The Nikon D60 is a great choice you don't need a high-end digital SLR but you're keen to trade up from a compact camera phone and capture more professional-looking photographs without starting a run on a bank.

Nikon's newest budget digital SLR replaces the barely-a-year-old Nikon D40x, also a 10Mp model, slotting in between the entry-level Nikon D40 and the enthusiast targeted Nikon D80 in its range.

The Nikon D60 addresses, in part, its predecessors' omissions. The former lack of any type of mechanism to prevent dust intruding when swapping lenses has been corrected with a unique airflow system that channels dirt away from the sensor – the bit that, like a frame of film, collects light – and then vibrates it free of any undesirables that do settle.

Nikon's rivals and its own pricier models have long had their variants, but the Nikon D60 is the first time the company has included said feature in a 'starter' dSLR.

In common with Canon, Nikon hasn't to date included any mechanical form of image stabilisation to prevent blurred images resulting from hand wobble when shooting at maximum zoom or in low light without flash. Nikon prefers you to invest in a stabilised lens instead – it has one of the biggest accessory ranges on the market – and that's the case with the Nikon D60, although it has for the first time introduced a kit option that includes a Vibration Reduction (VR) zoom for just £30 more than the standard 18-55mm lens.

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The Nikon D60 is a great choice you don't need a high-end digital SLR but you're keen to trade up from a compact camera phone and capture more professional-looking photographs without starting a run on a bank.

Although little else has changed from the Nikon D40x at first glance – the Nikon D60 is small, lightweight yet ruggedly formed – this time around the info panel on the rear LCD flips 90 degrees as you turn the camera on its side, while a new eye sensor registers when you have your eye to the viewfinder, turning off the screen.

Although these are minor tweaks, a new faster sensor is a welcome addition, as are – given its beginner target market – in-camera editing features brought more to the fore.

Active D-lighting delivers even exposures by making sure background detail is preserved along with foreground subjects, images can be retouched and RAW files 'processed' without recourse to specialist knowledge or software. While shots are colourful and crisp from front to back, noise (multicoloured dots, similar to film grain) is surprisingly well avoided, even at the Nikon D60's higher ISO (light sensitivity) settings.

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Nikon D60: Specs

  • 10.2Mp resolution
  • Nikon F lens mount
  • 2.5in LCD with graphical user interface
  • JPEG and RAW image capture formats
  • ISO 100-1600 (ISO3200 equivalent selectable in Hi1 mode)
  • internal card slot for SD or SDHC memory cards
  • Image Sensor Cleaning System and Airflow Control System
  • rechargeable lithium ion batter pack
  • bundled Nikon software suite
  • 126x94x64mm
  • 495g (body only)
  • 10.2Mp resolution
  • Nikon F lens mount
  • 2.5in LCD with graphical user interface
  • JPEG and RAW image capture formats
  • ISO 100-1600 (ISO3200 equivalent selectable in Hi1 mode)
  • internal card slot for SD or SDHC memory cards
  • Image Sensor Cleaning System and Airflow Control System
  • rechargeable lithium ion batter pack
  • bundled Nikon software suite
  • 126x94x64mm
  • 495g (body only)

OUR VERDICT

All that's missing in the Nikon D60 is Live View, an increasingly common function on DSLRs whereby the rear LCD can be used to compose and check images; useful if you're shooting flush to the floor, whereupon it's impossible to get your eye level with the viewfinder. Plus you need to opt for the most expensive Nikon D60 kit to get image stabilisation. Still, if you're replacing an existing camera with your first digital SLR, the Nikon D60 represents a very user friendly, good value option.

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