Tell me I don't need it

Started Nov 2, 2008 | Discussions thread
shrinkie1964 Senior Member • Posts: 1,697
No minor upgrade....

John, I have, until recently, fought tooth and tong against the notion that the D90 was much of step up from my flawed but beloved D80.

Well, the sour graping got the best of me and I just picked up my D90 body today.

I am holding both D80 and D90 bodies side by each, and I discern no huge difference in build quality. Indeed, the D90 seems ever so slightly more hefty and solid. Each body has a multidirectional selector in black plastic, and I really see no difference between cameras.

I too have followed the online debates and reviews with much interest and fascination, and indeed really did at first genuine believe that the improvement was "incremental" at best, whatever that means, and that the body was packed full of cute but excessive bells and whistles, like video and and the dust jiggler (do those things work? I have asked myself).

Nothing prepared me for the radical change in the sort of pictures I take. This is no unimpressive incremental improvement. This is truly breathtaking, and I really try so hard to avoid hyperbole when chattering about. ISO 1600 is, for practical purposes, clean. ISO 3200 is eminently usable without major hardship, and ISO 6400, though beginning show touches of DR loss and colour shifting, is smoother than a baby's backside compared to ISO 3200 on my D80. Having an infant and flash hating wife I have long been eager for relative idiot proof low light capability, and the D90 is a big leap in that direction. I have coveted a D700 since its release, and I would dare to suggest that the D90 ISO 6400 quality comes close to matching that of the more expensive camera--not reaching it, but getting there.

The dpreview assessment of sharpness has been beaten to death here. I am strict RAW shooter, and in my personal torture test--with the cheap, versatile, but not terribly sharp Sigma 24-60 2.8 DG--the improvement in sharpness and contrast vs. the D80 is remarkable. I am doing my conversions in Aperture with the just recently released Apple raw converter update, and I couldn't be more pleased. Purists who insist that NX2 is the last word on this will likely be even happier.

Then there are the various lovely little additions that may not be essential to some but are truly delightful to regard--the big LCD, the option to show the ISO in the viewfinder (wonderful for an Auto ISO fiend like me), the more responsive shutter release, and the Info display borrowed from the D40 series.

Anyone who gets to play with one of these things will be hard pressed to call it a mere "incremental upgrade". For almost 40% less than what I paid for a D70 less than 4 years ago, I would suggest that the D90 is to date the best consumer DSLR ever made.

John, you need to spend some time with one and judge. For you I share the traditional lens cap photo sample at ISO 6400:


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