Ever since Nikon released the new Nikon D7000, I have been getting a lot of emails from people who are asking if they should go with the D7000 or with the older Nikon D90 that has been dropping in price. To make it easier for our readers, I decided to post a quick comparison between the two in this “Nikon D7000 vs D90” article.
The new Nikon D7000 is a new generation DSLR that sits between D90 and D300s, which can be classified as an “semi-professional DSLR”. It features a brand new sensor from Nikon, which has been specifically engineered for the Nikon D7000 and possibly other upcoming cameras. The Nikon D7000 is the second camera announced this year by Nikon with the new Expeed II processor, allowing faster image and video processing up to 1080p (the previous Expeed processor could not handle more than 720p video).
Here are some differences between Nikon D7000 and D90:
- The first and the most important difference between the D7000 and D90 is the sensor. Nikon D7000 has a 16.2 Megapixel sensor, while the D90 has a 12.3 Megapixel sensor.
- The new sensor on the D7000 also has different specifications – its ISO range is from 100 too 6400 in native mode and up to 25,600 in expanded or “boost” mode, while D90 goes from ISO 200 to 3200 with a boost to ISO 6400, a difference of one full stop in native and two full stops in expanded mode.
- Base ISO on the Nikon D7000 is 100, while it is 200 for Nikon D90.
- The new Expeed II processor on the Nikon D7000 is capable of full HD (1920x1080p) @ 24 fps (frames per second), while D90 can only go up to 720p (1280x720p) @ 24 fps. D7000 can also shoot 720p at 30, 25 and 24 fps and 424p at 30 and 25 fps; Nikon D90 only records video at 24 fps. In addition, the D7000 can capture movies continuously up to 20 minutes, while D90 is limited to just 5 minutes.
- Nikon D7000 has a better construction with top and back covers made of magnesium alloy, while D90 is plastic.
- Nikon D7000 has a 100% viewfinder coverage, while Nikon D90 has a 96% viewfinder coverage.
- Nikon D7000 can take the new SDXC cards with capacities larger than 32GB, while Nikon D90 is currently only compatible with SDHC cards up to 32GB.
- Nikon D7000 comes with a new TTL exposure metering with 2016-pixel RGB sensor, while D90 has the older 420-pixel RGB sensor.
- Nikon D7000 can shoot up to 1/8000th of a second, while D90 is limited to 1/4000.
- The Nikon D7000 employs a dual slot SD storage system for writing, while Nikon D90 can only take one SD card in a single slot.
- Weight-wise, both weigh about the same, with the D7000 being slightly heavier by about 70 grams.
- Nikon D7000 shoots images faster at 6 fps, while D90 shoots at 4.5 fps in continuous mode.
- Size-wise, both cameras are almost exactly the same, with the Nkon D7000 measuring 132x105x77mm versus 132x103x77mm of D90.
- When it comes to AF system and focus points, Nikon D7000 is superior with 39 focus points and 9 cross-type sensors, while D90 employs 11 focus points and only 1 cross-type sensor.
- Nikon D7000 has a lot more White Balance options for more accurate WB control than D90.
- Nikon D7000 is controlled remotely using MC-DC2 cable via the GPS socket, while D90 can be controlled with the ML-L3 wireless infrared remote control unit.
- The price difference between the two cameras is significant – Nikon D7000 is priced at $1,199, while Nikon D90 price has dropped to $739.95.
In summary, which camera is superior? In terms of features, it is clearly the Nikon D7000 that comes packed with new features such as: new generation Expeed II processor, higher megapixel sensor, better high ISO performance, better video capabilities, superior AF system, dual card slots, 100% viewfinder coverage and faster speed. But then the price difference between the two is also significant. On top of that the Nikon D7000 is also a higher-class camera, so it is supposed to be better than D90 – that’s a given.
Which one would I recommend? If you have never used a DSLR before and have some budget limitations, I would go with the Nikon D90, since it is a great value given its current price. For the current price difference of $460, you could add the superb Nikon 50mm f/1.4G or other great lenses to your photo bag. Remember, a lens is always a better investment than a camera body. The Nikon D90 was introduced at $999 retail and it has significantly gone down in price. The same thing will happen to the D7000, which will most likely drop to sub-$1,000 in about two years (and even less for a used body). Lenses keep their value much longer and the lens you buy today will serve you well in the future. As my good friend used to say “good glass is to keep”.
Now if you already have an older camera body like Nikon D40/D60/D80 and you are looking for a new camera to upgrade, I would recommend to go for the Nikon D7000 instead. You will certainly appreciate all the new bells and whistles and the high ISO performance will look stunning in comparison. Obviously, for those who shoot video, the camera of choice is obviously the D7000.
And to all current D90 owners who are thinking of upgrading to D7000 – unless you have some specific needs, I would hold off on upgrading to the D7000. The D90 is still a superb camera!
I wanted to buy d7000 am in Nigeria how can get it
Sold my D90 (for $235) when i got my D7000.
After 2 years, looked for and bought a second hand D90 (for $160).
i love using both.
I use D90 last 3 years. D90 is very good performer. i used D7000 its good, but i love my D90.
really good reading… nice stuff!
I have used film-type SLRs since I got my first one in Vietnam in 1967. My wife gave me a Nikon D7000 for Christmas last year, and, boy, what a learning curve from what I had been using!
To help with that, this year she gave me a book by Darrell Young. Inadvertently, the book was “Mastering the D90” not the D7000.
Are the controls of the two cameras sufficiently similar that the book will be useful, or would it be better to return it for the D7000 book?
Thanks in advance for your response, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Hi there, fantastic work. I really enjoy reading your reviews. However, I have a very small correction to make. On point #16, you say the D90 cannot be controlled by the cable shutter release (connected to the GPS slot). The D90, in fact, can do this, as I usually shoot my D90 with the cable shutter release. Please keep up the fantastic work!
I have a D90, one of the 1st ones released about 3 years ago, and generally, I would say really a great camera for non-professisonals, really not bad for some kind of photography, like portrait or landscape, but not the best peformer e.g. for macro, my main interest. Was thinking of switching to D300(s), but, actually that’s quite the same techology, the same sensor with some little improvements in camera build and software. When checking the image quality, which can be measured by resolution/sharpness and ISO sensitivity/clearnes I can see very significant price difference but small improvement in terms of image quality. In order to get the best clean pictures I use ISO 100 whenever I can. This is a must for macro, anyway. Now, when feeling the limitation of D90 was excited about the D7000, which is reported to be the best DX Nikon camera at the moment, but still under positioned the DX-pro 3 years old D300. By the tests and reviews I understand D7000 is a little bit better in terms of picture clarity by 1-2 stops better ISO sensitivity, which could have been even better with current technology by staying at 12 MP istead of using a new 16 MP sensor with smaller, therefore more noise-producing pixels. Not to mention the operational issues reported about D7000, which had a firmare upgrade already. Funny, that the old D90 still has no FW upgrade and performs quite solid (however no-AF at video capture, which should have been fixed so far). So, finally, when I read those exhaustive reviews the general recommendation when asking “should I upgrade my D90/D300 to D7000 now?” is in most cases ‘no’, as the extra services you get do not worth the price.
Comparing the image quality and performance of the cheapest FX D700 to any DX camera including D7000 still look like comparing the sky to ground, or a Formula 1 car to any street car you drive.
I really wonder the D800, as a result of the pixel race with its awesome 36 MP resolution. Afraid, due to the very high resolution sensor paired with higher default noise finally it will not be a big jump from D700, (I wish I fail on this…) however, D700 owner pros will feel the need of upgrade to the new release. Already have 2 FX of my 4 lenses (105 mm micro nikkor VR and 70-300 VR, which are about to OK on DX, but perform much better on FX body by tests like DxO labs), so heavily thinking of getting 2 FX primes like a 20 and a 50 mm ones replacing my current DX wide angle and standard zooms (which are heavily fringing due to floating elements…) and get a second-hand D700, which together with the primes looks a much better deal comparing to waiting for a D7000 upgrade, which is free of those defects reported, and also free from the DX noise (which is actually cannot be compared to the compact cam’s noise, but still hurts for those have high expectations on image quality).
Nasim, highly appreciate your opinion.
With the very best regards,
First of all thanks for such a great site!
I’m now a 3 yo user of a D60 (love it) but I’m just getting to that
point where his shortcomings are being more & more noticeable.
I’m starting to shoot events for familyy and friends in a budget
While my D60 has getting the job done I’m aware of his limitations.
That been said, I’m still unsure whetherto get the D90 or go for the D7000 (budget is an issue).
Hello,I have a D90, 18-105mm, the 50mm 1.8 and the 85mm 1.8, would i need to change my 50mm 1.8 for a 1.4? I mainly shoot portraits and have done weddings for friends and family on tight budget. what other lens should I add to my bag? Money is an issue to go for FX in a near future. I am also planning on going for a D7000 or D300s. Please recomendations. My 18-105 i used it for convinience on vacations and family outings.
Arlene, if you are happy with what you have, why bother changing it? I don’t think you should add any other lens to your bag, since you have lenses that cover the wide angle and portraits. Just shoot with what you have – no need to waste your money on stuff you don’t need.
I was considering the d7000 b/c of the auto-focus points plus is the new thing everyone is buzzing about! I wanna check it out too :). I was considering something on the wideangle side with a f stop of 1.8 or 2, maybe the 24 or 35mm. I dont think the 18-105 is good for weddings its not ideal for low light, thats my untrained opinion, I am happy with what i got but theres always room in my bag for improvements! Please correct me if I am wrong?
i’m going to buy my first DSLR and i’m undecided if which DSLR would satisfy me. Is it the D90 or d7000? As of now, in terms of budget, i can afford the D90 and can stretch it to my last money to afford the d7000 but the D7000 specs is still good versus the D90. What DSLR can you recommend for me who is a beginner for photography??
Eric, get the Nikon D7000 – D90 is no longer in production.