last couple years the 20D series was starting to show its age. So Canon decided to spring for the new “a” model of the EOS 60D.
Backyard astronomers will appreciate the swivel screen on the 60Da; gone will be the days when you have crouch down in wet grass to frame your shot with Live VIew. The major difference inside the camera are the missing infrared and H-Alpha filters. All digital cameras are sensitive to infrared light, but most have a filter to prevent it from adding a surreal quality to your images.
Only visible light is recorded on most modern digital cameras, which doesn’t work for astronomers, who want both infrared and “hydrogen alpha” wavelengths. The lack of infrared filter doesn’t mean you can’t use a 60Da like a regular DSLR. You can correct for the sensitivity to infrared wavelengths by adding an infrared filter to the lenses you’re using.
Back in the film days it used to be fun to get a roll of infrared film and see the world through another spectrum. If you have a camera that’s out of warranty, it is possible to remove the infrared filters from some cameras by hand, at the risk of leaving them unusable.
Canon is showing remarkable fidelity to niche owners with the introduction of the 60Da and I applaud them for it. It’s too bad there isn’t a more conveniently removable IR filter because it would be a nice feature to be able to shoot IR images on an everyday digital camera.