Nikon D60 Review

Nikon D60 Review: Nikon D60 continues the tradition of the D40x – Advanced entry-level DSLR

Nikon wants to continue to gain market share in the entry-level segment and is focusing on very compact SLR cameras that are easy to operate at an affordable price. However, there are also functional limitations such as a missing autofocus motor in the housing – so only lenses with a built-in focus motor will work. The latest Nikon in this segment is quite simply built: Take a D40x, add a few gimmicks to the firmware, add an eye sensor and an airflow control system, and you have the Nikon D60. This means that Nikon is focusing more on minimal evolution than revolution. Perhaps this is a sign of the market success of the D40x.

Brief assessment


  • Generally good to very good image quality
  • Very precise exposure metering
  • Practically no frame rate limit in JPEG continuous mode
  • Extremely high range of settings and functions (for an entry-level DSLR)


  • Built-in flash unit cannot be used as control flash for wireless flash operation
  • Relatively small 2.5″ screen
  • No iris button, mirror lock-up and bracketing
  • Autofocus with only three measuring points works only with motor integrated in the lens

Nikon recently closed the past fiscal year with a 40 per cent increase in net profit and is now only just behind Canon in terms of digital SLR camera sales (market share of 40 vs. 42 per cent). The D60 is still too new to have contributed to this, but what it is like in the sum of its positive and negative features is what we wanted to find out in this test.

The EOS D60 might not come as a surprise to some. Rumours of a potential successor to the D30 have been circulating for a long time, and the indiscretion of an Illinois photo dealer, where the D60 appeared in the online catalogue somewhat prematurely, provided certainty. As expected, the new digital SLR system camera EOS D60 is based on the predecessor model EOS D30, but comes – apart from numerous detail improvements – with a more than doubled resolution. For example, the CMOS sensor of the D60 delivers image files with a resolution of 3,072 x 2,048 pixels. For comparison: the D30 has a maximum resolution of 2,160 x 1,440 pixels.


It’s interesting to note that the D60 can still save images in RAW raw format, but recently a JPEG-compressed version of the full-size image is “encapsulated” in the corresponding CRW file. Among other things, this saves time and money for rabid reporters (who, as is well known, are always in a hurry). Storage is still on CompactFlash removable memory cards of type I and II (incl. Microdrive). Even though the D60 has a lot in common with its predecessor, the D30, Canon has optimized it in several places. The standby time has been shortened, as have the shutter release delay and the autofocus response time (still with three fields). The frame rate (8 frames in a row at 3 frames per second) is maintained despite higher resolution. Apart from that, the D60 takes you into familiar territory: As with the D30, there are 11 exposure programs, a matrix or multi-field metering over 35 fields, seven different white balance settings, an internal flash and 15 custom functions with 38 settings. The EOS D60 remains compatible with the entire Canon EF lens range, with a focal length extension factor of 1.6, Canon Speedlite EX flash units (with support for E-TTL and all flash special functions) and D30 accessories such as the BG-ED3 battery handle.

When developing the D60, the focus was less on technical innovations and more on user-friendliness. The menus have become clearer, and the information display on the rear 2.5-inch, 230,000-dot resolution screen has been improved. A symbol shows how far the aperture has been closed. Those who like to individualize the camera can save their own photo as background for the information screen. New is the automatic rotation of the information display according to the camera orientation – portrait or landscape. The automatic shutdown of the monitor when approaching the viewfinder is also new and not only helps to save power, but is also very practical – if you move away from the viewfinder, the screen also turns on again automatically.

The image processing options in the camera have also been expanded, so you can now find an asterisk filter among the filter effects, which Nikon proudly advertises. Thus, highlights in the image are optionally given more or less strong stars with a selectable number of beams – almost as if a star filter had been screwed in front of the lens. Interesting is also the D-Lighting known from the D40x, which provides automatic shadow brightening, so that comfortable natures can save themselves from having to do such editing on the computer. Fans of stop-motion animation will also get their money’s worth as the camera supports this with one of the special creative functions.



Otherwise the equipment of the camera is well tried and tested. The 10.2 megapixel CCD image sensor in APS-C size achieves a sensitivity of ISO 100-1,600 or 3,200 in “Hi 1” mode. The autofocus has only three sensors. In terms of autofocus, the D60 as well as the D40 and D40x have a special feature: There is no more autofocus motor in the camera. In plain language, this means a limited choice of lenses, since the autofocus motor must be located in the lens. This does not only concern some Nikon lenses but specially also some foreign manufacturers. Tokina lenses can only be focused manually at the moment, while Tamron and Sigma are slowly changing their range of lenses with Nikon mount to lenses with built-in motors. The camera’s internal image processing is handled by the powerful Expeed image processing engine, which also ensures that the camera can capture up to 100 consecutive images at three frames per second in JPEG.

Nikon wants to have improved the dust protection system. In addition to the vibrating and thus dust-shaking sensor, a completely new airflow control system has been integrated. The air turbulence caused by the mirror impact should be kept away from the sensitive CCD sensor so that dust cannot be deposited here at all. You can recognize this system by some air inlet holes behind the bayonet on the bottom of the camera inside. The compact (94 x 126 x 64 mm W x H x D) and 495 g lightweight camera will be available in various kits from the end of February. Without lens it should cost about 640 EUR, but with the 18-55mm standard lens it should cost 700 EUR. Since Nikon does not offer a CCD shift image stabilizer, there are also stabilized kit lenses (VR): With the 18-55 mm VR the D60 costs about 760 EUR, if you add the 55-200 mm VR, you end up with 970 EUR.

Ergonomics and Workmanship

Of all the entry-level DSLRs recently tested by us, the Nikon D60 makes the highest quality and most solid impression both optically and tactile. Of course there are a few places on it where the ubiquitous plastic feels a bit “thin-skinned”, but otherwise the D60 doesn’t look like “cheap” because of the plastic. At heavily loaded places like the lens mount, the hot shoe and the tripod thread, everything is made of metal. With quite compact dimensions of 126 x 94 x 64 mm, the DSLR mini weighs about 542 grams without lens (but with battery and memory card) and about 806 grams with mounted set lens AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G DX VR.

There is nothing at all to criticize about the ergonomics. The handle with its textured/grained surface not only makes it look like leather, but also prevents the camera from slipping off when your hands are wet with sweat. In general, the D60 sits comfortably and firmly in the hand; however, an optional battery/portrait handle for comfortable portrait shooting is not available as an original accessory. Typical for a beginner’s camera, the small Nikon lacks a second dial for the separate but simultaneous setting of shutter speed and aperture. Fortunately, the 18 control elements in total (11 function keys, 1 program selector wheel, 1 ring-shaped on/off switch, 1 release button, 1 adjustment wheel, 1 lens release button, 1 slide control for the diopter adjustment and 1 navigation field/control panel) are placed in a way that one can get to them without having to stretch one’s fingers and that the camera cannot be accidentally adjusted. However, the D60 also owes this to the fact that most of the settings are not made at the touch of a button, but on the screen. This operating concept is familiar from other cameras (including the Olympus Dual Control Panel or Sony Quick-Navi) and allows the values and pictograms shown on the relatively small 2.5″ display to be controlled using the corresponding segments of the control keypad. After only a short training period, this can be done relatively fast and intuitively, whereby picture examples and help texts/function explanations that can be faded in save the bloody beginner from having to look up many a look-up in the camera manual.

Conveniently, the screen display switches to portrait when the camera is held upright and is turned off to save energy when looking in the viewfinder. However, the eye sensor for switching the screen on and off does not work “foolproof” and also switches the screen on and off when the camera is dangling from the shoulder strap when it is switched on. Many a D60 owner will probably take more radical measures and deactivate the eye sensor in the camera menu completely. The menu itself is nicely arranged in several main categories according to the example of other Nikon DSLRs (in case of the D60: playback functions, shooting functions, individual functions, basic adjustments and image processing functions). The entire menu comprises 60 menu items and allows almost 200 (!) different settings. This makes the D60 extraordinarily rich in functions and settings for an inexpensive entry-level model. In order not to lose the overview, you can also call up small explanations for the individual menu items at the push of a button. Functions and settings that are not required can be hidden if necessary, or individual menus can be put together; if you have adjusted the camera and are at a loss for what to do, a simple key combination can be used to restore the D60 to its factory settings in no time at all.

In the absence of LiveView, the camera screen serves only as a status display, playback screen and menu display. For its small size (2.5″ or 6.3 cm) the TFT monitor is of decent quality with good brilliance, high detail sharpness (at a resolution of 230,000 pixels) and excellent viewing angle independence. However, you have to look through the viewfinder to see the subject. It is pleasantly bright and color-neutral, reasonably comfortable even for eyeglass wearers, and also fine enough for precise manual focusing. The latter is supported by the electronic focusing aid. If the corresponding function is activated in the camera menu, the exposure balance in the lower LCD bar of the viewfinder is used to indicate the direction in which the focusing ring on the lens must be turned to achieve optimum focus. It is not possible to insert a grid as with the D80 or to change the viewfinder screen as with the D3. Nikon specifies an image field coverage of 95 percent, a 0.8x viewfinder image magnification and an eye relief of 18 millimeters for the viewfinder; the diopter correction ranges from -1.7 to +0.5 diopters. A built-in eyepiece shutter is not available.

A depth of field control is not possible with the D60, as it lacks a depth-of-field button. Unfortunately, there is also no possibility to assign a corresponding function to the self-timer or function button on the camera side, which is otherwise partly newly assignable. In times of electronic aperture control this should actually not be a problem. The mains input and the remote release connection have also fallen victim to the pressure to save money. If you want to power the D60 from the mains, you have to exchange the (lithium-ion) battery for a battery dummy with cable extension, which is part of the optionally available mains adapter EH-5a, and if you want to trigger it remotely, you can do this exclusively wirelessly with the infrared remote trigger ML-L3. Connections are available on the D60 in the form of a composite video output (via standard jack plug socket) and the PictBridge compatible USB 2.0 high-speed interface (via standard 5-pin mini-B connector). Both outputs are located on the left side of the camera behind a plastic cover, while the slot for SD/SDHC memory cards is located on the opposite side behind a hinged flap. Due to the separation of the battery compartment and the card insertion, the power supply and the removable storage can be removed and inserted again separately; the battery compartment is also far enough from the optical axis and/or from the tripod thread located there that also bigger quick-release plates do not block their access.


One of the special new features of the D60 is the so-called “Air Flow System”. This is a kind of air duct that is supposed to remove those dust particles that mainly enter the mirror box of the camera when changing the lens and are then whirled up again and again with every mirror stroke. The whirled-up dust particles can then penetrate to the sensor surface when the mirror is folded up and the shutter is open. The D60 is now designed in such a way that the air vortex caused by the mirror impact is directed forward, i.e. away from the image sensor. There, between the lens mount and the mirror box, there is a perforated screen-like inlet in the camera base, which leads to the actual air duct system. As the air channel narrows at one point and then widens again, the air pressure decreases and increases again, creating a certain suction. This effect is known in physics as the Venturi effect and should help to “suck in” the whirled-up air with all its dust particles and discharge it.

If dust nevertheless gets up to the image sensor, it must first of all manage to stick to its antistatically coated surface. Very stubborn dust is then caused to fall off each time the camera is switched on and off by applying a wave-shaped pulse to the optical low-pass filter of the sensor (which forms its surface). This method is a little different from the “dust shaker” of Sony, Pentax and Samsung DSLRs, where the movably suspended sensor is moved up and down quickly. Instead of “shaking” the sensor, Nikon makes the low-pass filter oscillate, so to speak. According to the latest ColorFoto test (issue 6/2008), the Nikon system works better than the dust protection systems of the above-mentioned competitors – but not quite as well as Canon’s Integrated Cleaning System, which in turn is surpassed by Olympus’ Super-Sonic Wave Filter. With no system there is no way around cleaning the sensor manually with suitable “cleaning tools” (sensor swabs or similar), but the Nikon system should at least get rid of the coarser dust particles. With the reference image function, dark areas in the image caused by the dust can also be calculated out of the images afterwards.


Similar to Canon, Nikon relies on lens-side image stabilization, but also wants to protect the newcomer (who does not yet own a VR lens) against camera shake. Thus, Nikon delivers the D60 in a set with the optically stabilized AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G DX VR. But while the set lens of the Canon EOS 450D does without an ultrasonic drive due to economy constraints, the AF-S in the product name of the small (Ø 73 x 79.5 mm) and light (265 g) Nikkor indicates a so-called silent wave motor.

The stabilized version has in common with its predecessors AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G ED DX I and II the “lightweight construction” with lots of plastic and the absence of an aperture ring (typical for the G-series). When taking the lens off, one notices that even the bayonet is made of plastic, but at least one does not have to worry about the fact that with a frequent change of the lens, the bayonet will wear out due to abrasion sometime. In any case, there have been no customer or reader complaints from this site so far. Due to the low weight of the lens, the bayonet will not break under the weight of the lens; there is much more reason to worry that the bayonet will break if the camera gets acquainted with gravity in a “moment of inattention” and hits the hard ground.

The optical image stabilizer unit (which compensates for camera shake by moving the lens in opposite directions, and conveniently also stabilizes the viewfinder image) of the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G ED VR is so well integrated that its presence is only noticeable by the VR logo and the VR (On/Off) switch on the lens barrel. The set lens does not have a distance scale, but it does have a nice wide and handy zoom ring. Like Canon with the EOS 450D, Nikon has also saved the sun visor for the set lens on the D60. You have to buy the HB-45 aperture separately, and if you mount it on the lens, you won’t get a good grip on the narrow focusing ring at the front of the extended inner tube of the lens – after the same observation with the Sony and Canon set lenses in our last tests, this seems to be a cross-manufacturer bad habit. The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G ED VR covers a focal length range from nominal 18 to 55mm. Converted to 35mm, the 18mm position (WW) on the lens corresponds to a focal length of 27mm and the 55mm position (Tele) to a focal length of 82.5mm. The so-called focal length extension factor is thus 1.5; as a DX lens with a smaller image circle or lens diameter, it should not be mounted on a “full format” FX camera like the D3, by the way. Easier to remember is the fact that with the set lens of the D60, you capture approximately the same image detail as with the 28-80mm zooms that came with many SLR cameras in the set in the days of 35mm film.

The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G ED VR has the correct speed from F3.5 to F5.6 in common with DSLR set lenses from other manufacturers. Thanks to the ultrasonic drive or AF-S, the focusing noise is barely audible; here is the “Silent” from the Silent Wave designation, and one enjoys not only pronounced discretion but also a brisk focusing speed. However, the D60 can only reliably focus on subjects that are in the center of the frame or slightly off-center. This is because the MultiCAM-530 AF module still only provides three AF points (left, center, right), and when shooting in portrait mode and/or with the main subject at the edge of the frame, it may not be captured. In return, the automatic focusing works even in extremely low light to almost complete darkness (EV -1 at ISO 100) – a traditional strength of Nikon’s autofocus systems, which comes into its own when the not really discrete bright white AF auxiliary light of the D60 is switched off in the camera menu. In most cases, the automatic focusing will still work quickly and precisely.

However, it should also be noted that the D60 (like its predecessors D40X and D40) does not offer the autofocus function with all original Nikkor or Nikon compatible lenses. These must already have their own AF motor, and Nikon and the third-party manufacturers (mainly Sigma, Tamron and Tokina) are changing their lens range accordingly, but the continued use of older AF lenses is only possible to a very limited extent, i.e. without autofocus. This means that special care must be taken, especially when buying used lenses, and if you don’t want to be condemned to adjust the focus or distance by hand, you should find out whether the lens is fully compatible with the D60 or – even better – check the autofocus function with the lens on the camera before buying.

Image quality

Nothing new on the resolution front: like the D40x, the D60 is equipped with a 10.2 megapixel CCD. Certainly, some digital SLR cameras meanwhile offer higher resolutions, but this rather in the price/equipment class of the Nikon D80. You can also be curious to see what else you can get out of the good old 10.2 megapixel sensor with a new image processor (Expeed) and a new set lens (AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G ED VR)

And indeed, the camera/lens combination cuts a good to very good figure. While it is true that you can achieve even better image quality with a more individual lens choice than with the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G ED VR and that you can’t really use the set lens at the wide-angle end because of the pronounced vignetting at the 18mm position and barrel distortion with higher demands on image quality, the values are not worse than with the competition. Quite the opposite, in fact. Faded down, the lens only vignettes visibly in the wide-angle position (the vignetting is further emphasized by the abrupt light fall-off); the distortion cannot be removed by fading down, but it is only in the wide-angle position too strong for some tastes. Fading also helps to give the – otherwise very even and high resolution – a little “kick”, whereby from F11 on first diffraction effects occur. In the medium focal length position, the set lens resolves quite high, even at open aperture. The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm/3.5-5.6G ED VR is occasionally reported to have strong chromatic aberration at the wide-angle end.

Considering the time Nikon has been using the tried and tested 10.2 megapixel CCD, it’s pretty much under control, and the D60’s high-speed processor does the rest. The noise behaviour is very good at ISO 100, 200 and 800 and even excellent at ISO 400. Up to ISO 800, only brightness noise is visible; at ISO 1,600, the first color noise appears, and only at ISO 3,200 does the image quality generally decrease noticeably. The noise reduction has little destructive effect on the fine image details. In general, the D60 is non-aggressive in terms of image processing. It uses a rather thin optical low-pass filter, which sometimes leads to slight chromatic artifacts and slight brightness moirés. Except for slight brightness moirés at various points, it produces relatively few artifacts, i.e. image distortions, which allows very accurate reproduction of details and good post-processing of the images. In addition, it only sharpens parts of the image of medium brightness, which increases the impression of sharpness, but without causing overdrive effects or so-called clipping in the light/dark regions. The input dynamics are excellent with 8.9 f-stops at ISO 100 and the tonal reproduction is almost perfectly linear. The image compression on its part is a little too high at the highest quality level (Fine) and much too high at the lowest quality level (Basic). Only in the default setting (Normal) is the compression well adjusted.

The D60 produces colourful images with sometimes too “gaudy” colours due to the increased colour saturation. If only the automatic white balance were as precise as the exposure metering, there would be no red-orange cast under incandescent light. But that seems to be a problem for just about all digital SLR cameras – across all classes and brands. But while several manufacturers do not manage to get rid of the typical red-orange cast even in the white balance preset for such light, the results look flawless with the D60. Selectable color spaces (Adobe RGB, portrait sRGB, landscape sRGB), a hue correction setting, adjustable and ready-to-use image parameter sets, the already mentioned D-Lighting and other functions or settings allow to refine the image result. Provided the optimum settings have been found, the D60 will deliver images to suit the individual taste of its owner.


Due to its limited compatibility with a still large number of Nikon lenses (Nikkor and third-party products), the D60 is more for system newcomers than for long-time Nikon photographers. In order to discover digital (SLR) photography, it is a good tool or learning instrument without significant weaknesses – but also with minimal equipment. Their most direct competitors, apart from discontinued models and used cameras, are currently the Sony Alpha 200, the Olympus E-420 and the Pentax K200D, which also cost less than 600 EUR with a set lens. The strengths of the D60 in comparison to its three rivals are the slightly better image quality (more homogeneous image coordination, in some cases better lens performance and above all the exposure precision for shots with and without flash) and the extremely high range of functions and settings. If the Sony and Pentax don’t have a LiveView (only offered by the Olympus E-420), they at least have the larger screens and considerably more AF fields.

Brief assessment


  • Generally good to very good image quality
  • Very precise exposure metering
  • Practically no frame rate limit in JPEG continuous mode
  • Extremely high range of settings and functions (for an entry-level DSLR)


  • Built-in flash unit cannot be used as control flash for wireless flash operation
  • Relatively small 2.5″ screen
  • No iris button, mirror lock-up and bracketing
  • Autofocus with only three measuring points works only with motor integrated in the lens

Nikon D60 data sheet


Sensor CCD sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)10.8 megapixels (physical) and 10.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 6,0 µm
Photo resolution
3.872 x 2.592 pixels (3:2)
2.896 x 1.944 pixels (3:2)
1.936 x 1.296 pixels (3:2)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard


Lens mount
Nikon F


Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 3 sensors
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and monitor

SLR viewfinder Mirror reflex viewfinder (prism viewfinder) (95 % image coverage), 18 mm interpupillary distance, dioptre compensation (-1.7 to +0.5 dpt), replaceable focusing screens, grids can be inserted
Monitor 2.5″ TFT LCD monitor with 230,000 pixels


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 420 fields, spot measurement (measurement over 3 % of the image field)
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (Automatic
) Bulb function
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure Compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 1,600 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (manual)
Remote access Remote triggering
Scene modes Various subject programs, or scene modes: children, landscape, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sports/action, and full auto.
Picture effects Blue tint, skylight, star filter effect, warm tint
White balance Auto, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Manual
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 3.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 100 stored photos
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 or 20 s interval
Recording functions Live histogram


Flash built-in flash (flip up
)Flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
Flash code Guide number 12 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, flash on second shutter curtain, red-eye reduction


Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL9 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 1,100 mAh
)520 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Red eye retouching, image index, reduction
Image parameters Contrast, color saturation, noise reduction
Connections Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High Speed
AV Connections AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous Image sensor cleaning functionEye sensor
to turn off the monitorStop
MotionFilm sequence control system
for airflow to prevent dust depositAutomatic
AF area groupingAF measurement area
:LW -1 to LW 19AF data loggerSpot meteringcan be linked to the active AF target areaExposure meter memoryPlayback zoomHighlighted

image orientationReal-time noise reductionFAT

16/32 supportSharpness drawingImage contrastImage brightnessColor saturationColor balanceSimultaneous

recording of JPEG and RAW/NEF image files possible17
Individual functionsManual
text inputColor space setting

AdobeRGB-IIa, sRGB-IIIa)
D-Lighting technology for in-camera adjustment between bright and dark areas of the imageImage Montage functionImage parameter presetsDate Imaging

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 126 x 94 x 64 mm
Weight 475 g (ready for operation)


standard accessory Nikon DK-16 (Eyecup
)Nikon MH-23 Charger for special batteriesNikon
UC-E4 USB cableEN-EL-9
(Li-Ion) batteryUSB connection cableRiser strapShoulder strapCamera softwareNikon Picture Project
additional accessories Fujifilm Video Cable Video Head Nikon
CF-DC1 Case Nikon
EG-D100 Video Head Nikon
EN-EL9 Special Battery Nikon
MH-23 Charger for special rechargeable batteries Removable Memory Card PC Card Adapter(for Notebook)
AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G ED II DX (in set composition)
SB-800/600/400 System flash unitsML-L3
Infrared remote controlNikon system accessories
(flash units, lenses, etc.)


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