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Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D Compared to Nikon D90 Side by Side

Canon Rebel T1i with EF-S 18-55mm IS zoom lens versus the Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-105mm ED VR kit lens



April 7th, 2009

At the 2009 Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Convention held in Las Vegas early last month, the rumours were already swirling that Canon would soon be unveiling something new and "exciting" in the Digital SLR arena.

A few weeks later on March 25th Canon confirmed the speculation and introduced the Canon Rebel T1i digital SLR camera (also known as the Canon Rebel EOS 500D in some countries).

The 15.1 MP Canon Rebel T1i shares an almost identical CMOS sensor with the higher end Canon EOS 50D. The Canon Rebel T1i SLR also inherits the large 3.0-inch, high resolution 920,000 dot LCD monitor with a wide viewing angle and the 12800 high ISO capability from the EOS 50D.

The big news surrounding the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D is that it is one of the first digital SLR cameras on the market that will allow you to shoot High-Definition (HD) movie clips to complement your still pictures.

With the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D you can record 1080p HD movie files at 20 frames per sec (fps) or 720p HD movies at 30 fps complete with audio recording. Maximum recording time in 1080p HD is 18 min clips, and 12 min clips in 720p.

In terms of look and feel the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D is an update to the existing Canon Rebel XSi / EOS 450D, featuring a nearly identical body design and similar performance aspects (AF, metering, shooting speed among others), while adding the following major features:

• 15.1 MP sensor like the Canon EOS 50D
• Digic 4 image processor like the Canon EOS 50D
•
High ISO boost up to 12,800 ISO same as the Canon EOS 50D
• 3.0-inch LCD high res 920,000 dots like the EOS 50D and 5D Mark II
• HD movie at 720p 30 fps (EOS 5D Mark II 1080p movie at 30 fps)
• HDMI output for connection to a big screen HD TV
• Quick Control Menu like on the EOS 50D

 
Check out the best SLR deals from Amazon. Click below.

 
 
 
 

As of today, the 12.3MP Nikon D90 SLR is the closest competitor to the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D. The Nikon D90 is the first digital SLR camera to feature an HD movie recording option. Since its introduction last year, the 12.3MP Nikon D90 has quickly become one of the best selling enthusiast oriented SLR cameras on the market and has earned a reputation as the king of the hill in its category.

The Nikon D90's popularity is not simply as a result of the fact that it can shoot HD movies, it is because the camera offers excellent image quality and is backed by an impressive feature and performance set. The Nikon D90 is currently the highest rated non professional camera in terms of sensor quality, incorporating the best sensor in its class according to the respected DxOMark benchmark sensor tests (see results in comparison below).

Canon has now responded to the success of the Nikon D90 by introducing and positioning the Canon Rebel T1i into the same class at a lower price point. How does the Rebel T1i compare to the Nikon D90? Check out our Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D versus Nikon D90 side by side comparison review.

If you don't want to read through our entire Canon Rebel T1i versus Nikon D90 side by side comparison we have assembled a list of the top differences between the Rebel T1i and the D90 and added our own observations below. Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D compared to the Nikon D90  back view

Canon Digital Rebel T1i / EOS 500D versus the Nikon D90 SLR: Respective Advantages

The Canon Rebel T1i features a 15.1MP sensor compared to the Nikon D90 with a 12.3MP sensor: The common assumption is that more is better and that the Canon Rebel T1i offers an advantage with its higher resolution sensor.

If Canon had opted to recycle the better quality output 10MP sensor from the Canon EOS 40D and incorporate it into the Rebel T1i / ESO 500D we would have been more impressed with their new product direction.

By adding even more pixels without increasing the size of the sensor, Canon is pushing the resolution threshold of APS-C sensor technology and in our opinion has chosen to sacrifice on quality and practicality in favour of a marketing based decision.

In order to fit 15.1 megapixels on a sensor that is slightly smaller in size compared to the DX format sensor found in the 12.2 megapixel Nikon D90, the pixels on the Rebel T1i sensor have to be smaller and packed closer together. The pixel density on the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D is a fairly high 4.5 MP/cm² compared to a pixel density of 3.3MP/cm² on the Nikon D90.

There are a number of disadvantages associated with higher pixel density sensors. One important consideration is that you will want to invest in a higher end quality lens that can support the sensor's increased resolution capability. The simple rule is that if you invest in a higher-resolution camera you need a lens that offers sufficient resolving power, which generally means spending more.

The standard Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom kit lens for the Canon Rebel T1i does not qualify in this regard, delivering fairly poor image quality when used on a high resolution sensor (noticeable even when used on the 12.2 MP Rebel XSi). We would not recommend this basic zoom lens for use with the Rebel T1i, and would suggest investing in one of Canon's better zoom lenses like the Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS or the Canon EF-S 18-200mm instead.

Other issues related to high pixel density include; lower dynamic range, reduced high ISO performance, diffraction issues, and increased possibility of camera shake. When you consider that the extra resolution from a 15.1MP sensor provides minor gain in detail compared to a 12.3MP sensor to begin with, the disadvantages introduced by the 15.1MP sensor in the Canon Rebel T1i simply outweigh the gains.

DxOMark Sensor test results for the Nikon D90 versus the Canon EOS 50D support these arguments, showing that the Nikon D90 delivers better RAW sensor output compared to the EOS 50D, including improved colour depth, dynamic range, and high ISO capability. Considering the Canon Rebel T1i features an almost identical sensor design to the EOS 50D, we do not expect to see much of a difference in the results once the DxOMark Rebel T1i ratings become available.

The Rebel T1i offers superior HD video recording capabilities compared to the Nikon D90 D-Movie mode: By offering the option of 720p HD movie recording at 30 fps with up to 18min of recording time, the Canon Rebel T1i has been designed to me more suitable for recording HD movies. In comparison the Nikon D90 offers 720p HD movie recording at 24 fps with up to 5 min of recording time per clip.

From sample videos we have seen, the 1080p HD movie quality from the Canon Rebel T1i is not very fluid (limited by the slower 20 fps) and not very useful for capturing faster moving subjects like kids or pets at play.

We think that the vast majority of users will elect to set the Canon Rebel T1i to 720p mode whenever capturing HD movies. This also makes for better file manageability (smaller file size at 720p), allows for longer recording times, and the reality is that the difference between the quality of these two HD movie settings is not that noticeable even when viewed on a big screen LCD TV.

Canon Rebel T1i offers high ISO boost up to 12,800 ISO compared to the Nikon D90 at 6400 ISO: While the 12,800 high ISO boost capability on the Rebel T1i sounds good from a marketing point of view, the reality is that this setting produces very poor results. It would seem Nikon's designers took into account these technological limitations and restricted their camera to shoot at a maximum boost of 6400 ISO with usable image quality.

Based on testing the 15.1 MP Canon EOS 50D and comparing it to the Nikon D90, the D90 begins to show an advantage from 1600 ISO and up in terms of retention of detail. Canon's stronger noise reduction approach at these higher ISO settings tend to lead to some loss and blurring of detail.

The sensor in the Nikon D90 offers a higher signal to noise ratio compared to the Canon EOS 50D (representing the same type sensor as in the Rebel T1i). The DxOMark test results comparing the signal to noise ratio from the D90 versus the Canon EOS 50D are shown below.

Sensor comparison test between the Canon EOS 50d and the Nikon D90

Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS zoom lens compared to the Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom



The Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom kit lens outperforms the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens: the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikkor zoom is an entry level kit lens that offers decent performance and image quality with the D90.

The Nikon D90 is usually sold however in a kit package with the more versatile and moderately premium priced wide angle AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor zoom lens, which offers good image quality, much better than other average kit lenses.

The standard AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G Nikkor features an AF-S motor for faster and quieter focusing. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens does not incorporate an ultrasonic motor (USM) like higher end Canon lenses.

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS kit zoom lens has a tendency to be more subject to lens flare (sun spots), and does not appear as sharp from corner to corner, imperfections that are highlighted even further when used with a higher resolution camera. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens is also more prone to producing chromatic aberrations which tend to show up as purplish edges around the bright highlight areas of an image.

Looking at the relative price difference between the Canon Rebel T1i SLR with EF-S 18-55mm IS lens kit ($1099 MSRP) compared to buying the Rebel T1i as a body only for $999, Canon has assigned a $100 value to their kit lens.

In comparison, the Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm VR zoom lens is assigned a $160 value based on an MSRP of $1279.99 for the Nikon D90 with lens versus the Nikon D90 body only price at $1119.

Like the professional Nikon D3 and higher end Nikon D300, the D90 has a built in feature that compensates for lateral chromatic aberration. This feature facilitates the use of the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm VR with the D90. The Nikon D90 "Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction" function serves to reduce moirι and provides optimized edge sharpness providing a practical advantage with any lens.

Recommended Lens:

 


The Nikon D90 is faster and quieter than the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
The Nikon D90 is designed to allow you to capture the decisive moment more easily. The D90 offers a continuous shooting rate of 4.5 fps (3.4 fps for the T1i) and features faster focus acquisition, a shorter mirror black out time and shutter lag compared to the Canon Rebel T1i.

The Nikon D90 also features a quieter shutter mechanism compared to the Canon Rebel T1i, making less noise when the camera takes the picture. Could be an advantage in certain wildlife photography situations for example.

The Nikon D90 offers an enhanced ergonomic layout compared to the Canon Rebel T1i: The D90 features a more ergonomically though out placement of control dials and buttons that takes into account real world practical use. Nikon's engineers not only looked at adding features when designing the D90 from the ground up, but also at how these functions should be able to be accessed by the photographer.

For example, the Nikon D90 features two command dials for changing camera settings. You can make quick settings adjustments with your index finger controlling the front sub command dial and your thumb controlling the main command dial while still being able to look through the camera.

The Nikon D90 further incorporates dedicated button's conveniently located on top of camera allowing the user to adjust metering, exposure compensation, continuous shooting and autofocus settings on the fly.

The D90 also features a programmable Function (Fn) button located on the front of the camera.

The Fn button can be customized to provide fast access to adjust settings for a particular feature on the camera. The following functions can be assigned to be activated by pressing the Fn button on the Nikon D90:

Framing grid (On,Off), AF Area mode (Select AF Area), Center focus point (Choose Wide or Normal AF point coverage), FV lock, Flash off, Matrix metering, Center weighted metering, Spot metering, Access top item in my Menu, + RAW / NEF (adds a RAW / NEF copy when shooting JPEG)

Another advantage of the Nikon D90 is that it incorporates a top LCD information panel. The LCD can be illuminated in low light situations.

Nikon D90 illuminated displays

In terms of design, the Canon Rebel T1i has a smaller grip compared to the Nikon D90. In our opinion the larger rounded grip on the Nikon D90 makes for a more comfortable and secure hold.

As an option, both the Nikon D90 and the Canon Rebel T1i provide for a vertical release battery grip accessory, making either camera more balanced and natural to hold, especially with a longer telephoto lens attached.

The Nikon D90 incorporates a Pentaprism viewfinder versus the Pentamirror type on the Rebel T1i: Featuring a glass pentaprism design usually found on more expensive SLR cameras, the viewfinder on the Nikon D90 provides a brighter and clearer view compared to the Rebel T1i with its pentamirror viewfinder design. The D90 also offers a larger 0.94x viewfinder magnification allowing you to see most of what will be in the image compared to the smaller 0.87x viewfinder magnification on the Rebel T1i / EOS 500D.

The Nikon D90 also offers enhanced durability with a shutter mechanism that is rated up to 100,000 exposures. Canon has not provided any official specifications on the durability of the shutter built into the Canon Rebel T1i, although typically the Digital Rebel series of SLR cameras have been rated around 50,000 cycles.

Nikon D90 SRS offers superior Focusing, Metering and White Balance Control Vs the Canon Rebel T1i:

First introduced on the flagship D3 and D300 digital SLR camera's, Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System is also featured in the D90.

This unique technology utilizes a 420-pixel RGB sensor to analyze scene and color information in order to understand what the camera is about to shoot. Milliseconds before the shutter is released, the camera optimizes the autofocus, auto exposure, i-TTL flash control (if applicable) and white balance.

Nikon D90 Scene Recognition Technology

The Nikon D90's 11-point AF system offers faster and more precise autofocus coverage across the frame. In addition, the D90 has more versatile AF-area modes to handle most shooting situations: Single-point AF is recommended for stationary subjects, dynamic-area AF for moving subjects, auto-area AF for spontaneous shooting and 3D-tracking (11 points) AF.

With 3D tracking AF, after initially locking focus on the subject the camera will perform AF tracking using the 11 focus points while you recompose the shot.

The Nikon D90 provides greater autofocus accuracy by utilizing color and brightness information from its 420-pixel RGB sensor. When shooting in Auto-area AF mode, the camera quickly focuses on the main subject by detecting foreground, background and subject position. When using 3D-tracking (11 points) mode, the camera uses your subject’s color and brightness information to keep it in sharp focus as you change the composition.

Canon Rebel T1i focus points compared to the Nikon D90

The Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D offers the same 9 point AF system found in the Canon EOS Rebel XSi. It has a number of focus modes, including One-Shot AF, AI Focus AF and AI Servo AF.

Although the Rebel T1i offers a competent AF system (based on our tests of the Rebel XSi), the Nikon D90's advanced autofocus technology provides the advantage including better low light autofocus capabilities and offering greater reliability in our real world comparison tests.

Nikon’s 3D Color Matrix Metering II became one of the most highly acclaimed metering systems by delivering consistently well-balanced exposures — even in lighting conditions that confuse other systems. Further extending its exposure capability, Nikon’s Scene Recognition System evaluates each scene’s highlights, delivering even more light metering precision.

Canon's 35-Zone Evaluative Metering
Nikon's 420-Segment 3D Colour Matrix Metering


Last but not least the Nikon D90's auto white balance control combines with the Scene Recognition System to analyze each scene’s light sources, cross-referencing this information with 5,000 actual picture data examples from over 20,000 images in the cameras onboard white balance database thereby offering a higher degree of accuracy.

The Rebel T1i's built-in flash is not as sophisticated compared to the flash technology in the Nikon D90: Nikon has long enjoyed a reputation as the leader in the world of SLR flash photography with their proprietary i-TTL speedlight technology.

Compared to the Canon Rebel T1i, the Nikon D90 does a better job at calculating flash exposure and corresponding white balance using information from the camera's 420-segment RGB sensor combined with subject distance information from the lens and integrating colour information from the speedlights monitor pre-flash.

The Nikon D90 also offers full support for the Nikon Creative Lighting System and Advanced Wireless Lighting capabilities with compatible Nikon Speedlights. Users from novice to enthusiast can easily explore creative wireless flash photography even in automatic exposure modes.

The D90's wireless flash "Commander mode" allows the built-in flash to function as the master flash unit and perform as a two-group remote commander that provides direct wireless control over one or more optional external SB-800, SB-600 or SB-R200 Nikon Speedlights.

In order to achieve this functionality with the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D you need to invest in the external Canon ST-E2 transmitter, a $350 accessory option.

Canon Rebel XS AF assist strobe  versus Nikon D60 AF assist beam

The Nikon D90 features an AF-assist illuminator beam which aids flash photography in dim light by projecting a pattern of red light so that the camera can focus. The beam is also used for redeye reduction.

The Canon Rebel T1i uses a multiple strobe burst from the built-in flash to illuminate the subject under low light conditions and for redeye reduction. The strobe from the flash has a tendency to make subjects blink before you take the picture since the AF-assist and redeye reduction pre-flashes are so bright. The strobe may also be seen as an interference by others depending on the situation.

The built-in flash on the Rebel T1i needs to be raised in order for the low light AF-assist system to work. Under similar conditions, the flash can be left down on the Nikon D90 since the AF-assist beam operates independently.

Nikon D90 battery EN-EL3e provides double the performance of the Canon Rebel T1i battery LP-E5: based on CIPA test standards the Nikon D90 can take up to 850 shots per charge with the supplied Nikon EN-EL3e battery (50% with flash), compared to 400 shots per charge with the Canon Rebel T1i using the included LP-E5 Canon rechargeable battery under similar test conditions.

With the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D purchasing a second LP-E5 battery for back up becomes more of a reality when heading off somewhere remote were you might not be able to recharge batteries.

Dedicated GPS unit GP-1 accessory available for the Nikon D90 supports "Geotagging": By tagging your photos with geotags you will not be left wondering down the road "Where was that picture taken?" The Nikon GP1 works by receiving signals from a number of satellites in space. Through triangulation, the camera will “know” where it is on the surface of the Earth and record the latitude and longitude and altitude in the meta data on pictures.

Once the GPs data is stored, images can be plotted on a map in Nikon View NX software or on-line at myPicturetown.com, as well as many other programs and web sites.

The Nikon D90 offers a greater degree of customization compared to the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D: the Nikon D90 features 41 custom functions compared to 13 on the Canon Rebel T1i. Almost every feature on the Nikon D90 can be tweaked to your personal preference. The D90 provides more range for fine tuning in terms of exposure control, metering, ISO range (available in steps of 1/2 and 1/3) and White Balance (WB).

For quick in-camera edits without the need of a computer, the Nikon D90 features a built-in "Retouch Menu'. Available options include:

• D-Lighting to brighten shadow areas while keeping highlight areas intact
• Redeye correction
• Trim (cropping)
• Monochrome (create B&W copy of selected image)
• Add Filter effects (Cross screen, Skylight, Warm filter, Red, Green and Blue intensifiers)
• Adjust Colour balance
• Create a small file resized copy of the original image
• Image overlay allows you to merge two images (RAW/ NEF)
• Quick Retouch
• Straighten (helps to correct linear inclination of an image for straight horizons and landscapes)
• Distortion Control (adjusts for lens aberration)
• Fisheye filter (in camera filter produces optical effects similar to a fisheye lens)

Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D compared to the Nikon D90 SLR observations: Based on the differences highlighted above, Canon could have placed themselves in a stronger position versus the competition with the Rebel T1i / EOS 500D by not increasing the resolution of the sensor to 15.1MP.

While the Canon Rebel T1i does feature some welcome additions compared to the Canon Rebel XSi, like the updated high resolution 920,000 dot anti-reflective LCD monitor, Face Detection in Live View mode, 720p HD movie recording at 30 fps (.mov file format), Peripheral Illumination Correction and an HDMI connection, the other Rebel T1i / EOS 500D possible perceived advantages like 1080p HD movie recording (20fps) and 12,800 ISO (High ISO boost setting H2) do little to enhance the usability of the camera.

Personally, we would recommend the 12.2MP Canon Rebel XSi digital SLR over the new Canon Rebel T1i in terms of value for money. If being able to shoot digital SLR type HD movies is an important requirement, the Canon Rebel T1i will offer a reasonably priced entry level Canon solution, although the higher end Canon EOS 5D Mark II would be much more appropriate for this type of application.

it quickly becomes clear that the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D is not able to compete with the Nikon D90 in terms of features and overall performance capabilities.

In comparing the two cameras there are few stand out advantages offered by the Canon Rebel T1i compared to the Nikon D90. The most notable of these is that the Canon Rebel T1i's offers 720p HD movie recording in the .mov file format at a faster frame rate and providing the ability to shoot for a longer period of time. The Canon Rebel T1i is also smaller and quite a bit lighter at 520 grams versus the Nikon D90 at 703 grams.

If you do not already have an investment in lenses or a predetermined brand preference however, we do not hesitate to highly recommend the Nikon D90 as a better solution for the enthusiast photographer compared to the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D. Considering the relatively small price difference between the two camera bodies (Canon Rebel T1i body $999 CAN, Nikon D90 body MSRP $1119 CAN, April 09), the Nikon D90 comes across as a bit of a bargain.

Even for the entry level DSLR photographer looking to expand upon their abilities and to learn on the go, the Nikon D90 SLR kit with the AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G zoom lens provides enhanced capabilities compared to the Canon Rebel T1i kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens.

Ideally, if buying into the Nikon system we would recommend spending a little more and opting for the Nikon D90 SLR lens kit with the better and more versatile AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor zoom lens, the primary kit lens specifically designed to complement the Nikon D90.

To buy the Nikon D90 or the Canon EOS Rebel T1i we recommend checking out Amazon in the US. Compare the latest US street prices on the Canon Rebel T1i here and the Nikon D90 SLR here.

Compare Canadian prices on the Nikon D90 and the Canon Rebel T1i

Canon Rebel T1i compared to the Nikon D90 top


Canon Digital Rebel T1i / EOS 500D Compared to the Nikon D90 Side by Side

Specifications
Canon EOS Rebel T1i
Nikon D90
Resolution and Size of Sensor 15.1 MP CMOS sensor (APS-C size 22.3 x 14.9 mm) 12.3 MP CMOS sensor (DX Format size 23.6 x 15.8 mm)
DxO Labs Sensor Ratings

The Canon Rebel T1i has not yet been added to the DxOMark database. The results for the EOS 50D which shares a similar sensor to the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D are shown below

DxOMark Sensor test results for the Canon EOS 50D

The Nikon D90 sensor scores higher in terms of base RAW output quality, providing enhanced Color Depth, Dynamic Range and Low Light ISO versus the EOS 50D (based on DxOMark lab sensor tests)

DxOMark Sensor test results for the Nikon D90

Image Processor DIGIC 4 EXPEED
Shutter Cycles 50,000 exposures (based on other Rebel models) 100,000 exposures
Pixel Size 4.7΅m 5.5΅m (cameras with larger size pixels perform better)
Pixel density 4.5 MP/cm² 3.3 MP/cm²
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price in Canada   (MSRP) 25/03/09 $999 body, $1099 with EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens $1119 body, $1279 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR kit lens
Entry-Level Kit Lens Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens

No Ultrasonic motor (USM) as found on higher priced Canon EF lenses
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR zoom lens. Incorporates Nikon's Silent Wave Lens Motor (SVM), offers faster AF and quieter performance

The Nikon D90 is also available as a kit with the AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor zoom lens. MSRP is $1449.99 Canadian 26/03/09
Focal Range Multiplier Factor 1.6x 1.5x
Image Size and Quality Settings

4752 x 3168 [L]
3456 x 2304 [M]
2352 x 1568 [S]

Quality settings: Fine and Normal

4,288 x 2,848 [L]
3,216 x 2,136 [M]
2,144 x 1,424 [S]

Quality settings: Fine, Normal, Basic

RAW / JPEG Recording

RAW
RAW + JPEG Fine
JPEG Fine
JPEG Normal

NEF (RAW) + JPEG Fine
NEF (RAW) + JPEG Normal
NEF (RAW) + JPEG Basic
NEF (RAW)
JPEG Fine
JPEG Normal
JPEG Basic
Frame Rate 3.4 fps up to 170 jpegs, 9 frames in RAW 4.5 fps up to 100 jpegs, 11 frames in RAW
Start Up 0.10 sec 0.15 sec
Mirror Black Out 130ms 120ms
Shutter Lag 70ms 65ms
LCD monitor 3.0-in., 920,000-dot (VGA), 170-degree wide viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment, anti-reflective

3.0-in., 920,000-dot (VGA), 170-degree wide viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment, anti-reflective

The Nikon D90's rear LCD monitor switches from a light to dark background in low light situations

LCD information panel on top of camera No Yes. Can be illuminated for low light viewing
Dials and Buttons

• One front command dial for changing settings

 • Dedicated button for ISO control on top of the camera

• Two command dials for changing camera settings. Make adjustments with your index finger controlling the front sub command dial and your thumb controlling the main command dial while still looking through the camera

• Dedicated button's for adjusting metering, exposure compensation and auto focus located on top of camera

• Programmable Function (Fn) button: provides quick access to activate or change settings for the assigned feature

You can assign one of the following features to the Fn button (use Custom Menu to select):

(1) Framing grid - Select On,Off (2) AF Area mode - Select AF Area (3) Center focus point - Choose Wide or Normal Center AF point coverage (4) Activate FV lock (5) Flash off when Fn button is pressed (6) Matrix metering (7) Center weighted metering (8) Spot metering (9) Access top item in my Menu (10) + RAW / NEF - adds a RAW / NEF copy when shooting JPEG

Live View  1) Quick Mode using phase detection. Live View is interrupted and the mirror drops when focusing
2) Live Mode using contrast detection. Live View is not affected although focus is slower 
3) Live Face Detection Mode: AF Face priority

One-touch Live View activation by button

Contrast Detection with 3 AF-area modes:

1) Face Priority
2) Wide Area AF
3) Normal Area AF

One-touch Live View activation by button

HD movie Recording Quicktime MOV format
• 720p HD video capture at 30 fps (1280 x 720) Up to 12 min clips
• HD 1080p video capture at 20 fps up to 18 min clips
• 4:3 standard TV quality (SD) video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 fps up to 24 min
• The video capture uses the Picture Style that has been set for Live View still image shooting.
Motion JPG (AVI file)
• 720p HD video capture at 24 fps (1280 x 720) Up to 5 min clips
• 640 x 424 (24 fps) Up to 20 min
• 320 x 216 (24 fps)
• No AF during movie recording (manual focus)
• Adjustment of Picture Control is available
Viewfinder System • Pentamirror viewfinder
• Approx. 0.87x viewfinder magnification
• 19 mm eyepoint
• Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
• Infrared proximity sensor turns off the rear LCD screen when you hold the camera up to your eye 
• Pentaprism glass viewfinder (clearer and brighter than pentamirror)
• Approx. 0.94x viewfinder magnification
• 19.5 mm eyepoint
• Dioptric adjustment: -2.0 to +1.0 diopter
Focus Screen Fixed precision matte screen
Grid display available in LiveView and superimposed on LCD monitor
Fixed precision matte screen with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines (convenient for composing shots). The color used to highlight the active focus area (focus brackets) in the viewfinder display changes automatically in response to lighting conditions. 
ISO Sensitivity Settings

• ISO range 100-12800 ISO:

• Auto ISO: 100-1600 ISO

• Manual ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 ISO and H1: 6400 ISO, H2: 12800 ISO  

• ISO range 100-6400 ISO:

• Auto ISO: ISO 200 to 3200 in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV

• Manual ISO: 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 1 EV (ISO 100 equivalent) under ISO 200 and approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 1 EV (ISO 6400 equivalent) over ISO 3200

Noise Reduction (NR) System

Long exposure noise reduction: Images taken at slow shutter speeds are processed to reduce noise. Settings: Off, Auto, On

High ISO noise reduction: Images taken at ISO sensitivities of ISO 800 and higher are processed to reduce noise. Four selectable settings include: "Standard", "Low", "Strong", "Disable"

Long exposure noise reduction: Images taken at slow shutter speeds are processed to reduce noise. Settings: High, Normal, Low, Off

High ISO noise reduction: Images taken at ISO sensitivities of ISO 800 and higher are processed to reduce noise. Four selectable settings include: "High", "Normal" (default), "Low", "Off"
Lens Compatibility

Canon EF Lens Mount

1) Canon EF lenses (including EF-S lenses)

2) Older manual focus Canon FD lenses are not compatible with the Canon EOS digital SLR system

Nikon F Lens Mount

1) AF NIKKOR (including AF-S, DX, VR and D-/G-type): All functions possible

2) D-type Manual-Focus NIKKOR: All functions except some exposure modes available

3) AF NIKKOR other than D-/G-type: All functions except 3D-Color Matrix Metering II and3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash possible

4) AI-P NIKKOR: All functions except 3D-Color Matrix Metering II and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash

5) Non-CPU AI NIKKOR (Older manual NIKKOR lenses): Usable in [A] or [M] mode with Matrix Metering, Center-Weighted and Spot Metering available Indication of aperture No., after user inputs the aperture f/No. and focal length f=mm by multi-selector operation Electronic rangefinder usable with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster

AF System 9 focus points (including one cross-type sensor)
11 focus points (including one cross-type sensor) 
AF Modes 1) AI Focus
2) One Shot
3) AI Servo
1) Single-area AF
2) Dynamic-area AF
3) Auto-area AF
4) 3D Focus Tracking (11-area) 
Face Detection AF Face Detection AF in Live View

Face Detection AF in Live View

AF Detection Range EV -0.5 - 18 (at 23°C/73°F, ISO 100) -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, at 20°C/68°F)
Shooting Exposure Modes on Dial Program
Shutter-Priority
Aperture-Priority
Manual
Auto
Portrait
Landscape
Close-up
Sports
Night portrait
Flash off
Movie
Auto depth-of-field
Program
Shutter-Priority
Aperture-Priority
Manual
Auto
Portrait
Landscape
Close-up
Sports
Night portrait
Shutter Speed 30 to 1/4000 sec (1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)  30 to 1/4000 sec (1/3 or 1/2 EV steps) 
Metering System 35-zone TTL full-aperture metering

1) Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)

2) Partial metering (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)

3) Spot metering (approx. 3.8% of viewfinder at center)

4) Center-weighted average metering
TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor

1) Matrix: 3D color matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses)

2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 6, 8, or 10 mm circle in center of frame

3) Spot: Meters 3.5 mm circle (about 2% of frame) centered on selected focus point 
Metering Range EV 1 - 20 EV 0 - 20
Exposure Compensation -2 to +2 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV steps -5 to +5 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
Auto Exposure Bracketing 3 exposures in steps of 1/2 or 1/3 EV
2 or 3 exposures in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 or 2 EV
White Balance Settings

Settings AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom.

White balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber adjust from -9 to +9
2. Magenta/ Green adjust from -9 to +9

Custom WB: 1 setting can be registered. The WB setting is matched to a previously captured image as selected by the user

Settings AWB, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade

Choose color temp. (Kelvin settings from 2500 to 10000

White balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber fine adjustment by grid
2. Magenta/ Green fine adjustment by grid

Preset manual (Custom WB): measure and store a white balance setting based on readings from a white card

White Balance Bracketing 3 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3 2 or 3 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3
Scene Recognition System

N/A


Scene Recognition System (SRS): Information from the 420-pixel RGB sensor is used to recognize the subject or scene conditions prior to capture. The results are used by the D90 when determining:

Autofocus:
• Subject identification
• Composition-change detection
• Face priority AF

Auto Exposure & i-TTL Flash Control:
• Highlight analysis
• Face detection

Auto White Balance:
• Light source identification
• Face detection

Playback:
• Zoom to face

Dynamic Range Processing • Highlight Tone Priority (from 200 ISO to 3200 ISO) Settings: Disable, enable
• Auto Lighting Optimizer: Settings Low, Standard, Strong, Disable
• Active D-Lighting (from 100 ISO and up) Settings: Off, Low, Normal, High, Extra High and Auto
• Active D-Lighting Bracketing: 2 frames
• D-Lighting can be applied in the D90 Retouch Menu or using optional Nikon Capture NX2 software (applied after)
Image Processing

Picture Style Settings
• Six preset Picture Style settings
• Three Custom Picture Style Settings can be registered

• Standard: Vivid, sharp images; optimal for direct printing without post-processing

• Portrait: Warmer
skin tones, with slight increases in contrast and sharpening

• Landscape: bright, saturated and sharpened images, with emphasis on blue and green color saturation.

• Neutral: Low sharpening, contrast and saturation: the ideal starting point for image-editing in the computer

• Faithful: Accurate
reproduction of the subject's colors based on colorimetric data

• Monochrome: Black & White images; adjustable contrast, sharpening, as well as color toning and effects of traditional color filters.

Picture Control Settings
• Six preset Picture Control settings
• Nine Custom Picture Control Settings can be registered

• Standard: Standard: Vivid, sharp images; optimal for direct printing without post-processing

• Neutral: Low sharpening, contrast and saturation: the ideal starting point for image-editing in the computer

• Vivid: For distinct, colorful, fresh-looking images with just the right emphasis on your subject’s contrast and sharpening.

• Monochrome: Black & White images; adjustable contrast, sharpening, as well as color toning and effects of traditional color filters.

• Portrait: Warmer
skin tones, with slight increases in contrast and sharpening

• Landscape: bright, saturated and sharpened images, with emphasis on blue and green color saturation.

Quick Adjust settings available for Standard, Vivid, Portrait and Landscape processing parameters. Individual fine tune adjustments for Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and Hue

Retouch Menu N/A In-Camera Retouch Menu Options include:

• D-Lighting
• Redeye correction
• Trim
• Monochrome
• Filter effects
• Colour balance
• Small picture
• Image overlay
• NEF (RAW) processing
• Quick retouch
• Straighten
• Distortion control
• Fisheye filter
Flash System E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites
i-TTL + Wireless Creative Lighting System Support
Built-in Pop Up Flash Guide Number 13 @ 100 ISO with 17mm coverage Guide Number 13 @ 100 ISO with 18mm coverage
Wireless Flash Support • Wireless flash support requires accessory Canon ST-E2 transmitter. A $350 CAN option for the Rebel T1i  

• Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with built-in flash acting as "commander" with in camera wireless control of up to two groups of external speedlight flashes

• Also offers wireless flash control with an attached Nikon SB-900, SB-800, or SU-800 acting as commander, and Nikon SB-900, SB-800, SB-600, or SB-R200 speedlights as remotes

Red Eye Reduction System Small series of flashes fired by built-in flash.
Flash must be raised for AF assist
Beam from lamp: Approx. range 0.5-3 m/1 ft. 8 in.-9 ft. 10 in.) 
Flash Modes Auto, On, Red-eye reduction, Off Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow, Red-Eye Slow
Flash sync 1/200 sec  1/200th sec
PC sync with optional AS-15 adapter
Flash Exposure Compensation - 2EV to +2EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV -3EV to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Flash Control

• Flash Exposure (FE) lock

• High-Speed Sync with compatible external Canon speedlite flashes

• Flash Value (FV) lock

• Auto FP High-Speed Sync with compatible external Nikon speedlights

Dust Reduction System • The Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) has an antistatic design to prevent static electricity from attracting dust and foreign matter to its surface

• Self Cleaning Sensor Unit designed to eliminate larger types of dust

• Image dust-off data acquisition: allows you to map out the dust on the sensor and have the software remove it automatically


• The Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) has an antistatic design to prevent static electricity from attracting dust and foreign matter to its surface

• Self Cleaning Sensor Unit designed to eliminate larger types of dust

• Image dust-off data acquisition: allows you to map out the dust on the sensor and have the software remove it automatically

• The area surrounding the rear surface of the image sensor is sealed to help prevent dust and foreign matter from entering from the back

• The Nikon D90 is designed to maintain a space between the imaging surface of the image sensor and the surface of the OLPF. As dust and foreign matter on the image sensor do not form a sharp image (degree of sharpness also varies with aperture value), it is less likely for such dust and/or foreign matter to have an effect on photographs

• The D90 is designed so that the moving parts such as the shutter and quick-return mirror produce very little of the dust and particles associated with mechanical wear of new parts inside the camera.

Custom Function Settings 13 custom functions  41 custom functions 
Peripheral Illumination Correction
Yes, Brightens the corners of images to correct for lens vignetting Yes, Brightens the corners of images to correct for lens vignetting
Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction N/A Like the professional Nikon D3 and D300, the D90 compensates for lateral chromatic aberration. "Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction" function serves to reduce moirι and provides optimized edge sharpness.
Self Timer 10 sec. or 2 sec. delay Can be selected from 2, 5, 10, and 20 s duration
Depth of Field Preview Dedicated button Dedicated button
Optional Vertical Battery Grip Accessory BG-E5 can take two LP-E5 batteries or six AA batteries MB-D80 can take two EN-EL3e or six AA batteries 
Text Input No Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header
Remote Control Wireless Remote Controller RC-5 or Remote Switch RS-60E3 (cord)
Wireless Remote Control ML-L3 or
Remote Cord MC-DC2
HDMI HDMI 1.3-compliant Type C  HDMI 1.3-compliant Type C 
Battery Type and Duration (Approx.) Lithium-Ion LP-E5 rechargeable battery and charger supplied
400 shots per charge based on CIPA Standard 50% with flash
Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e rechargeable battery and charger supplied
850 shots per charge based on CIPA Standard 50% with flash
Memory Card Type SD (Secure Digital) memory cards; camera supports SDHC  SD (Secure Digital) memory cards; camera supports SDHC 
Dedicated GPS Accessory No Optional accessory Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit. Attaches on hot shoe via cable to camera. Useful for geo-tagging applications
Supported Languages in Menu 25 Menu Language selections: English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukraine, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified/Traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese) 16 Menu Language selections: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Compare Lenses
Supplied Software EOS Utility 2.6 (Mac/Windows)
Digital Photo Professional 3.6 (Mac/Windows) RAW conversion
ImageBrowser 6.2 (Mac) / ZoomBrowser EX 6.3 (Windows)
Picture Style Editor 1.5 (Mac/Windows)
WFT Utility 3.3 (Mac/Windows)
PhotoStitch 3.2 (Mac)
PhotoStitch 3.1 (Windows)
Movie Edit Task 3.2
(Mac/Windows) 
QuickTime
Nikon Transfer utility
ViewNX software
ViewNX allows you to rotate, compress for e-mail, create a slide show and convert images from your D90. ViewNX allows you to convert RAW NEF files to JPEG and TIFF formats
DirectX 9
Nikon Capture NX 2 editing software 60 day trial version
Accessories Included in the Box Rubber Eyecup Ef
C. Wide Strap EW-100DBIII
USB Interface Cable IFC-200U
Audio Video Cable AVC-DC400
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E5
Battery Charger LC-E5
EOS Digital Solution Disk
Instruction Manuals
"Great Photography is Easy" Booklet and "Do More with Macro" Booklet
Rubber Eyecup DK-21
Camera Strap AN-DC1
USB Cable UC-E4
Audio Video Cable EG-D2
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Battery Charger MH-18a
Nikon Software Suite CD-ROM
Instruction Manuals
Eyepiece Cap DK-5
Protective Clear LCD Cover BM-10
Vincent Bockaert's 123 of Digital Imaging ebook (Canada)
Size 129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in) 132 x 103 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
Warranty One year warranty Two year in Canada warranty
Weight 520g 703g
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