The D90 comes with the same excellent high resolution VGA screen that we first saw on the D3 and D300 (and subsequently the D700). It has a very fine pixel pitch which means you don't see any gaps and that makes for both very detailed but also surprisingly smooth gradations in flat areas of the image. Compared to a lower resolution screen this this certainly improves both Record review and playback. It's not necessary to zoom into images quite as far in playback in order to check sharpness / focus accuracy and it also aids manual focus in live view mode (though the preview resolution isn't as high as the screen's resolution, so it's not as precise as some other systems' implementations).

Shooting information

Press the info button in shooting mode (except live view) to show a full screen 'shooting information' display, we first saw a screen like this implemented in the D40 and there are certainly circumstances where having this level of information on one single screen can be very useful. The D90's shooting information screen automatically (or optionally manually) switches from light background to dark background in low light situations. Like on the D3/D700/D300 the information display disappears as soon as you half-press the shutter release button and does not return, you have to press info again, it would have been nice to have a 'persistent shooting information' custom function.

Light screen background Dark screen background (low light)

Changing settings

If you prefer to change settings using the main screen, using the info display you can. Pressing any of the buttons on the body will change the display to highlight that setting (as shown below); as you turn one of the dials the values change. It's not 'interactive' in the way Olympus and Sony are (oh that it were!) but it's useful when you don't want to use the top LCD (such as when shooting with the camera on a tall tripod).

Changing metering pattern ISO button pressed

Quick settings display

The Quick Settings display is a new feature that we first saw on Nikon's D60 entry level DSLR. Press the info button in shooting mode and you'll get the shooting information display. Press it again and you'll enter the Quick Settings display (the two rows of settings at the bottom of the screen). Here you navigate using the multi-controller and press OK or the multi-controller button to access and change a setting. Settings you can change in the Quick Settings display include High ISO and long exposure noise reduction, Active D-Lighting, Picture Control preset and the function of the AEL and Fn buttons.

Record Review

You can choose for the D90 to display a review of the image taken immediately after shutter release. The type of display used will be the same as the last mode used in playback (histogram, thumbnail index, details etc.). Record review has all of the functionality of playback mode, this means it's easy to delete, magnify, protect etc. The image will remain on the screen for the 'Monitor off delay' CSM c4 or until you half-press the shutter release.


Press the Playback button to enter playback mode, press the multi selector up or down to change display mode, up to seven different pages of display detail are available. You can change the amount of information available in the basic and detailed photo display modes, including optional blinking highlights and focus point display, as well as the three pages of shooting information in detail mode.

Basic photo display: file number, folder, filename, date & time, quality, size. Optionally you can also display the focus point (shown here). Basic photo display with optional Highlights
Detailed photo display: image thumbnail, histogram, exposure information and other data as per default display Detailed photo display optional RGB histogram page
Detailed photo display data 1: metering mode, shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, ISO, exposure compensation, focal length, lens used, AF mode, VR mode, flash mode and flash compensation Detailed photo display data 2: white balance & fine tuning, color space, picture control and image parameter adjustments
Detailed photo display data 3: noise reduction, active d-lighting, retouching, comment  

Playback Zoom

The D90's playback zoom is implemented in the same manner as the D300's (and therefore different to the D3's). You use the zoom button to select zoom amount (on the D3 you use the combined zoom / thumbnail button with the rear command dial) and can use the multi-selector to move around the magnified image. Just like on the D3 and D300 there are eight zoom levels, on the high resolution screen the last two go beyond 1:1 and provide an enlarged pixelated view. (Images from D700)

Playback thumbnail views

The D90 has three levels of thumbnail view, either 2 x 2, 3 x 3 or 9x7 (72 per page) - plus a new calendar view. Press the thumbnail index button to enter thumbnail mode with 4 images (2 x 2), press again to switch to the 9 image (3 x 3) view and so on. If you leave the camera in this view mode it will use it for record review. Note that if you have the 'Rotate Tall' option enabled images taken in the portrait orientation are displayed vertically.

One push for a 2 x 2 thumbnail view Two pushes for a 3 x 3 thumbnail view
Three pushes for a 72 (9x8) thumbnail view Four pushes for a calendar view
In calendar view you can 'zoom' the selected image with the + zoom button.  

Playback retouching

The D90 gets the retouch menu seen on recent entry-level models such as the D60 - and there's even more to play with if you're the type of person who prefers to do their post-processing in-camera on a three inch screen rather than on the computer... That said, there's some pretty cool stuff in here (including a useful tool for straightening horizons), plus the raw conversion options seen on the D60.

The retouch menu in Playback mode Raw processing
D-Lighting Fisheye Filter
Color Balance Straighten
Distortion control