Canon EOS-D30 owners will immediately feel at home looking at the pictures above. That's because very little has changed on the exterior. Indeed the only visible changes are the new 'Digital' logo on the front, an additional bump under the flash unit (contains the LED's for the illuminated AF points), the silver mode dial, improved power switch and new rubber covers on the side of the camera. Everything else (on the exterior) stays the same.

For those who don't own or haven't handled a D30, the D60 is designed to look and feel like a traditional 35 mm EOS. About the only noticeable difference is the stubbier right hand side of the camera (from the back) because there's no film. The D60 has a completely metal chassis with a plastic outer skin. The camera feels robust, despite not having a solid metal body and has no creaks or flex. Experience of the D30 (and the many knocks it's taken) have proven that it's pretty tough for a 'consumer' camera.

As you can see in this shot the D60 without the optional battery grip is fairly small and compact (for a digital SLR), indeed this is the configuration most people will use. However, add the optional battery grip and you can see how the position of my grip changes. The base of the battery grip rests against the palm of your hand and makes holding the camera even more comfortable. Of course the battery grip does much more than this, it provides an additional battery slot (run two batteries together) and a portrait (vertical) grip, controls and shutter release.

Rear LCD Display

The D60's 1.8" LCD is a standard 114,000 pixel type with a protective screen covering it. With the D60 Canon has tweaked the image brightness and increased the display gamma up a little. This has the effect of making shadow detail more visible and overall review brightness higher. This helps to avoid making images look underexposed when reviewing in well lit situations. Unfortunately there's still no anti-reflective coating.

For those who are new to digital SLR's you have to understand that they don't provide a live preview image like consumer digital cameras. This is because of the reflex mirror, mechanical shutter and design of the sensor (which can't be used to provide a video feed). The LCD is only "On" if you have image review enabled (after taking the shot either 2, 4, 8 seconds or hold on the shutter release), when you're navigating menus or reviewing images in playback. The only exception to this is Olympus's E-10/E-20 which uses a semitransparent prism to send an image both up into the viewfinder and back into the CCD.

Notable improvement: Display gamma is now much lighter, improves visual exposure checking.

Top Information LCD

The information LCD on the top of the D60 provides a wide array of information, notably different to other D-SLR's the D60 provides both digital and photographic information on the one LCD panel. Here you get everything from the exposure, white balance, image size / quality, drive mode, exposure remaining, battery status, etc. Plenty of information to operate the camera without having to dig through the menu.

New to the D60 is that this panel is now backlit (if you enable it). The blue backlight comes on whenever you press the SET button (center of the rear 'quick control dial'). Typically the SET button isn't programmed to perform any function in record mode but you can set it (via a custom function) to change image quality, ISO speed (my preference) or parameter set. The new backlight is a godsend and existing D30 owners will wonder how they ever coped without it.

It's probably worth noting that this isn't ALL the information the LCD displays, when changing settings the LCD changes mode, for example the exposure meter doubles up to display bracketing information, the shutter speed can display ISO when it's being changed etc.

Notable improvement: Information LCD Backlight.