Nikon D60 Digital SLR is the latest addition to my (rather small) camera collection. Nevertheless, out of the couple of cameras that I own, this is a flagship model so obviously I'm going to write mostly about it. However, I'm not going to review this camera in detail, I do not have the skills nor knowledge to do so. All I'd like to do is to explain why I've chosen this camera and why I think this camera is a good buy. Of course in the era of such a advancement in technology, whatever is said right now (as of November 2009) in 6 months becomes (mostly) obsolete and out of date.
In the Digital SLR business there are number of players on the market, Nikon, Canon, Sony (formerly Konica-Minolta), Pentax and Olympus to name a few. All of them offer similar level of quality and functionality in their cameras so the choice is not easy. After reading countless reviews, posts on various discussion forums and what not I have narrowed it down to Canon vs. Nikon. Eventually I have chosen Nikon, no specific reason there except for the very subjective feeling that Nikon offers better value for money and has the right level of quality and functionality that I require. That's it, I'm pretty sure that if I've had chosen Canon, I'd be just as pleased.
When I bought my D60 (June 2009), Nikon had no other entry level DSLR on offer. D40 was already EOL and practically impossible to get. D5000 was just coming out and was seriously overpriced compared to D60 which was heavily discounted at that time. Now you cannot even buy D60s anymore. New enter level DSLRs are out, most basic D3000 which I suspect is a direct replacement to D60 and D5000 which is slightly (but only just) higher level camera. I'm not going to go into technical details but the bottom line is that there is very little difference between entry level DSLRs and top of the line models at least when it comes to DX ones. First of all I do not need a full frame FX model (no way that I'd effectively use any of it's advanced features nor benefit from better quality images nor do I have a spare money to afford one of these beasts. So the choice was between various DX models, D60, D90, D300s or D5000, any other model being either EOL already (D40) or not introduced yet to the market (D5000). My choice was D60 being cheapest and lightest of them all and the image quality on par with higher spec models. Today I'd probably go for D90. In fact, the price of D90 has already gone down recently which indicates that Nikon is most likely getting ready to introduce D90's successor very soon. I'd wait until it hits the shelves and buy D90 at the bargain price. It the most versatile, all round camera from DX series. Fast, excellent picture quality (Gen2 engine) and still light and small enough compared to D300s. Did I mention cheaper too? Read more on Ken's Nikon pages. For the absolute DSLR beginner the D60 still remains an excellent choice.
To complement the camera body you need lens. In reality more then one. Forget about Sigma or Tamron. Nikon offers affordable, non professional lenses which are so superior to either Sigma or Tamron that it's just not worth it. D60 is kited with excellent Nikkor 18-55mm VR lens which is dirt cheap but delivers high(est) performance. If you are short on zoom, go for just as good Nikkor 55-200 VR tele zoom lens. You want some good low light performance? Throw in Nikkor's fast 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. Now you have a set of three lenses that will do all you need. If you want a bit more convenience and do not want to keep swapping short and tele zooms all the time (which in most cases you don't anyway as 18-55mm covers about 80% of your needs) then get a bit more pricey (and heavier) Nikkor 18-200mm VR zoom lens. That's it. Don't believe me? Read what Ken has to say about that.
I use either built-in flash for outdoor photos or the excellent Nikon's SB-400 flash (or speedlight if you prefer to call it so). I'm not going to write much about it. Ken explains all how to use one.
I never use the fully automatic preset (idiot) modes like Full Auto, Lady, Baby, Sports, Flower what not, which Nikon calls "Digital Vari-Program". I use P,S,A,M modes which stand for Program, Shutter, Aperture and Manual. Putting your camera in one of these modes unlocks more advanced settings in the menus and allows you to fine tune some of these settings. I only tinker with couple of them, AutoISO, Saturation and Exposure adjustment to name a few. See Ken's D40 User's Guide for details on how to set them. D40 menus and settings are almost identical to D60. Most of the settings are down to your preference but the important part is to learn what not to change!
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