This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).
Canon EOS 450D vs. Nikon D60
Canon EOS 450D: Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer (with MLU)
Nikon D60: Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters, Self-Timer
Canon EOS 450D
3.7MB JPEG (4272 x 2848)
4,236 KB JPEG (3872 x 2592)
We've come to expect slightly softer images from Nikon - especially compared to Canon's slightly 'punchier' default JPEG settings, but there's no doubt that the EOS 450D is capturing marginally more detail across the frame, something no amount of sharpening is going to change. That said, we're not talking about the kind of difference that you'll see at normal enlargement sizes. As noted in the D60 review its default colors are a little more vivid than the Canon's, though of course both cameras offer lots of control over image parameters.
Overall the EOS 450D's output is pretty impressive; it's not a great leap forward from the EOS 400D (Rebel XTi), and unsurprisingly the extra 2MP don't seem to make a lot of difference, but there's little to complain about here.