Nikon D60 review
Review Date : Wed, 2 Apr 2008
Author : Jamie Harrison
Nikon's D60 digital SLR combines the Expeed processor of the D300 and D3 with the 10.2-megapixel CCD sensor and feature set of the D40x. The What Digital Camera review investigates...
|Pros:||Easy to use, nice interface, good images, small, noise control|
|Cons:||Some blooming, AF system, too simple at times, small LCD|
The Nikon D60 is Nikon's 16th digital SLR and is placed between the D40x and the D80 in terms of specification, price and audience. Nikon claims that the D60 is aimed mainly at those upgrading from a digital compact or those switching from a film SLR. This could be true of any entry-level DSLR, but with Nikon still maintaining supply (at least for now) of the D40 and D40x, we'll be taking a look at what separates this model from last year's D40x. What Digital Camera Nikon D60 review...
Nikon D60: Features
Nikon D60 Review - CCD Sensor
The Nikon D60 has bucked Nikon's recent trend of using CMOS, as it still uses a CCD (which is cheaper to make). In this case it's the same 10.2MP version that was used in the D40x. This at first makes us wonder whether the D60 will display more image noise than we've seen in recent cameras, though with the same Expeed processor of the Nikon D300 and Nikon D3, this fear may well be unfounded.
Nikon D60 Review - Dust Reduction
This is also the first Nikon camera to incorporate a dust-reduction system. Like many other systems, the D60 uses vibrations of the low pass filter to dislodge dust from the sensor, but it also incorporates a brand new Airflow Control System which leads air in from the mirror box towards small air ducts near the camera base. This supposedly directs dust away from the sensor. This system is silent and invisible; there are no discernible holes in the camera to let light as well as air into the camera.
Nikon D60 Review - Active-D Lighting
From the Nikon D300 and Nikon D3 models, the new camera has inherited Nikon Active-D Lighting feature, a more advanced version of the D-Lighting system of old. Active D-Lighting compensates for difficult or contrasty conditions by opening up the shadows, highlights and midtones of an image to gain the optimal range of tones. This can be performed as you shoot or added to the images later, in which case a duplicate file of the photo is saved to the memory card.
Nikon D60 Review - In-Camera Retouching Tools
There's a host of new retouching tools available in-camera, notably Raw processing. You can shoot Raw, and adjust colour and tones, then save the result as a JPEG for direct printing, for example. Nikon has also added a raft of post production filters including a starburst-type filter which can be used to add a touch of magic to highlights, while other more-conventional filters, such as monochrome, sepia and so on, are all present. A new stop motion function allows you to take a sequence of images and play them back as a movie - ideal for YouTube movie makers and budding Nick Parks, of Wallace and Gromit fame.
Nikon D60 Review - Shooting Info Display
As with the Nikon D40 and Nikon D40x (but not the D80 and above) there is no top-plate data LCD. Instead, the shooting information is read from the 2.5in monitor on the back, as with Olympus
and Sony cameras. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is much the same beginner-friendly system used on the Nikon D40/Nikon D40x too, with an intuitive aperture diagram so that users can see how the f-stops relate to the aperture size. An animated mode dial also comes into play when you change modes via the real dial. A choice of layouts and backgrounds is available and you can even set your own background wallpaper with your own images. There's also the more sober, traditional style display of data for more advanced users.
Nikon D60 Review - Metering, Flash and Shutter Speeds
The nitty-gritty of any camera is its photographic features and the D60 has plenty to offer. The 3D Colour Matrix Metering II has filtered down from the recent high-end Nikon models, and the camera shoots at a reasonable 3fps up to 100 JPEGs. It also supports i-TTL flash, through the use of the in-built flash and in conjunction with Nikon's Speedlight flash units, backed up by Nikon's Creative Lighting System. Among the shooting modes is the standard PASM array, along with a variety of scene modes, which we'd expect from an entry-level model.
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Shooting speeds cover 30 seconds to 1/4000sec and include Bulb and a Time option, while sensitivity stretches from ISO 100 to 1600, with a Hi setting offering the equivalent of ISO 3200. There's also a wide exposure compensation range of ±5EV in 1/3 increments, but there's no
auto exposure compensation bracketing, which is pretty much a standard nowadays and I think is a useful learning tool, and failsafe.
Nikon D60 Review - AF System
Like the Nikon D40 and Nikon D40x, the Nikon D60 features the Multi-CAM 530 module to operate its autofocus. This provides a 3-point AF system, but with no internal AF motor, the camera is dependent on the lens motors to actually focus. The system works with Nikon AF-S and AF-I lenses but some functionality, including metering and focusing, will be lost if you use other Nikon lenses. If you're switching from a Nikon film camera, I recommend checking the compatibility of any lenses you already own to avoid disappointment.
As we'd expect from an entry-level camera, the D60 has a built-in pop-up flash with a guide number of 12m @ISO 100. The flash has a number of common modes, including red-eye reduction, front and rear curtain flash, slow sync and even flash exposure compensation.