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Viewfinder

The D90's viewfinder is essentially the same as that of its predecessor (though the frame coverage is up fractionally, from 95% to 96%). And the D80 had an excellent viewfinder that was - and remains - big and bright and providing one of the best cropped camera views.

Autofocus

11 area AF Wide zone center focus point

The D90 shares the D80's 11 point autofocus system (with a one cross-type sensor in the center), though the Expeed processing and new 420-pixel RGB sensor mean it uses a version of the scene recognition system seen on the high end cameras, and like the D3/D300/D700 can track subject movement using color. In 3D Tracking mode the D90 (like its big brothers) will attempt to keep a subject in focus after focus lock even if it moves nearer or farther away from you (though with only 11 AF points it's recommended for focusing and re-composing, not tracking fast moving objects).

The image below represents an example viewfinder view (apart from the status bar which has all information displayed for descriptive purposes). The brackets indicate the chosen focus point and there is an optional 'red glow' viewfinder illumination to ensure everything remains visible even in dim light. Also shown are the grid lines and three status overlay items; B/W mode, battery low and no SD card inserted.

Battery, Compartment and Charger

The D90 uses the same EN-EL3e battery as the D80. It has a specified capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.4 V (11.1 Wh) and is charged using the supplied MH-18a quick charger. The battery simply slides onto the charger and an indicator light will blink until the battery is fully charged.

Battery information available on the camera:

  • Top control panel has a five segment battery life indicator
  • Camera Menu: Set Up -> Battery Info provides:
    • Battery meter (as a percentage)
    • Picture meter (number of shots taken since last charge)
    • Charging Life (a scale indicating if the battery has come to the end of its useful life
 

Battery pack / Vertical grip (optional)

Good news for upgraders; the D90 is fully compatible with the MB-D80 vertical / battery grip. The MB-D80 fits into the camera via its battery compartment (the door can be unclipped and removed) and screwed in place via the tripod mount. The MB-D80 has additional main and sub command dials as well as alternative buttons for shutter release and AF start. The battery compartment can support two EN-EL3e batteries or six AA's (via an optional MS-D200 cartridge).

GPS unit

Along with the D90 Nikon also announced a very neat little GPS unit, the GP-1. We don't have a lot of information on it at the moment except that it sits on the hot shoe and attaches to the same port as the new MC-DC2 Remote cord (it would appear that the D90 isn't compatible with the D80's MC-DC1 remote cord). From what we understand the GP-1 will be compatible with all Nikon's most recent SLRs (the D3, D300, D700, D2x, D2hs & D200) but are awaiting confirmation on this. It's worth noting that the GP-1 (which provides geotagging information in the EXIF data) doesn't use the standard 9-pin D Sub connector for GPS, nor does the D90 have Nikon's 10 pin data port.

Secure Digital Compartment

The SD card compartment door is located on the rear right edge of the hand grip and opens cleanly revealing a standard SD slot (push to insert, push to remove). The camera does not power down if you open the SD compartment. As well as standard SD (up to 2 GB), the D90 also supports higher capacity SDHC cards.

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