Nikon D90 Rants, Raves, & Quibbles

While far from being a professional photographer, I believe I have quite a good understanding of it as a hobby and I know what to look for in a camera. I have been using a Nikon D40x for quite a while and as I started to realize that I have reached its limitations, I decided I had to keep up with the trend in technology and move on to a new model.

For a while I was looking to buy a Canon 40D, until I spotted the new Nikon D90. Here’s a list of pros and cons I came up with after several weeks of using it.

- Separate buttons on the camera to control parameters like ISO, shooting mode, white balancing and automated focus. So no more pushing one MENU button and browsing for ages to get to the function I need.

- 12.3 Megapixel image sensor, pretty much enough for all needs.

- Shoots great with high ISO settings. I managed to get great photos at ISO 1600 and decent ones at ISO 3200!

- A second LCD screen that shows the shooting parameters. Great if you messed with the settings and forgot what mode you are shooting in.

- Built in focus motor, allowing the photographer to use cheaper lenses! (With my old D40x I had to buy lenses with focus motor, which cost around $250 a piece. The motor-less ones for this camera are in the range of $100)

- Great image quality in auto mode. For normal photos with low demands you don’t need any post-shooting processing.

- The greatest flaw I came across was that the buffer fills after 8-10 continuous shots in RAW mode and the camera will freeze for a couple of seconds. I haven’t documented it properly, but it could be a software bug, as it works just fine when shooting in JPEG mode.

- Also, the camera isn’t weather proof, which is quite surprising, since weather sealing is found on a lot of lower class cameras.

And a few tips, coming from my personal experience.

- Download Nikon ViewNX from Nikon’s site, it will let you inspect images shot in RAW and allow you to export to JPEG or TIFF for further processing with a piece of software like Adobe Photoshop.

- If you shoot directly in JPEG format, you should increase the sharpness, saturation and contrast default settings. It could be a matter of personal taste, but I believe the pictures with these settings look more natural.