Canon announced the EOS 450D last week and now Nikon has raised the stakes with its rival model, the D60.

Essentially a reworking of the D40x, which is now no longer in production, this model delivers similar features to its predecessor, and the D40, but is priced just £449.99 for the body only.

The D60 will also be available to buy in a kit with the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR for £529.99 or the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II for £499.99.

It is built around a 10.2 megapixel sensor, and features include Nikon’s 3D Colour Matrix Metering II system and three-point AF system.

A nifty addition to keep dust of the sensor is Nikon’s Image Sensor Cleaning function and Airflow Control System.

The Airflow Control System used in the D60 leads air within the mirror box towards small ducts near the base, directing dust away from the image sensor.

The Image Sensor Cleaning function also reduces dust accumulation near the sensor using vibrations, which activate automatically or whenever the photographer chooses.

Key shooting tools include the D60’s new Active D-Lighting feature, which can adjust the look of the final image in-camera.

"This automatic process compensates for difficult lighting conditions and produces optimised exposures with rich, smooth detail", claims Nikon.

In design, this model looks like both its predecessor with its 2.5-inch LCD monitor.

However, innovations include a new Eye Sensor function, which turns off the LCD monitor when the viewfinder is used. When the user moves away from the viewfinder, the LCD monitor turns on again automatically.

The D60’s Retouch Menu includes Filter Effects for intensifying a colour (Red/Green/Blue), and the Cross Screen feature to produce star-like lines radiating from brightly lit objects in the image.

In-camera NEF (RAW) processing is also available.

RAW format images are "developed" within the camera after shooting, allowing the photographer to control specific aspects of your pictures, such as image quality, image size and white balance, says Nikon.

A nice option for people wanting to produce more than just stills is the new Stop-motion feature, in which a stop-motion animation (the consecutive playback of still images) can be created from a sequence of images (in JPEG format).

Also included is a new Quick Retouch option, which enhances contrast and saturation, to improve images without using a computer.

Nikon fans will also be pleased to know that helpful features found on in the D40 range has been lifted to this new model including the aperture indicator on the LCD screen, and the mode dial, so that the photographer can check what mode they are in without having to look at the dial on the top of the camera.

Full specs are on the Nikon website.

Nikon D60 key features:

- 0.19-second power-up
- Continuous shooting mode enables up to 100 JPEG images (FINE L-size or smaller) at 3fps
- Advanced three-point AF system
- Nikon 3D Colour Matrix Metering II
- Viewfinder with 0.8x magnification
- Long-life rechargeable lithium-ion battery that allows up to 500 images with the R709 on a single charge
- Manual control over shutter speed and aperture: P (Programmed Auto), S (Shutter-priority Auto), A (Aperture-priority Auto) and M (Manual)

Built-in flash with Nikon’s dependable i-TTL flash control, supporting Auto flash, Red-eye reduction, Slow sync, Rear curtain sync and Flash exposure compensation

Fully compatible with AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses, that are equipped with an autofocus motor (Also compatible with most F-mount Nikkor lenses when using manual focus mode)

Supports the Nikon Creative Lighting System when using the SB-800, SB-600, SB-R200 or the Wireless Close-Up Speedlight system. Offers accurate exposures via i-TTL flash.