Body and controls

Key takeaways:

  • The design of the 90D and its predecessor are very similar, with the main change being the addition of an 8-way joystick
  • The optical viewfinder and fully articulating touch-LCD are the same as on the 80D
  • The 90D has headphone and mic sockets, as well as a Micro USB port capable of USB 2.0 transfer speeds
  • The camera uses the same LP-E6N battery as many other Canon products, and battery life is quite good

In depth

With one notable exception, the bodies of the EOS 90D and the 80D that came before it are nearly identical. The dimensions differ by a millimeter or two, and the 90D is 29 grams (1 ounce) lighter. In terms of size and build, the 90D slots in between the EOS 77D and 7D Mark II, with a weather-sealed body that fits comfortably in your hand.

The shutter release button has more 'travel' than the one on the 80D, making the 90D feel light a higher-end Canon DSLR. It definitely feels a lot more like a 5D Mark IV than a Rebel. We'll compare it against the 80D in our full review.

New multi-controller

A new 8-way joystick (multi-controller in Canon-speak) is the main change to the 90D's design. The 80D already had one (with a control dial around it) and the 90D adds another. The good news is that this controller is located in a convenient place for adjusting the focus point. The bad news is that the controller can only serve the same function as the other one: their settings cannot be distinct.

In order to accommodate the new multi-controller, some buttons did have to move, though not dramatically so.

LCD and viewfinder

The 90D has the same LCD and viewfinder spec as its predecessor. The 3", 1.04M-dot LCD is fully articulating and touch-enabled. Naturally, you can tap-to-shoot or focus and replay photos you've taken. We also like how all of the menus, including the Q menu, can be navigated by touch, as well.

The optical viewfinder isn't as large as on the Nikon D7500 or Pentax KP, but it's still good-sized, with a magnification of 0.59x equiv.

Ports

The 90D has a plethora of ports, including:

  • Mic input
  • Headphone output
  • Remote cable
  • USB 2.0 (Micro USB connector)
  • HDMI

Like the EOS R/RP and M6 Mark II, the 90D is somewhat strange in that it uses a modern USB Type-C connector, but at USB 2.0 speed. So, for those expecting super-fast transfers to a computer, you won't get it on this camera.

User interface

The does not depart from what you'll find on the 80D. The menu system is very similar, as are the two Quick Control menus. If you're shooting with the viewfinder, pressing the 'Q' button gives you the same info display that's been on Canon cameras for an eternity. In live view, the menus are on the sides of the scene. Both are touch-enabled. We'll do a final check on menu customizability when this review is updated, but at first glance they do not appear to be.

Power

Keeping with the current theme of 'not much has changed on the outside,' it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the 90D uses the same LP-E6N lithium-ion battery as the 80D. Canon estimates 1300 shots per charge when shooting through the viewfinder (per CIPA standards). You can expect around 450 shots per charge in live view. You will almost certainly be able to take considerably more photos than those derived using the CIPA standard.

For extended battery life and a body that's easier to hold when using larger lenses, Canon offers the BG-E14 grip, which has been around since the 70D days. Note that this older battery grip does not have a joystick.