Stepping Up to the Nikon D90

Camera Love-2 Yes, you read that right.  I just bought a brand-new Nikon D90 on Friday and I have been playing with it all weekend.  A full review will be in order after I have had some time to really put it through it’s paces, but for now I will explain why I chose the D90 over the D300 & D700.

Price
Money is a huge factor for me since I don’t make a living (or anything resembling and income for that matter) with my passion for photography.  Well, yet that is.  And since that’s the case,  it is very hard to justify to myself as well as my financial advisor (a.k.a. my beautiful wife) spending a either $3,000.00 or $5,000.00 on a D700/D3 respectively.  Fortunately, since I just re-enlisted in the Navy and got a very nice Re-Enlistment Bonus (“Thank you Uncle Sam”) she did tell me I could spend SOME money on some gear.  I am VERY lucky.  The D300 came in at a close second with regard to price, but keep reading to find out why I didn’t buy it. 

Performance
The D90 is a year newer and I have found out that Nikon had done a few things to the D90 that weren’t evident in the specs they release.  The 420 pixel sensor for the camera’s built in meter that I complained about earlier this year, the one on my D40, is apparently a thing of the past.  Yes, it’s still a 420 pixel RGB sensor for the meter, but it doesn’t overexpose like the D80 and D40 used to.  Secondly, the D90 is flat out a better camera than the D300.  It takes images that are technically better than the D300.  Don’t believe me?  See Ken Rockwell’s ISO 3200 Comparison and Sharpness Comparison and you too will believe.  The D90 takes photos that are dangerously close in quality to the D3!  Yes, it only shoots 4.5 fps continuously, the shutter is only tested to 100,000 cycles, there’s no PC sync terminal, no depth of field preview or metering with older manual focus-only lenses, and no 51-point auto focus.  BIG DEAL.  Those features are ones I won’t use anyway.  Truth be told, I never used anything other than the center position of the 3-point auto focus on my D40.  I focus, lock, and recompose.  Sure, the D90 doesn’t have a full frame sensor but I say again, I don’t make a living with my camera. 

Ease of Transition
If I would have bought a D300/D700/D3 I would have had to invest in CF memory cards.  I am already using SD cards with my D40 and my laptop has a built-in SD card reader.  It doesn’t take CF cards and so I would have had to buy cards and a reader.  More money to spend and more to carry around. 

Bonus Feature: HD Video
The D90 shoots HD video at 720p which is a really cool feature to play around with.  Now, it’s manual focus only so you have to work with the camera while you’re shooting video.  It’s not a point and shoot video like your camcorder would be.  If you buy the camera solely for the purpose of the video capability then you are buying the wrong camera.  But having the world’s first DSLR that shoots HD video is neat and you can have a lot of fun with it. 

Here’s a quick, unedited clip that I shot this weekend of my kids at the park:

Summary
I could ramble on and on about why I chose to buy the D90.  The bottom line is it was the right camera for me and my needs as a photographer.  Don’t ever let anyone try and sell you something that you don’t need or that won’t suit the purpose it is intended to serve. 

In the next couple of weeks I will post my full review of the D90, including likes and dislikes, so stay tuned for that.  In the mean time, I will be busy bringing you lots of images and even a few tutorials that will hopefully help you out in one way, shape, or form. 

I’m finally settled in to my new house and I’m really glad to be back in San Diego again.  Stand by for lots of new images!  Have a great week!

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4 thoughts on “Stepping Up to the Nikon D90

  1. Oh, wow, congratulations on the new Camera!! I’ll look forward to hearing more about it and seeing some of your images. I’m considering the D90, but not seriously yet. I haven’t fully outgrown my D40x yet. Still have a lot more to learn.

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