Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Consumers Guide to an Entry level DSLR

The Nikon D60

The problem with many Internet forums and technical web sites talking about cameras is many of them are irrelevant. The information they provide isn't aimed at the consumer, it's aimed at the gear head.

Here is part 1, a quick guide to help you work out if the Nikon D60 camera is for you. Technical specifications can be found else where. Here, I'm going to give you reasons to get a Nikon D60. You'll know whether or not this is what you want. and if it suits.

You want really easy to use. You probably have a small compact digital camera, but you've become aware of it's limitations. Low light performance is terrible, there's a lot of shutter lag.

You don't want to become a world renowned photographer, you just want to be able to take nice pictures of your kids, or pets, or landscapes or whatever.

The D60 , and it's predecessors the D40 and D40x, were created for this reason. Nikon saw a market that needed a simply camera. The metering, which is the process to give you well exposed pictures, is very accurate much of the time. Pictures are bright and punchy straight from the camera.

The camera is deigned to take a photo and go and print it. Out of the box, it probably takes a better picture than the D200. Why, because the D200 is designed to take a photo, tweak it in a post processing software package such as Photoshop , Lightroom, Aperture or Capture NX... and then print it.

The camera has limited buttons and control on the body. These things can be found within the menu, just like many people would be used to from their little compact cameras. The camera is not intimidating like other models, so the learning curve for the camera is very quick. Other cameras like the Canon 400D have steeper learning curve.

You can't use all the older Nikon lenses, and some current third party lenses. Here's a point that get's brought up a lot. The D60 can only use AF-S lenses, and AF lenses. The difference is the AF-S lenses have a motor built into them to auto focus, the AF lenses rely on the camera body to have a motor and provide the auto focus.

Quite frankly, the most overblown issue you can hear. Most people who are in the market for the D60 will be happy with the twin lens they'll probably get with the kit. If you have an assortment of lenses such as a AF 50mm 1.8, then you probably are not the market this camera is aimed at. Start looking at the D80 and up. That's it.

3 focus points. The camera provides the user with three focus points. Let's be honest here, most users will only ever use the middle focus point anyway. It's true. 99% of people I speak to in the shop tell me this. They are thrilled they can have three. I'll have to explain to them a little bit about composition, and trying to get things out of dead centre. They're happy to get the advice. More often than not, they're also happy to just press the shutter half way down and recompose. They want to keep it simply, pick the camera up, take the shot. Excellent, the D60 is just the camera.

Small size. At this point, I've got to say that Pentax have shown everyone how to make solid well built cameras in the entry level. Olympus and Nikon do very well. Nikon have at least shown that you can have a small, light and comfortable camera that is well built. Along with the twin kit lenses, this is a very nice little camera to lug around.

The D60 is an excellent camera, put it in auto mode to start, but I hope you'll venture into the more manual settings as you go and learn. Please do. You're photography will improve. Grab a book on photography, you'll wow yourself.