Nikon D90

Nikon’s new DSLR camera, named D90 is a technological breakthrough that gained worldwide recognition for being the world’s first DSLR camera capable of shooting video with the cinematic quality typical of interchangeable lenses. It sports a 12.3 megapixel sensor in cropped DX format. Video can be recorded in mono up to film cadence (24fps) and high definition 720p. A live view option makes use of the rear mounted 3 inch LCD. The camera, without lenses, weighs 22 oz. / 620g.

Summary of Reviews

Camera Labs
Comparison with Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 “D90 is approximately 2/3 of a stop more sensitive than the A380 at the same ‘stated’ sensitivity. The D90 operating at one stop below its base sensitivity, is much crisper, and more detailed too despite having two fewer Megapixels. So not a great result for the A380 here, but then a camera is judged by more than just its high ISO performance, and similar results for the A350 before it certainly didn’t harm sales.”

Photography Review
“The D90 is much more than a replacement for its predecessor, the D80. It also inherits many upgraded features from its big brother, the D300, making the D90 a formidable contender in the DSLR arena. For those choosing between the D90 and D300, unless you need the D300’s all-metal, weather/dust sealed body or the longer-rated shutter, I’d recommend the D90 instead. The image quality is just as good and you can buy two D90 bodies for about the cost of one D300.”

“The real significance of video on a SLR is not the ability to shoot simple YouTube-style clips (though the D90 is quite suitable for that purpose), but the flexibility to use high-quality lenses to get cinematic effects that you can’t achieve with a camcorder. In this regard, the D90 is a potential boon to digital filmmakers, though you’ll have to jump through some hoops to take advantage of the camera’s video features.”

“Like the Nikon pro models, the D90 benefits from new high-tech functions including automatic chromatic aberration correction (to improve lens performance) and vignetting control (to lighten any dark corners). My JPEGs made at ISO 100 and 400 are silky smooth and very clean; after a bit of sharpening, they made beautiful 13×19-inch inkjet prints. Digital noise is well controlled; ISO 800 produces images that are suitable for excellent letter-size prints.”

“For a DSLR in its range, the D90 offers a speedy 4.5 frames per second of continuous shooting. Image quality overall is difficult to fault in the D90: it’s largely correctly exposed with fine detail, accurate colour reproduction, and little-to-no sign of chromatic aberration. The D90 is a genuinely well-crafted DSLR from Nikon that covers all of the bases that a mid-range unit should.”

Digital Photography School
“On its launch the Nikon D90 caused something of a stir with its near-HD movie capture mode. I worked with the D90 with the f3.5/18-105mm VR-stabilised kit lens fitted and at no time found the kilo plus weight a bit of a burden. There are few cameras that can match the excellent optical and LCD viewing options of the D90. It has excellent image capture quality both in colour quality, dynamic range and resolution.”

“The Nikon D90 does come with an in-camera retouch menu, continuous shooting of up to 4.5fps and 11-point auto focus. Its results are sharp and naturalistic. All things considered, the Nikon D90 is a very capable camera. At its present asking price it offers fair value for the consumer interested in aiming their image-making sights higher.”

“The Nikon D90 DSLR is a dream enthusiast DSLR. Has lots of exposure flexibility and gives excellent image quality up to ISO 800. Higer ISO images are also relatively quite low in noise and very usuable. An advanced and knowledgeable photographer will be able to use RAW file format and noise reduction software to tweak out the best of higher ISO images. You can expect exceptional performance, one of the best large, bright and clear optical viewfinder on a DSLR using an APS-sized image sensor, and excellent image quality with low noise up to ISO 800.”

“The Nikon D90 is the first DSLR ever to shoot video. This is an exceptional DSLR. Image quality is great, with a 12 megapixels sensor capable of large prints up to ISO 1600 and even small prints at ISO 6400. The Nikon D90 always remains responsive with a very short shutter lag, perfect for candid and street photography. Too bad there is no histogram display when adjusting exposure so that we know when clipping occurs.”

“The HD video functionality of the Nikon D90 is surely only the beginning of upcoming video functions within DSLRs. However, the AF in live mode isn’t convincing. We would have wished that Nikon included weather sealing for tough outdoor conditions, but you can’t have it all relative to the very competitive pricing.”

“The Nikon D90 has a well-conceived body with no creaks or rattles but there is, unfortunately, no weather sealing. It is going to change the face of digital capture and redefine what every new DSLR must be and accomplish in the future. Obviously, the Nikon D90 includes “all you need to fuel your passion for photography”. This is already apparent with Canon’s photokina launch of the full-frame, video capturing EOS 5D Mark II.”

“For shooting in a variety of lighting conditions, the D90 has a wide sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 3200 to deliver incredible low-noise images. Not only will this camera confidently represent Nikon’s mid-level DSLR offerings, but it’s sure to set the tone for this category with excellent image quality, underrated burst performance, and plenty of Custom Settings.”

“Anyone thinking about an upgrade from the D80 will be pleased to hear that the 1500mAh battery and charger are identical. It works remarkably well, and JPEGs come out with very little colour fringing. D90 really does very little wrong. Image quality is great, there are features aplenty and the stock lens is a cut above the rest. It isn’t cheap, but you’re getting an awfully capable camera for your money.”

Digital Photography School
“The Nikon D90 packs a lot into a well balanced, attractive package. While I have noted some quirks of the camera, I’d use one in a heartbeat if I had more Nikon lenses.”

“If you’ve used the D80, you’d hard pressed to see much difference between it and the D90, but there are some big differences under the skin. Colour, contrast, resolution are excellent under a wide range of conditions. The AF system quickly locks onto a subject and there’s also a 3D AF tracking system. But what really floored us was the performance at high ISO speeds, and even shots taken at ISO 3200 suffered from relatively little noise.”

Time Magazine
“It’s two digital cameras in one, and that’s what makes this the first camera you should consider, with a set of features that will please the most demanding of photo prosumers.” (very short announcement)

Paul Stamatiou
“The D90 totes features first introduced in cameras like the D300. Right off the bat, it’s no replacement for a regular HD camcorder for most uses. When moving fast, the video appears to flex noticeably, the infamous “rolling shutter/jelly motion” issue. The Nikon D90 is a substantial step-up from its D80 predecessor and boasts features previously only found on the Nikon D300 and D3. That being said, I recommend you buy the D90 body alone and pick out your own lens.”

TechHive (ex PCWorld)
“With its improved LCD, slightly larger frame of view, dust-cleaning sensor, enhanced 3D 11-point autofocus, an optional GPS attachment, and the ability to make a video here and there, the D90 definitely has an array of interesting features. And simply as a camera, the D90 turns out some of the best results you can buy.”

Diggpoint (down)
“The automatic Chromatic Aberration correction is just one example – without ever having to think about it, it instantly improves the results of every JPEG, regardless of the lens used.”

Popular Science
Compared to the Canon 50D. “The Nikon never let a portion of the photo get “blown-out” bright, even in tricky conditions like photographing a bright sky over a shady street. The Canon 50D often overexposed, turning a pale-blue sky nearly white. My overall preference is for the Nikon D90. It ultimately makes it easier to take good pictures, and does so at a lower price.”

Professional Photographer Mag
“The most exciting feature of the Nikon D90 DSLR is the movie capture. Autofocus is not available with movie recording. The first day I had the D90 in my hands I couldn’t stop coming up with ideas for the clips I wanted to shoot. I took a set of 36 clips at the 640×424 frame (3:2) setting, which I subsequently edited into a 4-minute movie in the iMovie HD program. The most difficult part was figuring out the settings and format to use to export the video for Web sharing.”

Trusted Reviews
“The new camera builds upon the D80′s outstanding design, with a virtually identical body and control layout. Image noise generally well controlled, and low-ISO images are clean and sharp, but it is a problem on longer exposures. The D90′s main claim to fame is that it is the world’s first digital SLR to feature video shooting capability, in high-definition 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 24 frames a second.”

“All told this camera has scads of grin-worthy features that will continue to feed your frenzy-filled lifestyle for some time to come.”

Think Camera (DOWN)
“The D90 is a trophy of a middleweight camera, with the D-movie HD video mode tagging on an extra medal or two. No other DSLR in the world has a video feature to match; which no doubt opens up a whole new world of possibilities.”

Lets Go Digital
“The Nikon D90 is equipped with the latest technique, combined with innovations coming from Nikon’s higher segment. Yet the D90 does not aim at the semipro market, instead it aims at the amateur market. The image quality is steady as a rock. Excellent color reproduction and superb dynamic range.”

By Thom

“Video is the least polished aspect of this camera, and it would be a shame if what we got there was what held up the update. The D80 was, and now the D90 is, the critical model in the Nikon DSLR lineup. What brings people to Nikon’s DSLRs is the serious shooting emphasis I grew to not like the D80 so much, as I found it an inconsistent camera in several respects. A great consumer camera.”

CNET Australia
“Upon close examination, however, D-Movie was found to be severely underdone, although by 2012 it might be ready for prime time. Good thing then that D90′s photo taking base is so strong and competent.”

Digital Camera Review
“And now the D90 arrives shooting D300-quality stills and packing a decent movie mode for about two-thirds the cost of the movieless D300. If you really dissect the D90 shots they might be a tiny bit noisier at higher ISOs than the D300, or it might just be my eyes are tired.”

“Adding video functionality to a DSLR reduces weight and helps with basic ergonomic issues. Nonetheless, the actual use of the D90, flipping back and forth between video and stills, wasn’t much different than having two separate cameras.”

LapTop Mag
“Even if you consider movie-recording a bonus, the D90 produces stunning photos, including in low light, and it has fast all-around speeds.”

Digital Trends (DOWN)
“The D90 as a camera is terrific. It focuses quickly, has zippy 4.5 fps burst mode, has more adjustments than you could possible handle in a lifetime plus it takes fine photos with barely a hint of noise.”

“Setting video aside, though, there’s an awful lot to like about this camera, from its fast burst mode to its fine low-light performance for flash-free photos and a Live View mode that’s still not perfect, but does prove comfortable and convenient in certain shooting situations. For $1000 plus lens, you’re getting a camera you’re unlikely to outgrow or tire of, and we’d call that a pretty good deal.”

“The D90 builds on this by including many of the options from the D300. The automatic Chromatic Aberration correction is just one example – without ever having to think about it, it instantly improves the results of every JPEG, regardless of the lens used.”

“In use, the D90 felt extremely responsive, could lock focus quickly and confidently on virtually anything, while the meter handled almost any scene you threw at it very well, necessitating much less use of the exposure compensation function than I’m used to.”

“The D90 is stuffed so full of new kit and clever tweaks. This a serious new camera in its own right and well worth serious consideration.”

“The Nikon D90 seems to be a really excellent camera for the intermediate photographer, and a great choice as a full-featured, light weight body for those who own a Nikon D200 or D300. The addition of video is groundbreaking, and will open up new possibilities that will be fun to explore. My only major disappointment for the intermediate market is the lack of a higher frame rate.”

“Ultimately, the Nikon D90 gets high marks because it’s a fast camera that delivers a great shooting experience and first-rate photos for the money. If your budget can’t stretch quite that far, the D80 remains an excellent deal at its price.”

“The D90 is first and foremost a DSLR. A very nice, state-of-the-art mid-range DSLR to be sure, but it is not a camcorder. Nikon saw an opportunity to add video capability to the DSLR and did so in a simple manner with little intention of creating a new type of hybrid camera. The D90 is a stills camera (and a very good one) at a very reasonable price, that happens to also shoot moderate quality video.”

“One inclusion that will please users who are regularly on the road is the slew of in-camera RAW editing options. You can tweak almost anything you want — including colour, exposure, white balance, sharpness and a host of settings — before converting to a JPEG in-camera.”

“This camera is a joy to use. It feels right in the hand. The bright viewfinder displays all the shooting parameter information. The image quality is spectacular. Even the instruction manual and menu system speak quality and careful attention to the photographer’s needs.”

“We are photographers and no experts in video. That is why we won’t review the video part of the D90. We just consider this a nice bonus feature of the D90. Our review only judges the still image capabilities of the D90.”

“There’s no doubt the Nikon D90 is a very impressive DSLR, but like its predecessor, it’s more about enhanced features and superior handling, rather than greatly improved image quality. Don’t get us wrong, the D90’s stills look great, but they’re not a significant step-up from 10 Megapixel models.”

“The more I use the D90, the more I like it. For most people it can replace the old D300 at a much lower price. The D90 offers the same or better image quality, with many new features, in a lighter plastic package with the same vivid 3″ LCD and a much improved rear multi selector for faster handling.”

“While the D90 offers a slew of upgrades and worthwhile additions, the groundbreaking feature is, of course, its 1280×720-pixel (720p) video capture.”

“The EXPEED image processor, introduced with the D300, is also used in the D90. Imatest confirmed our subjective assessments and showed only a slight decline in resolution as ISO sensitivity was increased. The test camera’s auto white balance failed to totally remove the inherent orange cast of incandescent lighting but came close to neutral colour reproduction with Fluorescent lighting.”

DCResource Detailed Review
“The D90 has the best battery life in its class. Camera performance was excellent in all areas but one. Despite having a dust reduction system, the D90 starts up as soon as you flip the power switch. Focusing speeds are good if you’re using the viewfinder, but very slow in live view mode. Photo quality was excellent. The D90 took well-exposed photos with pleasing, accurate colors. I came into this review expecting to like the Nikon D90, and I ended up loving it.”

“The camera is fast in all aspects; even its startup time is a negligible 0.15 second. The Nikon D90 has a nice mix of feature for both beginners and enthusiasts. Control freaks will love the D90’s multitude of fine-tuning features. Thanks to the large sensor, overall quality, including in low light, is very good, with smooth transitions, accurate colors and generally even exposures.”

“As an upgrade from the D80, the Nikon D90 positively flies; adding a chunkier new sensor, improved speed and picture quality, plus a bundle of modes and features. From a usability point of view, the informative visual information and display features from the D60 have also been adopted.”

“As uninterested in video on cameras as I am, the D90 needs to be hailed as a ground breaker simply because it exists. For what it’s worth, it seems to work quite well.”

“Oh yes, and of course there’s that one little new feature sitting at the back of the classroom with its hand waving in the air, shouting ‘Sir! Sir!’; the ‘world’s first’ DSLR movie mode.”

Sample Photos

Several galleries of test pictures shot with the Nikon D90. Some galleries include actual charts and in-depth tests. Most show enlarged crops to assess noise and distortions.

Lets Go Digital

Photography Review
Photoxels’ tests and samples
Photos from NeoCamera
Photozone’s sample pictures
Steve’s Digicams
Popular Science
Trusted Reviews
CNET tests
Sample photos from DCResource
Additional pictures from LetsGoDigital
Tests at ImagingResource
Official Nikon Samples

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