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Monday, November 3, 2008

Next-Generation D-SLRs

New models deliver technology advances for photographers of every level

next generation d-slrs

This Article Features Photo Zoom

NIKON D90
Aimed at the photo enthusiast, this D80 successor contains much of the technology first seen in Nikon’s high-end pro D-SLRs, and its unique D-Movie Mode adds the ability to shoot HD-quality video, the first D-SLR introduced with this feature.

New 12.3-Megapixel CMOS Sensor
While both provide 12.3 million effective pixels and measure the same 23.6x15.8mm (DX/APS-C format), the D90’s new CMOS sensor isn’t the same one used in the D300. The D90’s contains fewer gross pixels (12.9 vs. 13.1 million) and provides HD-movie capability.

D-Movie Mode
The D90 can shoot HD-quality movie clips at up to 720p (1280x720 pixels) in Motion JPEG (AVI) format at 24 fps, with or without sound. Capture up to 5 minutes’ worth at the highest resolution or up to 20 minutes at lower resolution. In terms of video, the D90’s image sensor is much larger than typical camcorder sensors, yielding better image quality, especially at higher ISOs, as well as shallower depth of field. You can use the full range of Nikkor lenses, including fisheyes and Micro-Nikkors. Metering works while shooting movies, but AF doesn’t—focus is locked before filming begins.

EXPEED Image-Processing System
Like other newer models from Nikon, the D90 incorporates Nikon’s EXPEED image processing system, which provides finer details, smoother tones, more brilliant colors and lower noise over a wide range of ISOs, while also speeding operation and reducing power consumption. The D90 starts up in a quick 0.15 seconds, has a shutter lag of just 65ms and a viewfinder blackout of just 120ms, and can shoot full-res images at 4.5 per second. ISO settings range from 200-3200, and can be expanded to 100 and 6400, all with very low noise for the speed.

Active D-Lighting
Active D-Lighting effectively expands dynamic range by exposing for the highlights and processing to retain shadow detail in-camera. You can select a strength level or let the camera do it. Active D-Lighting works with JPEG and RAW images.

Scene Recognition System
Introduced in Nikon’s recent higher-end D-SLRs, the Scene Recognition System uses data from the 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II system and 11-point AF system and references an on-board database of more than 30,000 photographic scenes to optimize focus, exposure and white balance.

Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit
The D90 uses the same Self-Cleaning Sensor system as the D300, employing ultrasonic vibrations at four different frequencies to remove dust from the low-pass filter.

next generation d-slrsOne-Button Live-View
Press the Lv button on the camera back, and the image appears live on the 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor. While the D90 lacks the Handheld Live mode (with phase-detection AF) of the D3 and D300, it does provide three contrast-detect AF modes: wide-area, normal-area and Face Detect, which finds and focuses on human faces in a scene. You also can focus manually during Live-View operation.

Specifications

Image Sensor: 12.3-megapixel (effective) CMOS
Resolution: 4288 x 2848 pixels
Sensor Size: 23.6x15.8mm (APS-C), 1.5x
AF System: 11-point
Shutter Speeds: 1⁄8000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1/200 sec.
ISO Settings: 200-3200 (1/3 increments), expandable to 100-6400
Continuous Firing Mode: 4.5 fps
Recording Format: JPEG, NEF (RAW)
Metering: 420-pixel evaluative, 75% CW, 2% spot
Storage Media: SD, SDHC
Dimensions: 5.2x4.1x3.0 inches
Weight: 21.9 ounces
Power Source: Rechargeable EN-EL3e lithium-ion battery
Estimated Street Price: $999


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