Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nikon D90 announced!

That's right folks! Nikon has just announced their newest camera, the D90! Possibly the most bizarre feature is the addition of a video mode, the first of it's kind ever. It seems Nikon is breaking all of the rules these days. First the full-frame D700 and now the video capability of the D90. The video mode is reported to be able to capture HD video at 1280 X 720 at 24 fps! Unfortunately, there is no AF capability in D-Movie mode which is sort of a monkey-wrench in the gears of any aspiring Spielbergs out there.

The D90 is available as a body only for MSRP $999.95 USD or as a kit with the brand spankin' new AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for MSRP $1299. This new lens boasts Nikon's new VR II. This feature is supposed to allow VR even when panning. The 18-105mm (27-157.5mm equiv.) focal length is wide enough to cover most standard subjects, from architeture to sports this lens should have you covered. Nikon claims that this lens has a "refined external design with leather-tone texture will appeal to Nikon users as it will match their camera bodies". I'm not kidding, that's straight from Nikon's press release. No word yet on how this lens performs, but I don't have super-high expectations as Nikon's latest consumer wide-angle to telephoto lenses haven't been the best performers. Who knows? Maybe Nikon will surprise me this time.

The D90 has a 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor. The first CMOS sensor in a Nikon consumer level which should allow for lower noise levels at high ISO's. Nikon claims that this is not the sensor that is in the D300, but the D90 does inherit the D300's EXPEED image processor which is good news. We all know how well the D300 performs in low-light and the D90 should be comparable.

The D90 also gets the Live View mode, but for some reason it has been crippled to only provide contrast detection AF unlike the D300 and higher models which allow you to choose between contrast detect or phase detect AF. The D90 does one up the bigger cameras by providing a dedicated button to quickly access the Live View function. Also inherited from the D3, D300 and D700 is the awesome 3 inch 920,000 dot LCD monitor. You have to see this monitor to believe the resolution on this thing. It's truly incredible when compared to the LCD monitors on preceding cameras.

Nikon also adds the Picture Control System and Active D-Lighting which goes further than the D700 adding a "Extra High" mode in addtion the the Auto, High, Normal, and Low settings. The Picture Control settings come complete with the Portrait and Landscape settings on the D90 which are available only as optional downloads for the D700 and D300. You can also store up to 9 Custom Picture Controls that you can create in camera or using Nikon's Picture Control Utility in the Nikon View software. As in the D60 the D90 gets an extensive retouch menu for processing images (including RAW files!) right inside the camera. The D90 even gets better as it sports a horizon straightening tool, a fisheye effect, and lens distortion control in addition to the standard stuff. Who needs Photoshop?

A fairly speedy 4.5 fps continuous shooting (7 RAW, 25 JPEG fine, 100 JPEG Normal) up from 3 fps which has been the standard since the D70 was introduced almost 5 years ago. So that's good news for you sports shooters.

Another great thing is that the Nikon D90 continues in the EN-EL3e battery tradition allowing you to use the same batteries in the D100, D70, D80, D50, D200, D300, and D700 cameras.

Nikon also released a GPS system along with the D90, the Nikon GP-1. This geotags the EXIF data of your images wth location information. No word on price just yet...

All-in-all it looks like the D90 is quite a big improvement over the D80 (which is slated to stay in Nikon's current like-up for awhile). Stay tuned for an in-depth review when I finally get my grubby little paws on this groundbreaking new camera!

No comments: