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8/10

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Nikon CoolPix P60

Back in February I took a look at the Nikon CoolPix P50, an 8.1-megapixel compact with a 3.6x zoom lens, and optical viewfinder and a limited range of manual exposure options, ostensibly aimed at more advanced photographers. While it wasn't a bad camera it was just a bit lacklustre, and failed to impress. The P50 was launched in August 2007, and in January this year it was joined in the CoolPix range by the camera I'm reviewing today, the P60.

Although it shares the same 1/2.5-inch 8.1-megapixel CCD sensor, and does look superficially similar to the P50, the CoolPix P60 is a very different camera, and in many ways is much better for it. For a start, while the plastic body is still quite square and functional, it is 8mm thinner and slightly less tall and is generally much more attractively proportioned than the rather ungainly P50. It still has a large rubber-coated handgrip accommodating the pair of AA batteries that provide the camera with power, but it is less angular and even more comfortable to hold. It still has the same uncluttered control layout, with a large mode dial on the top and a rocker-switch zoom control on the back, and a simple arrangement of three buttons around a large D-pad. It is a very easy camera to operate and generally pleasant to handle.

The LCD monitor is slightly larger than the P50's at 2.5 inches, and with 153k dots it is a lot sharper. Its viewing angle is not too good though, and is especially restricted when holding the camera above your head. The monitor also performs very poorly in bright sunlight. It simply isn't bright enough, and also has a very reflective surface. Fortunately the P60 also has an electronic viewfinder, replacing the rather poor optical viewfinder of the P50. The viewfinder is considerably sharper than the monitor, with 201k dots, and of course includes all the information displays and focusing frame. The eyepiece is quite large and positioned in the top left corner of the body, which makes it comfortable to use with either eye, although a rubber eyepiece surround would have been appreciated by those of us who wear glasses.

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