Pre-PMA 2008: We've had a little bit of a chance to play around with and handle the Nikon's latest digital SLR, the D60. Here we line it up against the camera we suspect it replaces: the D40X and see what Nikon has done to refresh one of its recent successes.

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The differences between the two models is, to say the least, subtle. The D60 shares its body with the D40X and most of their specifications are identical. The D60 adds a two-pronged method for combating dust accumulation on the sensor - a system to shake dust from the sensor and another channel dust away from the sensor in the first place.


Only the slightly fatter VR version of the 18-55mm kit lens and a different mode dial distinguish the D60 from its 6MP sibling, the D40. The D40's 'Info' button has now become the active d-lighting button.

Other than this, the D60 adds active d-lighting that helps maximize dynamic range by adjusting exposure to retain highlights then boosting shadows. It also adds a digital rangefinder that indicates subject distance when manually focusing lenses. A stop-motion mode lets the camera clump individual frames together as an animation - the first time we've seen this feature on a DSLR. At the cherry-on-the-top end of the new functions comes the addition of a sensor that turns off the screen when the camera is held up to the eye and a user interface that rotates when the camera is upended.

D60 gains active d-lighting Click here for a D60 stop-motion movie (3.2 MB)

The difference that will benefit most people is the inclusion of the recently released anti-shake (VR) version of Nikon's 18-55mm lens in the standard D60 kit.

A lot of the other differences appear to be on the marketing side of the development process. The D40X was announced 10 months ago, so the refresh may have provided a good opportunity to make a clearer distinction between this model and the D40. The other intangible change is Nikon's statement that the D60 is built around its Expeed "processing concept." We'll be interested to see whether any appreciable differences turn up in our timing or comparison tests.