Hot on the heels of Canon's new EOS 50D Nikon have released information on their new D90 DSLR.
The Nikon D90 has at least one unique feature - the ability to shoot HD movies (with sound) at 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. I've been saying for a few years now that a movie mode for DSLRs was the next logical step now that they all have a Live View mode, and here it is on the Nikon D90. However it's not a substitute for a real video camera yet. For one thing the exposure cannot be adjusted during the movie and is fixed at the initial value, and the maximum recording time is only 5 minutes. On top of that there is no AF while shooting so focusing must be done manually. The sound is also mono only. So although any movie making capability is better than none, it's going to be a while before a DSLR can rival a true video camera in terms of features and versatility.
A 12.3MP sensor isn't the highest pixel count around (both Pentax and Canon have 15MP APS-C DSLRs), but it's more than good enough for 99% of potential users - who will never print larger then 16x20 anyway. 4.5 frame/sec isn't as fast as the EOS 40D (6.5fps) or EOS 50D (6.3fps), but the difference is small enough not to matter for most users. 4.5fps is still pretty fast. Face recognition and exposure optimization now seems like something everyone has to have (though don't ask me why...). The ISO range from 200 to 3200 covers most needs and can be expanded to cover ISO 100 and 6400. Top shutter speed is 1/4000s while on the Canon 40D/50D it's 1/8000s, but I don't recall ever actually using 1/8000s, so clearly that's not an essential feature!
The Nikon D90 will also be available in a kit with the 5.8x AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens.
Overall the D90 is a pretty impressive camera. It does almost anything you could want and the price is $400 lower than the new Canon EOS 50D, which makes it a pretty attractive choice. If I was looking for a mid-level DSLR and I didn't already have a bag full of Canon EOS lenses, I think the new Nikon D90 would be high on my list of cameras to look at.
Here's a brief list of the main features:
|Nikon D80||Nikon D90||Canon EOS 50D||Canon EOS 40D|
|Sensor||10.2 MPCMOS||12.3 MP CMOS||15.1 MP CMOS||10.1 MP CMOS|
|Continuous shooting rate||3 fps||4.5 fps||6.3fps||6.5fps|
|Sensitivity range||200-1600 (plus 100, 3200)||200-3200 (plus 100, 6400)||ISO 100-3200 (plus 6400, 12800)||100-1600 (plus 3200)|
fixed focusing screen
fixed focusing screen
changeable focusing screen
changeable focusing screen
|Autofocus||11 point AF
Single center cross-type
|11 point AF
Single center cross-type
|9 point AF (all cross)||9 point AF (all cross)|
|Movie Mode||No||Yes (5 minutes max, fixed exposure, no AF)||No||No|
|Dust reduction system||Dust reference image||Vibrating sensor
Dust reference image
Dust reference image
Dust reference image
|LCD size||2.5"||3"||3 "||3"|
|Shutter durability||less than 100,000 cycles?||100,000 cycles||100,000 cycles||100,000 cycles|
|Availability||Current||~ September 2008||~ October 2008||Current|
|Price (street, body only)||~ $725||$999||$1399||~ $970|
MELVILLE, N.Y. (Aug. 27, 2008) Nikon Inc. today announced the D90, a digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera that redefines the creative boundaries of digital photography allowing photographers to easily create stunning still images and High Definition (HD) movie clips with soundwith the same camera. A host of Nikon core technologies were leveraged to develop the D90s scope of versatility, calling on years of photographic and optical expertise. Whether consumers are graduating from an advanced compact digital camera or are a seasoned D-SLR enthusiast, the Nikon D90 emphasizes brilliant image quality and versatility with its exclusive advanced Scene Recognition System, intuitive creative controls, blazing fast performance and the industry-first ability to create HD movie clips at 720p in the new D-Movie mode.
Inspired by Nikons acclaimed flagship DX-format digital SLR camera, the D300, and building on the success of the wildly popular D80, the D90 delivers stunning image quality. The CMOS image sensor and 12.3 effective megapixels combined with Nikons exclusive EXPEED image processing system deliver outstanding images with fine details, smooth tones, brilliant colors and low noise across a broad ISO range.
Photographers are able to easily compose stunning images using the Live View Mode on the large 3-inch 920,000-dot high-resolution LCD screen. The 11-point auto focus (AF) system utilizes Nikon's exclusive Scene Recognition System and Face Detection to help make the best shot in a variety of environments. Matched with the new versatile AF-S NIKKOR 18-105mm Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization lens, and a burst rate of up to 4.5 frames per second, photographers can confidently capture fast action and precise moments as they unfold. Also helping to ensure no memory is missed, the D90 offers fast handling with a power-up time of a mere 0.15ms and split-second shutter response measuring just 65ms, eliminating the frustration of pictures lost to shutter lag.
The D90 delivers incredible imaging performance and control, setting a new standard for its class. This marriage of outstanding still image performance and HD movie clip capacity represents the dawn of a new age for D-SLR cameras. The D90s handling characteristics and long list of features are sure to deliver the photographic experience that Nikon photographers have come to expect from Nikon engineering, said Edward Fasano, general manager for marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon Inc. Everyone at Nikon is especially eager to see the myriad of ways that imaginative D90 photographers will explore the world of cinematic 24fps HD video through the eyes of NIKKOR optics.
Legendary Image Quality
For shooting in a variety of lighting conditions, the D90 has a wide sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 3200 (expandable to Lo 1 ISO 100 and Hi 1 ISO 6400) to deliver incredible low-noise images. The camera also employs an Image Sensor Cleaning function that works to free image-degrading dust particles from the sensors optical low-pass filter, helping to ensure spot-free images.
The new D90 companion lens, the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR provides a versatile focal length, and the benefits of Nikon Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization technology. Nikon VR reduces the image blurring effects of camera shake allowing photographers to shoot hand-held at as many as 3 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible*, assuring dramatically sharper images, even in challenging lighting conditions.
Borrowed from Nikon's professional line of digital cameras, the D90 is the most affordable camera to include Nikon's Scene Recognition System and adds newly-developed advanced Face Detection technology. The intelligent Scene Recognition System interprets color and brightness information of each individual shot from the 420-pixel RGB sensor, and applies changes to AF, auto exposure and auto white balance. The D90 can also detect up to five faces using the new Face Detection system, producing flattering portraits with astounding definition and accuracy. While in playback mode, simply press the zoom button and portraits captured with Face Detection can be immediately magnified to ensure proper focus on the subject and faces are displayed on the LCD screen within brackets for easy reference and subject tracking.
The D90 benefits from Nikons comprehensive digital image processing engine, EXPEED, which provides smooth tones, rich colors and defined image details, as well as enhanced processing performance. Additionally, Nikon's exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II helps to ensure accurate exposures, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. Evaluating each scene, input data from the system's sensor is automatically referenced against an internal database of over 30,000 scenes derived from actual photographs to calculate correct exposure values. To push the creative boundaries even further, Variable Center-Weighted metering and Spot metering centered on the active focus area are also available, as are exposure compensation and auto exposure bracketing.
The Next Big Blockbuster
For the first time in digital SLR photography, Nikon introduces the addition of the D-Movie mode, allowing consumers to create their own HD movie clips (1280 x 720) with sound from their D-SLR camera. Photographers will appreciate the cinematic qualities that come from the 24fps frame rate, which matches theatrical film, whether producing vacation clips or creatively melding stills with video. Additionally, the large size of the D90s DX-format sensor, combined with the optical superiority and broad selection of NIKKOR lenses, provides shooters with the ability to capture amazing perspectives not possible with typical camcorders. D-Movie clips also benefit from Nikon VR image stabilization, which is automatically activated during recording to aid the low-light capability that trumps many other hybrid devices. Users can record movie clips onto an inserted SD / SDHC card, created as Motion JPEG AVI files that are easily edited with widely available video editing software. The D90 also features an HDMI terminal, allowing viewing of both pictures and movies on High Definition televisions.
D90 Delivers Peak Performance
The D90's unprecedented start up time and imperceptible shutter lag derives from the same standards as the professional sports photographer choice, the Nikon D3. JPEG bursts can be shot as rapidly as 4.5 frames per second, allowing photographers to capture detailed action sequences or catch fleeting expressions that might otherwise be missed. Images are also processed and previewed rapidly at 120ms, which is less time than it takes to move an eye from the viewfinder to the screen. Users are also able to creatively stop the action with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 second or create long-time exposures down to 30 seconds.
Nikon's 11-point AF also offers best-in-class speed and performance, helping to ensure sharp focus at any focal length. Adopting a refined version of Nikon's advanced Multi-CAM 1000 AF Module, the AF systems center area wide-frame operation adds inherent focusing options that will instill greater confidence in getting the desired shot. Single-point AF is suggested for static subjects, dynamic-area AF for moving subjects, auto-area AF for spontaneous shooting and 3D-tracking (11 points) AF for when changing the composition after focusing on a subject.
Push Creative Boundaries to the Limit
No matter the level of experience, the D90 makes high-quality photography fun and easier for a remarkably broad range of picture-takers. Users can enjoy complete control over all manual features or let the camera optimize settings automatically. For the camera novice and photography enthusiasts, the D90 puts all of the tools to explore new creative possibilities at their fingertips through the simple menu-driven interface. For those looking to enjoy the added performance and versatility of digital SLR photography, creative shooting is as simple as rotating the Mode dial with Advanced Scene modes on the camera. There are many options when it comes to realizing creative vision, such as Picture Control settings to provide an assorted palette of color effects that optimize color, saturation and hue through user-selected choices of Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, and Landscape. Popular editing tools such as Nikons exclusive D-Lighting and image trimming, image overlay, and a wide assortment of color filters can also be applied to images after capture. The D90 also provides new options for in-camera image enhancement, including:
Distortion Control: Adjusts lens aberration
Straighten: Helps to correct linear inclination of an image for straight horizons and landscapes
Fisheye Effect: In camera filter produces optical effects similar to a fisheye lens
Skillfully Capture Inspiring Images
The D90 has been engineered with the photographer in mind with an intuitive interface that places a variety of automatic and advanced features at the hands of the user. The camera is built to withstand the rigors of an urban excursion or backcountry safari while boasting an impressive shutter mechanism that is tested to 100,000 cycles for durability. Whether upgrading from a compact digital camera or already a seasoned hobbyist, the D90 D-SLR will help anyone take great pictures, thanks in part to the following new features:
Battery life: New circuitry enhances power consumption, affording up to 850
shots in typical conditions on a single charge of the Lithium Ion battery (CIPA standard)
Viewfinder: The bright viewfinder offers a luminous 0.94x magnification to more accurately compose images
LCD screen: The high-resolution 920,000-dot, 3-inch LCD screen gives a 170-degree angle of view to make both composing and sharing easy and fun
New playback function: Users can show their images in either four, nine or 72 thumbnail images, or use a new calendar format to easily find photos; users can also show their photos via Nikon's Pictmotion slideshow, including background music
Built-in Flash: The built-in Speedlight offers a guide number of approximately 18/56 (ISO 200) and can wirelessly control up to two groups of Speedlights in full iTTL mode
Nikon System Legacy
The D90 also offers unprecedented compatibility with Nikons extensive selection of NIKKOR lenses, including DX NIKKOR lenses, which are designed for optimum performance with Nikon DX format digital SLR cameras. NIKKOR lenses offer legendary optical superiority and add to the D90s ability to deliver outstanding images. Paired with the D90 is the new AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, which provides a versatile 5.8x optical zoom and VR image stabilization, for even sharper handheld picture taking. This lens offers a 27-157.5mm focal length in 35mm equivalent, a one-lens solution that offers a broad focal range to let photographers get up close and personal to their subjects from a distance, or wide for breathtaking landscapes. The built-in Silent Wave Motor ensures quick and quiet AF operation, while an aspherical element and ED glass deliver high resolution, high contrast images with minimal chromatic aberration and distortion.
Photographers will also enjoy advanced functionality anywhere in the world with system accessories designed for the adventurous globe trekker. When used with the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit (available separately beginning November 2008), the D90 provides geotagging to images with latitude, longitude and altitude data imprinted on the images' metadata. Users can also prolong their adventure with the MB-D80 battery pack that accepts two EN-EL3e or six widely available AA-size batteries. Additionally, photographers can share and upload their images with a wireless interface optimized for the Eye-Fi wireless enabled SD card wherever there is a wireless network.
The D90 is also fully compatible with Capture NX2 software (available for purchase separately), Nikons highly versatile and elegantly simple new photo editing solution designed to help photographers tap into the full potential of NEF (RAW) images. Featuring an innovative user interface that provides easier access to powerful and visually intuitive enhancement tools, Capture NX2 affords photographers the ability to use revolutionary control points.
Price and Availability
The D90 will be available throughout the United States beginning September 2008 at an MSRP of $999.95** for body only and $1299.95** for body and lens outfit that includes the new AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens. The GP-1 GPS unit will be available in November 2008, and pricing will be announced near the time of its delivery to the marketplace. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.
*As determined in Nikon performance tests
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers
and are subject to change at any time.
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
|Type||Single-lens reflex digital camera|
|Lens mount||Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)|
|Effective picture angle||Approx. 1.5 x lens focal length (Nikon DX format)|
|Effective pixels||12.3 million|
|Image sensor||23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor|
|Total pixels||12.9 million|
|Dust-reduction system||Image Sensor Cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 required)|
|Image size (pixels)
||4,288 x 2,848 [L], 3,216 x 2,136 [M], 2,144 x 1,424 [S]|
|File format|| NEF (RAW)
JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8), or basic (approx. 1:16) compression
NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
|Picture Control System||Can be selected from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape; storage for up to nine custom Picture Controls|
|Media||SD memory cards, SDHC compliant|
|File system||DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0, DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Exif 2.21 (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras), PictBridge|
|Viewfinder||Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder|
|Frame coverage||Approx. 96% horizontal and 96% vertical|
|Magnification||Approx. 0.94 x (50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1)|
|Eyepoint||19.5 mm (-1.0 m-1)|
|Diopter adjustment||-2 to +1 m-1|
|Focusing screen||Type B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark II with focus frame (framing grid can be displayed)|
|Reflex mirror||Quick-return type|
|Depth-of-field preview||When depth-of-field preview button is pressed, lens aperture is stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or by camera (other modes)|
|Lens aperture||Instant return, electronically controlled|
|Compatible lenses|| DX AF Nikkor: All functions supported
Type G or D AF Nikkor: All functions supported (PC Micro-Nikkor does not support some functions). IX-Nikkor lenses not supported.
Other AF Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II. Lenses for F3AF not supported.
AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II and auto focus.
Non-CPU: Autofocus not supported. Can be used in exposure mode M, but exposure meter does not function. Electronic rangefinder can be used if lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster.
|Shutter type||Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter|
|Shutter speed||1/4,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, Bulb|
|Flash sync speed||X = 1/200 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/200s or slower|
|Release modes||Single-frame, continuous low speed, continuous high speed, self-timer, delayed remote, quick-response|
|Frame advance rate||Continuous high speed: up to 4.5 fps, continuous low speed: 1-4 fps|
|Self-timer||Can be selected from 2, 5, 10 and 20 s duration|
|Exposure metering||TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor|
|Exposure method|| Matrix: 3D color matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix
metering II (other CPU lenses)
Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 6-, 8- or 10-mm circle in center of frame
Spot: Meters 3.5-mm circle (about 2% of frame) centered on selected focus point
|Exposure range (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20°C/68°F)|| Matrix or center-weighted metering: 0-20 EV
Spot metering: 2-20 EV
|Exposure meter coupling||CPU|
|Exposure modes||Auto modes (auto, auto [flash off]), Advanced Scene Modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Close-up, Night Portrait), programmed auto with flexible program (P), shutter-priority auto (S), aperture-priority auto (A), manual (M)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV|
|Exposure bracketing||2 or 3 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 or 2 EV|
|Exposure lock||Luminosity locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button|
|ISO sensitivity (Recommended Exposure Index)||ISO 200 to 3200 in steps of 1/3 EV, can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.7 or 1 EV (ISO 100 equivalent) below ISO 200, or to approx. 0.3, 0.7 or 1 EV (ISO 6400 equivalent) over ISO 3200, ISO sensitivity auto control available|
|Active D-Lighting||Can be selected from Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low or off|
|Active D-Lighting bracketing||2 frames|
|Autofocus||Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus module with TTL phase detection, 11 focus points (including 1 cross-type sensor) and AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 0.5-3 m/1 ft. 8 in.-9 ft. 10 in.)|
|Detection range||-1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 equivalent, 20°C /68°F)|
|Lens servo|| Autofocus: Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Auto-servo AF (A),
Predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status in single-
and continuous-servo AF
Manual (M): Electronic rangefinder supported
|Focus point||Can be selected from 11 focus points|
|AF-area modes||Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points) AF|
|Focus lock||Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (Single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button|
|Built-in flash||Auto, Portrait, Close-up, Night Portrait modes: Auto flash with auto pop-up
P, S, A, M: Manual pop-up with button release
|Guide number (m/ft.) at 20°C/68°F|| At ISO 200: Approx. 17/56, 18/59 with manual flash
At ISO 100 equivalent: Approx. 12/39, 13/43 with manual flash
|Flash control|| TTL: i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR using
420-pixel RGB sensor are available with built-in flash, SB-900, SB-800, SB-600 or SB-400
Auto aperture: Available with SB-900, SB-800 and CPU lenses
Non-TTL auto: Supported flash units include SB-900, SB-800, SB-28, SB-27 or SB-22s
Range-priority manual: Available with SB-900 and SB-800
|Flash modes||Front curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync|
|Flash compensation||-3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, or 1/2 EV|
|Flash bracketing||2 or 3 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 or 2 EV|
|Flash-ready indicator||Lights when built-in flash or SB-900, SB-800, SB-600, SB-400, SB-80DX, SB-28DX, or SB-50DX is fully charged; blinks for 3 s after flash is fired at full output in i-TTL or auto aperture modes|
|Accessory shoe||Standard ISO 518 hot-shoe contact with safety lock|
|Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS)||Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with built-in flash, SB-900, SB-800, or SU-800 as commander and SB-900, SB-800, SB-600 or SB-R200 as remotes; Auto FP High-Speed Sync and modeling illumination supported with all CLS-compatible flash units except SB-400; Flash Color Information Communication and FV lock supported with all CLS-compatible flash units|
|White balance||Auto (TTL white-balance with main image sensor and 420-pixel RGB sensor); 12 manual modes with fine-tuning; color temperature setting; preset manual white balance|
|White balance bracketing||2 or 3 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3|
|Live View AF modes||Face priority AF, wide area AF, normal area AF|
|Live View focus||Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face priority AF is selected)|
|Movie image size (pixels)||1,280 x 720/24 fps, 640 x 424/24 fps, 320 x 216/24 fps|
|Movie file format||AVI|
|Movie compression format||Motion-JPEG, with monaural sound|
|LCD monitor||3-in., approx. 920k-dot (VGA), low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with 170° viewing angle, approx. 100% frame coverage, and brightness adjustment|
|Playback function||Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9 or 72 images or calendar) playback with playback zoom, movie playback, Pictmotion, slide show, histogram display, highlights, auto image rotation, and image comment (up to 36 characters)|
|Audio video output||Can be selected from NTSC and PAL; simultaneous playback from both the audio video output and on the LCD monitor available|
|HDMI output||HDMI Mini connector; camera monitor turns off when HDMI cable is connected|
|Accessory terminal|| Remote Cord MC-DC2 (Optional)
GPS Unit GP-1 (Optional)
|Supported languages||Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish|
|Battery||One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e|
|Battery pack||Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D80 (optional) with one or two Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e or six R6/AA-size alkaline, Ni-MH, lithium or nickel-manganese batteries (Battery Holder MS-D200 is required when using R6/AA-size batteries.)|
|AC adapter||AC Adapter EH-5a (optional)|
|Tripod socket||1/4 in. (ISO 1222)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||Approx. 132 x 103 x 77 mm/5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.|
|Weight||Approx. 620 g/1 lb. 6 oz. without battery, memory card, body cap or monitor cover|
|Humidity||Less than 85% (no condensation)|
|Supplied accessories (may differ by country or area)||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Quick Charger MH-18a, Eyepiece Cap DK-5, Rubber Eyecup DK-21, USB Cable UC-E4, Audio Video Cable EG-D2, Camera Strap AN-DC1, LCD Monitor Cover BM-10, Body Cap, Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1, Software Suite CD-ROM|