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This entry-level DSLR is easy enough for novices to master.
We have friends and relatives who carefully store months of photos in their camera, like kids hoarding baseball cards before deciding which to trade. Even iPhoto is intimidating to some people, and others just want to manage photos on a camera away from a Mac. Most introductory and midlevel cameras can skip the computer, connecting directly to printers with a USB cable and PictBridge support. And many can now even apply simple edits in-camera that you’d normally handle in Mac software.
While the Nikon D60 can’t replace your ex-boyfriend’s head with George Clooney’s, it can crop images, scrub out red-eye, auto-correct contrast, and resize files, all in the camera. These in-camera controls can even superimpose two images, add a custom color or a black-and-white effect, and process RAW files into JPEGs. The D60 also adds extras, like a stop-motion movie feature that combines your single photos into a video. All of these in-camera tools, as well as PictBridge support, make the D60 great for leaving your SD card in the camera and manipulating images without a Mac.
But the 10.2-megapixel DSLR is also a comfortable camera for any beginner or intermediate. The sharp, 2.5-inch LCD shows off current exposure settings in auto or full-manual modes, while an eyepiece sensor automatically turns off this screen when you sight through the optical viewfinder, where critical settings are also displayed.
Images look sharp. Our test photos displayed clear details, like patterns of leaves, while flowers came out bright and skin tones looked natural. Support for RAW images helps define these touches, although JPEGs also look well-defined. Indoor photos with longer exposures often showed a slight yellow tint, but tinkering with manual white balance corrected that cast. And while the bundled 18-55mm lens sometimes produced images with slightly glowing object edges, its optical stabilizer helped indoors; we got blur- and flash-free photos of nonmoving subjects with exposures as long as 1/4 of a second.
The bottom line. Editing features and auto modes welcome photographers to a complete, introductory DSLR.
PRICE: $750 with 18-55mm VR lens
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS X, USB or CompactFlash reader
Light, comfortable body. Sharp image quality. Complete manual controls. Lamp assists snappy auto-focus. Optical image stabilizer in lens. In-camera editing for quick prints and touch-ups.
Longer, indoor exposures show yellow color shift