Nikon D300 vs D90 high ISO noise comparison

I decided not to do another feature comparison of Nikon D300 vs D90 like I did in the D300 vs D80 review. Just type “D300 vs D90” in Google and you will find a lot of good articles on feature comparisons.

What I will concentrate on, however, is the high ISO noise comparison in a low-light environment. I ran two quick tests – one with an external flash and one without. Both tests are performed on a sturdy tripod, with timed exposure to prevent camera vibrations. Both Nikon D300 and Nikon D90 were set exactly the same way, shot in manual mode with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G at f/5.6. Exposures were exactly the same in both cameras, depending on ISO value. Shot both in RAW (Active D-Lighting off, High ISO NR Normal), then imported into Lightroom, cropped and exported with “Camera Standard” camera profile. The rest of the data is available via EXIF on the files to those who are interested in technical details.

Note:

  • “Test 1″ is 100% crop of the original image without using flash. Center focus on the house under “Pepperidge Farm”
  • “Test 2″ is 100% crop of the original image with an external flash on a shoot-through white umbrella. Center focus on the right eye of the doll.

Full “Test 1″ photo, ISO 200 (click for full image):
Original image 1

D90 ISO 800 Test 1:
nikon-d90-iso-800

D300 ISO 800 Test 1:
nikon-d300-iso-800

D90 ISO 1600 Test 1:
nikon-d90-iso-1600

D300 ISO 1600 Test 1:
nikon-d300-iso-1600

D90 ISO 3200 Test 1:
nikon-d90-iso-3200

D300 ISO 3200 Test 1:
nikon-d300-iso-3200

D90 ISO 6400 Test 1:
nikon-d90-iso-6400

D300 ISO 6400 Test 1:
nikon-d300-iso-6400

Full “Test 2″ photo, ISO 200 (click for full image):
nikon-d90f-iso-200

D90 ISO 800 Test 2:
nikon-d90f-iso-800

D300 ISO 800 Test 2:
nikon-d300f-iso-800

D90 ISO 1600 Test 2:
nikon-d90f-iso-1600

D300 ISO 1600 Test 2:
nikon-d300f-iso-1600

D90 ISO 3200 Test 2:
nikon-d90f-iso-3200

D300 ISO 3200 Test 2:
nikon-d300f-iso-3200

D90 ISO 6400 Test 2:
nikon-d90f-iso-6400

D300 ISO 6400 Test 2:
nikon-d300f-iso-6400

Conclusion:
As expected, both Nikon D90 and Nikon D300 produce almost identical results in ISO 200-800. Seems like the on-camera image processing is identical for this ISO range. However, starting from ISO 1600 and above, I noticed that D90 performs a little better in controlling noise. Looks like Nikon is using a different method of on-camera noise reduction on D90. My main purpose of this test was to test whether D90 images are sharper in higher ISOs than D300, as claimed by Ken Rockwell in his ISO 3200 comparison tests. I can now conclude that Ken Rockwell’s D300 definitely has focusing issues, since I did not see any sharpness differences between both cameras in my tests. In fact, I think D90 actually applies more noise reduction than D300, resulting in less noise in higher ISOs. Look at ISO 6400 – D90 grains look “squished” together (which typically happens because of more aggressive noise reduction), while D300 is showing more “normal” grain.

Other notes:

  • D300 has a problem with over-exposing shots in matrix metering mode. D90 does not have this problem and seems to behave much better. I would recommend setting the exposure compensation switch to “-0.3 or -0.7″ on the D300 to get proper exposure.
  • I noticed that the images from D90 on “Test 2″ look a little less sharp compared to D300 (look at the doll’s eyelashes). This might be due to a slight back-focus issue on the D90, but could also be due to the fact that D90 is physically lower than D300. I did not adjust the tripod while changing the cameras, so the focus could have shifted a little on D90.
  • I have not posted full images of D90 and D300 from the above tests because the files are too big.
  • The above tests only demonstrate camera capabilities in two different conditions. Other people might get different results, depending on light conditions, camera settings, etc.
  • If you want to retain the best image quality, I would not recommend using ISO levels higher than 800 on either D90 or D300. Sometimes I might use ISO 1600 if the light conditions are poor, but anything beyond that impacts the sharpness of the image. Even noise reduction software won’t do much help at ISO levels higher than 1600.
  • I did not have a chance to test the video capabilities of the D90. I know a lot of people are looking forward to this feature, but I wouldn’t get too excited about it. The camera won’t auto-focus in video mode and there are limitations and known issues with video on D90. Hopefully the next generation DSLRs will have better video mode functionality.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Brad Peterson
    December 29, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Great job. Currently looking at both models. Expect to shoot alot in poor light, so it looks like I will lean toward the D90.

  2. 2
    ) Annika
    January 30, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Thanks a lot! I have had so much distress wheter I should get the d90 or the d300 but now I have decided for the d90. I will afford more lenses since the camera is a bit cheaper.. And it is not bad that it seems to be slightly better in high isos than the d300 either!!

  3. 3
    ) Shahram
    February 9, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Thanks,I decided to buy D300 but now it seems that I most have a revision.

  4. 4
    ) Raph
    February 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Interesting. Yes, I also noticed that the d300 seemed sharper around the eyelashes.
    For those that are “leaning towards” the d90, be careful… they’re both great cameras, but don’t be too quick to buy the d90 simply because of the hi-iso… the d300 does have a few other features that the d90 doesn’t…

  5. February 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Raph,

    I fully agree with you – as I stated above, D90 applies more noise reduction than D300, which does result in somewhat “softer” images. D300 is definitely sharper because less aggressive noise reduction is applied, which is easy to take care of during post-processing in Photoshop.

    And yes, D300 has features such as professional focus system that D90 doesn’t.

    To everyone else:
    If you are buying your first DSLR and want something more advanced than the entry-level D40/D60 line, then go with the D90. If you already have D40/D60/D80 and want to move up, you might want to check out both D90 and D300 and decide what features are important for you. For lots of action and moving wildlife (birds, etc), I would still recommend D300 over D90 because of its 51 point AF system. For every day and family photography, I would recommend the D90.

    However, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the camera body and would focus on lenses instead. Remember, glass is to keep, while bodies get updated every two years. Don’t spend too much money on a body, unless you really need it for your photography. I recommend reading my “DSLR Purchase Guide” for first time DSLR buyers: http://photographylife.com/dslr-purchase-guide

    Sincerely,
    Nasim Mansurov

  6. 6
    ) Maximilian
    February 16, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Perfect. Clear egde of the D90 over the D300, got myself the d90, it’s just that much more advanced.
    Thanks!

  7. 7
    ) Betsy
    February 19, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I currently have a D80 and am using a Sigma 170-500mm lens. I take a lot of surf photos at contests and I am very disappointed in the sharpness of the photos, especailly when cropped or enlarged. Can you recommend a lens that I can rely on for distance and sharpness? Should I upgrade to a 300 or D90? I aprecciate any feedback and advice.

    • 124
      ) Blerta
      April 27, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      I’ve had the same problem using a D80, and I think it is not about the lens! Every lens I used in the D80 it had a lack of sharpening, it was as if it put a cover of blur, while when I used the same lenses in my D50 (which is cheaper and older model) the sharpening was so much better!

      So I would prefer you to buy another body!

      • 171
        ) kaygeebonds
        December 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

        Always noticed this in image post processing with the D80 as well. I need to apply sharpening to RAW files to get things where they need to be.

  8. February 19, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Betsy,

    It all depends on how much you can spend on a lens. If you are looking for a lower cost lens with a good range, I would recommend the Nikon 300mm f/4 AFS lens. You can read my review of this excellent lens here: http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-300mm-f4d

    If you have $5K or more, my recommendation would be to get a professional lens such as the 300mm f/2.8 VR or 600mm f/4 VR. These lenses will deliver exceptional performance and they are the best you can get today.

    Nikon D80 is a great body and if you only shoot in bright sunny days, then there is no need to upgrade to D300 or D90.

    Hope this helps.

    Sincerely,
    Nasim Mansurov

  9. 9
    ) Doug Harper
    February 19, 2009 at 7:18 am

    The D-90 is a bit better than the D-300 as it stands on the D-80 then the D-300 then the e D-700. The D-90 is not only the D-300 but also the D-3 and D-700.

    The D-90 image is actually better than the D-700 if the sensor was FF.

    I use Ultra Color Lab and have them color correct in Kodak DP2 for 15 cents and it is better than Photo shopped Images.e De D-200 make 40×60″ Prints.

    The D-90 is better than the Nikon D-200 and should have a better color than the Nikon D-300.

    PePhoto can now print up to 150″ They use UP-SIZE and the work is outstanding in Large Prints.

    Doug Harper

  10. 10
    ) Idan
    June 20, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I have bought both of them, the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D300 and I have found that their are both produce high quality images.

  11. 11
    ) Huub Reuver
    July 5, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Actually I doen’t understand what you really tested:
    “Both cameras … camera profile.”

    Do I read right when I read: “I used manual settings but in software I added the camera optimizations”?

    It would be interesting to post the same pictures uneditted, RAW translated directly to JPEG. Now one keeps wondering what you are comparing:
    - in camera optimizations (D90 should win hands down).
    - software used (many Nikon users don’t have Lightroom or Capture NX).
    - in fact one could ask if you would get the same results if you were comparing JPEG’s directly from the camera.

    Since I do have a D80 and have been wondering about an upgrade I grade the differences in another way. The diff between a D80 and D90 are generally a 10MP CCD vs a 12MP CMOS, a cleaning system and much software. Much of the software is rendered useless if you use RAW. At least, unless you import camera optimizations in your software and unless Nikon does some editting before storing the RAW.

    • July 5, 2009 at 12:44 am

      Huub,

      I was simply referencing the way I processed the images that were originally shot in RAW. I did not post the RAW files because of their size. Let me know if you would like the RAW files and I will email them to you for comparison.

      I really don’t care about in-camera optimizations (because I shoot RAW), so I didn’t bother to change any of the settings.

  12. 13
    ) hann
    August 11, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Hi,

    Im still deciding between this two. Have been using a d60 for close to a year now and am finding a need to upgrade. My mind was set on d300 all this while not until i started doing some research and comparing it to d90.

    Which should i get/ thanks!

  13. 14
    ) Ronan
    August 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Doug Harper please share your research. From hands on experience, my D300 has higher IQ than my mates D90. My D700 blows my D300 away in peices also.

  14. 16
    ) casey
    October 7, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the xsync speed differences since the d90 only has 1/200 while the d300 has1/250 with a optional 1/320 which I guess isn’t really a big deal unless you shoot things like action sports in skateparks or at night like I do. I’ve been struggleing to decide between the d90 and the d300 for a couple months now it’s so hard for me do pick between the slight high iso advantage to the d90 and thefaster flash sync of the d300. This was taken with 1/200 sync and as you can see there’s a little motion blur on his arms that the 1/250 prob would have eliminated. Choices Choices grrrr.

    • 15
      ) casey
      October 7, 2009 at 6:03 pm
      • October 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

        casey, why don’t you use high speed sync for those types of shots? It is available as “FP” in the camera flash settings. If you are shooting with on-camera flash, or off-camera Nikon sync, FP mode would do the trick and you could certainly go faster than even 1/320 of a second.

  15. 18
    ) Phlom
    December 4, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Can’t wait to buy a D90 body and some good lenses, maybe a 28-70mm f/2.8 and a 50mm f/1.4. Now i have D60 and begin to feel that more focalisation point would worth.Don’t say about lack of bracketing and so on. For now, in my country all photo techs are more expensive than US and rest of Europe…

    • December 4, 2009 at 10:10 am

      Phlom, good choice! Nikon D90 is a great camera and you will absolutely love it! In terms of lenses, also look into 35mm f/1.8 DX, which is a great lens for D90.

  16. 20
    ) NDN
    January 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks for your test!

    When we compare RAW images without jpg-compression or noise suppression, the D90′s sensor seems to perform a lot better than D300s’s… which is awkward, as I have read several times that these cameras “probably share the same Sony sensor”.

    Here is the DXO comparison between D90 and D300 at RAW.

    The difference in terms of SNR, tonal range and colour sensitivity are not big, but D90 performs better. The difference in terms of dynamic range is pretty big though (note that a different scale is used for measuring dynamic range).

    I don’t get it – the D300s is the more recent camera, it is way more expensive and its noise performance is worse… why is nikon doing that?

    • January 3, 2010 at 1:28 am

      NDN, thank you for the feedback!

      Here is what I believe happened with the release of D90 vs D300/D300s:

      1) The Nikon D90′s sensor is very similar to the Nikon D300 sensor, but it is NOT the same. If you pay attention at the pixel pitch, the D90 sensor has a higher pixel pitch of 5.5 vs 5.4 in D300/D300s sensor.
      2) As seen in the above images, the Nikon D90 has a more aggressive noise reduction algorithm while processing images. This results in cleaner images in higher ISOs.
      3) The Nikon D300s sensor is exactly the same as the sensor in Nikon D300. I believe this is where Nikon goofed up a little – they should have used the D90 sensor in the D300s instead. But I understand why this happened – it was cheaper for Nikon to reuse the same sensor as the D300. If they had used a D90 sensor on the D300s, they would have needed to significantly increase (double or triple) the production of the D90 sensor to provide enough sensors for both the D90 and the D300s bodies.

      This is why there is a difference in image quality between D90 and D300/D300s.

  17. 22
    ) Nadzri Mohd
    January 10, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Thanx for your research. It helps me making wise decision. With that I’ve already upgraded my D60 to D90. Worth the money spent. Thanx again.

    • January 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      Nadzri Mohd, congratulations with your new purchase and I’m glad that found my article useful.

      You will love the Nikon D90 and I’m sure that it will serve you well :)

  18. 24
    ) Varun
    January 16, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Dear Nasim,

    I am a D40 user since past 2 years. 18-55 Nikon (Standard lens with the body) and Sigma AF 70-200. I generally do a lot of wildlife photography. Blog http://www.varunvisions.blogspot.com (if you have time please visit, any comment would be highly appreciated).

    Now I am planning to shift to a better version of Nikon family D90 or D300. The problem I face with D40 is that after dusk my camera is of no use, image quality is null.

    My question is firstly, should I buy a D90 or D300? Secondly, if I buy a D90 should i buy a tele converter to go with my Sigma lens or is there any lens you can recommend? Of course budget is a issue. Photography is my hobby not my Bread and Butter.

    Kindly enlighten me. You can also mail me on varunspatil@gmail.com.

    Thank You,

    Varun Patil

    • January 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      Varun,

      I suggest to go with the Nikon D90 and invest in a good lens instead. The Nikon D90 has a slightly better sensor than the D300. If you do not need the speed and other pro features, the Nikon D90 is a superb camera.

      As far as the lens, if you need an affordable lens with a good reach, instead of buying a teleconverter for your Sigma, I would rather recommend getting the excellent Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens.

      Hope this helps :)

  19. 26
    ) Daniel Sach
    January 18, 2010 at 4:31 am

    I just moved up to the d300 from the d80. Im super excited!

    • January 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

      Daniel, congratulations, that’s a big upgrade :)

  20. 27
    ) Baku
    January 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

    я это всегда говорил что,у D90 мало шумов чем у D300!

    • January 18, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Baku, я бы сказал на чуток “меньше” :)

  21. 30
    ) Varun
    January 18, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Dear Nasim,

    Thank you very much for your input. I know we are on a compare of D300 and D90, but what about the new D300s camera? By the way if you been through my blog did you find it any good.

    Regards,
    Varun

    • January 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Varun,

      As far as the sensor is concerned, the new Nikon D300s has exactly the same sensor as the D300. For action/wildlife/sports photography, the Nikon D300s would be a better camera than Nikon D90, because it has the speed. For landscape and other photography where speed is not important, the Nikon D90 would work great.

      Your blog is great and I loved your elephant shot and the beautiful kingfisher. Keep up the good work!!!

      Nasim

  22. 32
    ) Paul G.
    January 21, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Have both the D300 and D90. I never liked the D300 for its low iso noise.Its going on eBay soon.
    No probs with the d90. Also have the D700 and Canon 5D mark II. The are better, but not that much for the price diff.. I´ll stay with DX for the next 2-3 yrs.

    • January 21, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      Paul, thanks for sharing! Yeah, the D90 is a superb camera and I wish it was available when I planned to get my D300 :)

      DX is here to stay. That’s why Nikon keeps on releasing so many new DX lenses every year. I suspect at least 2 DX lenses will be released by Nikon this year.

  23. 34
    ) Paul G.
    January 25, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Well FX and DX are just different paths. I like DX for low weight, smaller lenses, good DOF, low prices, etc…
    I use my Canon 5D2 for landscape, the D700 for portrait. But frankly, the D90 could do 80-90 % of these jobs as well.
    The D90 wont be the last DX camera from Nikon.

    • February 2, 2010 at 11:07 pm

      Paul, I agree with you! DX is here to stay for a long time…

  24. 35
    ) SAS
    January 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    ME A STUDENT OF ARCHITECTURE COMPAIRING NIKON D80.D90.D300.CANON EOS 50 D FINALY RECOMEND STUDENTS 4 THE BEST NIKON D 90 ONLY ONE PROBLEM IN THAT IS THE BODY IS VERY LIGHT DIFICULT TO STABILIZE BUT TRUST WORTHY

  25. 36
    ) Tyler
    February 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    WOW.. I just read all of these comments and learned so much from everyone. I thank you all so much. I started with the D40 3 years ago, then went to the D80, to the D200. Now I am ready for the next step and from what I can tell it would be the D90. I do weddings, Portraits,Landscape, Freelance and Business Functions occasionally. My buddy is telling me to get the D700 but there is no need for me to waste my money when I do not do any action shots or any high modeling photo’s and I don’t need a work horse of a camera to get the job done right. Am I correct?

    I do how ever want to make the right move and not go backward on my next purchase I want to make a wise move and as I can tell the D90 of the D300′s would be a wise choice. I might also grab a battery grip with that too.

    Please inform me on my thoughts…

    Thank you Tyler

    • February 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Tyler, if you do not shoot in low-light environments, the Nikon D90 will serve you well!

  26. 39
    ) Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Thank you for a great comparison Nasim!

    I’m getting myself a Nikon D90 :)

  27. 42
    ) Armando
    February 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Good work on this comparison!
    I have the opportunity to trade a D40 for a used D300 for less $ than what a new D90 will cost me I still need to decide. I’m torn between getting a new D90 or the used D300. I was leaning towards the D90 due to Rockwell’s reviews, your comparison still gives an edge to the d90 but not as bad. I’m really attracted to the D300 autofocus system. The D300 belongs to a friend who doesn’t really use it, I had the opportunity to shot side by side, me with my D40 and him with his D300, while I couldn’t shot any more, he was still getting sharp images in the light available. I often wish the D40 had better iso performance, as well as more focus points. Also often find my self wanting better speed in the D40 when shooting moving subjects, ie: dog running, the autofocus on the D40 can’t keep up, or even the slightest shade will cause blurry images. The plan is to exchange bodies, flash cards, batteries etc … but keep our lenses 18-200 Vr, 35 afs 1.8, the kit 18-55 afs of the D40 , a 70-300 AF, he has another copy of the 18-200Vr. Money wise this will cost less than getting a new d90, altough was unsure due to Rockwell’s review. I know the D300 is in good shape. Would you recommend trading my D40 body for used d300 body instead of getting a new D90? Thanks again.

    • February 5, 2010 at 2:35 am

      Armando, yes, in your case I would recommend trading the D40 for a D300 instead of buying a brand new D90. You are not only saving money, but you are also getting a faster camera with a better focus system. The difference between D300 and D90 in noise levels is not that big…

  28. 43
    ) Anthony
    February 5, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Hi, I am using D60 and I have a friend that wants to sell his D200.

    Should I get his D200 or D90?

    Need some advise here :) Thanks!

    • February 5, 2010 at 2:32 am

      Anthony, I would personally get the Nikon D90 instead, because it deals with noise much better than the D200 and definitely has a much better sensor.

      • 46
        ) Anthony
        February 5, 2010 at 8:50 am

        Hi Nasim,

        Thanks for your advise :)

        • February 5, 2010 at 9:49 am

          Anthony, you are most welcome! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  29. 48
    ) Marlene
    February 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I enjoyed your review and comparisons, but one thing that I noticed right away in the images of the doll was the difference in color rendering between the D90 and D300 at each ISO level tested. The D90 skin color appears rosier, and the D300 skin color has a more neutral/gray-green cast. Is this simply a difference in picture control variation between the two cameras, or a different method of rendering color between the two models?

    I’m reading this review after reading your comments on the 70-200 vrII. I have a D90 and D300 and my dilemma is this: I’ve been asked to shoot an interview event in June based on images I posted of a similar event last fall taken with my D90 and the 18-200 vr. Although the images are nice at a lower resolution, when viewed at full size on my larger monitor, the chroma noise is terrible. I am wondering which, of a body that handles high ISO noise much better (D700 or such) or a fast lens (70-200 vr), would be the best option for photographing an indoor event. Ideally, I would have both, but I really shouldn’t be affording even one of these. I would like to produce nice, clean images that can be used at at a reasonable size or in print, however, so something needs an upgrade.

    Thanks for your work

    • February 9, 2010 at 12:22 am

      Marlene, all of the above images were shot in RAW, so the camera picture controls would not have mattered. I just went back and looked at the RAW images again and everything looks identical, including the white balance. It could be that the color tone is slightly different because I was using a spiral bulb – those could sometimes take a while to heat up. But I doubt that the bulb could have caused this, so it might be just the way D90 renders colors. Remember, the Nikon D90′s sensor is NOT the same sensor as in D300.

      As far as whether you should get a camera or a lens for less noise, you should definitely consider the Nikon D700 for low-light situations, because it will have a two stop advantage over the Nikon D90. Your 18-200mm lens is also a big limiting factor, with a maximum aperture of f/3.5. What I would suggest, is getting yourself a prime lens such as the Nikon 50mm f/1.4, so that you could shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower ISO.

      The Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens works beautifully on the Nikon D700 and overall, you will gain about 4-5 stops of light compared to your current setup. Do you have an external flash? If you do not, then you should also consider getting one.

      So, here is what I recommend:
      1) Nikon D700 Body
      2) Nikon 50mm f/1.4 Lens
      3) Nikon SB-900 flash

      I also highly recommend reading my “Low-light Digital Photography Tips” article, along with my “Corporate Photography” article, which perfectly applies to event photography.

      Hope this helps :) Let me know if you have any other questions.

  30. 50
    ) raluca
    February 11, 2010 at 5:07 am

    hi, I enjoyed your review and id like to ask u a question.
    im planning to buy a dslr cam and i cant decide between nikon d90 and d300.
    i intend to use the cam mostly for landscapes, pictures of buildings, people&people portraits, urban life photography mostly. i was thinking to buy the cam and overall lens such as 18-200 mm, but also a macro lens 105 mm both from nikon, in the future i intend to buy a wide lens as well 12-24mm cause now i dont have the budget for all these.
    so, could u advise me please, which cam is better for my purposes d90 or d300?
    i dont consider the money difrence of 700$ bewteen these 2 cams, i rather spend more money now, and be satisfied with the cam for the next 5 years or even more.
    best regards,
    raluca

    • February 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      Raluca, looks like you do not need the speed or weather sealing for your photography needs, so I think that the Nikon D90 would be a better choice for you. Spend the extra $700 on a good pro lens instead.

      I personally wouldn’t buy the Nikon 18-200mm lens, because it is not good enough, especially on the long end. If you want to have a good wide to medium lens, get the Nikon 17-55mm DX lens instead. If you think you will move FX in the future, then get the Nikon 17-33mm or wait for the newly released Nikon 16-35mm f/4.

      Hope this helps.

      • 55
        ) raluca
        February 13, 2010 at 9:40 am

        yes nasim, it hlped me a lot!!
        if u dont mind, id like to ask u about the 18-200 mm lens.
        i was thinking to buy it cause is very usefull when i travell, u know…. when u travel …u take pictures here and there cause u never know in advance what ull going to shoot next , so i want a lens that allowes me to take pictures while subjects are far or near by. a lens just for vacation purpose, that fits most of the situations.
        could u recomend me please a lens that saves me from changing 2 lenses (while im in a trip), since im not a pro, is not easy for me to manage them so fast, plus, i could loose important moments while changing the lenses?
        thx again for your time
        best regard
        raluca

        • February 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm

          Raluca, you are most welcome!

          As far as 18-200mm lens, I personally had this lens for a long time (over 2 years) and it was just sitting in my shelf gathering dust. I travel a lot and I found that image quality is far more important for me than convenience of just one mediocre lens. I do not mind switching lenses and it only takes 10-15 seconds to do so. Unless you are in a safari with a lot of dust, you shouldn’t worry about switching lenses.

          • 59
            ) raluca
            February 16, 2010 at 11:56 am

            yes, ure absolutely right nasim, i reconsidered my point of view thx to your advice and i read more about the 17-55 mm, so decided to take it instead of the wide 12-24 mm and 18-200 mm.
            but now, which lens should i choose to cover the >55mm range? could u give me some hint?
            just DX lens, cause i dont think ill ever buy a FX cam…..it’s too expensive for me since i dont make a living out of the photography…
            ty again and again for your advice, really appreciate it!
            raluca

            • February 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

              Raluca, you should seriously consider the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens for telephoto. It is not expensive and yet a very good lens when longer reach is needed.

              Don’t worry if you lose some range between 55mm and 70mm…

  31. 51
    ) Varun Patil
    February 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I finally bought a Nikon D90. Happy with results from the kit lens. Now I am a bit confused, I do a lot of wildlife, indoor and abstract photography so should I go for a

    1. Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD [IF] Asph. VC macro

    OR

    1. Nikkor AF-S 55-200 VR ED IF f/4-5.6 G
    and
    2. Tamron AF 70-300mm Di f/4-5.6 MACRO 1:2.

    kindly guide me…..which would be better buying a single 18-270 or two different lenses.

    Varun

    • February 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      Varun, congratulations with your purchase!

      Personally, I wouldn’t go with any of the above lenses and would pick the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens for wildlife photography instead.

      • 61
        ) Jak
        March 4, 2010 at 1:06 pm

        I concur. I took a D300 and D200 for a photo tour in Africa and the D300 had the 70-300VR on it and it took absolutely stunning, sharp images.

  32. 54
    ) aaron king
    February 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    can some one sell me a nikon d90 with a fairly good lense all at an attractive price or how cheapest can i get one?

    • February 14, 2010 at 2:10 am

      Aaron, I fully agree with what Varun said below – be careful about buying a used camera from an unknown source and definitely be careful about online stores that advertise DSLRs at large discounted prices.

      The best stores I recommend are B&H or Adorama.

  33. 56
    ) Varun Patil
    February 14, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Dear Aaron,

    Firstly, I personally feel one should always go for a brand new camera, you never know what the secondhand camera has been through. Secondly, D90 is a very good camera (the reviews from other sites including that of Nasim’s say so and even I am using one) so probably no one would be interested in selling their camera.

    The D90 come with a Nikon 18-105mm VR kit lens. You can also buy independent body and some other lens depending on your requirement.

    Rates depends on the region where you are based.

    Everything I said is my view, Nasim is more than welcome to make any improvisation.

    Regards,
    Varun

  34. 62
    ) Jak
    March 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Don’t get stuck too much with cameras; All D90, D300, D700 are good camears.
    (I own both D300 and D70).

    The lenses are more important and the person behind the camera is the most important.

    • March 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm

      Jak, you are absolutely correct! Thank you for your feedback :)

  35. 64
    ) lissa
    March 5, 2010 at 10:56 am

    would you recommend the d300s or the d90 for children’s photography? Any lens suggestions as well?

    Thanks!

    • March 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Lissa, the Nikon D90 would work great for child photography. As far as the lens, the faster the better, so either get the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX or the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G. You might need a wider zoom lens as well, in which case the kit 18-105mm should work fine too :)

  36. 66
    ) RBanu
    March 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    First of all, Thank you so much for time you take to answer each query with immense precision and patience. Also thanks for the easy-to-undersand tutorials.
    Next…. I am a newbie to the dark room of SLR. Can you throw light by suggesting appropriate lens for
    1. Macro
    2. Landscape &
    3. Portrait
    I am firm about D90
    Good Day

    • March 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

      RBanu, if you haven’t yet purchased a body, why don’t you take advantage of the great Nikon rebates on Nikon D90 and lens? The Nikon D90 + 18-200mm lens seems to be a great deal with $300 off the purchase.

      Unfortunately, there is no single lens that I can recommend for macro, landscape and portrait…you cannot get one lens to do all three very well.

  37. 68
    ) GreenwoodGeoff
    March 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I realize this is an older thread, however I just came across it and am considering a camera change.

    First, thank you very much for doing this. Showing the images and commenting.

    I have a question about the 6400 iso where you say the D90 looks squished. To me I see more round noise in the D90 and the D300 noise looks squished. What am i missing ?

    I am interested in the D300s, however have the D90 and want to be sure before I make a change.

    Thanks

    • March 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      GreenwoodGeoff, you are most welcome! Yes, it is an old thread, but still an active one :)

      If you do not need the speed of the D300s, extra features and the pro-build for tough weather conditions, do not upgrade your current D90, since it beats the D300s in terms of image quality and dynamic range by a small margin. The sensors on both cameras are NOT identical and D90 has a higher pixel pitch than the D300/D300s.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.

  38. 70
    ) JIM
    March 20, 2010 at 4:51 am

    d90 goes to 1/4000….. d300 to 1/8000 shutter speed. ??? Does this REALLY make a needed, noticable difference?

    • March 24, 2010 at 1:29 am

      Jim, to be honest, no it doesn’t. I have been shooting for a while now and I have never shot above 1/4000th of a second…even 1/2000th is plenty!

      • 106
        ) JIM
        April 12, 2010 at 5:58 am

        Thanks for the info, Nasim. I’m old school SLR with a Panasonic DSLR as my first Digital. Ready to move up to a D90 with some good glass. You solved my choise problem for me. Thanks…JIM

  39. 71
    ) Billy
    March 22, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Thank you for the great information, Nasim. I have read all your posts and I plan to purchase a D90 or D300 before the sale you mentioned above ends (thank you). As far as the body of the D300 being ‘weather proof’, I do a lot of outdoor pics and wonder just how much longer of a life this might give your camera? And/or is it worth it? Should I just get the D90 and have it fixed if ‘weather’ has damaged it?

    • March 24, 2010 at 1:34 am

      Billy, no DSLR camera is weather proof :) In this case, the Nikon D300 is weather-resistant, meaning it can take a little bit of rain, slow and cold/hot temperatures. It doesn’t mean that you can leave it in rain for hours or that you can put it underwater though…

      Outdoor photography with the Nikon D90 is no problem – just take a good care of it and treat it just like any other electronic piece of equipment and you should be fine. Do not let it get damaged with water, because Nikon will not fix it under warranty.

      Here is the link to the rebates page – I believe the deal ends in 3 days.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      • 86
        ) Billy
        March 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm

        I decided to get the D90 w/70-300 LENS and Nikon 50mm f/1.4G. Appreciate your knowledge and help!

  40. 72
    ) Rob
    March 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    This is all just Great !!!
    I’m trying to decide between a 90 or a 300.
    The problem is…
    Who are you ?
    Who do you work for?
    How does anyone here on the web know what kind of camera you took any of these pictures with?
    Not trying to be a smart a– . just really need your help.
    I’ve read and heard so many diff things.
    Sorry for sounding lik a jerk.

    • 73
      ) Rob
      March 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Man … i’m really sorry for coming off sound like a jerk…
      But I am one!!! LOL
      I want to take high speed action sport photos on a less than Full-Pro Budget. . Was thinking about the 90 or the 300 Nikon With a good lense(sorta for staters – 200 Super Zoom?) Can you tell me which camera out of the Nikon line will suit me best? I’m going to use the camera for business potentially.
      ie: Close-ups of players in full action-High School soccor , football, and baseball games, and weddings too???
      I really need advice.

      • March 24, 2010 at 1:44 am

        Rob, if you are serious about photography and want to be able to photograph sports and weddings, I would not buy a DX camera like the Nikon D90 or D300. Get the Nikon D700 camera instead, which costs more than D300, but will deliver superb images in challenging lighting conditions.

        If you go with a Nikon D700 camera, you should get a good professional lens like the Nikon 70-200mm VR II as well. If you cannot afford that lens now, consider getting the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens for your sports photography and a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens for low-light/wedding photography.

        If I were you, I would hurry and get a combo this week, while Nikon is giving out $200-500 rebates on DSLR+lens combos. Check out my Nikon rebates page for more information on the rebates.

        Hope this helps.

    • March 24, 2010 at 1:39 am

      Rob, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment :)

      No, you don’t sound like a jerk – many people ask me similar questions, so do not worry :)

      Here is some information about me, which hopefully answers your question on who I am and what I do.

      I have experience with almost all modern Nikon DSLR cameras and I primarily use the Nikon D300/D700/D3s cameras for my landscape and wildlife photography. You can see the camera information on each image by downloading it and using a good image viewer that can show EXIF information.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  41. 80
    ) Dennis
    March 25, 2010 at 12:35 am

    im even at low 200 iso and i still have issues on noise on my d90 why is that? I use program and the image is just distorted with so much noise. I use the noise reduction facility but nothing nay one want to help me? I have an email i could send you samples of my pics if you like to see for yourself. is it me or the camera or the lens??? Helpp meeee… dennishronfutalan@gmail.com

    • March 25, 2010 at 12:52 am

      Dennis, please send me an image sample in full resolution to take a look at.

      A slight amount of noise in the shadow areas is normal on D5000/D90/D300s cameras.

  42. 81
    ) Dennis
    March 25, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Is it possible to have a defective d90? Im still new thats why me head spin around with all this question…

    • March 25, 2010 at 12:53 am

      Dennis, most likely your D90 is fine. Please send me an image sample that worries you the most in 100% resolution.

  43. 82
    ) Влад
    March 26, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Была d90, картинка с нее была какая-то гламурно-яркая, с d300s куда реалистичней.

    • March 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      Влад, очень странно, так как сенсор у D90 чуть лучше чем у D300s…

  44. 84
    ) Tessa
    March 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I shoot mainly senior portraits/childrens portraits as well as engagement shoots. I also help out with weddings. I currently have a D60 and want to move up to the D90 or D300. Which do you think is better. With either, I want to puchase the Tamron 17-300. Also with a D90, are there battery grips that I can purchase and what flash do you advise? I currently use an sb6oo. Thanks for your help!

    • March 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      Tessa, since the speed of the camera for portraits is not important, I would go with D90 instead of D300.

      And yes, you can buy the “MB-D80″ battery grip for Nikon D90. As far as flashes, any flash would work just fine for on-camera flash. If you want to go off-camera flash, then I would look into the SB-800/SB-900 units.

  45. 88
    ) jigesh
    March 31, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Nasim,

    If one has an opportunity to get an almost un-used D300 and a new D90 at the same price (body only), what would you suggest? I currently have a D80. Thank you.

    • April 2, 2010 at 1:22 am

      Jigesh, how do you know that it is almost unused? Can you find out how many actuations the camera had? If you are sure that the camera is unused, then I would go for the D300 of course!

      • 90
        ) jigesh
        April 2, 2010 at 3:59 am

        Thank you, Nasim. D300 has around 6500 actuations, which considering a life of 150000 actuations, is not too bad I guess.

        • April 2, 2010 at 9:02 am

          Jigesh, 6500 is not bad, but definitely not “almost unused” :) If the camera is in a good condition, I would go for the D300.

          • 92
            ) jigesh
            April 2, 2010 at 10:27 am

            Thank you, Nasim.

  46. 93
    ) Dennis
    April 4, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Uhm maybe this is a bit far out from the discussion but if you where me and in a budget for lens what would you choose between the two 3rd party. Since you have all the experience and all which of this two would you choose? Sigma 17-70 2.8-4 or the tamron 2.8 all the way. Thank you!

    • April 5, 2010 at 12:47 am

      Dennis, honestly speaking, I have not used the 17-70mm Sigma/Tamron. Why are you choosing between these two lenses instead of say Nikon 18-55mm?

  47. 95
    ) Xavier
    April 6, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Privet Nasim,
    Can you recommend either the D90 or the D300s to take care of my old sacred Nikon lens 105mm. 2,5 AI. Based on the above comments I am tending for D90 to make photos of our little baby and I would like to use that good old lense if possible.
    >Regards from germany

    • 96
      ) Xavier
      April 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

      Hi again Nasim,
      I tried my 105mm on the D90 and it worked. However, the salesman in the shop told me that it would be equivalent to a 168mm (times 1,6) though. Is this correct? If so would i best be advised to get an 16-85mm zoom which would then cover the range 25mm to 135mm equivalent? Sorry for the silly questions.

      • April 7, 2010 at 2:49 am

        The salesman confused Canon crop sensor (1.6x) with Nikon (1.5x). It should be equivalent of approximately 160mm.

        Is this your first digital SLR camera? What lenses do you have besides the 105mm and what do you photograph besides your family?

    • April 7, 2010 at 2:46 am

      Xavier, either one should work with that lens…

  48. 99
    ) Joseph Maruca
    April 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Nasim, what are your impressions of the Nikon’s 24-70mm /2.8 lens? Does it pair well with the D90 for portraits, or better for landscape? My friend has one with his D300 and his pictures are incredible.

    • April 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      Joe, sharpness and contrast-wise, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G is outstanding – one of my favorite lenses. However, the focal length becomes a limiting factor on DX for landscapes, because 35mm is a bit too long for single-shot photographs. It is not that great for panoramas on DX either, due to some distortion at 24mm.

  49. 100
    ) Joe Maruca
    April 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I just noticed that my question about the Nikon 24-70 mm lens with landscapes was answered in Answer 3 of your Photography FAQ#3 (april 2, 2010), so no further input needed! Thanks for your wonderful, revealing and insightful web site!

    • April 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      Joe, I’m glad that you were able to find the answer :) I should have read your second comment before responding to the first one!

  50. 103
    ) Kevin
    April 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Nasim, thanks a lot for the useful info, now I know which one to get!

  51. 105
    ) Jeanne Gaffney
    April 10, 2010 at 7:15 am

    My husband has the D90 and I have the D300 so this article was particularly helpful to us. Thanks!

  52. 107
    ) Ken Watson
    April 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Nasim,
    No one seems to want to talk about Nikons metal/plastic lens mounts. I want only metal mounts for my D90. Do you have any data on this.

    tnx
    Ken

    • April 17, 2010 at 1:11 am

      Ken, the Nikon D90 has a metal mount. In fact all of the Nikon DSLRs do. Did you mean to ask about lens mounts that are sometimes plastic?

  53. 108
    ) Varun Ravi
    April 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Hi,
    I planning on getting a D300s. However, i am not sure of the lens. I am lookin for a versatile lens for everyday shooting. Is the 18-105 VR lens good enough?

    • April 17, 2010 at 1:13 am

      Varun, what do you primarily shoot? The Nikon 18-105mm VR is a good all-around lens…

      • 112
        ) varun
        April 17, 2010 at 5:40 am

        I shoot random stuff, things around me, during travel etc… but i take a trip into the jungles once every six months for some serious wildlife photography….

        • April 19, 2010 at 1:08 am

          Varun, the 18-105 is a good all-purpose lens, however, you might want to get a more serious/specialized lens for your wildlife photography.

  54. 113
    ) ray
    April 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Hi Nasim!

    I’m planning to buy a D90 this weekend. What lens would you recommend?
    Primarily shoots my baby, family gatherings (weddings, birthday party…), beach, parks and landscapes. What model of Speedlight do you recommend? By the way I’m just a newbie to DSLR. Thanks a lot.

  55. 116
    ) Ken Watson
    April 19, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Nasim, It is the lens mounts I am concerned with. Plastic and metal don’t always work well when you are changing them. That is why I want only metal lens mounts. Nikjon and the dealers don’t want to talk about it. I would think there is a list of plastic mounts and metal mounts available. When you are shooting rapid shots and need to change the lens you are not always careful enough to baby that plastic mount and the metal will damage it.

    Thanks Ken

    • April 22, 2010 at 1:44 am

      Ken, all professional Nikon lenses come with metal mounts – it is only some of the cheaper DX lenses that might have a plastic mount. Let me know what lens you are interested in and I will tell you if it is plastic or metal.

  56. 117
    ) ray
    April 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Thank Nasim. I check out the price today at a local Nikon distributor here in UAE and the list that will fit my budget is as follows:

    1) Nikon D90
    2) Nikon 35 mm f/1.8G
    3) Nikon SB-600
    4) As for my second lens, (right now the 18-200mm VR won’t fit in the budget)
    please help me choose one on the list below:

    a) 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR
    b) 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G DX VR
    c) 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G AF (No VR)

    Will the 35 mm lens, the SB600 and the list on my second lens work with my old D40?

    Thanks.

    • April 22, 2010 at 1:46 am

      Ray, the list looks good. If you shoot landscapes or objects that are relatively close, then get the 18-105. If you shoot subjects in distance (birds, planes, etc), then the 70-300mm is a better choice. I do not recommend buying the 55-200mm lens.

      And yes, the 35mm lens along with the SB-600 will work on your old D40.

  57. 118
    ) Pablo Picasso
    April 21, 2010 at 3:54 am

    The eyelashes jump out so I’d show the equivalent shot with the D90. The D90 lighting is bad unless the object was to collect as much yellow light as possible. So the bottom line the author is expressing? Nikon sells less for more? The problem is we haven’t got the eyeballs to care about the 3200 ISO. Like museum goers we look and we judge. We don’t care about AF or digitizing or post editing posturing. If Ken likes the more expensive brand that’s a matter of taste. What consumers not pros should know is the lesson is not you get what u pay for. Unless you’re talking top of the line and ten thousand dollar lenses you’re just hoping your shot looks good enough to show to friends and family. One thing is true: more money is spent advertising cameras than on R&D. In fact if you back out the cost of the spin the D90 might be free. Really all camera makers want you to buy buy buy. Upgrade and buy like it’s some dumb terminal and you can get in line to buy the Vista Home Premium. I’ll take a 90 if it’s for free though. And all this talk about plastic: try carbon fiber.

    • April 22, 2010 at 1:55 am

      Pablo, this is an ISO comparison between the Nikon D300 and D90 sensors – I am not adding AF and other features into the mix, because the D300 is clearly superior in that regard.

      I honestly could not understand the rest of your comment. What is your point?

  58. 119
    ) Ken Watson
    April 21, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Nasim/Pablo Picasso,
    My point is this if you want to make a lightweight less expensive lens at least make the mount material compatible to the camera. Metal to metal or plastic/carbon fiber to plastic/carbon fiber. That way, at least , they won’t destroy each other. It is only a matter of materials engineering. Especially since the pros use these cameras as throw aways anyhow. Those of us in the hobbiest/semipro class keep our cameras for quite a while.

    Ken

    Ken

    • April 22, 2010 at 1:57 am

      Ken, if you carefully use your equipment, nothing will get destroyed. I have used plastic lenses in the past and never had a problem.

      Plastic is cheaper to produce than metal, which is why some of the cheapest Nikon lenses have plastic mounts.

  59. 125
    ) ray
    May 7, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Hi Nasim!
    I’ve been shootin’ with my 3 week old D90 with 18-105 mm kit lens. Photos been good and just have to improve the composition. However, I’m encountering the problem of “F–” often. The manual says that it maybe caused by “no lens attached” or “non CPU lens”. Does this happen on your Nikons too? If yes what’s the solution? It’s kinda frustrating when you want to capture something that is not stationary, and this error appears. Thanks again.

    • May 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      Ray, this problem is caused by a bad contact between the lens and the camera body. If you have an optical lens cleaning solution, put some of that on microfiber cloth and wipe the contacts of the lens first, then do the same with the contacts on the camera body. Be very careful and try to do it in a dust-free environment, so that the sensor stays clean.

      Once you clean everything, put the lens back on the camera and make sure it sits tight.

      This should take care of the problem.

      • 130
        ) ray
        May 16, 2010 at 10:35 am

        Thanks Nasim, it did take care of the problem…

  60. 127
    ) Wochomi
    May 14, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Hi Nasim

    I’m just wondering if D90 can use older speedlights (film camera speedlight)?
    I tried on a Sunpak speedlight (from my F60d days) on a D40x, and it can fire. What is the difference between them?

    By the way, after reading your write ups, I’m more convinced in getting the D90 instead of the EOS500d/550d. Considering the Body only price, both the EOS and D5000 are overpriced! Look at how much more you can get in the D90 for the same body cost.

    I’m from Malaysia, and the D90 kit (18-105mm) has RM600-800 price cut. We’re pretty sure a replacement is due, but do professionals like yourself use the LATEST cameras? I don’t think so.

    • May 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      Wochomi, I am very sorry for responding so late.

      Yes, you can mount any old speedlight like SB-28 or other and it will work on the D90. Just make sure that the flash can support TTL and you should be all set.

      The Sunpak speedlights are OK, but they won’t work with TTL, so you will always have to shoot in manual mode. And yes, the D90 is a superb camera!

      Don’t worry about an update to D90 – get the one that is out now and enjoy it, instead of having to wait for an update…

  61. May 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I bought this dSLR after reading a bunch of positive reviews online and seeing it was a best pick on Amazon. Overall I’m extremely satisfied with the purchase. As others have mentioned, it’s not perfect, but it’s probably the best available right now in this price range.
    This is my first dSLR and I was impressed with how quickly I was able to jump in and start using it. You can get excellent images right out of the box using the Auto or scene modes. I took it to the USC football game last weekend and was able to get great shots using in Action mode. The images were very sharp, noise free, and because of the 12.3MP resolution, I was able to crop them while still having plenty to work with.
    The movie mode is very cool, but the limitations (no autofocus, 5 minute limit for HD) are a bit annoying. It’s definitely not a replacement for an HD camcorder, but it’s good enough for general purpose.
    The lens is nice because it’s light and compact, but the 18-200mm lens would be a lot more useful. I’ll probably end up either buying that or the 70-300mm lens so I can get close-up shots.
    I’d highly recommend this camera to anyone looking for a dSLR in this price range. Even if it’s your first dSLR, you’ll be able to get great shots with it out of the box, and as many users have pointed out, image quality is nearly on par with the more expensive D300. I kept postponing my dSLR purchase because they kept getting better and cheaper, but this one was intriguing enough to make me bite the bullet.

  62. 129
    ) collins
    May 15, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I am a complete amateur with no desire to enter into the professional world. I just want to take great pics of my kids. I LOVE thiscamera!!!!! I use the auto setting and the pics are unbelievable. From the moment I picked it up out of the box (literally) it has surpassed all my expectations and I’ve captured some truly amazing shots. My point-and-shoot (canon sd1100 which I still keep in my purse for snapshots) maybe, maybe would have been fast enough to catch the same look on my kids faces, but the depth of field and color from the d90 are just breathtaking.

    I’m sure if I learned to use all the settings I could do even more. And eventually I will, because it does seem pretty easy to navigate the menus and the buttons are all pretty clear. For now, I just wanted to move up to a higher image quality from the point-and-shoots, and the entry level DSLRs felt too plasticy and cheap for their price. This does not. It is still plastic, but feels solid, not like I could break it with too tight a grip.

    The only real problem I had with it was the shoulder strap was ugly and uncomfortable. I found a really nice replacement strap at a camera store for about $15.

    So if you are an amateur just looking for something better than what’s available on the point-and-shoot market, this is a very useable, non-intimidating camera that will suit you needs.

  63. 131
    ) raluca
    May 16, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    hello again nasim,
    i have bought the d90 with the 17-55 mm as u advised me and also the 105 micro lens. what kind of lens filter do u advise me to buy for these 2 lenses?
    ( 02.11.2010 “i intend to use the cam mostly for landscapes, pictures of buildings, people&people portraits, urban life photography mostly.”)
    and also what kind of memory card do u know that works best with this cam?
    thx a lot!
    raluca

    • May 23, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      Raluca, sorry for a late response. Congratulations with your purchase!

      In terms of lens filters, get a clear filter from either Hoya, B+W or Tiffen and make sure to get a high quality MRC version. Look up the lens specs and get the filters in the correct sizes.

      In terms of memory card, any of the SDHC cards should work perfectly fine, but I personally prefer the SanDisk Extreme series.

  64. 132
    ) alex benech
    May 21, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I absolutely love this camera – the quality of pictures are excellent. It is a very good camera for action shots at the kids ball games. I am not very good with electronics but this camera is easy to use and even I figured it out.

  65. 133
    ) raluca
    May 23, 2010 at 1:29 am

    one more question please: how to clean the d90 camera sensor? tips and advice for beginers.
    thx a lot!
    ral

    • 134
      ) Joe Maruca
      May 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      I just attended a Nikon School course and they advise to take it to your nearest Nikon dealer and ask them to have Nikon clean the sensor. DO NOT ATTEMPT IT YOURSELF. It’s easy to damage the sensor or the mirror cage.

      • May 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm

        Joe, it really depends on how careful you are with the equipment. I have cleaned my sensors from the very beginning and I have never damaged anything. Surely it is nice to be able to take a camera to Nikon for cleaning every time if you have the money and time, but it is just not very practical…

        • 144
          ) Joe Maruca
          May 25, 2010 at 6:57 am

          You’re right. They said it’s better to bring it in but that anyone can do it, though it’s “not for the faint of heart.” hehe

    • May 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm

      You have just gotten the D90 and you already have dust on the sensor? :) Do you have a Giotto’s Rocket blower?

      • 142
        ) raluca
        May 24, 2010 at 1:24 am

        nooooo, i dont have the dust yet :))), is just an advice i want from u, since i ll have to do it sooner or later, i wonder what shall i do then. since we dont have in here (romania) a nikon service let alone a nikon scchool course or a nikon service center, just nikon parteners we have in here is a bit complicated to have it clean by them.
        but my bro owns a d40 and while i changed lenses i noticed someting on the sensor, so i wondered what’s to be done in that case.
        thx for your answer nasim!

        • 145
          ) Mihai
          May 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

          Raluca, please check Cris Professional (Canon service) or Skin (Nikon service). I’m sure they will help you cleaning the sensor. I’m not sure but they may charge you with ~15E. Anyways, you can clean it by yourself. Go to any photo store and buy the Eclipse E2(C?) along with swabs. Clean it in a sealed room with no dust (bathroom, maybe?).

          • 147
            ) raluca
            May 31, 2010 at 8:07 am

            dada, am avut un canon a95 cu problema din fabricatie, si au fost foarte promti si profesionisti! nu ma indoiesc de porfesionalismul lor, insa sint pe canon si nu nikon. de skin n-am auzit dar ma voi documenta, mersi mult de sfaturi!

          • June 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm

            Mihai, thank you for your response, appreciate your help!

            I too use the Eclipse E2 with swabs to clean my sensors, but it might be a little overwhelming for a beginner like Raluca. I would say the safest way is to dry blowing the dust using a Giottos Rocket Blower and if that doesn’t work, try to find someone local to clean the sensor, as you have suggested.

        • June 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

          Raluca, sounds good, I will put together a howto later this week! Sorry for not being able to respond right away, I took a nice long vacation with my family :)

          • 152
            ) raluca
            June 5, 2010 at 3:15 am

            great! i bet u took some marvelous pictures as well :))
            as for me, ive bought the giottos blower and the 70-300 mm lens :D
            so far my kit consist of:
            d90 body, 105 macro, 17-55 and 70-300, cleaning kit and spare nikon battery, next on purchaise list are the neutral filters for each lens.
            quite enough id say, maybe …also flash …. but later.
            as for the “how to” im looking forward to reading it nasim!
            thx again for your advices and keep in touch!

            • June 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

              Raluca, you have a great setup for photography! Now you have to go out and shoot more :)

  66. 143
    ) Kenneth Sporsheim
    May 25, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Hi! Thank you for good reading :) this site is now bookmarked..
    I just wonder how you think D300 and D90 will work with indoor concerts?
    I take mostly pics of that…i have a D200 and D80 now, but cant go over ISO 800..i get many good pics, but wants to upgrade..D700 is out of my reach until later..
    I use Sigma lenses mostly..24-70 on the D200 and 70-200 on my D80..

    • June 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you for visiting us Kenneth!

      I recently took concert pictures of Santana and I would say that a full-frame sensor is extremely helpful to keep the shutter speed higher…I know you have said that D700 is out of a reach for you, but I would recommend against upgrading to D300 or D90 at this time and rather wait and get an FX sensor later instead. D300/D90 are great cameras, but the images are still unusable beyond ISO 800 for me.

      Hope this helps.

  67. 146
    ) wochomi
    May 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Nasim

    I’ve bought the D90 kit !!! After a fierce battle between the EOS 550d/EOS 500d vs D90, I made my decision based on feel and handling of the camera, as well as the pricing of the camera bodies whereby the EOS and D90 is almost similar! Why pay more for a newer body when the proven one is more capable? Thank you so much for your insight on the matter, Nasim. I’m learning.

    • June 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      Wochomi, congratulations! D90 is a superb camera and you will absolutely love it!

      Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment!

  68. 154
    ) Kyle
    June 14, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hai there. I have one question. Which DLSR preferable in your opinion. Take into account about the shutter speed, ISO and etc.
    Regards.

    • June 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm

      Kyle, if this is your first DSLR, go for the D90 and buy better lenses instead! Nikon is currently giving a $200 rebate on Nikon D90 + 18-105 + 70-300mm lenses, which is a steal.

      Check out my Nikon Rebates page to see more discounted combos. The promotion ends at the end of the month though.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

  69. 156
    ) raluca
    June 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    nasim, ive looking for some lenses, and i noticed for 17-55 mm that are two types of lense, extrawide and normal les, im puzzeled now, which one is more suitable for that les, whide or normal?
    thx in advanced nasim.

    • 157
      ) raluca
      June 17, 2010 at 11:44 pm

      not lenses but filters for lenses! my mystake

    • June 29, 2010 at 7:59 pm

      Raluca, sorry for a late response. Don’t worry about the wide filters and get the normal one. Wide filters can be problematic with lens caps…

      • 159
        ) raluca
        June 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

        i see. thx a lot for the advice

  70. 160
    ) Marshall
    August 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I bought one of the first D90s, before they hit the stores, and that may have been the problem. I’m a pro, and my first photo shoot resulted in the customer noting that the images were soft. I unsharp-masked them further, and they were acceptible. I took the camera into a Ritz camera store, and shot the D300 with the same lens. The sharpness on the LCD of the D300 said it all, and I parted with $800 difference on the spot. My D90 was way softer than the D300, and they do NOT have the same sensor as some sites claim; they are different part numbers.

    • August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      Marshall, I bet your soft images were due to AF issues on the camera. Image quality-wise, the Nikon D90 yields cleaner images than the D300, as can be seen from the above shots. And yes, the sensors on both are different – D90 has a better sensor.

  71. 162
    ) Rod
    August 19, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Hi Nasim,
    Thanks for this interesting post. I am glad I found it as I was looking to upgrade my D90 and one of the main reasons was better IQ at low light. Now, I will save my money and wait for significant improvement in the next models before looking again.
    Rod

    • September 2, 2010 at 12:27 am

      Rod, sounds good, wait for the new D90 update – Nikon is rumored to release an update soon.

  72. 164
    ) Rob
    October 17, 2010 at 12:12 am

    It’s wierd, I keep seeing a lot of different results website to website and other websites make it seem like the D300 is so much better in higher ISO. They have the same exact sensor AFAIK.

    Great test btw.

    • October 22, 2010 at 2:07 am

      Rob, the sensor on the D300 is different for sure and it certainly cannot be so much better in higher ISO than the D90. Maybe you saw comparisons against the D80?

  73. 166
    ) Chase G
    November 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve been out of the photography scene for some time now. Sold off my F3HP’s, motors, flashes and all those nice Nikkor lenses years ago. I’m ready to jump back in and am looking at the D90 for it’s level of control for someone who is used to running all the settings manually but needs to familiarize himself with DSLR’s. Would you recommend this as a good entry for someone like me into DSLR’s? As noted in other comments I’ve read, it appears it can always be a good second body when I continue onward with DSLR’s. And a good goto lens? Short fast/bright zoom?

    Kindest regards,

    Chase

    • 167
      ) Geoff
      November 3, 2010 at 1:58 am

      I would push you towards the D7000 unless money is an issue. I own the D90 and am unlikely to upgrade to the D7000 as I wait to see what comes out in 2011, however if I were starting out fresh I would choose the D7000 over the D90.

    • November 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm

      Chase, I would agree with Geoff – the Nikon D7000 is a better camera body at the moment. If budget is an issue, the D90 is also excellent.

      As for a good lens to start with, I would personally recommend the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G as the first lens.

  74. 170
    ) lonicoffee
    July 4, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Nikon EXPEED Image Processing and Continuous Shooting up to 7 fps ..!!!!

  75. 172
    ) Brent
    February 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I still love my D90.

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