The other main feature that sets the P60 apart from its predecessor is the 5x zoom lens, which has a focal length equivalent to 36 – 180mm. This means it lacks the 28mm wide-angle ability of the P50, but to be honest it is a much more useful focal length range for general purpose photography. 180mm is a good medium telephoto length, and 36mm is wide enough for most snapshots. The quality of the lens is also much better. It is noticeably sharper, especially in the corners, and while it does produce quite a lot of barrel distortion at the wide angle end it avoids the chromatic aberration problems.
The P60 is also equipped with Nikon’s VR optical image stabilisation, which is becoming more common even on such relatively inexpensive cameras. Nikon’s system is not one of the best, and doesn’t appear to have much effect at slower shutter speeds. Settings slower than about 1/30th of a second at wide angle still showed some movement blur, but it was more effective at longer focal lengths, allowing sharp hand-held shots at 1/50th of a second at maximum zoom.
Nikon’s D-Lighting feature is available as a menu option in playback mode. This increases the brightness of darker shadow areas, simulating a broader dynamic range. It adds about two stops of brightness, but it does so by effectively increasing the ISO sensitivity in the shadow areas, which also increases image noise.
One doesn’t have to look too far to find another camera with which to compare the P60. With the exception of the new super-zoom P80, Nikon’s entire CoolPix P-series is aimed pretty squarely at the sector of the market dominated by Canon’s successful PowerShot A-series. In terms of specification the closest match for the P60 is the new PowerShot A590 IS, although there are some important differences. The Canon has an optical viewfinder, and only has a 4x zoom lens. The A590 IS is also available for as little as £115, which makes the P60 look a bit pricey, since it is currently selling for around £160 despite having been available for several months.