Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nikon D90 hands on preview!

Nikon D90 w/18-105mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 set to 42mm - 1/200 @ ƒ/5 ISO 200

So the kind folks at Nikon were nice enough to let me test drive the brand spankin' new D90 today (thanks Shausta). Recently going from the D300 to the amazing D700, I was kind of skeptical, but I have to say it's a great little camera.

It's not built like a tank, but it doesn't feel cheap and plasticky either. The controls are laid out in the typical Nikon fashion so if you're a Nikon user you'll feel right at home.

The 3D Matrix metering is spot on. Almost every time.

Nikon's new 18-105 3.5-5.6 VR is the kit lens that comes with the D90. I have to say I wasn't overly impressed, but, it IS a kit lens. Bottom line on this lens is that wide open it's soft. Stop it down, it sharpens up nicely. Unfortunately, today I was shooting portraits. I generally shoot portraits wide open. Needless to say, not the best portrait lens. It does have a great zoom range though. It's the perfect walking around lens.

One thing I will say about this camera. It is truly amazing at high ISO's. I was floored by the quality. I wouldn't be surprised if it out-performed the D300 in this area. Seriously.

Well, enough chit-chat. Let's get down to the brass tacks. It's all about the images. All of these images are straight out of the camera. No sharpening, no colors, no nothing.

There is absolutely no noise in this image. ISO 3200. Amazing.

Nikon D90 w/18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR zoomed to 72mm - 1/30 @ f/4.8 ISO 3200

Zooming in to 100% on this you can see just how soft this lens is. On the bright side, you can always add sharpening in Picture Control or post. If you're not a professional, don't worry about it. The metering handled the exposure great considering the background has a lot of bright and dark spots. I wish this lens had a shallower depth of field... er, wider aperture.

Nikon D90 w/18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR zoomed to 105mm - 1/100 @ f/5.6 ISO 500

Switching over to the dual-purpose macro/portrait lens the images sharpened right up. Sharp as a tack! This lens is super-sweet! I used the 105mm ƒ/2 DC also, but I didn't like the results I got from that lens.

Nikon D90 w/105mm f/2.8 VR macro - 1/200 @ ƒ/2.8 ISO L1.0
SB-900 on camera TTL-BL

Ahh yes... The VR works like a charm for close-up stuff and once again sharp as a tack! And look at those colors! Brilliant! This was shot using a Custom Picture Control that I created.

Nikon D90 w/105mm f/2.8 VR macro - 1/80 @ ƒ/7.1 ISO 200

So much for the straight out of the camera images. Here's what you can do with a little post-processing. Bottom line. This camera is great. Not good. Great. With image quality that can hold up to the D300 + HD Video this is Nikon's best mid-level DSLR yet.


D90 w/105mm ƒ/2.8 VR - 1/1250 @ ƒ/2.8 ISO L1.0

D90 w/18-105mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 @ 105mm - 1/125 @ ƒ/5.6 ISO 500
SB-900 on camera TTL

D90 w/18-105mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 @ 105mm - 1/125 @ ƒ/5.6 ISO 500


Mister German said...

Love the blog! Do you have a favorite portrait lens?

J. Dennis Thomas said...


My new favorite "portrait lens" is the 105mm ƒ/2.8G VR macro lens. It's awesome. Super sharp and it can pull double duty.

Most of the time I use my Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/2.8D. It's sharp and has great bokeh.

Of course the old standby, the 85mm ƒ/1.4 or ƒ/1.8