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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nikon D90, Two Years Later

I've been using my Nikon D90 for a little more than two years now. So how has it been? Was it a good purchase? How does it stack up today after the release of the D3100 and the announcement of the D7000. The D300S was also released since I bought my D90.

The fact that I actually owned and used a single camera for more than two years speaks volumes. I have owned a D50, D40x and a D70. The upgrade to the D90 was substantial. The single most impressive improvement was the high ISO ability. Where ISO 1600 on the D40x was borderline unusable, I found the D90 at ISO 1600 to be very usable. The increased speed of frames per second and autofocus systems were also big pluses.

Yellowstone Coyote Howling

This Photograph was recently taken in Yellowstone with the Nikon D90 and Nikkor 500mm f/4 AFS + Nikon 1.4x teleconverter. ISO 1250 @ 700mm f/5.6 1/800 sec

The above photograph required some noise reduction and sharpening in Lightroom 3, but shows that images with 1000+ ISO can still have excellent quality.

The fact of the matter is that the Nikon D90 is still an excellent camera, even two years later. The 12.3 megapixel sensor is essentially the same sensor that originated from the D300. This means that the image quality is roughly the same. The sensor is now shared between the D300, D300S, D90 and D5000.

Bald Eagle in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley

Bald Eagle in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley, September 2010 ISO 800 @ 500mm f/5.6 1/80. The eagle was very still on the tree and the camera was locked down on a tripod. That's how the shutter speed was able to be so low.

The previous generations of cameras are able to produce excellent images. Think of all of the professional images that have been taken over the last several years with these cameras. Now with the next generation of cameras looming and some already coming out (D3100 and the D7000) you can be sure they have improved imaging systems. But unless you need a feature that one of the new cameras provides, remember that the previous generation of cameras are still excellent.

Stay tuned for initial thoughts about the forthcoming Nikon D7000