Nikon D90 gets official

With 720p HD video support, this is going to make my next camera upgrade choice a difficult one. Of course it’s not a ‘pro’ camera but the hd video support changes a few things as far as I’m concerned.

Get all the details to see for yourself. Be sure to check out the HD demo video.

Here’s a slick video with Chase Jarvis (obviously a Nikon marketing vid) test driving the D90 ahead of the public:


  1. Michael Kwan says:

    A few things you’ll want to keep in mind about the HD video:
    1. Fixed focus for duration of video
    2. Mono sound
    3. Limited to 5 minutes maximum

  2. Duane Storey says:

    Yah, I’m curious why you’re so excited about the video portion. Given the constraints with regards to the video I’ve been reading about, it doesn’t really seem that exciting. I’ll give big kudos to Nikon for introducing this feature, but I think it’s mainly to appease consumers who would have been forced to give up video from their point and shoots if they wanted to go the DLSR route.

    I guess if you really want a DLSR but still really want video, then it’s not a bad option. I think there’s huge potential for having video in a DLSR, but I don’t think this first iteration is terribly exciting yet.

  3. Tyler Ingram says:

    A dSLR that does video? Like Duane though who miss the video portion of their cameras (going from compact digi to dSLR) I suppose would enjoy a video feature.

    I rarely ever use my SD750s video feature and I have only used my Flip a couple times. I guess I am just not big on video lol Though does this not take the pro out of prosumer now?

    Though the Canon 50D looks promising as a replacement for the 40D (15MP, Full frame, DiGiC 4 etc)

  4. John says:

    Guys: I’m well aware of the video constraints.

    I haven’t pre-ordered my D90 yet. I simply said this kind of feature will make my next camera purchase a tougher one…I didn’t say that purchase was going to be next week.

    The reality is that this is one of the most interesting developments (for me) in the DSLR space for awhile. Everyone always says it’s the glass that matters, not the body when using a DSLR. There is no way I can afford a respectable HD camera that allows for interchangeable lenses (which I already own or have access to).

    There are a few other features of this camera which have nothing to do with video that are also interesting which I’m looking forward to checking out.

    Fixed focus only matters if you don’t know how to do a rack focus.

    The five minute limit is quite probably something that could change with a firmware update if it’s a hard limit vs simply a card capacity limitation. The mono audio is most likely a limitation of the onboard mic – there may be a means to attach an external/remote mic.

    I’ll reserve judgement (as I’ve always done) until I’ve played with one in person.

  5. I don’t care what Duane says. I want one. I’ll take two.

  6. Duane Storey says:

    Like I said, it’s interesting, and I give kudos to Nikon. But really, can you actually see the average consumer rack focusing?

  7. The 5-minute limit is only for HD video, the other video modes go up to 20 minutes. And I think this is fantastic — the video this camera will produce will be fundamentally different from pretty much anything else available for the price, because (a) the DX sensor is pretty much the same size as a frame of 35 mm movie film (remember, those are half the size of a 35 mm still frame), and (b) all the interchangeable lenses.

    Most importantly, the bigger sensor will permit proper shallow focus effects, which no current consumer camcorder (even HD) permits — their sensors are too small, and have too great a depth of field.

    It’s true that your average user will miss autofocus, but I wouldn’t in most circumstances. I find myself turning the autofocus OFF on camcorders pretty often, because it regularly “hunts” and focuses on the wrong thing when I’m trying to make an interesting composition.

    So yeah, the D90’s video mode is limited, but it could also be a wonderful creative tool, especially with some of the faster or wackier Nikkor lenses.

    Totally aside from the video, while I’m not in the market for a new SLR (my D50 and film F4 are still plugging along), if I were, the D90 would probably bump the D300 off my list right now. Not least because it’s almost half the price. :) I think it’s a much more interesting new camera than the Canon EOS 50D (which I’m sure is also excellent) — and I’d probably say that even if I weren’t an unrepentant Nikon fanboy.

    And for us, Nikon finally has a new SLR feature first, for the first time in decades. It will be interesting to see what the other makers do to follow up.

    Man, this is the best time for SLRs ever, I think.

  8. Duane Storey says:

    Apparently I missed the 50D announcement..I’m gonna go read it now. If it’s not full frame, I’m gonna be sad.

  9. Nope, no full-frame love on the 50D. It’s nice, but basically a step up from the 40D, much as the D90 is a step up from the D80.

  10. Check out the official sample movies (the BMX looks like it’s from the Chase Jarvis sessions). Lots of different lens samples — f/1.4, fisheyes, plus the crazy-expensive 200 mm f/2 lens.

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