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Nikon D60 vs D90

The Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2008 and August 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D60 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the D90 provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D60
versus
Nikon D90
Nikon D60   Nikon D90
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 720/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-3,200 (200 - 6,400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 4.5 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge850 shots per battery charge
126 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 703 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D60 vs Nikon D90
Compare D60 versus D90 top
Comparison D60 or D90 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D90 is notably larger (15 percent) than the Nikon D60. Moreover, the D90 is substantially heavier (35 percent) than the D60. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D60 nor the D90 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D60 gets 500 shots out of its EN-EL9 battery, while the D90 can take 850 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
2.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
3.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
4.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
5.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599i
6.
 
Nikon D7000 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
7.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599i
10.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
11.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
15.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D60 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 52 percent) than the D90, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D60 and Nikon D90 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the D90 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the D60. This megapixels advantage translates into a 11 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the D90 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 6.11μm for the D60). However, it should be noted that the D90 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the D60, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D90 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D90 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D60 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D60 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D90 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.

D60 versus D90 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D90 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D60 (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
2.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
3.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
4.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
5.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
6.
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/24p23.513.9116780
7.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
8.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
9.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
10.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
11.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
12.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
13.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
14.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
15.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D90 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D60 does not. The highest resolution format that the D90 can use is 720/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D60 and the D90 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D90 offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the D60 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D90 has a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D60 and Nikon D90 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D5600optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D7000optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the D90, but is missing on the D60 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D60 and the D90 write their files to SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D60 and Nikon D90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D5600Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D7000Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the D60 and the D90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D60 was replaced by the Nikon D5000, while the D90 was followed by the Nikon D7000. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D60:

  • More compact: Is smaller (126x94mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 181g or 26 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (52 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2008).


Advantages of the Nikon D90:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.53x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D90 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D60 04:13 D90

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D60 and the Nikon D90 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D60 or the D90. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
2.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
3.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
4.
 
Nikon D56004/5..4/579/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
5.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
6.
 
Nikon D70004/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
7.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
8.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
10.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
11.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
12.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
13.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
14.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
15.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D60:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D90:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D60 vs Nikon D90

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D60 Nikon D90
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 August 2008
    Launch Price USD 629 USD 1,299
    Sensor Specs Nikon D60 Nikon D90
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 5.53 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 562 977
    Screen Specs Nikon D60 Nikon D90
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D60 Nikon D90
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 4.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D60 Nikon D90
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D60 Nikon D90
    Battery Type EN-EL9 EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge850 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 126 x 94 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 703 g (24.8 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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