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Color reproduction

Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.

If you pick the 'Nikon D40X' from the 'Compared to' drop-down you will see that the D60 delivers the same color response as its predecessors. The D60 uses the slightly higher saturated color mode IIIa by default, which helps to give a little more appealing landscape blues and greens.

Nikon D60 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
NormalSofterVividMore Vivid
PortraitBlack & WhiteMode Ia sRGBMode II Adobe RGB

Artificial light White Balance

The D60 delivers approximately the same performance as the D40/D40X, pretty poor automatic white balance in incandescent / tungsten light. If you like the 'white should be white' appearance to indoor shots then you'll need to use white balance presets or better still a manual preset from a white or gray card.

Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 11.4%, Blue -14.8%, Poor
Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red -0.3%, Blue 0.5%, Excellent
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red 3.4%, Blue -3.9%, Average
Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red 2.7%, Blue -0.5%, Good

Flash

The D60's overall flash performance was good, well metered and not under or over-powered. Even our white background color wedge chart didn't upset flash metering. There's also no evidence of any white balance or color cast issues.

Built-in flash Built-in flash

Overall Image Quality / Specifics

We were impressed with the D40's output, and the D40X represented a small step forward (thanks to the increased resolution and improved sensor technology). The D60 represents an even smaller step up from the D40X; resolution is identical, noise is a bit less obvious at higher ISO settings (but the overall output is slightly softer), color response almost identical. Once again we found little to complain about.

Putting aside pixel peeping for a moment it's hard not to be impressed by the D60's output, which (even at the default settings) produces exactly the kind of rich, punchy user-friendly JPEGs that the target market (the first time SLR user and compact camera upgrader) is looking for. The color might be a little over saturated for more purist tastes, but they have the option to shoot raw and tailor the output in whatever way they see fit.

Although in a side-by-side comparison you can see that the D60's output at the default settings is very slightly less sharpened and slightly less contrasty than the D40X, it's still far from the conservative, rather flat output we see from Nikon's high end SLRs. This is, after all, a camera designed for a very different type of user.

With almost 100% hit rate on exposure (just the occasional mild underexposure), focus and white balance (in daylight) the D60 is one of a new breed of DSLR that is capable of producing pleasing, print-ready output even in the hands of a total novice and one that offers (if you want it) true point and shoot reliability. The new stabilized kit zoom is an excellent starter lens (see review here) and the package, though lacking some of the bells and whistles of its competitors, makes for a remarkably accessible introduction to the world of SLR photography.

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