A Viewfinder Darkly

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Nikon D60 Compact Easy to Use Digital SLR

February 2 2008

by Phil Northeast

Nikon D60 is an  update of their smallest ever DSLR, the D40 model, aimed at enticing photographers into the world of digital SLR photography.

Front View

Nikon D60 Front View

Nikon’s compact design for their new entry level DSLR model does not mean a compromise on picture quality. The new D60 features a 10.2 megapixel digital sensor and can use any of Nikon’s extensive range of lenses for their DSLRs, including their pro level glass.

“The Nikon D60 makes stepping up to digital SLR photography easy for anyone, but is also a wonderful choice for photo enthusiasts looking for remarkable performance in a compact package,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon, Inc.  “This model, like the wildly popular Nikon D40, greatly simplifies use and builds confidence in the user.”

Really the D60 is not that much different from the D40x. However, the x version is a very different camera to the similarly named 6 megapixel D40, so the new name does help announce that the old D40 is gone, and there is a much improved successor in the D60.

rear view

Nikon D60 rear view

The D60 continues Nikon’s move to ultrasonic lens mounted motors only for autofocus, as the camera body does not have an inbuilt autofocus motor. This helps save weight and space, at the price of losing the autofocus capability of older lenses. This is a marketing decision where Nikon went with the option of a smaller and cheaper camera body based on the premise that first time DSLR buyers do not have an existing collection of lenses.

Much of the Nikons announcement is aimed at point and shoot camera owners. “Users will immediately appreciate the D60’s fast 0.18-second start-up time and split-second shutter response, which combine to eliminate the frustration of shooting lag – a common issue with many point-and-shoot digital cameras,” said a Nikon representative. These are not features new to the D60; rather they are typical of a Nikon DSLR’s performance.

top view

Nikon D60 top view

The main new feature of the D60 is a dust cleaning function. As well as offering an Image Sensor Cleaning function to shake off specks of dust, the camera design uses airflow from the shutter movement in their Airflow Control System to channel particles away from the sensor with every click of the shutter.

The main new items released are external devices rather than new features in the camera itself. In a reply to the number of DSLRs with shake reduction built into the camera body, Nikon now have added this feature to their kit lens, the DX 18-55mm, so new users will be able to start out with Nikon Vibration Reduction in their first lens.

wireless card

eyefi wireless sd card

The other feature highlighted by Nikon is the D60 support of the Eye-Fi memory card for convenient wireless transfer of images from the D60 to a computer using Eye-Fi memory cards. The Eye-Fi software can also process the images and post them on the user’s choice of picture sharing internet site. The Eye-Fi system is based on a standard 2GB SD card and works on most digital cameras using SD memory cards, not just Nikons. The Eye-Fi cards were considered by Nikon when they designed the D60 so activity monitoring power saving functions should recognise a data transfer is taking place.

The D60 clears up some model naming issues for Nikon and gives them a “new” camera to promote, while not really offering anything new. If you own a D40x then it is not an upgrade in moving to a D60, there are other Nikon models offering a genuine improvement in capabilities for the more advanced photographer. For those looking at their first DSLR the D40x is an excellent camera comparable to other entry-level models in the market place. The D60 loses nothing in the name change and is still a serious contender and an excellent digital camera.

originally published by suite101.com


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