Expert Review of Nikon D90 DSLR VR Kit AF-S18-105 mm Black
Another great and exciting product in the market from the Nikon D flagship is the Nikon D90 SLR which is following almost similar strategy under which its predecessor worked which is keeping the aim a little higher, no too much, just a little too good enough than many of its close rivals. Undoubtedly this makes the device a little expensive than the other cats in the race but the same gamble paid off with Nikon D80 too, where many new buyers saw the value of spending a little extra on a better-featured camera which would last them longer. Let us talk about the upgrades that the camera brings along side itself, an inevitable boost in resolution over its predecessor, this time from 10.2 to 12.3 Megapixels. Nikon D90’s sensor employs CMOS technology and we understand it’s the same DX-format chip used in the semi-pro D300, or at least one based on it. As such the field-reduction factor remains 1.5 times and the sensitivity range is also the same as the D300, running from 200 to 3200 ISO in a standard range, with Lo-1 and Hi-1 options extending it to 100 and 6400 ISO. Like Nikon D300, Nikon D90 also offers anti-dust facilities which are taken care of by vibrations in the low pass filter. Another new, but highly anticipated and nothing shocking feature is obviously the Live View, unlike Live View on D300 and D700 though, Nikon D90 features a dedicated button on the rear to activate the feature, and there’s now three contrast-based AF modes to choose from. Sticking with the sensor, the big new feature for Nikon D90 is video recording - indeed it's the first DSLR to offer the facility. Nikon D90’s D-Movie mode captures progressive format video at 24fps in a choice of three resolutions: 320x216, 640x424 and a high definition 1280x720 mode. Video is stored in the Motion JPEG AVI format with mono audio. Video recording often involves compromises on still cameras, and indeed Nikon warns autofocus and ‘some other functions’ are not available when recording movies on Nikon D90. But as a DSLR, Nikon D90 features one literally big advantage over other still cameras, and indeed all consumer camcorders: its sensor is physically much larger. This gives Nikon D90 dual advantages of greater sensitivity in low light and potentially much smaller depth of fields, along with the opportunity to swap lenses and zoom while filming.
Design and Build Quality
Let us talk about the build and design that the camera has to offer, Nikon D90 shares essentially the same external design as its predecessor, bar a handful of minor tweaks – this is of course no bad thing as Nikon D80 already featured excellent build and ergonomics, so as the saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. So the external dimensions remain the same: 132mm x 103mm x 77mm, although the body only weight of 620g is slightly heavier than the 585g of its predecessor. n terms of build quality and ergonomics, Nikon D90, like its predecessor feels a step-up from models like the Canon below it – so while both it and Canon EOS 450D share similar construction and materials, Nikon D90 seems incredibly strong in hands.
Focus and Face Detection
Nikon D90 inherits the 11-point AF system of its predecessor and employs the same Multi-CAM 1000 module with a single cross-type sensor. There’s three main AF modes: AF-S (Single Servo AF), AF-C (Continuous Servo AF) and AF-A (an Auto mode which selects between them depending on whether the subject is in motion – this is the default option).
Lens and Image Stabilization
Nikon D90 is available body alone, or in a kit with the Nikkor DX 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 VR lens. This is a new lens launched with the D90 which may have a slightly shorter range than the DX 18-135mm typically supplied with the earlier D80, but now crucially features Vibration Reduction to counteract camera shake. DX 18-105mm VR has a 5.8x range that’s equivalent to 27-158mm; this takes you from wide angle to reasonable telephoto and we have examples of how you might use this in our D90 Sample Images page. The telephoto end may be 30mm shorter than the lens commonly bundled with Nikon D80, but it’s 50mm longer than most kit lenses, and you can see an illustration of this coverage in practice below.
Screen and Menus
Nikon D90’s viewfinder may be unchanged from Nikon D80, but Nikon’s significantly upgraded the screen to the same 3in VGA type you’ll find on the higher-end D300, D700 and D3 models. This ‘920k’ screen boasts 640x480 full colour pixels unlike the 320x240 pixel resolution its predecessor’s 2.5in ‘230k’ screen. In use Nikon D90’s screen looks very detailed, especially when playing images or navigating menus. Like most fixed monitors though, it can become hard to see in direct sunlight or at higher angles, which can limit its usefulness during Live View.
Nikon D90 is powered by the same EN-EL3e 1500mAh Lithium Ion battery pack as its predecessor, along with the D300 and D700 models. Nikon quotes 850 shots under CIPA conditions but that’s without Live View or movie recording – using either can eat through your batteries considerably quicker. A highly recommend advice though -> Always carrying a spare.
Nikon D90 can record video at 320x216, 640x424 or 1280x720 pixels, all at 24fps and with optional mono sound recorded using a new built-in microphone just above Nikon D90’s logo. The first two modes use the same 3:2 aspect ratio as the D90’s still images, while the 1280x720 mode is genuine high definition video in 16:9 using the 720p format.
Nikon D90 is equipped with a 12.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor which conforms to Nikon’s DX format and measures 23.6x15.8mm. These specifications are identical to the D300’s sensor, although Nikon describes it as a newly developed sensor with technology directly inherited from the D300. As we’ll see there’s some similarities, but also some differences, at least when considering the complete imaging pipeline.
Great handling and ergonomics.
Big viewfinder and detailed screen.
First DSLR with movie mode.
4.5fps shooting & 11-point AF.
Motion artefacts in movie mode.
Tough rival in Canon EOS 40D.
Resolution not a big step from D80.
Remote & RAW software costs extra.