Being a successor to the D80 DSLR and with much anticipation, comes the Nikon D90 DSLR that was announced during August 2008. This camera aims at a higher level than its competition and hence, this camera is a bit more expensive than the others. But, that does not hinder most customers’ buying decisions these days, so long as the camera offers them all the required features and desired results as they’d expect. In case you find this camera appealing enough to be your photography companion, the following review should give you a better understanding of this camera.
The Nikon D90 employs a new and improved 12.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor (DX-Format chip) that is a bit towards the professional end of DSLR’s and is somehow based on the semi-pro D300 model camera. This camera is powered by the EXPEED image processing engine and has 3D tracking capabilities with 11 point Autofocus. The ISO range on this camera is from 200 to 3200 and the range can be expanded from 100 to 6400, another feature is the 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting (buffer: 7 RAW, 25 JPEG fine, 100 JPEG Normal) good news is that this camera offers a slightly improved viewfinder with around 96% frame coverage that is much better than its predecessor. The camera also has extensive in-camera retouching including raw development and straightening as well as an improved user interface. Nikon has added a new (optional) compact GPS unit (fits on hot shoe) it comes as a surprise that Nikon has not added phase-detect autofocus on the D90 and in the Live view mode there are only three contrast detect modes: Face Priority, Wide Area, and Normal Area. The D90 joyfully detects up to 5 faces with its face detection feature (a box surrounds detected faces and follows them around the screen)though Face Detection is helpful in Live view mode, its utility goes further, as it's now an integral part of Nikon's Scene Recognition System (SRS). Nikon’s 420-pixel matrix metering sensor combines the color metering mode with AF sensor data and tunes the WB as well as exposure that helps users get the best results and the faces that have been captured look perfectly exposed. The Face Detection feature on this camera comes with i-TTL Flash control too. This camera has a 11-point phase-detect AF system that is shaped like a diamond and the 3D tracking comes in handy.
This camera gives users another solution that was a concern among major cameras revolving around the availability of live view but no movie mode, Well, Nikon D90 has the capability of recording Motion JPEG movies in AVI format at 24 frames per second and provides a 720 p like resolution (1,280 x 720) as well as 640 x 424, and 320 x 216 resolutions. The user has to focus manually while the aperture remains fixed during recording. The audio for the videos is captured through the monaural mic on the camera. The camera has Nikon’s latest (then) Multi-frequency sensor cleaning technology. Owing to a lot of variability in types of dust in the environment, this sensor cleans most (if not all) kinds of dust off the lens.
Design, Display, Performance and Handling:
The D90 feels a lot like its predecessor in terms of looks and it is difficult to determine the immediate difference between both. The dimensions of the Nikon D90's body measure 5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0in (132 x 103 x 77mm). Nikon has added a little style on to this camera, while it looks almost similar to its previous model, you might find three holes for a microphone on its front side and a new button addition that allows you to record movies. All the other buttons have the same functions as shown on their keys. On the rear side, you will find restyled controls and Nikon has decided to go a little generous with the size of the LCD. The Live View button is marked with LV letters and there is a new navigation cluster located right beneath it and an OK button right at its center. There is an info button that brings up a status display, and a second press brings up a new onscreen menu. This camera has a very good grip with a nice little dent inside the grip that accommodates the tips of the user’s fingers quite well. The camera has various options that include changing Long Exposure Noise Reduction, High ISO Noise Reduction, Active D-Lighting, Set Picture Control, Assign Function Button, and Assign AE-Lock/AF-Lock button, these are quite essential for photographers and are constantly required for excellent shots. The other important tools can be activated with buttons that include; ISO, White Balance, Image Quality (on the left of the LCD); and metering mode, EV compensation, Drive mode, and Autofocus mode (on the top deck); and even flash exposure compensation is integrated into the flash pop-up button, appearing on the left of the lens mount, just above the Bracket button. Since, these buttons are very essential and when the photographer is busy focusing on the subject, these easily accessible buttons come in handy.
The camera has an all new upgraded 920,000-pixel LCD screen with 3 inches of ultimate clarity. The images look sharper and finer. A removable screen cover is included with this camera and this camera’s glass is tempered to resist scratches but is still vulnerable to dirt and smudges (a screen protector is recommended) the 640x480 pixel resolution is pretty good and the details very evident on this camera.
Battery and Storage:
According to CIPA standards, Nikon claims that the EN-EL3e lithium-ion battery on the Nikon D90 lasts for straight 850 shots (excluding Live view usage or video capture). This DSLR has SD card provision and accepts cards up to 32GB capacity which can hold a lot of shots/videos.
Nikkor 18-105 mm lens kit:
The Nikon D90 kit comes with the Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR, with one extra-low dispersion element and one hybrid aspheric element to improve image quality, it is an ideal lens for those who like to gain the most out of photography.
The Nikon D90 constitutes a great camera with professional features, a great sensor. The camera has an excellent body with a very nice viewfinder and captures the best quality high resolution pictures along with video capture. Sadly, the HDMI output implementation on this camera is poor. Overall, this is a great camera and adding a few lenses to it would better your photography skills.
Nikon D90 Rivals:
Canon EOS 60D