Nikon today announced the D60, one of the smallest digital SLR cameras the firm has ever introduced.

Replacing the popular Nikon D40x, the Nikon D60 offers plenty of features and technology crammed into its ultra-compact body. The camera also helps make more sense of the names in the Nikon DSLR range - it now reads as D40, D60, D80, rather than the confusing D40, D40x and D80.

Sporting a 10.2-megapixel high-resolution image sensor, 3fps shooting, a 2.5-inch LCD display, three-point AF system and start-up time of just 0.19s, the Nikon D60 will sit in between the Nikon D40 and the D80.

The D60 looks like another hit for Nikon. The DLSR boasts a new eye sensor function which automatically turns off the LCD monitor when the viewfinder is used. When the user moves away from the viewfinder, the LCD monitor turns on again. This automatically enhances the camera's battery life and extends shooting capability.

Dual dust reduction

It also features Nikon's proprietary 3D Colour Matrix Metering II technology, which ensures balanced exposures, and natural contrast and colours in your shots. An automatic dual dust reduction feature has been added too to keep the imaging sensor free from dust particles.

We had a quick play with the camera at a London pre-launch event yesterday and can confirm that it's a joy to use, and rests very comfortably in your hand. The mode dial button is slightly larger than on the previous Nikon DLSR models, and the user interface can be personalised. Apart from that, expect the usual high Nikon standard, as well as functions such as in-camera image editing and colour enhancement.

The Nikon D60 is due to go on sale in late February, priced at £530 with a AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, or £500 with a AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II. If you want to buy the Nikon D60 body only, it'll set you back £450.