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Canon’s EOS D60. When Canon introduced their EOS D60 digital single-lens reflex at the 2002 PMA, show I was saving my money for their D30 model. When the price was announced, I did what few reviewers do: I put my money where my mouth is and ordered one. Why? The EOS D60 is the first digital camera I was willing to spend my own money on.

Cosmetically, the D60 is identical to the model that preceded it, with some differences in that focusing zones in the viewfinder illuminate in red like every other Canon SLR, but the biggest difference is that this is a 6.52 megapixel camera–double the pixel count of the D30–with improved low light performance. At ISO 1000, the images from the D60’s CMOS chip exhibit significantly less noise than the Leica Digilux 1, I tested recently, at ISO 400. Sure, the Leica is half the price, but that brings me to the real news.

The street price for the EOS D60 is $1,999. The basic D60 body does not include the Lithium Ion battery that powers the camera or a charger, for this you’ll need the D60 kit that costs $2,199. I recommend the Battery Pack BG-ED3, which adds another $150 but provides space for two batteries and adds a shutter release for vertical shots turning that into a one-handed operation. Using two batteries, the number of shots increases from 640 to 1,240, if the built-in flash is not used. If flash is used for 50 percent of the shots, the number decreases to 580 frames.

The ergonomics are superb and similar to the film-based EOS Elan 7, which the D60 resembles. Anybody who has every used any Canon SLR will be immediately comfortable with this camera, and all existing Canon EF lenses and flashes are compatible. Nothing is obsolete, although your lenses are affected by the “magnification factor.” Because the size of the chip is smaller than the 35mm standard, lenses must be multiplied by 1.6 to determine usable focal length. With the body, I also purchased an EF 22-55mm zoom lens that was originally designed for Canon’s Advanced Photo System SLR and it makes a good fit for the D60 delivering a usable focal length equivalent of 35-88mm. This inexpensive (just slightly more than $100) lens is a great combination with the D60 and delivers sharp images that are quickly focused.

Performance in the field is superb, with the ability of being able to check every 3,072-by-2,048 image, including access to histograms. Images are sharp, color correct, and as good as the lens you attach. The 1.8-inch LCD screen may be used for reviewing images, but not composing them. The viewfinder provides about a 96 percent accurate view of the final image, which occasionally produces some surprises at the edge of the frame. But the D60 is all about value, allowing me to deliver professional quality image files to clients as well as 11-by-14-inch (or larger) prints that cannot be told from film.

The EOS D60 digital camera is a logical extension of any computer user’s existing Canon photographic system into the digital realm. There’s a waiting list, so put your name on it.

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