When it comes to video, full-width 4K/30p capture from the EOS 90D looks decent, but it is not as detailed as competitor cameras offering oversampled 4K. Plus the lack of a 24p option in both 4K and Full HD capture is disappointing. Video AF is does a good job of sticking to subjects, though.

Key takeaways:

  • Excellent, effective video AF
  • Uncropped 4K/30p video is soft and less detailed than the competition
  • Decent-looking Full HD footage
  • Digital image stabilization comes with a hefty crop
  • No 24p option in 4K or 1080p
  • 1080/120p has no audio or AF
  • Well-controlled rolling shutter.

Video quality

First we will address the elephant in the room, there's no 24p option when shooting 1080 or 4K. Why Canon insisted on this somewhat arbitrary video limitation is anyone's guess, but the likely answer is market segmentation. There are both 1080/60p and 1080/120p options for slow motion capture, but the faster frame-rate doesn't have AF (to unlock 1080/120p, enable 'high Frame Rate' under 'Movie rec quality' in the menu).

In terms of video quality, Canon's 4K footage, which uses the entire width of the sensor, looks a bit soft, especially when compared to the Sony a6400's oversampled 4K. The 90D's 4K footage also looks significantly less detailed than that of the Nikon D7500 and the Fujifilm X-T30.

There is a 4K crop mode on the 90D which offers some slight detail improvements at the expense of a tighter field of view. These improvements aren't earth-shattering, but they are noticeable. Still, the 90D's 4K crop mode can't touch the detail captured by the a6400's 4K crop mode.

On the other hand, 1080p footage looks more detailed than the a6400's 1080p (which is fairly lackluster), improved over the 80D's and similar to the X-T30's. Finally, the 90D's 1080/120p high frame rate mode also looks better than the a6400's offering, and similar to the X-T30's high speed video.

Video crops

Full-width video modes Cropped video modes

The 90D can shoot 4K/30p or 1080/60p from the full width of its sensor or increasing crops to offer two levels of digital image stabilization. There slightly more detailed cropped 4K/30p footage and the camera's 1080/120p output, comes from a 1.2x crop. Again there are two additional levels of crop for providing IS to the 4K mode.

Video usability

For vloggers and casual video shooters, the 90D has a lot of appeal thanks to sticky video AF with eye detect (see demo above), an articulating touchscreen, headphone and microphone ports and un-cropped 4K for a wide field of view. The camera is a tad heavy to hold for extended periods of time and there's no in-body stabilization (again, see video above), so you'll want to you some sort of stabilization rig. Canon does offer two levels of digital IS, they just come with hefty crops.

For aspiring filmmakers, the 90D likely has less appeal. It gains focus peaking, something absent in the 80D, but still lacks now industry-standard video features like zebra stripes or a proper Log gamma option (a very flat tone curve useful for color grading). The 90D's manual does state there's a 10-bit output mode over HDMI, but that can only be used to show an HDR preview of RAW files, when connected to a capable TV or monitor.

Below is our our DPRTV colleagues' take on the 90D for video: