f the D60 looks familiar, that’s because it is. It recently replaced the 10-megapixel D40x (web ID: 103789), to simplify the model numbers in the Nikon consumer range to the D40, D60 and D80.
The thing that Nikon isn’t too keen to say is that the D60 is a near-identical camera to the D40x, with the addition of one key feature: sensor-dust removal via a CCD-shaking mechanism.
Unlike other models this month, the ability doesn’t extend to image stabilisation – it’s purely for shaking off dust.
That omission is covered by the second difference in hardware, the addition of optical image stabilisation to the standard 18-55mm kit lens. Other than that, the performance of the lens is essentially the same as the older model.
The D60 also adds a sensor to switch off the LCD screen when you bring the camera to your eye – a small but useful addition. Probably more significant, though, is the addition of Active D-Lighting to the firmware, which simulates an increase in dynamic range. It’s one of the few in-camera processing gimmicks that works. Select the option in the menu and it makes a good job of lifting shadow detail and toning down highlights to avoid them blowing out in bright conditions.
Like the D40, the D60’s strengths lie beyond the basic specs and only really become apparent after some use. Nikon’s 3D Matrix metering system is as close to being perfect as you could hope for; there are few conditions that fool it and that extends to the flash exposure, too.
The body, being identical in basic shape and dimensions to the D40, shares its strengths: it’s compact enough to carry around, but still feels solid in the hands. Like the D40, though, it lacks exposure bracketing and a depth-of-field preview; forgivable in the D40 but harder to overlook in this model. Also like the D40, there are only three autofocus points, compared to the nine of the much cheaper Sony A200.
While the D60 is a good camera, with stiff competition from Sony and its own sibling it’s not in line for an award.