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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Nikon D60 DSLR

Nikon Digital Cameras

   

Nikon D60 DSLR Review

Review Date: Jun 23, 2008

Category: Beginner / Family DSLR

Nikon D60

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 - Family DSLR
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 - Family DSLR

HANDLING & FEEL

The Nikon D60 DSLR is crafted like the more expensive D Series DSLRs and handles pretty much the same way. The body is constructed of high grade plastic and has an unmistakable feel of solid quality. It has one of the best handgrip of the entry-level DSLRs, providing a secure and comfortable hold.

In the hand, the Nikon D60 -- with the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens attached, and white, silver, chrome and gold engravings -- is a beautiful camera to hold and use.

Nikon D60 Lens Mount

The lens mount on the Nikon D60 is lacking a mechanical focus drive pin (the Nikon D60 does not have an internal focus drive motor). What this amounts to in practice is that lenses with built-in focus motor (the AF-S and AF-I series) can autofocus, but other lenses will need to be manually focused. If you do not intend to add any other lenses to the Nikon D60, this will not affect you one bit. If you have existing Nikon lenses and/or do intend to purchase other lenses that are not AF-S and AF-I, then you need to ask yourself if autofocus is a big deal for you, plus you may also have to use Manual mode. Recommendation is to stick to the newer AF-S lenses.

The lens mount system used in the Nikon D60 is the standard Nikon "F" mount with a 1.5x field of view (FOV) crop. The 3x zoom 18-55mm kit lens therefore translates to a 27-82.5mm equivalent field of view.

The Nikon D60 uses the Secure Digital (SD) Card (including the large capacity SDHC cards).

Here's how the entry-level DSLRs measure up against one another, without lens attached and without battery and card:

Camera W
(mm)
H
(mm)
D
(mm)
Weight
(g)
Pentax K200D 133.5 95 74 630
Sony A-200 130.8 98.5 71.3 532
Canon XSi/450D 128.8 97.5 61.9 475
Olympus E-520 DSLR 136 91.5 68 475
Nikon D60 126 94 64 475
Olympus E-420 129.5 91 53 380

As you can see, the Nikon D60 is about the same size and weight as the Canon Digital Rebel XSi/450D but has a slightly deeper and more comfortable grip.

AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens is optically image stabilized. It has dimensions of 73D x 79L mm (2.9D x 3.1L in.) and adds in a further 265g (9.3 oz.). Filter/Attachment Size is 52mm. Minimum Focus Distance is 0.28m (0.9 ft). The big ring is the manual Zoom Ring, and in front of it (almost to the tip of the lens) is the thin manual Focus Ring.

STYLE
- Colours: black body with white and silver letterings, and chrome accents; kit lens has silver and gold letterings and chrome accents
- Looks: professional, a beautiful camera
   
FEEL
- Ergonomic and high quality
- Controls & menu are precise and easy to use
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Light, nice heft
- Dimensions: 126 x 94 x 64mm
- Weight: 475g (body only)
- Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL9 7.4V 1000mAh
   

SPEED OF OPERATION

(using SHQ)

- Startup is quasi instant
- Shot to shot time as fast as you can press the shutter, but dependent on AF.
-

Continuous Shooting: @ 2.5fps without NR on

I used a regular SanDisk 4GB and the camera was set to M mode, 1/250 sec., auto everything else.

The burst rate progressively slows down as the buffer fills up and the camera has to momentarily pause to save images. I took the maximum 100 pictures in about 35 sec. You can then use some or all of the 100 shots and create a stop-motion movie right in the camera.

- No practical shutter lag
- Overall, superb performance
   

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery (that can take approx. 500 shots in single-frame shooting and approx. 1,850 shots in continuous shooting mode on a fresh charge (CIPA)) and a Battery Charger MH-23 (with power cord) that will recharge a new battery in about 90 mins. Don't know why but there is no Video cable included as standard accessory. If you want to be able to connect your D60 directly to a TV, be sure to purchase the optional EG-D100 Video Cable.

Nikon D60 Top View Controls
Mouseove image for close-up of controls

The top of the camera has a clean layout. The D60 has a nice handgrip and your index finger falls naturally on the Shutter-release button. The Power Switch is around the Shutter-release button with 2 settings: OFF and ON. I believe Nikon's Power Switch design around the Shutter Release button is the best and don't know why all camera manufacturers do not standardize on this design; it's quick and easy to turn on and off your camera, and does not require hunting for an oddly placed (and sometimes shaped) Power Switch somewhere on the back of the camera amongst all the other control buttons.

Behind the shutter release button are the Active D-Lighting and Exposure Compensation buttons. Active D-Lighting preserves details in highlights and shadows, and so is best applied when taking high contrast shots. What is the difference between "Active" D-Lighting and just plain D-Lighting? Active D-Lighting evaluates the scene, adjusts the exposure and takes the picture; then it adjusts the highlights, shadows and midtones before saving the picture to memory card. D-Lighting is applied to an already saved image in the Retouch Menu. The point being that it is always better to apply D-Lighting before taking (and saving) the picture (i.e. Active D-Lighting) than try to fix blown highlights after the picture is taken and saved (i.e. D-Lighting).

The Mode dial allows you to select Auto, PSAM, Night Portrait, Close up, Sports, Child, Landscape, Portrait, and Auto Flash Off. Since the flash will automatically pop up when needed in fully AUTO mode, the Auto Flash Off mode is a convenient alternative AUTO mode to use for times when you do not want to use flash (e.g. in Museums and other locations where flash photography is prohibited).

Note that the strap eyelets are inset (recessed into the camera body) and so are not in the way when you're holding the camera. It's a small touch but contributes to making the D60 one of the most comfortable camera to hold and operate.

Nikon D60 Back View

Nikon has successfully designed the back of the Nikon D60 so that it does not look cramped or overwhelming for the first-time DSLR user. The controls are nicely sized and positioned and there's still lots of space for your thumb to rest comfortably without inadvertently hitting any button. I like the fact that the LCD is positioned right underneath the viewfinder (and not to the left or right) and the nice soft but precise touch of the large buttons ("press" vs. "clicking" on hard plastic buttons).

The Nikon D60 has a large 2.5-in. high resolution LCD monitor with wide-angle viewing and the 230K pixels are put to the best use with beautifully legible text and graphics. There is no live view and this LCD is strictly used for Playback. It also functions as a Control Panel (Shooting info display).

The lack of Live View might discourage some from considering the D60 since almost all of its competitors have Live View. But since Live View is not well implemented in all of them (except perhaps the new Sony alphas), this is not really a detriment. Instead, it forces you to use the DSLR as it is really meant to be used. By using the viewfinder and the phase-detect AF, camera shake is reduced, AF is fast and shutter lag is practically negligible. You are then taking full advantage of the strengths of a DSLR. Using a half-baked Live View will only frustrate beginners who will be wondering why their DSLR is slow to focus and still takes blurred photos. That said, a properly implemented Live View (with uninterrupted fast Phase Detect AF and flip-out LCD) would still be a nice addition.

On the left side of the LCD screen, there are 4 buttons: Playback, Menu, Thumbnail/Playback Zoom out/Help, Playback Zoom in/Info display/Quick Settings/Reset. Tip: the last button [i] is a convenient shortcut to directly access the shooting settings displayed on the Info display without going into the Menu.

The Playback Zoom in and Zoom out are very convenient to check focus. Just press and hold the relevant button and the image zooms in or out really fast.

There is also a bright and large viewfinder with approx. 95% coverage. The exposure settings are displayed on a black strip at the bottom of the viewfinder and are also displayed on the large LCD screen.

An Eye Sensor under the viewfinder turns the LCD display off when you bring the camera to your eye. This is a small but very convenient feature that adds to the overall enjoyment of this DSLR. To enable this feature, be sure to set "Shooting info auto off" to ON in SETUP.

Falling under your thumb is the Command dial. You use the Command dial to quickly set your exposure values:

  • In Manual mode, it allows you to select a shutter speed; press the +/- exposure compensation button and rotate the Command dial to select an aperture.
  • In Shutter-Priority mode, use the Command dial to change shutter speed.
  • In Aperture-priority mode, use the Command dial to change aperture.
  • In Programmed Auto [P] mode, rotating the Command dial switches you into Flexible Program [P*] mode (i.e. Program Shift) and allows you to select different combinations of shutter speed and aperture while keeping the same exposure.

There are 3 AF Area Modes to choose from:

  • Closest subject (camera selects focus point);
  • Dynamic area (user manually selects focus point, but camera will follow subject); and,
  • Single area (user selects focus point).

In Dynamic area and Single area modes, you can use the Multi selector LEFT and RIGHT to specify one of 3 focus points you want the camera to lock focus on (convenient when your subject is not centered in the frame). The focus brackets are black lines which blink red when you half-press the Shutter-release button.

To the left of the Command dial is the AE-L/AF-L button that allows you to lock exposure and/or focus. The Multi selector is used to navigate the Menu, in Playback, and to select a focus area. Press the Delete button twice to delete image displayed (best single image delete implementation I've used). However, to delete all images, you'll need to access the Playback Menu. The SD Card compartment door can be seen at the right.

Nikon D60 Side Left Controls

The Fn button is the customizable Function button, by default set to the Self-timer. The Self-timer can be set in Custom Settings to be 2s, 5s, 10s or 20s. While the number of choices is great, only the one you select will be available when you press the Fn/Self-timer button. I would have preferred that each press of the Fn/Self-timer button would simply cycle thru each available Self-timer choice plus the Drive modes (Single and Continuous).

The Fn button can be also be customized to Release mode (Continuous), Image quality/size, ISO, or WB. When in Classic menu, pressing the Fn button highlights the function and you then use the Command dial to select a setting.

Above the Fn button is the Flash mode button: press it to raise the flash. Keep it pressed and rotate the Command Dial to select a flash mode: Auto, Auto+red-eye reduction, Auto slow sync+red-eye reduction, Auto slow sync, Rear-curtain sync.

Below the Fn button is the Lens release button. Depress it and twist the lens clockwise to remove it.

On the kit lens, there are two switches: the A-M mode switch allows you to switch back and forth between autofocus and manual focus modes; the VR switch allows you to turn optical image stabilization (Nikon calls it Vibration Reduction) On and Off.

Underneath the camera, as expected, the metal tripod mount is located in line with the center of the lens and the imaging focal plane. The battery compartment is in the handgrip and you should be able to change the battery with the camera mounted on a tripod. The battery compartment door has a small spring-mounted catch that locks the battery in securely; slide it and the door pops open and the battery slides out slightly; it does not fall out and you need to pull it out to remove it completely.

As you would expect, there are tons of customizable settings to choose from, more than we can reproduce here (unless we reproduce the whole manual). They will be more or less familiar to Nikon users, but can at first seem too many and too complicated for the point-and-shoot target audience. Reading the excellent User Manual carefully should clarify most of the available choices.

You can select various display formats for the Shooting info display on the LCD: Classic, Graphic or select a picture in your memory card and use it as a wallpaper.

Overall, the programmer/designer did an excellent job on the menu design.

SHOOTING MENU

- Optimize image
- Image quality
- Image size
- White balance
- ISO sensitivity
- Noise reduction
- Active D-Lighting

OPTIMIZE IMAGE

- Normal
- Softer
- Vivid
- More vivid
- Portrait
- Black-and-white
- Custom

IMAGE QUALITY

- NEF (RAW)
- JPEG fine
- JPEG normal
- JPEG basic
- NEF (RAW)+JPEG basic

IMAGE SIZE

- Large (3872x2592; 10.0 MP)
- Medium (2896x1944; 5.6 MP)
- Small (1936x1296; 2.5 MP)

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Incandescent
- Fluorescent
- Direct sunlight
- Flash
- Cloudy
- Shade

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Preset manual

WHITE BALANCE - FLUORESCENT 1 of 2

- Sodium-vapor lamps
- Warm-white fluorescent
- White fluorescent
- Cool-white fluorescent
- Day white fluorescent
- Daylight fluorescent

WHITE BALANCE - FLUORESCENT 2 of 2

- Mercury-vapor lamps

WHITE BALANCE - PRSET MANUAL

- Measure
- Use photo

WHITE BALANCE - FINE TUNE

- WB can be fine tuned for all WB settings

ISO

- Auto
- 100
- 200
- 400
- 800
- 1600
- HI 1 = boosted to 3200

 

CUSTOM SETTING MENU 1 of 3

- Reset
- Beep
- Focus mode
- AF-area mode
- Release mode
- Metering
- No memory card?

CUSTOM SETTING MENU 2 of 3

- Image review
- Flash compensation
- AF-assist
- ISO auto
- Fn button
- AE-L/AF-L
- AE lock

CUSTOM SETTING MENU 3 of 3

- AE lock
- Built-in flash
- Auto off timers
- Self-timer
- Remore on duration
- Date imprint
- Rangefinder

FOCUS MODE

- AF-A Auto-servo AF
- AF-S Single-servo AF
- AF-C Continuous-servo AF
- MF Manual focus

- AF-A automatically selects a focus mode based on whether subject is stationary (AF-S) or moving (AF-C)

AF-AREA MODE

- Closest subject
- Dynamic area
- Single point

RELEASE MODE

- Single frame
- Continuous
- Self-timer (2s, 5s, 10s or 20s set in SETUP)
- 2s Delayed remote
- Quick-response remote

METERING

- Matrix
- Center-weighted
- Spot

NO MEMORY CARD?

- Release locked
- Enable release

FLASH COMPENSATION

- -3.0 to -1.0

ISO AUTO - MIN SHUTTER SPEED

- Select the minimum Shutter speed that will trigger the camera to go to a higher ISO from the one you selected in P and A mode
- Choose from 1/125s to 1s

ISO AUTO

- Off
- On
- Max. sensitivity (ISO 200 - 1600)
- Min. shutter speed (1/125s - 1s)

SELF-TIMER/FN BUTTON

- Self-timer [default]
- Release mode
- Image quality/size
- ISO sensitivity
- White balance

AE-L/AF-L

- AE/AF lock
- AE lock only
- AF lock only
- AE lock hold
- AF-ON

BUILT-IN FLASH

- TTL
_ Manual

AUTO OFF TIMERS

- Short
- Normal
_ Long
- Custom

SELF-TIMER

- 2 sec
- 5 sec
- 10 sec
- 20 sec

- Whichever delay you select here will be the default when you press the Fn/Self-timer button (if that's what you customized the Fn button to be) or when you select the Shooting mode to be Self-timer

REMOTE ON DURATION

- 1 min
- 5 min
- 10 min
- 15 min

DATE IMPRINT

- Off
- Date
- Date and time
- Date counter

DATE IMPRINT EXAMPLE

 

SETUP MENU 1 of 3

- CSM/Setup menu
- Format memory card
- Info display format
- Auto shooting info
- Shooting info auto off
- World time
- LCD brightness

SETUP MENU 2 of 3

- Video mode
- Language
- Image comment
- Folders
- File no. sequence
- Clean image sensor
- Mirror lock-up

SETUP MENU 3 of 3

- Firmware version
- Dust off ref photo
- Auto image rotation

CSM/SETUP MENU

- Simple
- Full
- My menu

INFO DISPLAY FORMAT

- Digital Vari-Program (Scene Modes)
- PSAM
- Select wallpaper

- Hey, I can even select which image currently on the memory card I want to use as the wallpaper
- Select your wallpaper carefully so the info display remains legible

INFO DISPLAY - CLASSIC BLUE

 

INFO DISPLAY - CLASSIC BLACK

 

INFO DISPLAY - CLASSIC ORANGE

 

INFO DISPLAY - GRAPHIC WHITE

 

INFO DISPLAY - GRAPHIC BLACK

 

INFO DISPLAY - GRAPHIC ORANGE

 

INFO DISPLAY - WALLPAPER

- Dark on Light text

INFO DISPLAY - WALLPAPER

- Light on Dark text

AUTO SHOOTING INFO

- Digital Vari-Program (Scene Modes)
- PSAM

WORLD TIME

- Time zone
- Date
- Date format
- Daylight saving time

LCD BRIGHTNESS 1 of 2

- LCD brightness
- Auto dim

LCD BRIGHTNESS 2 of 2

- -3 to +3

LANGUAGE 1 of 3

 

LANGUAGE 2 of 3

 

LANGUAGE 3 of 3

 

IMAGE COMMENT

- Done
- Input comment
- Attach comment

FOLDERS

- Select folder
- New
- Rename
- Delete

FILE NO. SEQUENCE

 

CLEAN IMAGE SENSOR

- Clean now
- CLean at

CLEAN IMAGE SENSOR - CLEAN AT

- Startup
- Shutdown
- Startup and shutdown
- Cleaning off

MIRROR LOCK-UP 1 of 2

 

MIRROR LOCK-UP 2 of 2

 

FIRMWARE VERSION

 

DUST OFF REF PHOTO

- Clean your sensor first (3 options up)

 

RETOUCH MENU 1 of 2

- Quick retouch
- D-lighting
- Red-eye correction
- Trim
- Monochrome
- Filter effects
- Small picture

RETOUCH MENU 2 of 2

- Image overlay
- NEF (RAW) processing
- Stop-motion movie

- Note: original image is preserved and the retouched image is saved as a new image

QUICK RETOUCH

- Low, Normal, High

D-LIGHTING

- Low, Normal, High

TRIM

MONOCHROME - B&W

MONOCHROME - CYANOTYPE

MONOCHROME - SEPIA

FILTER EFFECTS

- Skylight
- Warm filter
- Red intensifier
- Green intensifier
- Blue intensifier
- Cross screen
- Color balance

FILTER EFFECTS - SKYLIGHT

FILTER EFFECTS - WARM FILTER

FILTER EFFECTS - RED INTENSIFIER

FILTER EFFECTS - GREEN INTENSIFIER

FILTER EFFECTS - BLUE INTENSIFIER

FILTER EFFECTS - CROSS SCREEN

FILTER EFFECTS - COLOR BALANCE

SMALL PICTURE

- 640x480
- 320x240
- 160x120

OVERLAY 1 of 2

- Overlay can only be performed on RAW images

OVERLAY 2 of 2

- Here is the final overlay images

- New image is saved separately from the originals

NEF (RAW) PROCESSING

- Convert RAW to JPEG in-camera

- New JPEG image is saved separately from the original RAW

STOP-MOTION MOVIE 1 of 2

- First, select the FRame size and rate

STOP-MOTION MOVIE 2 of 2

- First, specify the Starting image and Ending image
- If you want to exclude some images in between, go into Edit and select Middle image; use Multi Selector LEFT/RIGHT to browse thru the images and UP/DOWN to select and deselect an image.

 

PLAYBACK MENU

- Delete
- Playback folder
- Rotate tall
- Slide show
- Print set (DPOF)
- Stop-motion movie

DELETE

- Selected
- All

- Note that if you just want to delete the image currently displayed on screen, you do not need to invoke the Menu -- just press the Delete button twice.

DELETE - SELECTED

- Use Multi selector LEFT and RIGHT to select an image
- Use Multi selector UP and DOWN to select and deselect.

DELETE - SELECTED CONFIRM

 

DELETE - ALL CONFIRM

SLIDE SHOW

PRINT SET (DPOF)

PLAYBACK INFO 1 of 5

- File info

PLAYBACK INFO 2 of 5

- Shooting data

PLAYBACK INFO 3 of 5

- Shooting data

PLAYBACK INFO 4 of 5

- Active D-Lighting History

PLAYBACK INFO 4 of 5

- Highlight blink

PLAYBACK INFO 5 of 5

- Histogram

PLAYBACK - ZOOM IN

- Press the [+] button to zoom in, [-] button to zoom out

 

ACTIVE D-LIGHTING

 

HELP

- Press and hold the [?] button to display a brief help on screen of the function currently selected (on Classic Shooting info display)

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

- Press the [+/-] button to dial in an exposure compensation using the Command Dial

Changing the settings directly on the Control Panel (Shooting info display on the LCD screen) is possible thanks to the [i] Settings button:

IMAGE QUALITY

 

IMAGE SIZE

 

WHITE BALANCE

ISO

RELEASE MODE

FOCUS MODE

FOCUS MODE

METERING

ACTIVE D-LIGHTING

FLASH COMPENSATION

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

FLASH MODE

 

SELF-TIMER SHOOTING

 

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - AUTO

 

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - AUTO + FLASH OFF

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - PORTRAIT SCENE MODE

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - LANDSCAPE SCENE MODE

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - CHILD SCENE MODE

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - SPORTS SCENE MODE

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - CLOSE-UP SCENE MODE

VIRTUAL MODE DIAL - NIGHT PORTRAIT SCENE MODE

The Nikon D60 is one of the most comfortable DSLR ever, especially because of its large handgrip, light weight and compact size. Controls placement and a user friendly implementation of its features make it point-and-shoot easy to use.

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