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 image quality & value
Nikon D90 Review – JPEG vs Raw
JPEGs are more than usable straight out from the Nikon D90, and are of high quality compared with the camera’s Raw files. The standard sharpness settings in-camera allow for a little boost before artefacts appear.
Nikon D90 Review – Exposure
Exposures are generally consistent and balanced, and we were impressed by how well images with a wide dynamic range appeared, such as the traditionally challenging scenario of dark foreground detail and bright skies, where other cameras may have underexposed the Nikon D90 flourished.
Nikon D90 Review – Image Noise
Noise is very well controlled, rising steadily through the range. At lower sensitivity settings, Nikon D90 image files are clean and respond well to sharpening. At around ISO 3200 we begin to see chroma noise intruding on shadow and midtone areas, though it’s fairly non-destructive, with a slight texture rather than a coloured mush. The Nikon D90’s noise reduction option for high-ISO images comprises three options, and while all reduce noise the highest setting should be avoided as it compromises far too much detail.
Nikon D90 Review – Sharpness And Detail
Images straight out of the Nikon D90 display a good level of sharpness. With the Nikon kit lens fringing was only really noticeable in particularly high-contrast images, and even then it wasn’t particularly bad, though autofocus perhaps feels a little slow.
Nikon D90 Review – Value For Money
The Nikon D90 is well placed, in that it is both a viable upgrade to the entry-level D40 and also a worthy alternative to the more expensive D300. Furthermore, we’ve been impressed by the quality of the kit lens, but the £849 list price may, for the moment at least, serve to alienate two of Nikon’s target groups – namely students and families looking to use both the camera’s still and video capabilties. Once its kit price drops below £800 however, the Nikon D90 would be worth a serious look, even more so if you already own a few Nikkor lenses and you are only after the body.