Nikon D90 digital SLR with HD video recording
A DSLR and an HD camcorder
Review Life can be a confusing business. You’ve got mobile phones that double up as cameras, and cameras that record video. Well, prepare to be even more confused as cameras begin to capture HD video. Nikon’s D90 proudly claims to be the world’s first DSLR to record HD video.
So does this mean the end of the camcorder as we know it - or has Nikon taken its eye off the photographic ball? Let’s take a look.
Nikon's D90: DSLR and HD camcorder
If you’ve used the D80, you’d hard pressed to see much difference between it and the D90. Both cameras have the same basic shape, size and layout, but there are some big differences under the skin. We should add that the D90 isn't a replacement for the D80, which still remains in Nikon’s line-up; this is more of a step-up product. The D90 comes both as a body or kit, with the latter including a DX Nikkor 18-105mm lens – we tested the latter. The D90 is compatible with a wide range of Nikon lenses, although with different degrees of functionality.
The D90 is a solid camcorder, weighing around 700g when loaded up with battery and card. It measures 132 x 103 x 77mm. At the top are a mode dial, hot shoe, LCD control panel, power switch and shutter button, plus keys for exposure compensation, metering, release mode - such as single shot or continuous - and autofocus mode.
The rear of the D90 is dominated by a 3in LCD screen composed of 920,000 dots, which is actually 640 x 480, with three colours per pixel. To the left of the screen is a vertical row of buttons for playback, Menu, white balance, ISO and image quality/size. In fact, most of these buttons also offer additional functions, depending on the camera mode. The ISO button, for instance, is also used for controlling the thumbnail display during playback.
The control layout's smart
Above the LCD screen is the delete button, viewfinder, AE/AF lock button and command dial. To the right of the screen is a Live View button, nav control, focus selector lock switch and info button, which lets you view various settings, such as aperture size, ISO speed and battery life, on the LCD screen.
Re: How does the Nikon D90 compare to the Canon 40D?
Under a grand? I'd try and find a Canon EOS 5D, mk I. There are some available new for around that, obviously you can pick a used one for less.
Why? Excellent per pixel sharpness, over and above the cameras you listed. Full frame, so no FOV crop, which makes wideangle easier. Of course that's only a major advantage if you tend to shoot wideangle; the 1.6x FOV Canon 40D/50D (1.5x Nikon D80/D90) crop factor is an advantage if you tend to prefer telephoto; as it effectively gives you a free 1.6x teleconverter built-in ;)
The only thing missing from the mk1 is live view. If you're into tripod based macro, or astrophotography then that's a pain. Of course the mk2 has it, but it's way over a grand.
Incidentally the noise levels on the D90 are low because it appears to be applying some pretty aggressive noise reduction.
could some one please tell me...
is the Casio EX-F1 a DSLR?
How does the Nikon D90 compare to the Canon 40D?
I am due a new camera (overdue actually!) but I am still undecided on what to get. I have been looking at Nikon D80/90 (or possibly the 300) and the Canon 40/50Ds. How do fellow Reg readers rate the Nikons to the Canon cameras? What are the Nikon lenses like?
If you were going to get a DSLR under a grand, which would you get and why?
Cheers for any comments :)
Nice camera, miserable service and warranty
Nikon makes a nice camera. It's not perfect, but it does a solid job as a camera.
And then, something happens. Under the original 1 year warranty terms, or under the optional time-of-purchase two-year add-on warranty from Nikon, you have to send it in for service.
Once service gets it, they will examine it with a microscope, and look for the slightest exterior damage (such as a scratch). If they find it, then your warranty is VOID. Just like that. And now you're paying full price for repairs.
Except that their service techs are apparently about as well trained as a room full of monkeys. I sent a D-80 back for repair three times, and they never fixed it properly. They keep saying they will just replace the camera, but they haven't done that, either.
God help you if you actually try to call and talk to the customer service reps. You'll get all kinds of promises for updates, emails, return calls, return calls from a supervisor, you name it. But absolutely jack will come of it -- you're still left in a black hole with a vintage 1995 web site "tracking" the lack of progress of your repairs.
Due to their customer service, warranty "honoring" terms, and inability to actually repair a broken camera, I'll never buy another Nikon product. It's that simple.
HD video example (from Canon 5D II)
I'm the happy owner of a D90, and agree that the video feels like a 1.0 feature. Fun, though, and nice to have.