When a buddy of mine said I could have his Nikon N60 for $20 (and if I met him for lunch and paid), I said yes. It wasn’t because I’ve always dreamed of owning an N60 – I’m more into old-style, all-metal, all-manual film SLRs, and the N60 is a modern, plastic, auto-everything SLR. No, it’s because I can’t resist a stray camera. Heck, I even have a camera very much like this one already – the Nikon N65, which was the N60′s successor. The N60 was made from 1998 to 2001, and the N65 picked up from there.
I’m going to skip my usual rundown of this camera’s features because, really, just go read my writeup of the N65. The N60 is slightly less camera than the N65, with less sophisticated autoexposure and autofocus systems, no depth-of field preview, and no way to fire the shutter remotely.
But who cares? This camera is tricked out just fine for the easy automatic shooting it’s meant for. Set the dial atop the camera to Auto and the N60 is a giant point-and-shoot that makes you feel like you’re a real photographer.
My N60 came with a couple of Quantaray lenses, one at 28-80mm and another at 100-300mm. I took only a few photos with the Quantaray lenses, not expecting much from them. I also loaded a roll of expired Kodak Gold 200 I found at the bottom of the bag the camera came in. I did have to get the two 123 batteries out of my N65 to power the N60; without them, the camera is inert. As so often happens, I started shooting in my front yard. My tiger lilies were in bloom.
The photos from the Quantaray lenses show a fair amount of noise and some barrel distortion. This is the best shot from the Quantaray lenses. The black areas were pretty noisy, but I fixed that in Photoshop.
I used the AF Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 off my N65 for the rest of my photos with the N60. Noise disappeared and sharpness and color rendition improved. You’d never guess this shot of the main drag in Morgantown, IN, was shot on expired film.
This is the entrance to the Methodist church in Morgantown.
When I finished the expired film, I dropped in some fresh Fujicolor 200 and kept shooting. This is the Story Inn, a little restaurant and bed-and-breakfast in Brown County, just off State Road 135.
Here’s the inside of the renovated Medora Covered Bridge. The N60 handled this challenging lighting situation pretty well.
On the other hand, the N60 struggled with the blazing sunlight contrasting with deep shadows from overhanging trees on State Road 45. It favored the shadows; lit areas were a little blown out. This spent thistle bloom stood along the roadside there.
I wasn’t very enthusiastic about my N65 when I shot it last year, but I rather enjoyed shooting this N60. When I shot the N65, I farted around with it in old familiar places. But I took this N60 along on a road trip as my primary camera. As such, I used it as a tool, and it handled easily. Except for the challenging light on State Road 45, it performed well, especially after I ditched the Quantaray lens for a Nikon lens. I’ve shown you photos from this N60 in several recent posts, and will for a couple more to come. But if you’d like to see more photos now, check out my Nikon N60 gallery.
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