It’s a sophisticated camera with some upmarket elements, but it’s really starting to show its age
Six years isn’t an eternity but it’s a very long time in the context of technological progress. As such, the D90’s specifications, which include 12.3-megapixel image resolution, 720p video capture and rudimentary Live View shooting, look distinctly dated. Even so, it’s a testament to the quality of this camera that it’s still on sale at all. One plus point is that, unlike the D3200, D5200 and their older and newer equivalents, the D90 has a built-in autofocus motor. Like the D300s, D7000 and D7100, it can therefore autofocus with any compatible Nikon or independently made lens that lacks its own AF motor, via a slotted drive on the lens mount.
Other refinements that it shares with upmarket and pro cameras, but which are lacking on models like the D3200 and D5200, are a pentaprism viewfinder (rather than a more basic pentamirror unit) and a secondary LCD info panel on the top plate. The latter is good for keeping an eye on important shooting parameters, especially in semi-automatic and manual shooting modes.
The D90 has good stamina, its 850-shot battery life exceeding that of many cameras. The downside is that, like the D300s, it takes EN-EL3e batteries, which have been scrapped in Nikon’s more recent models.
The D90’s 11-point autofocus and 420-pixel metering modules are on a par with newer cameras like the D3200 and D5200, while the maximum drive rate is also similar at four and a half frames per second. Experienced photographers will appreciate the wide-ranging, direct access controls for shooting parameters, making this a serious tool for creative shooting.
Its polycarbonate build is good but not overly impressive compared with the sturdier bodies of the D300s, D7000 and D7100.