The Nikon D90 hits the scene with 720p HD camcording action


Nikon-D90.jpgNikon, today, announced the release of their latest digital SLR designed to take the place of the D80. Unsurprisingly, they’ve called it the Nikon D90 and the claim from the stills camera specialist is that it provides the world’s first D-SLR movie mode. The D90 will record up to 20-minute bursts of 24fps video footage and it’ll do it at 720p HD as well. Impressed? Well, I think we all are.

Step this way and Zara will tell you a little more about it…

The idea behind the D90 is that it’s all you need as a photographic tool on its own. There’s more in-camera editing options than ever before including effects like fisheye and distortion as well as cropping, lighting and other quality control options. With the new Li-ion battery built to last longer than ever – and the others have lasted a hell of a long time – we’re told you can now leave your laptop at home and your charger as well.

Naturally, the camera takes RAW file footage, convertible to other file types – again in camera. You can even start preparing slideshows when you’re done, complete with one of five different built-in music options to accompany the shots of your kayaking holiday in the Dordogne. I’d go for a little Napalm Death myself but I’m not sure that’s one of the choices.

The Nikon DX-format CMOS image sensor picks up 12.3-megapixels worth of action at an equivalent ISO range of anywhere between 200-3200 but, more to the point, I had my hands on the thing and, although it’s heavy, it snaps away like a dream.

The AF has 11 different points it can pick up in the frame which work in four different modes and there are simply more automatic lighting and scene selection settings than you can shake a forest of sticks at.

There’s obviously a world of USB and HDMI connectivity, so you can view it all on something a little more suitable than the 3″ TFT screen, which I’ve got to say, I’m slightly surprised they didn’t make slightly bigger. Sure, there’s a lot of buttons needed but there still seems to be plenty of space on the body.

As Zar Zar says, the body alone will cost you £699 but, if you’d like to actually enjoy your new camera, you might want to consider the £849 kit that comes with the all-purpose 18-105mm lens.


It’s out at the end of next month. If you’re into utter bewilderment, then take a look at the full spec sheet below. Otherwise, check out the D60 – a damn good piece of kit and a lot less confusing.

Nikon Digital SLR Camera D90 Specifications

Type Single-lens reflex digital camera
Lens mount Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)
Effective picture angle Approx. 1.5 x lens focal length (Nikon DX format)

Effective pixels
Effective pixels 12.3 million

Image sensor
Image sensor 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor
Total pixels 12.9 million
Dust-reduction system Image Sensor Cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 required)

Image size (pixels) 4,288 x 2,848 [L], 3,216 x 2,136 [M], 2,144 x 1,424 [S] File format • NEF (RAW)
• JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8), or basic (approx. 1:16) compression
• NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
Picture Control System Can be selected from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape; storage for up to nine custom Picture Controls
Media SD memory cards, SDHC compliant
File system DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0, DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Exif 2.21 (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras), PictBridge

Viewfinder Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
Frame coverage Approx. 96% horizontal and 96% vertical
Magnification Approx. 0.94 x (50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1)
Eyepoint 19.5 mm (-1.0 m-1)
Diopter adjustment -2 to +1 m-1
Focusing screen Type B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark II with focus frame (framing grid can be displayed)
Reflex mirror Quick-return type
Depth-of-field preview When depth-of-field preview button is pressed, lens aperture is stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or by camera (other modes)
Lens aperture Instant return, electronically controlled

Compatible lenses • DX AF Nikkor: All functions supported
• Type G or D AF Nikkor: All functions supported (PC Micro-Nikkor does not support some functions). IX-Nikkor lenses not supported.
• Other AF Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D colour matrix metering II. Lenses for F3AF not supported.
• AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D colour matrix metering II and auto focus.
• Non-CPU: Autofocus not supported. Can be used in exposure mode M, but exposure meter does not function. Electronic rangefinder can be used if lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster.

Type Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
Speed 1/4,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, Bulb
Flash sync speed X = 1/200 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/200 s or slower

Release modes Single-frame, continuous low speed, continuous high speed, self-timer, delayed remote, quick-response
Frame advance rate Continuous high speed: up to 4.5 fps, continuous low speed: 1-4 fps
Self-timer Can be selected from 2, 5, 10 and 20 s duration

Metering TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor
Metering method • Matrix: 3D colour matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); colour matrix metering II (other CPU lenses)
• Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 6-, 8-, or 10-mm circle in center of frame
• Spot: Meters 3.5-mm circle (about 2% of frame) centered on selected focus point
Range (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20°C/68°F)
• Matrix or center-weighted metering: 0-20 EV
• Spot metering: 2-20 EV
Exposure meter coupling CPU
Exposure modes Auto modes (auto, auto [flash off]), Advanced Scene Modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Close-up, Night Portrait), programmed auto with flexible program (P), shutter-priority auto (S), aperture-priority auto (A), manual (M)
Exposure compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Exposure bracketing 2 or 3 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 or 2 EV
Exposure lock Luminosity locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
ISO sensitivity (Recommended Exposure Index)
ISO 200 to 3200 in steps of 1/3 EV, can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 EV (ISO 100 equivalent) below ISO 200, or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 EV (ISO 6400 equivalent) over ISO 3200, ISO sensitivity auto control available
Active D-Lighting Can be selected from Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low or off
Active D-Lighting bracketing 2 frames

Autofocus Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus module with TTL phase detection, 11 focus points (including 1 cross-type sensor) and AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 0.5-3 m/1 ft. 8 in.-9 ft.10 in.)
Detection range -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 equivalent, 20°C /68°F)
Lens servo • Autofocus: Single-servo AF (AF-S); continuous-servo AF (AF-C); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status (AF-A)
• Manual (M): Electronic rangefinder supported
Focus point Can be selected from 11 focus points
AF-area modes Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points) AF
Focus lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (Single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button

Built-in flash Auto, Portrait, Close-up, Night Portrait modes: Auto flash with auto pop-up
P, S, A, M: Manual pop-up with button release
Guide number (m/ft.) at 20°C/68°F
• At ISO 200: Approx. 17/56, 18/59 with manual flash
• At ISO 100 equivalent: Approx. 12/39, 13/43 with manual flash
Flash control • TTL: i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR using 420-pixel RGB sensor are available with built-in flash, SB-900, SB-800, SB-600 or SB-400
• Auto aperture: Available with SB-900, SB-800 and CPU lenses
• Non-TTL auto: Supported flash units include SB-900, SB-800, SB-28, SB-27 or SB-22s
• Range-priority manual: Available with SB-900 and SB-800
Flash modes Front curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync
Flash compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, or 1/2 EV
Flash bracketing 2 or 3 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 or 2 EV
Flash-ready indicator Lights when built-in flash or SB-900, SB-800, SB-600, SB-400, SB-80DX, SB-28DX, or SB-50DX is fully charged; blinks for 3 s after flash is fired at full output in i-TTL or auto aperture modes
Accessory shoe Standard ISO 518 hot-shoe contact with safety lock
Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS)
Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with built-in flash, SB-900, SB-800, or SU-800 as commander and SB-900, SB-800, SB-600 or SB-R200 as remotes;
Auto FP High-Speed Sync and modeling illumination supported with all CLS-compatible flash units except SB-400; Flash Colour Information Communication and FV lock supported with all CLS-compatible flash units

White balance
White balance Auto (TTL white-balance with main image sensor and 420-pixel RGB sensor); 12 manual modes with fine-tuning; colour temperature setting; preset manual white balance
White balance bracketing 2 or 3 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3

Live View
AF modes Face priority AF, wide area AF, normal area AF
Focus Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face priority AF is selected)

Image size (pixels) 1,280 x 720/24 fps, 640 x 424/24 fps, 320 x 216/24 fps
File format AVI
Compression format Motion-JPEG, with monaural sound

LCD monitor 3-in., approx. 920k-dot (VGA), low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with 170° viewing angle, approx. 100% frame coverage, and brightness adjustment

Playback function Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9 or 72 images or calendar) playback with playback zoom, movie playback Pictmotion, slide show, histogram display, highlights, auto image rotation, and image comment (up to 36 characters)

USB Hi-Speed USB
Audio video output Can be selected from NTSC and PAL; simultaneous playback from both the audio video output and on the LCD monitor available
HDMI output Type C HDMI connector; camera monitor turns off when HDMI cable is connected
Accessory terminal • Remote Cord MC-DC2 (Optional)
• GPS Unit GP-1 (Optional)

Supported languages
Supported languages Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Power source
Battery One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e
Battery pack Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D80 (optional) with one or two Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e or six R6/AA-size alkaline, Ni-MH, lithium or nickel-manganese batteries (Battery Holder MS-D200 is required when using R6/AA-size batteries.)
AC adapter AC Adapter EH-5a (optional)

Tripod socket
Tripod socket 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)

Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 132 x 103 x 77 mm/5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.
Weight Approx. 620 g/ 1 lb. 6 oz. without battery, memory card, body cap or monitor cover

Operating environment
Temperature 0-40°C/32-104°F
Humidity Less than 85% (no condensation)

Supplied accessories (may differ by country or area)
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Quick Charger MH-18a, Eyepiece Cap DK-5, Rubber Eyecup DK-21, USB Cable UC-E4, Audio Video Cable EG-D2, Camera Strap AN-DC1, LCD Monitor Cover BM-10, Body Cap, Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1, Software Suite CD-ROM


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Daniel Sung
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