Price: 383 . 424 . 450
Pros: Good image quality with extra features; variety of advanced controls.
Cons: Design feels cramped; some design aspects not intuitive.
The Nikon D60 aims to hook point-and-shoot photography enthusiasts crossing over to the digital SLR dimension. The next step up from the Nikon D40x, this model adds advanced in-camera editing, including Nikon’s D-Lighting technology and an in-camera stop-action-animation mode. Costing £424 with the base kit lens, the D60 costs a bit more than its predecessor, the D40x, but is priced similarly to its competition.
The D60 retains Nikon’s familiar look and feel, though it is simpler for novices to navigate, and its small size makes it easier to tote than its chunky siblings, the D80 and D300. The D60 boasts 10-megapixel resolution, a bright 2.5-inch LCD, and solid body construction. The kit also includes the Nikkor 18mm-to-55mm AF-S lens (f/3.5-5.6), which provides a respectable 35mm focal length range of 29mm to 88mm.
We easily navigated the menus and changed settings using the camera’s four-way navigation pad; a sensor rotates the display to match the orientation (vertical or horizontal) of the camera. But don’t discard the manual: once you get the knack of navigating quickly to your favourite features, this camera offers plenty of custom controls, and you may need to dig into the manual to learn how to master them.
There are useful help dialogs, accessible through the LCD at the touch of a button. These describe each setting, often displaying a useful thumbnail to illustrate the point.
The Nikon D60 crams in many features, which is both a help and a hindrance. For example, it’s all too easy to obstruct the AF-assist lamp or bump the lens barrel with your fingers. The camera also lacks automatic bracketing functions for exposure or white balance – not a feature you’d use often, but one you’d expect to
see in a £400-plus model.
The D60’s shooting-mode dial is sturdy and its icons are highly readable, though you have to navigate through the menu system to reach some desirable custom options, which slows usage down a bit. Selecting standard scene modes using the dial on top of the camera is easy.
When shooting manually, we had to use the menu to select our ISO, and a dual-function button to change the aperture. The shutter-speed is easily controlled directly via a scroll wheel – unfortunately, the dual-function button is in close proximity to the scroll wheel, which you need to dial concurrently to change aperture. While shooting night skylines, this was cumbersome.
One omission on the D60 is the absence of a Live View mode for previewing and composing shots using the LCD viewfinder. This is surprising, given that many entry-level digital SLRs offer Live View now.