DigitalCameraReview.com
Nikon D60 First Thoughts
by David Rasnake -  3/12/2008

When the Nikon D60 was announced in the build-up to PMA, many were slightly disappointed that Nikon's head-on response to the latest entry-level offerings from other manufacturers didn't do more to move beyond the specs and performance of its predecessor, the D40x.

Nikon D60
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Perhaps wisely, Nikon didn't try to disguise the fact that the D60 is, in large-level terms, mostly a D40x with some fairly minor updates (which was itself almost identical to the D40). To those familiar with Nikon's previous entry-level models, the look and feel is little short of identical in the latest offering. In terms of tech improvements, the D60 didn't even offer the seemingly ubiquitous resolution bump that comes with almost every new model these days.

In some ways, this decision opens Nikon up to criticism that it's falling behind the pack, but after shooting with the D60 for a day, it feels as relevant and high-function as ever – a testament to the longevity of the basic concepts, stylistic and functional, introduced in the D40. Moreover, consistent performance from the D60's familiar 10.2 megapixel sensor and well-tuned image processing impart images that are crisp, with nice detail and rich color.

Nikon D60
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Nikon D60
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Like its predecessors, the D60 really is quite tiny for a DSLR, even with the larger-than-average 18-55mm VR lens mounted. Though I like its overall compactness – which compares favorably with some of the more compact cameras we're familiar with (Pentax *ist DL, Olympus E-410, etc.) – I maintain that I'm sad to lose the smaller top-mounted status LCDs, even to reduce overall camera size.

Like many smaller DSLRs and both previous entry-level Nikons in this line, the D60 has no simple black-and-white status LCD, displaying detailed exposure information on its color screent instead. To this end, Nikon has added auto info rotation and an "eye sensor" that shuts off the LCD when you put your eye to the viewfinder. While these concepts are good in principle, some slightly skittish behavior (screen cycling quickly on and off) during our initial hands-on puts me on edge. Obviously, we'll need more testing to see if these issues prove to be more than a one-time fluke.

Minor complaints and questions aside, the D60 is everything we've liked about previous models: solid build quality, compact size, consistent performance, and good kit optics made even better with the availability of the D60 in kit form with the 18-55mm VR lens. Whether this formula, which has worked so well in the past, does enough to keep Nikon competitive for yet another round in this contest waits to be seen.

Nikon D60
(view large image)
Nikon D60
(view large image)
Nikon D60
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Nikon D60
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Check back in the next few weeks for our complete review of the D60.