By Anthony Rampersad
I’m 28 and I live in Trinidad & Tobago. I’ve always been interested in photography but I guess its only recently that I’ve started taking my interest seriously. Somewhere in 2008 I shot my first “serious” picture and fell in love with both the process and results of the capture. I particularly enjoy nature and landscape photography and aspire to one day reach a pro-level skill even if its not accompanied by the pay.
Its been just about 7 months now that I’ve been using the Nikon D90. After months of online research scouring forums and retailer sites I decided to get it as an upgrade to my compact/bridge with every intention of developing my photography beyond the “hobby” level. Many folks think that their first DSLR needs to be an “entry-level” system that will help them to learn the ropes of DSLR use. I disagree. If you’re serious about photography invest in a system you’d keep for at least 3 years and learn it thoroughly. For the purposes of organization this review is broken up into categories and addressed as follows:
Nikon D90 handling
From the moment you wrap your hands around the D90’s body you get the feel of an intuitively designed ready-to-use system. Though heavier than a compact it seems to be made with comfort in mind. In use at times I find myself in some very awkward shooting positions yet the camera manages to keep a firmly balanced feel and grip in my hands. With a 50mm prime lens you can shoot hand-held for hours without numbing your arms to that trembling point where your pictures appear both shaken and stirred.
Nikon D90 controls (ease of use)
Moving from a compact/bridge to a DSLR system can be a challenge. Naturally a thorough reading of the camera’s manual can be expected to make things easier. This was a cinch with the D90. It may have taken just about 30-45 minutes to fully grasp how the controls work. The menu is structured similar to a compact’s with main shooting or settings categories broken into hierarchies and sub-categories. Key to mastering the controls of the D90 is getting comfortable with the main command and sub-command dials found to the front and back of the right hand-grip very intuitively placed to allow quick and easy adjustments of shutter speed and aperture. For an added touch of simplicity, Nikon added menu assistance screen hints for every menu item so you can reference before adjusting.
Nikon D90 build quality
The D90 is all around solid and you can easily get that impression from the weight and rigid feel when handling. I had the misfortune of dropping the camera from about 3 ft while on vacation in NY once. After it fell to the wooden floor I picked it up expecting to hear or see a trail of broken parts. It survived with just a tiny crack to the plastic just below the power button and with no consequence at all to any of its functions. Note: Do not leave your D90 in an open backpack on top your packed luggage.
Nikon D90 sample photos
OK, so Im guessing this is the part you’re most interested in. Well read on with pleasure. My initial research on the D90 (prior to buying) gave nearly notorious acclaim to the D90’s distinct high image quality. I was not disappointed. I bought the D90 with the 50mm f/1.8 AF lens so this section will review image quality with this combination. The sensor produces crisp, sharp wonderfully colour-rendered images.
At the low-mid ISO settings, images are super clean and noise-free, granted of course lighting is suitable to the ISO being used. Whether shooting Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape or Standard you can expect great quality shots. I usually shoot in Neutral and post-process to achieve the right amount of saturation. Shooting in RAW/NEF also gives an added touch of control over the quality of your shots as the camera allows for in-camera RAW processing. Colour saturation and gamma can be altered through your choice of any of the above mentioned shooting modes with noticeable differences in image quality. My preferred shooting mode is JPEG/RAW and I hardly ever use the jpegs. But its really only after you sit down to process the NEF/RAW files that you realize what a wonderful job the D90 already did in capturing crisp clean colour and detail in your frame.
Nikon D90 Functions
The D90 while catering to the amateur user market simultaneously captured the needs of a mid- level/prosumer market. Quite simply its loaded with functions that make the shooting experience for a user of either category sheer joy. The top panel LCD is very convenient. You’d also find that the sensor-cleaning function on the D90 comes in seriously handy if you find yourself changing lenses in less than ideal environments.
- Superb image quality
- Solid build
- Great high ISO performance
- Intuitive menu and controls
- Fast shooting and processing speed.
- No mirror lock-up feature
- Priced above competing models
Current Nikon D90 best price