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Nikon D60 vs Olympus E-520

The Nikon D60 and the Olympus E-520 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2008 and May 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D60) and a Four Thirds (E-520) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D60
versus
Olympus E-520
Nikon D60   Olympus E-520
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP – APS-C sensor 10 MP – Four Thirds sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 230k dots 2.7" LCD – 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
126 x 94 x 64 mm, 522 g 136 x 92 x 68 mm, 535 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D60 and the Olympus E-520? 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 Olympus E-520. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D60 vs Olympus E-520
Compare D60 versus E-520 top
Comparison D60 or E-520 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-520 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Nikon D60. Moreover, the E-520 is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the D60. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D60 nor the E-520 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D60) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-520).

Concerning battery life, the D60 gets 500 shots out of its EN-EL9 battery, while the E-520 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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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 629ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699ebay.com
3.
 
Nikon D5600 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 amazon.com
4.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599ebay.com
6.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D60 was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the E-520 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D60 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-520 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-520 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D60 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-520 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D60 and Olympus E-520 sensor measures

Even though the D60 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixels. This implies that the D60 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 4.74μm for the E-520), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the E-520 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 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 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 Olympus E-520 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the D60 is build around a CCD sensor, while the E-520 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

D60 versus E-520 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D60 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-520 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
3.
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
4.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
5.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
6.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
7.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
8.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
9.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
10.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
11.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
12.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
13.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
14.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
15.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
16.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
The E-520 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D60 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D60 and the E-520 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D60 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-520 (0.53x vs 0.46x), 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 Olympus E-520 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)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-520optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y Y
3.
 
Nikon D5600optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Nikon D3200optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5/s Y n
9.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-600optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-620optical n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that differentiates the E-520 and the D60 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-520 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D60 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.

The D60 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-520 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-520 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D60 only has one slot.

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 Olympus E-520 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.
 
Olympus E-520Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D5600Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Nikon D3200Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-600Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-620Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Both the D60 and the E-520 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D60 was replaced by the Nikon D5000, while the E-520 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the D60 and E-520 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D60 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-520 Manual.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D60 and the Olympus E-520? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D60:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.46x).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2008).

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Advantages of the Olympus E-520:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-520 comes out slightly ahead of the D60 (6 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D60 05:06 E-520

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D60 and the Olympus E-520 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D60 and the E-520 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 629ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699ebay.com
3.
 
Nikon D56004/5..4/579/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 amazon.com
4.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599ebay.com
6.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-600..........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449ebay.com
12.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/100..72/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D60 vs Olympus E-520

    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 Olympus E-520
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2008 May 2008
    Launch Price USD 629 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D60 Olympus E-520
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 21.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.4 10.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 562 548
    Screen Specs Nikon D60 Olympus E-520
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D60 Olympus E-520
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XD cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D60 Olympus E-520
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D60 Olympus E-520
    Battery Type EN-EL9 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 126 x 94 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
    136 x 92 x 68 mm
    (5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    Camera Weight 522 g (18.4 oz) 535 g (18.9 oz)
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    Check E-520 offers at
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