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Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D Compared to Nikon D90 Side by Side


Canon Rebel T2i versus Nikon D90 SLR front


March 14th , 2010

Canon recently released the Canon Rebel T2i SLR (also known as the EOS 550D), which serves an update to the Canon Rebel T1i / 500D. The Rebel T2i is designed to appeal to both novice and hobby photographers by offering a wide range of both automatic options and extended manual creative control.

The Canon Rebel T2i shares a similar body design to the Rebel T1i, although receives a number of updated features, among them an almost identical 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor to the one found in the popular higher end Canon EOS 7D. Another addition is that the Rebel T2i inherits the more advanced iFCL exposure metering with 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor found in the EOS 7D, compared to the older 35-zone metering system found on the T1i / 500D.

The Rebel T2i also sports an updated wide screen (3:2) LCD monitor with 1.04 million dot resolution, a new button design and the ability to customize Auto ISO.

The other big news surrounding the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D is the upgraded video recording capabilities compared to the Rebel T1i. The Canon T2i now offers full HD movie recording with manual control and selectable frame rates (1080P at up to 30 fps, 720P at 60 or 50 fps), and provides for the welcome ability of being able to plug in an optional external stereo microphone.

The Canon Rebel T2i / 550D new headline features include:

• 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor similar to the Canon EOS 7D
• Digic 4 image processor with ISO 100-6400 (Expansion to 12800)
• Continuous shooting at 3.7 fps (Rebel T1i is 3.4 fps)
• 3.0-inch 3:2 Clear View LCD with 1.04 million dots
• Full HD movie recording with manual control and selectable frame rates
• iFCL metering system with 63-zone Dual-layer metering sensor
• Quick Control screen to change camera settings
• Exposure Compensation +/- 5 stops
• Maximum value for Auto ISO can be set (Creative Zone modes & Manual)
• Compatibility with high capacity SDXC memory cards

 

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As of today, the 12.3MP Nikon D90 SLR is the closest competitor to the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D. The Nikon D90 was the first digital SLR camera to feature an HD movie recording option. Since its introduction, 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 initially responded to the success of the Nikon D90 by introducing and positioning the Canon Rebel T1i / 500D into the same class at a lower price point. In our earlier Canon Rebel T1i / 500D versus Nikon D90 side by side comparison we showed that the Rebel T1i feel short in a number of areas compared to the D90. So how does the updated Rebel T2i / 550D stack up?

We have now had the opportunity to test the Canon Rebel T2i vs the Nikon D90 and have put together a comparison to show that the Canon Rebel T2i does indeed bring their new Rebel flagship closer to the offerings provided by the Nikon D90 SLR. Are the Canon T2i / 550D improvements significant enough to dethrone the popular D90? Read our review to see all that has changed with the new Canon T2i SLR.

If you are looking to find out more detailed information about the specifications incorporated in these two cameras then jump directly to our Canon Rebel T2i versus Nikon D90 side by side feature comparison further below.

 

Canon Digital Rebel T2i / EOS 550D versus the Nikon D90 SLR: Respective Advantages

The Canon Rebel T2i features a 18MP sensor compared to the Nikon D90 with a 12.3MP sensor: The common assumption is that more is better and that the Canon Rebel T2i offers an advantage with its higher resolution sensor.

When we first compared the 15.1MP resolution Rebel T1i versus the 12.3MP D90, we stated that we would have been more impressed with Canon's new product direction if they had opted to recycle the better quality output 10MP sensor from the Canon EOS 40D and incorporate it into the Rebel T1i.

Now Canon has gone one step further in the megapixel race by upping the resolution in the new T2i / 550D to 18MP, while keeping the sensor the same size. In theory, this means that the image quality will suffer as each individual pixel has to be reduced further in size in order to be able to wedge the extra pixels onto the sensor.

Canon's workaround this problem has been to adopt a gapless microlens design for the Rebel T2i's sensor, which means that the quality of each pixel (photodiode) has been looked at by Canon and improved. By using a more advanced micro-manufacturing process, the circuitry around each diode has been reduced in size so each individual diode can be larger, giving better high ISO performance and a wider dynamic range. Although the sensor records the light it is the microlenses above each pixel that funnel the light into the pixel ‘well’.

Rebel T2i / 550d versus T1i / 500D sensor design
 

The above diagram shows how the Rebel T2i / 550D (like the higher end Canon EOS 7D) uses a gapless microlens design compared to the T1i to gather the light more efficiently. Likewise, the distance between the sensor and the microlenses has been reduced. The combination of these improvements in the T2i / 550D is lower noise levels at all ISO settings and higher pixel sensitivity compared to the earlier Canon T1i / 500D.

All in all though, in order to fit 18 megapixels on a sensor that is slightly smaller in size compared to the DX format sensor found in the Nikon D90, in comparison the pixels on the Rebel T2i sensor still have to be smaller and packed closer together. (Pixel pitch on the D90 is larger at 5.5΅m vs. 4.2΅m for the T2i)

Pixel density (or how closely together the pixels are located) is calculated by dividing the number of pixels on a sensor by the imaging area of the sensor. Even with the gapless microlens design improvements, the pixel density on the Rebel T2i / 550D is still higher at 5.5MP / cm² versus 4.5MP / cm² on the Rebel T1i / 500D. The Nikon D90 features a notably lower pixel density of only 3.3MP / cm².

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.

Other issues related to high pixel density include; lower dynamic range, reduced high ISO performance, diffraction issues, and increased possibility of camera shake. Although the extra resolution from a 18MP sensor provides for gain in fine detail compared to a 12.3MP sensor, the disadvantages typically outweigh the gains. By adding even more pixels to the Rebel T2i / 550D without increasing the size of the sensor, Canon is pushing beyond the resolution threshold of APS-C sensor technology, and in our opinion has once again opted to sacrifice on quality and practicality in favour of a marketing based decision.

DxOMark Sensor test results for the Nikon D90 versus the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D support these arguments, showing that the Nikon D90 delivers better RAW sensor output compared to the Rebel T2i, including improved colour depth, dynamic range, and high ISO capability. (See specifications below)

The Canon Rebel T2i and the Nikon D90 both offer a large 3.0-inch high resolution LCD monitor: The Canon T2i features a 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor with a wide 3:2 aspect ratio designed to match the camera's sensor. In comparison, the Nikon D90 incorporates a 4:3 aspect ratio LCD monitor with approximately 640 x 480 pixels versus the roughly 720 x 480 LCD pixel array on the Rebel T2i.

On both the T2i and the D90, each LCD pixel includes three individual colored dots (red, green and blue - RGB) making for a total of about 1.04 million dots on the Rebel T2i monitor compared to approximately 920,000 dots for the screen on the Nikon D90 (640 x 480 x 3 RGB dots)

Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D versus Nikon D90 back

The LCD monitors on the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D and the Nikon D90 both offer a wide viewing angle (160° for the T2i and 170° for the D90) with anti-reflective properties and 100% coverage.

Likewise the monitor brightness can be adjusted on both cameras depending on viewing conditions. The Nikon D90 comes supplied with a removable clear LCD protection screen (BM-10) to prevent the monitor from getting scratched. Although being more exposed to the elements without a cover, the Canon Rebel T2i LCD screen features anti-scratching and anti-smudging properties to help protect it from wear and tear.

  Nikon D90 LCD screen protector BM-10  
 


The Rebel T2i offers enhanced Live View (LV) capabilities with Phase Detect and Contrast Detect AF:
The Canon T2i / 550D offers three AF options in Live View shooting mode: (1) Live Mode - uses contrast AF detection, (2) Face Detection - contrast detect AF with face detection, (3) Quick Mode - uses phase detection (mirror up) for faster Live View focusing. A Live View Histogram is also available on the Canon Rebel T2i to assist in determining exposure.

With the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D Live View was not available in the 'Basic Zone' auto exposure modes (Scene modes), which seemed rather odd considering that novices upgrading from a point and shoot would find Live View appealing. Canon has corrected this in the T2i / 550D by making Live View available in all exposure modes.

Additionally, the Canon Rebel T2i provides for up to a 10x magnified view when using manual focus in Live View mode making it easier to verify focus. The Nikon D90 in comparison provides for up to a 6.7x magnification when manually focusing in LV mode.

Although the Nikon D90 also offers three Live View AF modes, the camera does not offer the faster type of phase-detect autofocus. The three contrast-detect AF Live View modes available on the D90 include: Face Priority AF, Wide Area AF, and Normal Area AF.

  Canon T2i Live View Display       Nikon D90 Live View Display  
 
Canon T2i LV Basic Display
• Information: Contrast detect focus area (Green box), exposure settings, exposure compensation, remaining frames, ISO value, battery status
     
Nikon D90 LV Basic Display
• Information: Contrast detect focus area (Green box), exposure settings, metering mode, shooting mode (M), remaining frames, ISO value
 
         
 
Canon T2i LV Detailed Display
• While in LV mode, press the Quick Control button to adjust White Balance, Picture Styles, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Image Quality, Drive Mode, and the AF Mode (in Creative Zone modes).
     
Nikon D90 LV Detailed Display
• Live View mode with Movie settings. Shows AF mode, Image Quality, White Balance, Recording time available for movies. Pushing the "OK" button activates movie recording. Brightness adjustment.
 

In Live View Face Priority AF mode, the Nikon D90 offers AF Face Tracking where the camera will track the subject within the frame once face detection is achieved.

The Rebel T2i offers superior HD video recording capabilities compared to the Nikon D90 D-Movie mode: When we first compared the Rebel T1i / 500D versus the Nikon D90 we noted that the Rebel T1i's 1080P movie recording mode is crippled by a slow 20 frame per second capture rate, meaning that videos are not very fluid at the higher resolution recording setting. With the new Canon EOS Rebel T2i this feature has been noticeably improved.

Borrowing on the technology from the higher end Canon EOS 7D, video can be captured with the Rebel T2i / 550D at a number of resolutions and frame rates suitable for various applications and broadcast standards. The T2i can capture 1920 x 1080 Full HD video at frame rates of 24 (23.976), 25 or 30 (29.97) frames per second, for up to 4GB per clip.

Movies are saved as MOV files and can be viewed in Full HD through the camera's HDMI output. Other recording sizes available on the T2i include HD at 1280 x 720 (50/60 (59.94) fps) or SD/VGA at 640 x 480 (50/60 (59.94) fps).

The Canon Rebel T2i features a built-in microphone for simple mono recording (like the T1i) although now stereo sound can be recorded through a self-powered external microphone (optional) utilizing the T2i's stereo microphone input jack. Coupled with the fact that the Rebel T2i now also offers manual control of video exposure, the Rebel T2i has become a more serious tool for movie shooters.

In situations where the subject is further away, the Rebel T2i / EOS 550D also offers a 'Movie Crop' function in which the camera records VGA quality video utilizing only the central 640 x 480 pixel area of the sensor, creating an effective magnification of approximately seven times. When shooting movies in general, a large capacity SD card rated SD Speed 'Class 6' or higher is strongly recommended or quality may suffer.

With the Rebel T2i maximum movie recording time in either 1080P or 720P HD is 12 min clips (based on 4GB limit), and up to 29 min and 59 sec clips in VGA (640 x 480) movie mode.

In comparison the Nikon D90 offers 720P HD movie recording at 24 fps with up to 5 min of recording time per clip. The Nikon D90 does not provide for the option of plugging in an external microphone like the T2i. The Nikon D90 records movies in the motion JPEG format which are stored as AVI format files.

Without a doubt if SLR movie recording is your main objective, then the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D is the best choice in this class of cameras (as of 11/03/10).

One advantage that the Nikon D90 does offer with respect to D-movie recording is better file manageability for entry level videographers, making the Rebel T2i more geared towards the video enthusiast. Shooting in either full 1080P or 720P HD movie mode, the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D produces approximately 1.7GB MOV files per 5 min clip, compared to the Nikon D90's approximately 600MB AVI files per 5 min clip recorded at 720P 24 fps.

720p HD movie file size relative to 1080P HD movie file size

 

The above diagram shows the relative difference in frame size between HD movie recording in 720P (1280 x 720) versus 1080P (1920 x 1080).

The Canon T2i 720P HD movie files take up more memory space compared to the files from the D90 because of its faster frame rate (60 / 50 fps) versus the 24 fps captured by the Nikon D90, as well as the different type of movie file format.

With the T2i / 550D it is possible to grab fairly useable still images (1920 x 1080 suitable for web use, small prints) from your 1080P HD movie clips. Likewise it is also possible to grab stills from the Nikon D90's 720P D-movie clips, although the quality suffers in comparison because of the lower 1280 x 720 movie capture resolution.

Canon Rebel T2i offers high ISO boost up to 12,800 ISO compared to the Nikon D90 to 6400 ISO: While the 12,800 high ISO boost capability on the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D sounds good from a marketing point of view, the reality is that this setting produces pretty poor results (only for emergency use).

Available in the Nikon D90 and now added to the Rebel T2i (not in the T1i), both cameras offer the ability to set a limit on the highest ISO the camera will select in Auto ISO mode, enabling the user to retain the desired lighting and look for a scene while concentrating on capturing the subject.

The Nikon D90 offers the added advantage of providing for the ability to select the minimum shutter speed at which the Auto ISO setting kicks in. General ISO settings are also selectable in 1/3 stop increments on the D90, compared to one stop increments for the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D, allowing for ISO fine tuning with the D90.

         
 
Canon T2i ISO Range
Available ISO selection: Auto, 100 - 6400 ISO in 1 stop increments. One stop expansion to (H) 12800 ISO - activated in Custom Functions (C.FN 2)
     
Nikon D90 ISO Range
Available ISO selection: Auto, 200 - 3200 ISO in 1/3 stop increments. Low ISO setting down to (Lo 1) 100 ISO and boost up to (H1) 6400 ISO in 1/3 stops
 
  Canon T2i  Auto ISO selection menu       Nikon D90 Auto ISO selection menu  
 
T2i / 550D : Auto ISO Control
     
Nikon D90: Auto ISO Control
 


Based on our high ISO tests of the Canon T2i / EOS 550D versus the Nikon D90, the D90 begins to show an advantage from 800 ISO and up in terms of retention of detail. Canon's stronger noise reduction approach with in-camera JPEG processing at these higher ISO settings tends to lead to some loss and blurring of detail as seen in the comparison images below.

Canon T2i / 550D 800 ISO Test
 
Nikon D90 800 ISO Test
Canon Rebel T2i with EF-S 18-55mm at 800 ISO   Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR at 800 ISO
100% crop from Rebel T2i at 800 ISO   100% crop from Nikon D90 at 800 ISO
Canon T2i / 550D with EF-S 18-55mm IS
• ISO 800, 1/15 sec at F8, Standard NR
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Auto White Balance
T2i Image Sample 6.97 MB Large File
 
Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 800, 1/15 sec at F8, Normal NR
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Auto White Balance
D90 Image Sample 5.88 MB Large File


Canon T2i / 550D 3200 ISO Test
 
Nikon D90 3200 ISO Test
 
Canon Rebel T2i with EF-S 18-55mm IS lens at 3200 ISO, 100% Crop   Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR at 3200 ISO, 100% Crop
Canon T2i / 550D with EF-S 18-55mm IS
• ISO 3200, Aperture Priority, 1/13 sec at F8
• Standard High ISO Noise Reduction
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Custom White Balance
T2i Image Sample 6.97 MB Large File
 
Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 3200, Aperture Priority, 1/13 sec at F8
• Normal High ISO Noise Reduction
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Custom White Balance
D90 Image Sample 5.6 MB Large File

 

Better results could be optained by shooting in RAW and post processing the images in software, something that most users for this class of SLR cameras do not tend to do. Apart from having to take the time to process the images after the fact, shooting in RAW also results in much larger image files compared to shooting in the more common JPEG format.

The sensor in the Nikon D90 offers a higher signal to noise ratio (see definition below graph) compared to the Canon Rebel T2i. The DxOMark test results comparing the signal to noise ratio from the Nikon D90 versus the Rebel T2i / 550D are shown below.

Canon Rebel T2i Signal to Noise Ratio compared to 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 standard AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G Nikkor zoom lens 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 does not appear as sharp from corner to corner, imperfections that are highlighted even further when used with a higher resolution camera like the Rebel T2i. 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.

Like the professional Nikon D3x and higher end Nikon D300s, 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.

Both the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D and the Nikon D90 are available with longer range kit zoom lenses, in the way of the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and the Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR. For the extra dollars we feel that both lenses are well worth the upgrade.

If you are looking for a good secondary lens delivering better image quality, we would recommend considering the fixed prime Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens for the Rebel T2i / 550D or the Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8 standard lens for the Nikon D90, both reasonably priced accessory lens options.

With the 80mm and 75mm equivalent field of view in 35mm terms provided by these respective lenses, they are an ideal bargain solution for family portrait and other types of fine art photography and videography. (Canon = 1.6 crop factor x 50mm and Nikon = 1.5 crop factor x 50mm)

The Nikon D90 is faster and quieter than the Canon EOS Rebel T2i: The Nikon D90 is designed to allow you to capture the decisive moment more easily. The D90 features faster focus acquisition, a shorter mirror black out time and shutter lag compared to the Canon Rebel T2i.

The Nikon D90 also features a quieter shutter mechanism compared to the Canon Rebel T2i, making less noise when the camera takes the picture.

The Canon T2i can capture images at 3.7 frames per second (fps) with a buffer that will allow up to 6 RAW or 34 JPEG images in a burst. In comparison the Nikon D90 can capture 4.5 fps up to 11 frames in RAW or 100 JPEG's in a burst. Being able to shoot twice as many (or more) frames in a burst can have significant advantages when trying to capture that precise 'action' shot.

The Nikon D90 provides an enhanced ergonomic layout compared to the Canon Rebel T2i: In comparison to the Rebel T1i / 500D, the new Rebel T2i / 550D does offer improvements in design with larger more accessible buttons.

Canon Rebel T2i versus the T1i design

The Canon Rebel T2i / 550D also features a new 'Quick Menu' button, another feature inherited from the Canon EOS 7D SLR.

Pressing the [Q] button located on the back of the camera brings up the 'Quick Menu' screen on the camera's LCD monitor and allows for faster access in making adjustments to the Canon T2i / 550D's main settings.

The Quick Menu screen colour can be changed in the Rebel T2i's menu to one of four different selections as seen in the screen grab on the left.

By setting the exposure dial on the Canon T2i / 550D to Creative Auto mode [CA] and then pressing the 'Quick Menu' button, novice users will find it easy to change the brightness and depth of field of their image by simply using a sliding scale.

Other values that can be adjusted easily in the T2i's CA mode are Picture Style (tone), flash settings, image size and the frame rate.

To assist entry level DSLR users in learning the camera's features, the Nikon D90 offers a kind of mini built-in instruction book via the "Help" button.

While accessing the menu, pressing the WB button on the back of the camera (also marked with a question mark & key) will bring up descriptive information about the setting you have currently selected.

 
Canon T2i / 550D Menu Screen Colour Selections
   
 
Canon T2i / 550D Creative Auto CA mode menu

The Nikon D90 compared to the Rebel T2i still features a more ergonomically thought 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.

Canon Rebel T2i / 550D versus the Nikon D90 back

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 Canon Rebel T2i features one main control dial on the top of the camera for changing settings   The Nikon D90 features two controls dials for changing settings located on the front and rear portion of the grip
Canon T2i / 550D Grip Design
 
Nikon D90 Grip Design

The Nikon 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 the settings for a particular feature on the camera. The following functions can be assigned to be activated by pressing the Fn button on the 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)

The "My Menu" option on the Nikon D90 can be used to create and edit a customized list of up to 20 options from the playback, shooting, Custom Settings, setup, and retouch menus. Options can be added, deleted, and reordered.

In comparison, the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D offers a customizable "My Menu" tab were you can register up to 6 menu options and Custom Functions for settings you change frequently.

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 T2i / 550D offers 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, although this is a matter of personal preference.

Both the Canon Rebel T2i and the Nikon D90 provide for a vertical release battery grip accessory option, making either camera more balanced and natural to hold, especially with a longer telephoto lens attached. The Canon BG-E8 can hold one or two Canon LP-E8 Li-Ion batteries or 6 x AA type batteries, the same as the Nikon MB-D80 which can hold one or two Nikon EN-EL3e Li-Ion rechargeable batteries or 6 x AA batteries. (see battery timings further below)

Canon BG-E8 front view   Nikon MB-D80 front view
Canon BG-E8 back view   Nikon MB-D80 back view
Canon BG-E8 Grip Design
 
Nikon MB-D80 Grip Design


The Nikon D90 incorporates a Pentaprism viewfinder versus the Pentamirror type on the Rebel T2i
: Featuring a glass pentaprism design usually found on more expensive SLR cameras, the viewfinder on the Nikon D90 provides a clearer view compared to the Rebel T2i / 550D with its pentamirror viewfinder design.

The D90 offers a larger viewfinder with 0.94x magnification compared to the smaller viewfinder 0.87x magnification on the Rebel T2i / EOS 550D.

Canon Rebel T2i viewfinder view compared to the Nikon D90
T2i: 0.87x view magnification
D90: 0.94x view magnification

The Nikon D90 also offers enhanced shutter durability with a shutter mechanism that is rated up to 100,000 exposures. Canon does not provide official specifications on the durability of the shutter built into the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D.

Note: In response to our request for a shutter durability rating for the Canon Rebel T2i, Canon Canada provided us with the following reply:

"Canon does not release shutter durability ratings for EOS Rebel class cameras as it is not a common specification that consumers for that product request. Shutter durability ratings are provided for professional and semi professional models as they could be important factors in the purchase decision. Canon shutter durability ratings are not a guarantee, nor covered under warranty. They simply test using Canon standard testing conditions. So, any Rebel class cameras have no "official" shutter durability rating"

When we in turn referenced another web site claiming to have received official shutter ratings for Rebel cameras, our Canon contacts reconfirmed the above:

"I just verified with our Pro markets tech expert and he reinforced that Canon does not test Rebel Cameras for "shutter durability" as it isn't a purchasing factor and thus there are no official numbers on the matter. Not too sure who exactly provided these numbers listed in the article but they are not substantiated by Canon Canada."
- Corporate Communications, Canon Canada Inc.

Nikon D90 SRS provides for better Focusing, Metering and White Balance Control vs. the Canon Rebel T2i:

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

This unique technology utilizes the camera's 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 the 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 T2i / EOS 550D offers the same 9 point AF system found in the Canon EOS Rebel T1i. It has a number of focus modes, including One-Shot AF, AI Focus AF and AI Servo AF.

Although the Rebel T2i offers a competent AF system, 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.

Likewise 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.

Nikon’s 3D Color Matrix Metering II has become one of the most highly acclaimed metering systems by delivering consistently well-balanced exposures — even in lighting conditions that confuse other systems. 3D Color Matrix Meter II takes into account the scene's contrast and brightness, the subject's distance (via a D- or G-type NIKKOR lens), the color of the subject within the scene and RGB color values in every section of the scene.

The 3D Color Matrix Metering II system in the Nikon D90 uses the Scene Recognition System to evaluate the highlights, delivering even more light metering precision. The meter then accesses a database of over 30,000 actual images to determine the best exposure for the scene.

The metering system in the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D has been improved upon from the Rebel T1i / 500D. While the T1i / 500D uses a 35-zone metering sensor, the Canon T2i now incorporates a 63-zone iFCL dual metering sensor similar to the EOS 7D. The iFCL system uses Focus, Colour and Luminance information to determine exposure. The Rebel T2i's 9 focus points provide distance information to the metering system to determine proximity to the subject and allow the algorithm to weight the exposure accordingly.

Typically, metering sensors are more sensitive to red subjects which can lead to overexposure. The T2i / 550D combats this with the dual layer sensor, which has one layer sensitive to red and green light and one that is sensitive to blue and green light. The metering algorithm then compares the level of the two layers and adjusts the meter reading accordingly.

It is interesting to see that in updating to a new 63-zone iFCL system, Canon has now chosen to adopt a somewhat similar technological approach to metering that reflects concepts that Nikon has taken into consideration, implemented and further refined in their SLR cameras for over a decade. (Beginning with the Nikon F5 in 1996)

From our tests of the Canon Rebel T2i vs the D90, the 420-segment 3D matrix metering system II in the D90 offers a distinct benefit versus the 63-zone iFCL system in the T2i / 550D, and clearly stands out in tricky lighting situations.

The Nikon D90 Active D-Lighting feature extends dynamic range beyond the capabilities of the T2i's Auto Lighting Optimizer Technology: With the Nikon D90,the 'Active D-Lighting' and the Active D-Lighting bracketing feature provides for dynamic range expansion (set before taking the picture). The Canon Rebel T2i offers an 'Auto Lighting Optimizer' feature that is intended to achieve the same. In our real world tests this is not the case.

The Nikon D90 controls for highlight and shadow detail and adjusts exposure according to the scene. The Rebel T2i's 'Highlight Tone Priority' processes for highlights and 'Auto Lighting Optimizer' adjusts for shadows and highlights using tone curves. These different approaches lead to very different results as can be seen in our sample test shots below.

Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D at 400 ISO with Auto Lighting Optimizer set to low   Nikon D90 at 400 ISO with Active D-Lighting set to low
Canon T2i / 550D with EF-S 18-55mm IS
 
Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
Canon Rebel T2i Test at 100%   Nikon D90 with 18-55mm VR Test at 100%
Canon T2i Sample Image Crop at 100%
 
Nikon D90 Sample Image Crop at 100%
 
Canon T2i: Top Center Crop and Resized
• ISO 400, Aperture Priority, 1/500 sec at F8
• Auto Lighting Optimizer Set to Low, 18mm Wide
• iFCL Evaluative Metering, Auto White Balance
T2i Image Sample 5.67 MB Large File Full Size
 
Nikon D90: Top Center Crop and Resized
• ISO 400, Aperture Priority, 1/640 sec at F8
• Active D-Lighting Set to Low, 18mm Wide
• 3D Color Matrix Metering, Auto White Balance
D90 Image Sample 3.8 MB Large File Full Size


Popular in Nikkor Lenses:

In this difficult lighting situation the Nikon D90's Active D-Lighting feature combined with the camera's metering technology offers a better result compared to the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D. The Canon T2i delivered significant blown highlights in this test with most camera settings set to default.

Although the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D features a "Highlight Tone Priority" mode, when this feature is enabled via the Custom function menu, the 'Auto Lighting Optimizer' function is automatically disabled at the same time.

Both the Canon 'Auto Lighting Optimizer' and the Nikon 'Active D-Lighting' feature are activated in the shooting menu. The Canon Rebel T2i / 550D provides for four settings, including; Off, Low, Standard and High. The Nikon D90 offers six Active D-Lighting settings, including; Off, Low, Normal, High, Extra High and Auto.

When set to 'Auto' the D90 will determine the degree and when to activate Active D-Lighting based on an analysis of the scene before the picture is taken. The screen grabs below show the respective dynamic range optimizing menu settings for the Canon T2i / EOS 550D and the Nikon D90.


         
 
Canon Rebel T2i Menu
     
Nikon D90 Menu
 
         
 
T2i Auto Lighting Optimizer
     
D90 Active D-Lighting
 

The Nikon D90 also allows users to apply D-Lighting to an image that has already been captured. The in-camera processed image is then saved as a copy so that the original image is left intact. This feature is accessible in the Nikon D90's 'Retouch Menu' further outlined below.

The Nikon D90 offers an advantage in terms of flash technology compared to the Rebel T2i: 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 T2i / EOS 550D, the Nikon D90 does a better job at calculating flash exposure 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.

With the updated iFCL 63-zone metering system incorporated in the Canon Rebel T2i, the camera does improve upon its predecessor the Rebel T1i, although it still does not match the accuracy of the Nikon D90 as shown below.

While the sample image from the Canon T2i might initially come across as acceptable, the under exposure becomes more evident when compared with the results from the Nikon D90 side by side. Note: our 'Storm Trooper' is wearing an orange shirt.

Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D built-in flash test   Nikon D90 built-in flash test
Canon T2i / 550D with EF-S 18-55mm IS
• ISO 200, Program Mode, 1/60 sec at F4.5
• Built-in flash test, 34mm Focal Length
• iFCL Evaluative 63-Zone Metering, AWB
 
Nikon D90 with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR
• ISO 200, Program Mode, 1/60 sec at F5
• Built-in flash, 35mm Focal Length
• 3D Color 420-Segment Matrix Metering, AWB


 

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.

Although Canon did add a feature for wireless flash control from the built-in speedlite on the higher end Canon EOS 7D, in order to achieve this functionality with the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D you need to invest in the external Canon ST-E2 transmitter, a $350 CAN 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 light so that the camera can focus. The beam is also used for redeye reduction.

The Canon Rebel T2i / 550D 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 T2i 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 close to double the performance of the Canon Rebel T2i battery LP-E8: based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) test standards the Nikon D90 can take up to 850 shots per charge with the supplied Nikon EN-EL3e battery (50% with built-in flash), compared to 470 shots per charge with the Canon Rebel T2i using the included LP-E8 Canon rechargeable battery under the same CIPA test conditions.

Canon T2i Battery Life
CIPA Test
(50% flash)
. Nikon D90 Battery Life
CIPA Test
(50% flash)
1 x LP-E8 Li-ion Battery 470 shots . 1 x EN-EL3e Li-Ion Battery 850 shots
Two x LP-E8 (using optional vertical battery grip BG-E8) 940 shots . Two EN-EL3e (using optional vertical battery grip MB-D80) 1700 shots
AA batteries (using optional vertical battery grip BG-E8) 270 shots . AA batteries (using optional vertical battery grip MB-D80) 600 shots


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 T2i / EOS 550D: the Nikon D90 features 41 custom functions compared to 13 on the Canon Rebel T2i. 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 T2i / 550D Interface Connections

 

 Canon T2i / 550D
 Interface Connections:


  •  External microphone
        socket (MIC optional)
  •  Remote cable plug
  •  A/V out + USB socket
  •  HDMI output

  • Nikon D90 Interface Connections

     

     Nikon D90
     Interface Connections:


  •  AC adapter plug
  •  USB socket
  •  A/V out
  •  HDMI output
  •  GP-1
  • Plug (GPS)

    Canon Digital Rebel T2i / EOS 550D vs the Nikon D90: Review Conclusion

    Based on the differences highlighted above, Canon could have placed themselves in a stronger position versus the competition with the Rebel T2i / EOS 550D by not increasing the resolution to 18MP on an APS-C size sensor.

    While the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D does feature some welcome additions compared to the Canon Rebel T1i / EOS 500D, like the impressive 1.04 million dot anti-reflective 3:2 LCD monitor, 1080P HD movie recording with manual control + selectable frame rates and the updated 63-zone iFCL metering system, the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D does not offer enough improvements in our opinion to outclass the Nikon D90.

    If being able to shoot digital SLR type HD movies is an important requirement, then the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D offers a distinct advantage versus the D90 as stated above. If photography rather than videography is the primary objective, the Nikon D90 offers extended features and overall performance abilities compared to the Rebel T2i while also offering the ability to capture very decent quality video clips to complement your stills.

    If you do not already have an investment in lenses or a predetermined brand preference, we do not hesitate to recommend the Nikon D90 as a better solution compared to the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D.

    Even for the novice 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 performance compared to the Canon Rebel T2i / 550D kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens.

     

    Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D compared to Nikon D90 top. Copyright www.digitalreview.ca


    Buy the Canon Rebel T2i or the Nikon D90 from Amazon


    Canon Digital Rebel T2i / EOS 550D vs the Nikon D90 Side by Side
    Specifications
     
     Nikon D90 digital SLR
    Resolution and Size of Sensor 18.0 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 T2i / 550D pre-production results do show an improvement over the results vs. the T1i / 500D in the DxOMark sensor comparison database. The T2i sensor still underperforms vs. the D90

    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 T2i (based on DxOMark lab sensor tests)

    Image Processor DIGIC 4 EXPEED
    Shutter Cycles Canon does not provide official shutter durability ratings for Rebel class cameras. (See note in the article above) 100,000 exposures
    Pixel Pitch 4.2΅m 5.5΅m (cameras with larger size pixels perform better)
    Pixel Density Higher density at 5.47 MP / cm² vs. 4.5MP / cm² pixel density on the T1i 3.3 MP / cm²
    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

    The T2i / 550D is also available as a kit with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens

    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
    Focal Range Multiplier Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Image Size and Quality Settings

    5184 x 3456 [L]
    3456 x 2304 [M]
    2592 x 1728 [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 3.7 fps up to 34 jpegs, 6 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. with 3:2 aspect ratio, 1,040,000-dot, 160-degree wide viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment, anti-reflective and anti-smudge properties

    Four color options available for LCD display

    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

    My Menu Register up to 6 menu options and Custom Functions for quick menu access to settings you change frequently

    Can be used to create and edit a customized menu list of up to 20 options from the playback, shooting, Custom Settings, setup, and retouch menus for fast access

    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 with AF Face Tracking
    2) Wide Area AF
    3) Normal Area AF

    One-touch Live View activation by button

    HD movie Recording Quicktime MOV format
    • 1080P (1920 x 1080) Full HD video capture at 30/25/24 fps up to 12 min clips
    • 720P video capture at 60/50 fps up to 12 min clips
    • 4:3 standard TV quality (SD) video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 60/50 fps up to 29 min and 59 sec
    • External stereo microphone plug-in
    Motion JPG (AVI file)
    • 720P (1280 x 720) HD video capture at 24 fps 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)
    • No external stereo microphone plug-in
    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: 100-6400 ISO

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

    • H1 activated in the Custom Function Menu (On / Off)  

    • 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 Modes on Exposure 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
    • Flash off
    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 63-zone iFCL 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 -5 to +5 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

    * Note: When Highlight Tone Priority mode is enabled, the 'Auto Lighting Optimizer' function is automatically disabled by the camera

    • 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 also 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, Redeye, Slow, Redeye 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 12 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
    Recommended Lenses:
    Popular Canon
    Popular Nikon
    Depth of Field Preview Dedicated button Dedicated button
    Optional Vertical Battery Grip Accessory BG-E8 can take two LP-E8 batteries or six AA batteries MB-D80 can take two EN-EL3e or six AA batteries 
    Text Input Copyright information can be added 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-6 or Remote Switch RS-60E3 (cord)
    Wireless Remote Control ML-L3 or
    Remote Cord MC-DC2
    HDMI HDMI-CEC 1.3-compliant Type C  HDMI 1.3-compliant Type C 
    Mirror Lock Up Yes, set by selecting custom function setting C.Fn 8 Custom Function d10 Exposure Delay Mode: Can be selected to delay shutter release until about 1sec after the shutter-release button is pressed and the mirror is raised
    Battery Type and Duration (Approx.) Lithium-Ion LP-E8 rechargeable battery and charger supplied
    470 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 and SDXC (up to 2TB)  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, Ukrainian, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, 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
    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-130U
    Audio Video Cable AVC-DC400ST
    Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8
    Battery Charger LC-E8E
    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
    Size 129 x 98 x 75 mm (5.1 x 3.8 x 3.0 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 530g 703g
    Buy

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