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I wished to buy a DSLR in February for under £500. In addition to the D60 the options available were the Nikon D40/D40X, the Pentax K10, the Sony A200, the Olympus 510 and the Canon EOS 400. The Canon EOS 450 is often touted as the main rival to the Nikon D60 but its RRP is £150 higher than the D60 and therefore a rival to Nikon's mid-range D80 rather than the D60. I had previously tried out the Nikon D40X and the Canon 400 and preferred the former, so I discounted the Canon. I chose the D60 rather than the Pentax, Olympus or Sony because it received such favourable reviews, because it was supplied with a particularly good kit lens, because I had liked the D40X, and because I can always be assured of a wide range of accessories for a Nikon or a Canon. I am aware that manual focus must be used on any Nikon lens that is not AF-S but Nikon have introduced a new range of AF-S lenses for its DSLRs. It is a problem only for those with an existing stock of Nikon lenses, and these people are unlikely to be buying an entry-level DSLR.

The D60 has been criticised for being too similar to the D40X and at first sight this seems true. The body is almost identical, and the tickbox types point out that there is no change in sensor resolution, LCD size, and burst mode (3fps). More importantly it lacks Live View and its autofocus has only three points. The former is not a deal breaker for me and the 3-point autofocus system is found wanting only when taking photos of fast moving objects as in sports. In fact I find the focus system on the D60 to be very good in almost all situations. However, though headline features such as resolution and LCD size remain the same, closer inspection reveals numerous other changes, some taken from Nikon's most advanced cameras. For example, the D60 uses the Expeed image processor introduced in the D300, and also has its Active D-lighting to preserve details in the shadow and highlight areas of high-contrast scenes, that can be used both before and after shooting. There is even a dedicated Active D-lighting button. The usual method of shaking dust off the sensor is reinforced in the D60 by a new Airflow Control system to direct dust away from the sensor. Of course, only time will tell how this dual anti-dust system performs in practice. Another first is the Nikon 18-55mm VR lens. VR stands for Vibration Reduction, the Nikon name for image stabilization. Both Nikon and Canon apply image stabilization to each lens rather than have it in the camera, as do their main rivals, a consideration if one wants to buy several lenses because one will have to pay for image stabilization in every lens. Image stabilization is not vital for a 3x zoom but it is certainly useful to be able to use slow shutter speeds in low light situations. Some DSLR purchasers who do not do their homework are disappointed to find that the standard kit lens for most entry-level DSLRs is a 3x or 4x zoom. Of course, one can buy extra lenses and there is a new Nikon 18-200mm (11x zoom) VR lens now available as well as a reasonably priced 55-200 VR lens. The 18-55 lens (35mm film equivalent 27-82.5) supplied with the D60 is more than adequate for indoor shots, portraits and landscapes. If you want a D60 with a VR lens then take care in comparing suppliers. Many offer it with the cheaper non-VR lens, so look for VR in the kit description. Even more important, if you buy extra zoom lenses get the new VR lenses.

Other new features are less important but can be useful and/or fun, including the power-saving de-activation of the screen when one's eye is placed near the viewfinder, a feature to create an animated mini movie from up to 100 JPEG images, a rangefinder to indicate distance when using manual focus, and an information display that rotates as the orientation of the camera changes.

I have been using the D60 intensively for more than a week and have taken hundreds of photos. Images are sharp and vibrant with relatively little noise even at ISO 1600. The camera's merits relative to a good compact are most clearly seen in low light situations. Although it is fully featured for the serious amateur, albeit lacking exposure bracketing, it is designed to make life easy for those upgrading from compacts. It is small and lightweight (for a DSLR!), very quick and responsive, and is easy to use. The Help function offers lots of useful advice. After shots have been taken there is scope for editing the images in camera, including RAW images where one can even merge two of them into a single image. One of the cameras I own is a "prosumer" Minolta 7Hi. It is feature-rich but has a very steep learning curve. By comparison the D60 is remarkably intuitive and it is relatively easy to get to grips with its advanced features.

In many ways I think the D60 is the ideal camera for those it seeks to target - compact camera owners who are upgrading. The only thing a compact camera user might miss is the ability to use the LCD screen to frame a photo, something the D60 shares with all cameras in the under-£500 class except the Olympus. Live View is particularly useful for macro shots and to take photos over the heads of a crowd, and I always take a compact in my pocket even when I have my D60 with me. Enthusiasts and professionals have always preferred viewfinders, but if you really cannot do without Live View then you should either wait for the next generation of entry-level DSLRs (for I think Live View will become the norm) or pay extra for a camera such as the Canon EOS 450 or the Sony A300/350. However, all the existing DSLR Live View systems have problems and are far from perfect. The other side of the coin is that screens are difficult to use in bright light. I was using both a Panasonic TZ3 compact and the D60 on a recent visit to a wild life reserve. I could barely see the screen on the compact but I had no problems in using the large bright viewfinder on the D60.

For those who take the plunge and buy a DSLR there are several excellent entry-level models available for less than £500. In terms of pure bangs for bucks the Nikon D40 surely cannot be beaten. With the new cashback scheme that started in February it can be bought for less than £250. Amazing value. If one wants more megapixels and bells and whistles there are the Pentax K10, Sony A200 and Olympus E510 plus the D60 - all of which have their merits. I recommend reading the expert reviews of these cameras and if possible try them out. For my part the Pentax and the Sony are larger and heavier than the Nikon, and the Pentax does not offer the helping hand to first-time SLR users that the Nikon does. The Olympus is almost as compact and lightweight as the Nikon, has Live View and has had excellent reviews, but I am not entirely convinced about the 4/3 type sensor. Of course, I do not know which camera is objectively "the best". It is a matter of taste. What I can say is that I am pleased with my D60, enjoy its features and ease of use, and believe it would be difficult to find superior image quality at this price level.

UPDATE on 25/10/2011
A year ago I purchased a Nikon D7000. However, I could not bring myself to sell the D60 because I had become attached to it and still think it is a very good camera. The D60 does not have LiveView (but I never use it on the D7000); the D60 does not have video (not important for many); and the D60 is not as good as the D7000 in low light, albeit no slouch. However, in ordinary light there is relatively little difference between the cameras. Some 3.5 years after I bought the D60 I still use it from time to time and I still believe it to be an excellent camera that is easy to use and takes high quality images.
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on 25 May 2008
For the budget i had i looked at a variety of DSLRs and decided after extensive research to go for this one. The price was about the best i could find and the delivery was also impressively quick. The camera itself lived up to expectation and is already giving me extremely good quality pictures. I haven't used an SLR for about 4 years and was concerned it would take me a while to get used to it again, but the camera is very simple to use and only took a day to really find my way around it. The D60 looks smart and fits well in the hand, the lens it comes with produces excellent pictures and am already looking forward to purchasing new lenses for it.

Overall i wouldn't have changed my decision and am very satisfied with Nikon's D60, a definite must for any one looking to buy a DSLR at this price range.
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on 3 March 2008
You get a lot of camera for the price you pay for the D60. I ve had this camera for about a week and the image quality is superb. I have taken photos in low light conditions as well as outdoors and the camera performs without a hitch. The noise is virtually non-existant and the photos have the perfect combination of bright colours and warm skin tones. One friendly advice is to go only for the D60 kit that comes with the VR(anti-shake) lense. In short the camera performs fast and is easy to use and gets great results from even the most ordinary photographers!
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on 7 September 2008
I bought this as a first step into the SLR/DSLR world and my only regret is that I hadn't bought into it sooner. This camera has all the adjustability I need at this stage and feels well made and very solidly built.

I chose the D60 mainly because the reviews of the kit lenses that are available with the Canon 450D are not very good. I can't afford to spend massive amounts of cash on new lenses straight away and so the Nikon seemed the best bet. The 18-55mm lens seems very good in most situations and the VR is truly useful when shooting in low light.

I used a borrowed Nikon D40 for a safari holiday earlier in the year, so I was already fairly familiar with the (very similar) controls of the D60, but it is only when I have now started using Manual and RAW mode that I have really come to appreciate the amazing potential of this camera. Unfortunately I now find myself wanting f2.8 zoom lenses that will cost a small fortune - I need to start saving my pennies!

As a basic starter kit though, the D60 plus the 18-55 and 55-200 kit lenses, and maybe the affordable 50mm f1.8 prime lense, will allow me to start using the camera to take some amazing photos. I would say the small amount of extra money for this camera over the D40 was worth spending for me, as I do intend to get some photos blown up to a quite large size. The extra size of the images is not much of an issue as memory cards are not really that expensive any more. The D60 does feel a bit quicker than the D40 too.

I agree with a previous reviewer in that I would have liked to see some more focus points, but I don't miss the live view function of the 450D as I won't be working in a studio with the D60.

As is pointed out by several photographers on the internet, it is probably better to spend your money on lenses than the camera body, as these are probably going to have to last you longer and have a much greater effect on the image quality. For me, having seen the excellent photos the D60 can take, I'm inclined to agree with them.
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on 1 August 2008
Nikon D60 AF-S 18-55 DX II VR
Had the camera for just under a month now but absolutely love it, been to the international motor show and the pics have come out amazing. This being my first foray into the D-SLR market I was confused with the choices that there are for first time buyers. But I finally decided upon the D60 mainly due to the ease of use that I found it had when trying it out in a camera store. So after a months use how do I find it? Well to be honest when I first held it I was slightly taken back by how light it, with the lens it feels well balanced and solid in the hand. Another advantage is that it currently comes with a two year warranty if you check the nikon site it will explain all but it gives that added comfort of security.
Taking pictures with it is something different. I've been reading up on how to use the features to the best as I can and I'll be honest using a DSLR is totally different to a normal point and shoot, the amount of features and tweaks are incredible, adjusting a few settings can allow you to change a picture completely.
Been to london zoo and with the standard lens you get very good pics but I am looking to upgrade to a better flash and better lens very soon, one thing about this hobby is probably it'll take up more money than you think when considering lens, filters, flashes, tripods, however that is if you intend to get more serious about it, if you are merely looking for an upgrade for a point and shoot I'd suggest this camera and the 18-200mm VR lens which is probably the only lens that you'll need to buy.
Overall a highly recommended camera I'll update the review once I've had a chance to pick up some more skill and get some better shots.
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on 1 September 2008
I recently bought this camera as a present to myself after umming and arring over a DSLR or a Superzoom, specifically, the Finepix S9600.

speaking as an amateur, I have found the camera to be excellent, so far. The Active D-lighting works great for bringing objects out of shadow. Most pictures I have taken have been excellent, but there is chromatic aboration in some of the shots where building edges meet the sky, for example. Photoshop's NEF (RAW) import has an excellent tool to colour-correct this red/blue leak superbly. I haven't tried any others.

I haven't felt I needed any live-view, so I'm not missing anything from the Canon 450D or similar, though I liked the idea of the pivoting LCD screen on the Finepix S9600 for those shots where you have to get over peoples' heads at concerts! SLR's feel much more natural using the viewfinder than a compact, anyway.

I have found the interface excellent - just starting to know where everything is, and it's very intuitive with the mode dial, selecting shutter speeds, film speeds, etc.

There are a few niggles, though. As mentioned above, the exposure-bracketing is something I'm beginning to miss from my old film SLR. The lack of a shutter-hold is slightly annoying. The camera allows up to 30 sec exposure time, which is substantial, but my old film SLR can be held open forever (best with a cable-release locked down), especially useful for those streaky car-light shots, twirly sparkler name-writing, star rotation timelapse, etc! I am told that the D80 does allow this, however.

I know that I'm going to need, at least, one more lens (70-200/300mm maybe), which puts this camera way above what I originally planned to spend, and REALLY had me flustering at the overall costs. But, with an extended, 3 year guarantee. It works out at £200-£300 a year and, for my hobby, that's a lot cheaper than some of my previous hobbies.

Enjoy it.
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on 16 April 2008
I've had various film SLRs - starting with a Fujica AX5 (remember that? - Canon A1 for the less profligate), Olympus OM1, OM10, also compacts - Leicas - and a rangefinder - Leica M3.

My first digital effort was a Canon bridge camera - I found this whole idea desperately frustrating and a terrible waste of money (not a comment on the Canon - just on the concept of superzoom digital cameras).

The D60 feels like a film SLR - it has taken absolutely zero getting used to. I have taken a couple of hundred pictures since getting it a couple of weeks back, and had these printed. The highest praise I have - and it is meant as high praise - is that this is just like using a film SLR. I feel utterly comfortable with it, and this is brilliant. I bought the non-VR package - I can't see the point of VR (vibration reduction) unless you plan lots of sports photos in low light: such as greyhound racing. Even then, the usual techniques of supporting yourself should be fine - we didn't have all this stuff with film, so why should it be so necessary with digital? I don't want the extra gimmickry. The tech stuff is very instinctive and this camera is easy to get on with for a techno-idiotic old git like me. Get this camera!
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on 18 April 2008
I bought my D60 with the standard 'kit' lens in early April 2008, and since then I have shot around 2000 pictures mainly on holiday, including many interior shots of friends and family using either flash or available light.

So what have I learned? Well as I hoped and expected, the camera is very good indeed. The kit lens is the exact equivalent of the zoom lens I used all the time on my former film SLR, and I find I hard to justify paying for or (worse) carrying around any additional lenses.

Unlike another reviewer, I am also impressed with the camera's VR (vibration reduction) which has given me the ability to shoot good interior pictures in limited available light. Once I discovered how to use the pre-sets for different light sources, I got nicely balanced colours as well. One thing the camera can't fix is movement in the subject, so many of the interior shots have perfectly focussed backgrounds but blury (due to movement) human subjects.

Using it outside in any decent light, the camera produces wonderful pictures, subject to the many limitations of the person behind the lens. I can't even blame the handling of the camera, that's perfect too. In summary, the end results are a significant step-up from my compact camera.

So why I am giving the D60 a measly four stars? There are two missing features that it really should have. The first is red eye reduction, and its absence causes really bad red eye when using flash. If even my £100 mobile phone camera can have red-eye reduction, I don't see why the £400+ D60 shouldn't.

The other missing feature is depth of field preview. On my old film SLR, I found this very useful for portraits, as you can find the combination of shutter speed and apperture that throws a distracting background out of focus.

That said, if I lost this camera, I would in all probability go out and but the same thing again.

Postscript written two months after the original review: I discovered that the D60 does have red-eye reduction after all, I found it when I was looking for fill-in flash. Even though my criticism reservation is not justified, I won't increase the number of stars because it took so long to find the red-eye reduction. Perhaps I'll find the fill-in flas in another two months time... (But I still enjoy using the camera and do not regret buying it in the least.)
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on 1 December 2008
Had a toss up recently between this and the Canon EOS1000D. Bought the D40 for my daughter and its a cracking little camera out of the box. Felt good, solid, great quality.

So in the end I plumped for the Canon, just to have a change. The second I took it out the box my mistake was evident - the difference in quality feel to even the D40 is unbelievable. Plasticy feel, cheep non tactile buttons, poor layout on the rear. I was gutted. Straight back in the box and straight back. tata.

So just got the D60 and again, out the box the quality just feels right. Solid, great feel, buttons just right. The D60 is also a slight step up in feel from the D40 with more metal parts and a great VR lens. I'm sure, in the end, there will be a gnats whisker between the actually pictures between this and the EOS 1000D, but in the end, this is the camera I'd rather have in my hand, any day.

Now, just need to learn how to use it.....
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on 1 April 2009
D Jones of Aylesbury's very thorough review covers most of the bases, but I must add my commendation for this nicely-built, well-featured DSLR from Nikon that I have owned for a few months now.

The Quick Settings menu is a good place to start, as you can use that like a central directory of the logical and intuitive menus available whilst becoming accustomed to the full features of this compact model. Yes, it's similar to others in the D-40 et al range, but lighter than many of the competition - the start up and shutter response is great, and the lens kit version has the option to use the VR feature or not - usually not, as its use is quite clearly recommended for a limited set of circumstances.

I'm a very happy convert after my apprenticeship on Canon and Olympus compacts, not to mention my old 'steam' 35mm SLR, and as an entry-level (plus a bit, I'd say) DSLR, can recommend it to the full five stars.

The ML-L3 remote shutter release is a worthwhile addition if you use a tripod, and with Amazon's 'arrives-before-you-ordered-it' delivery speeds, well OK, remarkably rapid, that's icing on the cake.

Further thoughts: one tip that'll make better photos is to take charge of the camera's settings, even for `snaps'.

Leave the vibration reduction (VR) off and try either shutter or aperture-priority (`S' or `A' on the mode select dial respectively), rather than the fully automatic or programmed modes. The manual focus is fast with the Nikkor lenses, and easy to get wrong initially, but once accustomed to that, the viewfinder on-focus indicator is instinctive and accurate.

Under most circumstances, the sensitivity or ISO - the old film speed rating - can be set to anything from 100 to 600 for outstanding results. Even at the very sensitive ISO 1600 equivalent, it's fairly good in all but the lowest light conditions. Then, even professional level DSLRs would struggle.

To get very lifelike colour, use the white balance correction manually, depending on prevailing conditions. The auto white balance is not one of the D-60's strong points. Left to its own devices will result in indifferent tones to your pictures, and a lot of bleached-out skies or other detail.

If it's sunny, set it to `Direct sunlight'; if it's cloudy, `Overcast', and so on. The effect on the colour and quality is dramatic, and worth the effort. It only takes seconds in the `Quick settings' menu.

The more I use this camera, the more I like it. It's compact and light compared to the competition, and I've had little inclination or need to call on Photoshop since acquiring it!
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