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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 with optional Speedlight SB-400

Nikon D60 with optional Speedlight SB-400

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

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Friday, May 30, 2008 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Nikon D60 DSLR w/Body Cap BF-1A
  • No memory card [though I received a 512MB SanDisk SD Card]
  • Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1 (on camera)
  • Viewfinder Rubber Eyecup DK-20 (on camera)
  • Eyepiece Cap DK-5
  • Shoulder Strap AN-DC1
  • Li-Ion Battery EN-EL9 7.4V 1000 mAh with terminal cover
  • MH-23 Quick Charger & power cord
  • USB Cable UC-E4 [Note: Video Cable EG-D100 is optional]
  • Instruction Manuals (English and French): Quick Start Guide, User's Manual
  • Software CDs: Nikon Software Suite
  • Optional accessory: AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens [US | CAN] with front lens cover and rear cap [5 Year Nikon Canada Warranty]
  • Optional accessory: SB-600 Speedlight

The Nikon D60 is without doubt the best Family DSLR available. Not only is it affordable, but it produces excellent image quality with point-and-shoot ease. Though many other entry-level DSLRs have similar features, it is the combination of the features and the friendly way they are implemented that earns the D60 the Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 - Family DSLR award.

Most users who are upgrading from a point-and-shoot digicam are interested in low light image quality. Well, image quality on the D60 is excellent with details preserved even at high ISOs; noise is very low up to ISO 800, with ISO 1600 very usable. Its matrix metering is apparently improved because it does not blow highlights that easily as the D40 is prone to. What this all amounts to is a DSLR that is extremely easy to use and to obtain excellent quality images with.

The other feature high on beginners list might be Live View, which is missing on the D60. Since Live View is on all the newer Nikon DSLRs (the D300 and even professional-level D3), we believe the next upgrade of the D60 will probably include Live View. If Live View is important to you, you may wish to wait for the D60's upgrade. But before you wait, read on.

A note about Live View is important here. All of the D60's competitors already have Live View. There are usually two Live View modes: 1) Phase Detection AF Live View has a mirror slap which introduces a long shutter lag; 2) Contrast Detect AF is painfully slow. So none of the Live View implementations -- except for that of the newest Sony alphas -- can even be compared to that on a P&S compact digicam -- and so are of very limited value in their current form (some might go so far as to say they're useless for any kind of action shots while others will find it useful especially when used on a tripod for non-action shots). We suspect all future Live View implementations will more or less follow after the Sony alpha's uninterrupted (i.e. no screen blackout, no mirror flap) Live View model using Phase-Detect AF for fast AF. Remember also that Live View on a DSLR is most useful when the LCD is tiltable. Whether the upgrade to the D60 will incorporate a tiltable and uninterrupted Phase AF Live View is anyone's guess. Meanwhile, you have to decide if Live View is important to you in its limited form today.

One feature that helps the D60 produce consistently good photos is Active D-Lighting, which adjusts exposure before you take the picture, then processes it in-camera before recording it on the memory card. Compare this to D-Lighting in the Retouch Menu, which you use to process a picture after you've taken and saved it to memory card. I find that Active D-Lighting works very well.

The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens is optically image stabilized. Zooming and focusing is fast. If you intend to buy additional lenses for your D60, just remember to check whether they have their own built-in focus motor (i.e., the AF-S and AF-I series lenses) so you can use auto focus; you can still attach other Nikon lenses, but they will have to be manually focused (and with some, exposure settings will also need to be manually set).

Filter/Attachment Size is 52mm. For those of you who intend to attach a Polarizing filter, do note that the focusing design on the kit lens is such that any filter screwed in will rotate as you focus (manually or using autofocus). So you'll have to focus first, then rotate the Polarizing filter for the effect you desire.

The viewfinder is bright and clear, surprisingly so since it uses a pentamirror.

Nikon ViewNX 1.0.3
Nikon ViewNX 1.0.3

Use TransferNX to transfer your pictures from the D60 to your PC. Use ViewNX to view your pictures. You can rotate, tag, add info and show the focus point(s). To edit your picture, you will need to purchase the optional Capture NX.

The User's Manual is large and very well written and illustrated. An Index makes finding a particular feature extremely quick and easy. Tips help you make the most of the D60's extensive features.

Remember that when you buy a DSLR, you are not so much buying a camera as buying into a camera system. Nikon has many useful accessories that extend the capability of your camera. For the D60, there are 9 Correction Eyepieces, an infrared Wireless Remote Control, and dedicated speedlight units.

The Nikon D60 has the right size and weight, the right features and price that will appeal to many P&S photographers thinking of upgrading to a DSLR. Its excellent performance and image quality will make it an attractive DSLR for families who are tired of not being able to take good low-light shots of their babies and children indoors. In short, a near perfect Family DSLR.

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