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Compared to...

Things are getting very competitive at the 'entry level' of the DLSR market, and it's fair to say that any of the cameras at this level offer an incredible amount for what a few years ago would have bought you a 5MP compact, and none is going to be 'disappointing'.

From a spec point of view, on paper the D60 stacks up well, and, like the D40X before it, on the positive side its speed and responsiveness belies its 'entry level' billing. It has the same great customizable auto ISO feature which we loved from the D80 (essentially 'ISO priority'), excellent metering (including spot) and other features such as embedded user comment and retouching. On the downside is the fact that you can't auto focus with just 'any' Nikon F mount lens, it has to be an AF-S or AF-I (with a built-in motor), that if you shoot RAW+JPEG (which I tend to) you'll end up with a Basic quality JPEG and that there's no mirror lock-up feature. Compared to the cameras below the D60, despite very keen pricing, looks quite pricey, though it's important to remember that both the Canon and the Olympus are approaching the end of their life, and both have seen some very aggressive price cutting in recent months (especially the E-410, which is now an absolute bargain). As noted below the EOS 400D and E-410 have both now been superceded, and you can expect pricing to be a lot closer when then arrive on the shelves.

Recent announcements from Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax leave the D60 looking slightly underpowered, as many competitors now offer either live view, in-body IS or both (though the latter is less of an issue given the new 'VR' kit lens). But it does offer a very compact lightweight body with some unique features, proven performance and excellent handling.

Important note: updates to the Canon EOS 400D and Olympus E-410 have recently been announced (to the EOS 450D and E-420 respectively), though neither camera is currently available. Both EOS 450D and Olympus E-420 feature live view (with contrast detect 'real time' sensor based autofocus) and the EOS 450D features a boosted resolution (12MP) and spot metering.

Nikon D60 advantages

  • Very short 'viewfinder blackout time' at shutter release
  • Image stabilized kit lens
  • Comfortable ergonomics (hand grip)
  • User definable Auto ISO (minimum shutter speed, maximum ISO)
  • Sensitivity up to ISO 3200 (HI-1)
  • Spot metering (vs. EOS 400D)
  • Excellent Nikon 3D Color Matrix Metering II
  • Dedicated Auto Focus assist lamp
  • User comment can be set in-camera
  • Instant 'power on'
  • Extensive In-camera retouching and raw conversion features (vs. EOS 400D)
  • Good USB 2.0 performance
 
Nikon D60

Canon EOS 400D

Olympus E-410
Price
(body only)
US: $629 [check price] US: $530 [check price] US: $399 [check price]
Price (kit) US $740 (VR lens)
US $699 (non VR lens)
US $730 (IS lens)
US $600 (non IS lens)
US $400 (non IS)
IS lens not available (E-510 kit around $570)
Body material Plastic Plastic Plastic
Sensor • 23.7 x 15.6 mm CCD (DX)
• 10 million pixels
• 22.2 x 14.8 mm CMOS
• 10 million pixels
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm LiveMOS
• 10 million pixels
Dust reduction • Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
• Supersonic Wave Filter
Native image size 3872 x 2592
(3:2 ratio)
3888 x 2592
(3:2 ratio)
3648 x 2736
(4:3 ratio)
Lens support • Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only AF-S or AF-I lenses
• Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
• Olympus and third party 4/3
• 4/3 standard lens mount
FOV crop 1.5x 1.6x 2.0x
Body shake reduction No No No
Live view No No Yes, TTL using LiveMOS sensor
File formats • RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (3 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG Basic RAW + JPEG Fine RAW + JPEG (any quality)
Auto focus • 3 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• 9 area TTL
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• 3 area TTL
• Range: 0 to +19 EV
AF illuminator Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 35 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 49 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• Digital ESP
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
Exp. comp. +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
EV steps 1/3 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 1600
• ISO 3200 with boost
• ISO 100 - 1600 • ISO 100 - 1600
Auto ISO User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100 - 400) Auto (100 - 1600)
Custom ISO NR No No No
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/500 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 60 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine frames
• 7 RAW frames

• 3 fps
• 27 JPEG/Fine frames
• 10 RAW frames

• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 7 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Seven presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Image params • Six preset looks
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 5 levels, cust.
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
• Six preset picture styles
• Three user sets
• Sharpening: 8 levels
• Contrast: 9 levels
• Saturation: 9 levels
• Color tone: 9 levels
• B&W filter/tone: 5 of each
• Four preset looks
• Sharpening: 5 levels
• Contrast: 5 levels
• Saturation: 5 levels
• Monochrome: 5/4 levels
• Gradation: 3 levels
Embed comment Comment set in-camera Owner name set via software No
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.8x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 20 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.8x
• Laser matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 16 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.92x
• Lumi-Micron Matte screen
LCD monitor • 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 215,000 pixels
• Live View possible
Status LCD No, utilizes main LCD No, utilizes main LCD No, utilizes main LCD
Mirror-lockup No Custom function Yes, custom 1 - 30 sec
Other features • Wireless flash control
• In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Eye sensor
• Stop motion movies
n/a • JPEG edit (inc. shadow adj.)
• Wireless flash control
• RAW development
Custom settings 19 11 12
Storage SD/SDHC card Compact Flash card • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
Battery EN-EL9 (7.4 V, 1000 mAh) NB-2LH (7.4 V, 720 mAh) PS-BLS1 (7.2 V, 1150 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (4 stage) Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
(approx. 6.7 MB/sec)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (WIA only)
(approx. 3.2 MB/sec)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
(approx. 4.6 MB/sec)
Vertical grip No BG-E3 (option) No
Software • Nikon Transfer
• ViewNX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitich
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
• Olympus Master 2.0
• Olympus Studio 2.0 (trial)
Dimensions 126 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
127 x 94 x 65 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
Weight (no batt) 471 g (1.0 lb) 514 g (1.1 lb) 375 g (0.8 lb)
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