Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

Enjoying my Nikon D90

Phew! Things have been really hectic for me since the New Year began and one of the few joys during the interim that I found throughout my currently busy busy busy schedule (aside from the obvious lure of moolah) was the opportunity to take pictures with my new baby, the Nikon D90. I posted it’s first pics (well picture of the D90 box at least) via my New Year greeting but failed to record the unboxing pics because I didn’t remember to take pictures 🙁 Oh well, at least I got the hang of all the new buttons, nubs and features pretty quickly because I dropped everything and played with the cam’s features up until the New Year’s celebration on the beachside but that’s another story. 😀

In any case, I bought it last year, on December 31 via kimstore (order placed December 30 and item received December 31). That should give you an idea of how fast kimstore is with transactions 😀 Ok enough of the shameless plug. The moment I got my hands on the new cam, the very first thing I did (you should too, especially when you’re getting a new cam in the near future) was to read the manual to make sure I’m doing things right and that I won’t do anything to harm my new cam. To further sate my appetite for what-to-know, I also printed out a copy of Ken Rockwell’s D90 review and PDF guide. If you’re new to digital SLR cams, looking for equipment reviews and recommendations, I recommend paying a visit to his site. Photography is his bread and butter so that should indicate how important (or relevant) his opinions are.

Coming from the very simple and lightweight D40, the very first thing I noted and loved about the D90 was it’s sheer number of buttons and nubs. You can see a comparison of the physical differences of both cameras from the table below:

Nikon D40

Nikon D90

Notice anything? Yep. Compared to the D40, there’s quite a lot of buttons for the D90. They’re not just for display though, they actually quite useful once you know how to use them 😀 You see, with the D40, if you need to set something for a shot… say, change your Image Size, you need to navigate through your menu and change it. With the D90, just press the proper button and rotate the secondary nub. That’s just a simple example but lets go on 😀 What if you wanted to switch your ISO setting? Your shooting mode? During normal circumstances, you don’t need to change these on the fly but it’s handy especially when shooting in the field where lighting change over time.

As for the all important specification head to head?

Camera ModelNikon D40Nikon D90
Field of View Crop Factor1.51.5
Dimensions4.94 x 3.69 x 2.51 in (126 x 94 x 64 mm)5.18 x 4.04 x 3.02 in (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
Weight1.1 lbs (475 gramms)1.4 lbs (620 gramms)
Weight (with Batteries)1.2 lbs (522 gramms)
Body Materialplasticmetal/plastic
Announce TimeNovember 15, 2006August 26, 2008
Total Pixels6.24 Megapixels12.9 Megapixels
Effective Sensor Resolution6.1 Megapixels12.3 Megapixels
Optical Sensor TypeCCDCMOS
Color Depth36 bit36 bit
Light Sensitivity200 – 1600 ISO, Auto ISO200 – 3200 ISO, Auto ISO
Max Resolution3008 x 20004288 x 2848
Sensor Dust ReductionNoYes
Video RecordingNoYes
Manual setting of shutter speed and apertureYesYes
Live ViewNoYes
Af Assists IlluminatorYesYes
Manual Focus AdjustmentYesYes
Face DetectionNoYes
FeaturesTripod mount, Remote Control, Camera orientation detectionTripod mount, Remote Control, Camera orientation detection
White BalanceAuto, Manual, PresetsAuto, Manual, Presets, Bracketing
Max Shutter Speed30 s30 s
Min Shutter Speed1/4000 s1/4000 s
X-sync Speed1/200 s1/500 s
Exposure ModesShutter-priority, Aperture-priorityShutter-priority, Aperture-priority
Auto Exposure Bracketing1/3 range in 5 EV steps1/3 range in 5 EV steps
Exposure MeteringCenter-weighted, Spot, 3D Color MatrixCenter-weighted, Spot, 3D Color Matrix
Exposure BracketingNoYes
Still Image Format3 JPEG, RAW3 JPEG, RAW
Digital Video FormatAVI
Digital Video CodecMJPEG
Built-in MicrophoneNoYes
Lens System Mounting (bynet)Nikon FNikon F
Image Aspect Ratio3:23:2
Video Max Resolution1280×720
Built-in FlashYesYes
Hot ShoeYesYes
Flash Featuresi-TTLFlash exposure bracketing,i-TTL
Red Eye ReductionYesYes
ViewfinderOptical TTL (through the lens)Optical TTL (through the lens)
Viewfinder Field Coverage95%96%
Display Form FactorBuilt-inBuilt-in
Display Pixels230000920000
Display Size2.5 inch3 inch
Supported Flash MemorySD, SDHCSD, SDHC
Battery Capacity1000 mAh or 470 frames1500 mAh or850 frames
Supported BatteryMB-D80EN-EL3e
Power SlotYesYes
Continuous Shooting Speed2.5frames per second4frames per second
Self TimerYesYes
Self Timer Delay2, 5, 10, 20 s2, 5, 10, 20 s
Turn On Time0.18 s0.15 s
Cables IncludedUSB cableUSB cable, A/V cable
Included AccessoriesEyecup, Neck strap, Battery charger, Body cap, Lens cap, Shoe capEyecup, Neck strap, Battery charger, Body cap, Lens cap, Shoe cap, LCD monitor cover
InterfacesUSB (2.0), Video outputUSB (2.0), Video output, HDMI, Audio output, Remote control

If you’re a numbers guy/girl, the D90 is a cut above the D40.  Sure, the D90 can capture more pixels but what’s important is it’s sensor.  The CMOS sensor brings the D90’s performance at par with Nikon’s more professional offering, the D300 :D.  It’s like getting a D300 for cheap.  The D90 has video but unlike Canon’s latest offering, the 500D, it seems like a feature added at the last minute :(.  Autofocus doesn’t work and sound is jittery at best.  I understand the decisions that Nikon made that put the HD video feature on the D90 but I would’ve liked it better they really didn’t add such a crippled feature.  Maybe they’ll fix most of the D90’s quirks with a firmware update but still, I would prefer to disable it entirely.  I have a Flip HD for HD video purposes :D.

Now, what I like about the D90.  First would be it’s size.  My fingers are quite long which makes holding my D40 quite cumbersome because it’s quite small, small enough to fit in one hand.  Optimally, we should should with both hands right?  The left hand cradles the lens for stability and the right holds the cam and the shutter button.  This is problematic with the D40 since it’s light and small enough to be held with one hand, I usually end up holding the cam with ackward position for my fingers >_>.  The obvious solution would be to get a camera grip but since my budget permitted it, I got a D90 instead.  😀  The sheer size of the D90 makes it comfortable to hold and shoot with and it’s weight makes it easier to stabilize the camera (for me at least since I feel like I’m fighting against the weight of the camera, not the weight of my own arm >_>).

The D90’s advanced feature set are quite helpful as well. D-lighting in particular has been very useful in composing lowlight shots or shots with very high lighting contrasts (i.e. the subject is bathed with background light). Without D-lighting, finding the right exposure would’ve been a nightmare in those situations :D.

Now, the part that you’ve been waiting for, the pictures :D.  I was only able to process a few pics so please bear with me.  These shots were taken during one of our frequent visits to pizza hut.  The manager was kind enough to give us a discount card taking 10% the usual price 😀  Imagine that.  If you want to see more of my pics, you can just follow updates on my flickr account.

I’m still working on the pictures from the photoshoot with Genre productions but even if I do finish processing them, I’ll still waiting for the go signal to post them :D. Now, I did promise a post on Canon vs Nikon (specifically the 500D vs the D90). I’m still working on it but it’ll probably be put on hold while I process more pics. *sigh*

So what happens with my D40 now that I’ve switch to my D90 full time? Well it’s relegated to the status of secondary body. I’m still saving up to get a Nikkor 35mm f/2.0 AF-D lens to replace it’s current 50mm lens. The 50 mm is a good lens but I feel that at 35 mm, I’d get better use out of it. Will post an update on my current camera gear in a few so please look forward to it 😀

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  1. Jaypee February 9, 2010 Reply

    Congratulations on your new toy! I’m hoping that this year would be the year I buy a DSLR. 😀

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