The Nikon D90 - the world's first DSLR with HD video functionality - offers technology borrowed from its more expensive D300 and D3 siblings at a price that will appeal to serious enthusiasts, as well as those looking to experiment with video at an affordable pricepoint. The What Digital Camera Nikon D90 Review...
Nikon D90 design
Nikon D90 vs Nikon D80: similarities
The D90’s form very much resembles that of the model it replaces, befitting its mid-range DSLR status. The somewhat traditional combination of a metal frame – though the Nikon D90 sports aluminium alloy – and a plastic chassis provide a sturdiness to the body, while still keeping it relatively lightweight at 620g. Controls and buttons also follow the arrangement of its predecessor, though the D90’s buttons are slightly smaller and more circular, among them now sitting a dedicated live view button.
As with the D300, the Nikon D90 has an Info button that lives to the lower right of the LCD screen & accesses key shooting settings, while the OK button that sat in its place on the D80 has now moved into the middle of the menu control pad. Other than this, the rubber thumb rest has been extended further across the height of the body, and the focus point locking switch is differently styled.
The Nikon D90’s top plate is also all but identical to that of the D80, though sporting a slightly longer built-in flash unit, while a HDMI output has been shoehorned inbetween the other connective ports. The remote socket positioned below these on the D80 has now also been coupled with GPS input, which makes the the new hotshoe-mounted GP-1 device compatible with the D90. The only other notable change is the inclusion of a microphone on the front and a speaker underneath the memory card door, for the respective benefits of recording and playing back audio in movies.
Nikon D90 Review – Solid Handling
All of this constitutes good handling and comfortable operation. With the Nikon D90 kit lens loaded up the camera feels perfectly weighted, while the grip and thumb rest are adequately sized. My only reservations are with the AF and drive mode buttons to the right of the top plate LCD; their position makes for a slightly awkward operation if trying to hold either one down and use the command dial – as is necessary – to navigate their options. Other than that the Nikon D90 has little to fault.