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My experience of the Nikon D90 as an amateur photographer.

16.09.2009 (22.09.2009)

Excellent picture quality, lots of useful features, well designed controls, great kit lens

More expensive than some other DSLRs, quite big and heavy, limited movie mode

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Picture Quality

Range & Quality of Features

Ease of Use


Value for Money


SizeVery Big


Overall Look & DesignGood

Instruction ManualSatisfactory

4 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
very helpful by (80%):
  1. intelligents
  2. silverbird55
  3. anonymili
and a further member
helpful by (20%):
  1. jessedebee

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How I made my choice

I recently bought the D90 to upgrade from my Olympus 560UZ bridge camera, so this is my first foray into DSLR photography. Most people starting in DSLR photography will opt for the cheaper D40, or the D60, D70 and D80. I am not particularly rich, and in the end chose the D90 because I didn't want to grow out of the smaller DSLR and have to buy a new body quickly. I have found that the prices of Nikon DSLRs haven't decreased significantly over the last 3 years, so I decided (maybe wrongly) that this option would save me money in the long run. I found that it is very important to go into a shop and hold the camera in your hands before making a choice. All the photography shop assistants said that the Canon series was just as good as the Nikons, but I discounted them because I didn't get on with the feel of the bodies in my hand.

Features I've used

Different exposure modes
The D90 has four different modes that allow you to choose the shutter speed and aperture, allowing huge control over the final image. With basic photography knowledge, I have managed to create motion blur with long exposures and out of focus backgrounds with large apertures. I also enjoy using manual focus.

Menus and buttons
The menus are well designed and easy to navigate, but you won't need to use them much as most of the settings have dedicated buttons on the body (I find the delete button particularly useful). There are 2 wheels that do different things in different modes, they became useful after a couple of weeks when I had worked out what they did in each mode.

Live View
I was originally attracted to the D90s live view mode, which allow you to use the screen as a viewfinder like in a digital camera, potentially allowing you to take pictures at interesting angles. However the auto-focus is much slower in live view, and the pentaprism viewfinder (as opposed to pentamirror in most DSLRs) is so good that is end up getting down in the mud anyway!

The D90 also shoot HD movies, which is a feature I have used a lot. In my opinion, the quality is not that great unless you use a tripod, and you have to use manual focusing to refocus mid shot, with kind of ruins that bit of film with by wobbling the shot and introducing a loud sound as you turn the focus ring. It may be no substitute for a video camera, but the movie mode is a great way to record memories as you would with a normal digital camera.

Incredible battery life is another thing I've discovered. It only took a couple of hours to charge and lasted for weeks! Even when I use the screen and flash a lot, it only used half the battery after taking around 800 pictures on 2 week holiday.


I would definitely recommend the 18-105 kit lens you can get with the D90. It has the VR vibration reduction feature, a speedy auto-focus motor and good image quality and a long enough zoom for all your everyday shots (much better than the 18 -55 lens that comes with other D models like the D5000). I also have a 70 - 300mm zooms lens for basic wildlife shots, which I bought on ebay for around £80. The D90 has the advantage on an inbuilt auto-focus motor, not found in the smaller bodied D40, D60 and D5000. This means that all Nikon lens can be used, rather than just the newer AF lenses.


The only disadvantage I can think of aside from the price tag, is portability. I personally like the chunky feel it has in the hand, but it can be heavy to carry around and requires its own bag. You don't want to be holding it up for long periods without support. For this reason I have missed some shots, simply because I was unable to take the camera with me.


If you can justify spending the large amount this camera costs compared to other amateur level DSLRs, you won't be disappointed. The near professional image quality and excellent features make it enjoyable to use. Auto mode is OK, but to use this camera to its full potential you will need to read the manual and experiment with different exposures. I have had this camera for a few months no and I still have plenty of growing room. I look forward to finding out how much more this camera will do, and if you decide to buy one - good luck and have fun!
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Comments about this review »

jessedebee 27.11.2009 12:19

I Like your review. I bought myself one about a month ago and am still figuring it out...lol

intelligents 18.10.2009 00:29

Nice review

anonymili 17.09.2009 10:56

Sounds like a real decent piece of kit and wow that is some amazing battery life! I love reading about SLRs but don't think I'd buy one now as I'm happy to use compact digitals as I can take mine everywhere with me and fit it in my handbag - suits my needs for now but maybe one of these days I'll get myself a posh one like this LOL! :)

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Now is the time for new creativity, and to rethink what a digital SLR camera can achieve. It's time for the D90, a ...


MPN VBA230AE, VBA230K005, VBA230K006, VBA230K001-KIT, VBA230K02-KIT, VBA230KU01, VBA230K001 og MB-D80, VBA230K003, VBA230K001, VBA230K002, VBA230AB, 25448, 25446, VBA230KG02, VBA230KG12, VBA230KG11, D9018/105VR, D90+18/105VR, D90, Nikon D90, 791076
Product Type Digital camera - SLR with Live View mode, movie recording
Lens Included Body only, AF-S DX 18-200mm lens, AF-S DX 18-55mm lens, AF-S DX 18-105mm lens, AF-S DX 16-85mm lens, AF-S DX 18-105mm and 70-300mm lenses, AF-S DX 18-105mm and G AF-S VR 70-300mm lenses

Exposure & white balance

Light Sensitivity ISO 100-6400
Exposure Metering Centre-weighted, spot, 3D colour matrix II
Exposure Modes Programme, bulb, automatic, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, i-TTL program flash

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Review Ratings »

This review of Nikon D90 has been rated:

"very helpful" by (80%):

  1. intelligents
  2. silverbird55
  3. anonymili

and a further member

"helpful" by (20%):

  1. jessedebee

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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