The Revolutionary Nikon D90: How Does It Compare Today?

A game-changing DSLR that has aged well

5 years. In terms of digital camera longevity, that's an eternity. And yet, the groundbreaking Nikon D90, introduced in 2008, is still available in 2013—nearly 5 years later. What's the secret to its staying power?


A few cameras have been introduced over the last 100 years that had a significant impact on the photo industry by employing "disruptive technology." Disruptive technology is a new feature that changes the way we think of and use a product in a fundamental way. The first AF camera, the first DSLR, the first 35mm camera, are all examples of disruptive camera technology. Right now, there is one such disruptive technology camera that, 5 years after its earth-shaking introduction, is still on the market: The Nikon D90, the first DSLR for consumers with built-in HD video capture.

A lot has happened since the Nikon D90 was introduced for approximately $1,000 body only in 2008. It was the first DSLR for hobbyists and prosumers to capture HD video (at 720p); now, 1080p HD video capture is a standard DSLR feature, and thanks to the Nikon D90's pioneering design HDSLR video has become an important and growing creative outlet for digital cinematographers. And yet, despite all of these changes, the Nikon D90 is still here at a new, reduced price. Available now at Adorama for $599 body only  and $799 with the all-purpose Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens the Nikon D90 thrives, and there's no sign that Nikon will stop producing this popular model.

Order the Nikon D90 from Adorama now and take advantage of its new special price!





What has made this camera so popular for so long? With so many newer Nikons on the market, is this camera still a good deal with its new lower price? Let's compare it to two contemporary Nikon DSLRs and see how it stacks up:






Nikon D90 Vs. the Nikon D3200

Comparably priced, the Nikon D3200, with its 24MP sensor undeniably offers better resolution, high-ISO image quality, and dynamic range than the D90's 12MP sensor, according to tests run by the Adorama Learning Center's testing partner, DxOLabs. The D3200's overall sensor score was 81, compared to the Nikon D90's 73.

However, the Nikon D90 trumps the Nikon D3200 on several counts. For starters, it has a relatively large (0.63x vs. 0.50x) viewfinder and a pentaprism (the D3200 has a pentamirror) which projects a brighter, easier on the eyes image. The D90 has a built-in focus motor (the D3200 requires lenses with built-in AF motors), and boasts up to 850 shots per battery charge--quite impressive compared to the D3200's 540 shots. The D90 starts up faster, and has a slightly faster continuous shooting rate (4.5 vs. 4 fps).

Price-wise, the Nikon D3200 with a kit lens bundle is a tad cheaper (but not an exact match, due to different camera/lens configurations) compared to the Nikon D90. However, the Nikon D3200 is a step-up camera for first-time DSLR owners (it has on-screen help in case you can't figure out what you're doing, for instance), while the Nikon D90, in construction and features, is an enthusiast-level model designed for more experienced DSLR shooters.


Nikon D90 Vs. Nikon D7100

The problem with comparing the Nikon D90 to the Nikon D3200 is that they aren't the same class of camera. Lets' instead compare the D90 to the current state of the art for Nikon APS sensor enthusiast cameras. Right now, that's the Nikon D7100.

When directly comparing these two cameras's feature sets, the Nikon D7100 is the uncontested winner in almost every category. From its 24MP sensor, larger and higher resolution LCD monitor, the presence of an external mi jack, full 1080p HD video capture, longer battery life, and top ISO of 6,400, the Nikon D7100's specs trump the D90's.

However, that doesn't take price into account. the Nikon D90 has the Nikon D7100 beat on price by a wide margin. The Nikon D7100 body only is available at Adorama for $1,196.95 ($1,496.95 in a kit with the same 18-105mm lens), which is just about twice the current Adorama price of the Nikon D90 body.



Who Should Consider the Nikon D90 now?

If you are a first-time Nikon DSLR user on a limited budget, are looking for a back-up body for your existing Nikon DSLR, and aren't concerned about capturing full HD video, or know you will never make full-frame prints larger than, 16x20, the Nikon D90 is still relevant and worth considering. It has aged well. While more modern models may have the latest bells and whistles, if all you want is a solid DSLR that can deliver excellent image quality, is compatible with all of the legendary Nikon lineup of lenses, and controls multiple remote Nikon Speedlights via the Wireless Flash Commander, the Nikon D90 is a great choice.

With its priced now lowered, you have a chance not only to own a piece of photographic history, but to have an extremely capable photographic and video capture tool.

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