Nikon D90 Digital Camera with 18-105mm lens Digital SLRs

Nikon D90 Digital Camera with 18-105mm lens Digital SLRs 


Its 12.3 megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor and EXPEED image processing system offer outstanding image quality across a wide ISO light sensitivity range. Live View mode lets you compose and shoot via the high-resolution 3-inch LCD monitor, and an advanced Scene Recognition System and autofocus performance help capture images with astounding accuracy. Movies can be shot in Motion JPEG format using the D-Movie function. The camera’s large image sensor ensures exceptional movie image quality and you can create dramatic effects by shooting with a wide range of interchangeable NIKKOR lenses, from wide-angle to macro to fisheye, or by adjusting the lens aperture and experimenting with depth-of-field. The D90 – designed to fuel your passion for photography.


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[Jan 24, 2013]
Massey F. Jones


Great handgrip, fairly solid construction (albeit being made in Thailand).
The D90 has a lot of professional features for half of the price of professional Nikon models.
Lens fits the hand well and has very positive zoom.


Movies can only be taken in about 5 minute segments and only in mono sound
Fitting the lens hood requires care
When in "Live View", focus cannot be changed in movies to follow the action (no autofocus).

I have 40 years of professsional photo experience, having handled everything from Minox cameras to 5x7 Burke & James, with extensive Speed Graphic and 6x6 experience (Rollei and Hassleblad).

The D90 is my 3rd digital, pending that I get a more professional model that will be waterproof.
I previously went through 3 Canon F-1 models, going from the F-1 with Servo Finder EE to the F-1n with a variety of fast lenses from 28mm through 200mm f2.8. So the choice of the D90 wasn't haphazard, as far as camera and lens combination was concerned. I mainly targeted my use vs the price.

Once you get through the original technicalities (because the menu is overwhelming), the D90 is a pleasure to operate. I volunteer in a museum and use it a lot of the time on a copy stand, composing in "Live View" through the display, instead of the viefinder.
*Using the Live View feature however drains the battery quickly, so consider a spare.*

The display shows all the information either in "positive" or "negative" form and its brightness can be adjusted, so that it's not overwhenlming under dim conditions.

The menu has a myriad of information, which took a bit to time to master (I operate a lot in the manual mode). One of the good features is the extensive option to change the white balance to suit a lot of situations. It has a lot of good metering but (the metering) is mostly geared to the "point & shoot" photographers.

Another great feature I found useful is the ability to change the ISO all the way from "automatic" to ISO 6400 with the exposure compensation button. The NR (noise reduction) setting prevents excessive "grain" at this high ISO. It is not however a good idea to shoot dark subjects. Most digitals don't like "shadow area"

I use the camera trackside in my railroading hobby, mostly at ISO 400 except on very bright days. The only caveat is that the camera is not waterproof, like professional models (so I purchased a camera "raincoat"). Over several thousand shots, the D90 has stood well to the abuse that I normally put cameras through.

I also like very much the fact that there is the ability to (electronically) clean the sensor before shooting because the camera doesn't incorporate rubber seals of the professional models.

I found the grip to be very well suited to the hand and the lens to have a positive feel to the zoom. For a smaller hand, it is just about the right size and not "clunky" as some of the more expensive Nikons.
Upon reaching the 135 setting the lens also comes to a full stop, unlike the "major competitor's" (which zooms out all the way then starts to zoom back in).

The 18-105 lens couples well to the camera but one has to be careful fitting the lens hood, as everything is plastic on plastic and easily damaged.
For a basic zoom and under normal conditions the 18-105 lens performs very adequately.
I highly recommend fitting a UV filter to the front of the lens at all times to protect the coating.

I purchased the 18-105 lens, because I mostly operate in the 90mm range and after giving some thought as to the focal lenghts that I would normally use, as well as the maximum and minimum f stops.
At the 135mm seting, a f5.6 is at the best classed as "average".
This is where the plus or minus exposure compensation button comes handy to enhance the light gathering performance a bit

A digital camera is not intended to shoot movies but the D90 has a movie mode, which is a bit too basic ( Nikon, with the D90, was just starting out providing a movie mode with digital cameras).

Movies can only be shot in 5 minute cycles, so taking a long sequence is out of the question, as I found out sadly.
For movies, I use the competitor's digital, which allows several minuted of steady shooting on a large capacity card. Plus the ability to shoot a still while the movie sequence is ongoing.

It's also impossible for the D90 to "autofocus" during movies, because Nikon's "Live View" doesn't allow it. All movies have to be taken in Live View.
The sound is also only in monaural, to my other camera's full stereo, with no possible recourse except to purchase a more advanced Nikon.

I haven't had much use of the 18-105 lens for closeups, (except to zoom in on the subject). Instead, I employ a set of closeup lenses (+1 to +4 in 67mm size) for most subjects under 3 feet.
At that distance, the autofocus doesn't operate, so manual focus is the norm by uncoupling the camera and lens settings manually.

All in all, I would very highly recommend the D90 to an advanced amateur; particularly one who is used to "old fashion way of metering and manual focusing.
It's a gem at half the price of professional models for almost the same features.

Customer Service

I dealt with a camera store (actually the name of the store), which has a staff who understand photographers' needs at every level. I walked into the store with the purpose of purchasing this very camera/len combination and also got a Nikon SB-700 flash to match.

Similar Products Used:

Several brands of 35mm and 6x6 film cameras as well as large format from 1953 to present.
Currently, Canon S5IS
Tamron 90mm f2.5 (mostly for extreme closeups and low light)
Vaiety of closeup lenses and flashes.

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