In the lead-up to the huge Photokina 2008 trade show, there were a number of big new camera announcements—more megapixels and better image quality, and in the spirit of convergence, HD video makes the leap to still cameras!
Active D-Lighting. Active D-Lighting expands dynamic range by exposing for the highlights and processing to retain shadow detail, in-camera. You can select a strength level or let the camera do it. Active D-Lighting works with JPEG and RAW images.
EXPEED Image-Processing System. Like the pro D3 and the D700 and D300, the D90 incorporates Nikon’s EXPEED image-processing system, which provides finer details, smoother tones, more brilliant colors and lower noise over a wide range of ISOs, while also speeding operation and reducing power consumption. The D90 starts up in a quick 0.15 seconds, has a shutter lag of just 65ms and a viewfinder blackout of just 120ms; it can shoot full-res images at 4.5 per second. ISO settings range from 200 to 3200, and can be expanded to 100 and 6400.
D-Movie Mode. The D90 can shoot HD-quality movie clips at up to 720p (1280x720 pixels) in Motion JPEG (AVI) format at 24 fps, with or without sound—5 minutes’ worth or up 20 minutes at lower resolution. The D90’s image sensor is much larger than typical camcorder sensors, so it should yield better image quality, especially at higher ISOs, as well as shallower depth of field. And you can use the full range of Nikkor lenses, including fisheye and Micro-Nikkors. Metering works while shooting movies, but AF doesn’t; focus is locked before filming begins.
Scene Recognition System. Introduced in Nikon’s recent top-end D-SLRs, the Scene Recognition System uses data from the 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II system and 11-point AF system and references an on-board database of more than 30,000 photographic scenes to optimize focus, exposure and white balance.
Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit. The D90 uses the same Self-Cleaning Sensor system as the D300, employing ultrasonic vibrations at four different frequencies to remove dust from the low-pass filter.
New 12.3-Megapixel CMOS Sensor. Although both the D300 and the new D90 have the same 12.3 million effective pixels and measure the same 23.6x15.8mm (DX/APS-C format), the D90’s new CMOS sensor isn’t the same one used in the D300. The D90’s contains fewer gross pixels (12.9 million vs. 13.1 million) and provides HD-movie capability.
One-Button Live View. Press the Lv button on the camera back, and the image appears live on the 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor. While the D90 lacks the Handheld Live Mode (with phase-detection AF) of the D3 and D300, it provides three contrast-detect AF modes: wide-area, normal-area and Face Detect, which finds and focuses on human faces in a scene. Of course, you also can focus manually during Live-View operation.
Specifications Image Sensor: 12.3-megapixel (effective) CMOS Resolution: 4288x2848 pixels Sensor Size: 23.6x15.8mm (APS-C), 1.5x AF System: 11-point Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄200 sec. ISO Settings: 200-3200 (1/3 increments), expandable to 100-6400 Continuous Firing Mode: 4.5 fps Recording Format: JPEG, NEF (RAW) Metering: 420-pixel evaluative, 75% CW, 2% spot Storage Media: SD, SDHC Dimensions: 5.2x4.1x3.0 inches Weight: 21.9 ounces Power Source: Rechargeable EN-EL3e lithium-ion battery Estimated Street Price: $999 Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com
The new D90 contains much of the technology first seen in Nikon’s high-end pro D-SLRs. As a backup professional D-SLR, the D90 is not only capable, but it also adds a unique D-Movie Mode that gives you the ability to shoot HD-quality video. For Nikon professionals, the camera gives you a low-cost, durable, feature-rich body with the ability to delve into video, as well as excellent 12.3-megapixel still images.