Nikon D90: Video thrilled the dSLR

The Nikon D90 is the first dSLR to include video, and high-definition video at that. It's also a 12-megapixel camera with a 76mm screen and live view

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

We knew where we were in the old days. New gadgets would come along that we couldn't afford, and eventually the features and innovations would trickle down to the high street. But that's not the case now. Ideas are flying about all over the shop, with consumer-friendly features such as live view and face detection appearing in compact cameras first and then trickling up into dSLR territory. After live view, the feature that we get asked about most with regards to dSLRs is video, and it's finally here: the new 12.3-megapixel Nikon D90 shoots video, and high definition to boot.

It replaces the D80 in the middle of the SLR market, aimed at advanced amateurs. It packs a 23.6x15.8mm CMOS imaging chip. Features include face detection, which finds and tracks up to five faces, and active D-lighting, which adjusts an image's light and dark areas to improve contrast. Picture control gives you access to six scene modes, including new portrait and landscape modes.

We like the sound of the image-processing features, including distortion control, straighten and fisheye options. Nikon claims 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting, and 850 images on a single charge of the camera's battery. No doubt we'll be testing those claims in a full review very soon.

At the same time as the D90, Nikon has announced the optional GPS Unit GP-1, which can record latitude, longitude, altitude and time in each picture's EXIF metadata. Also unveiled is a AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6G lens. This lens and the D90 will set you back £850, or the D90 body only for £700, from September. For more on the D90 and its movie features, follow the links. -Rich Trenholm

Round the back, there's a giant 76mm (3-inch) LCD screen, similar to the professional-level D3 and D300. The D90 packs a high 920k-dot resolution and includes live view -- particularly useful when shooting video.

The D90 is the first dSLR to shoot video. It records high-definition 720p (1,280x720 pixels), VGA 640x424-pixel or Internet-friendly 320x216-pixel movies at 24 frames per second in motion JPEG format. dSLR purists may not be too keen, but anyone with even a passing interest in shooting video should be keen on the SLR's big advantage over the camcorder: interchangeable lenses. All sorts of effects, from fisheye to telephoto can be achieved, as well as a greater level of control over factors such as depth of field.

You also get an HDMI connection for showing video and images off on your HD telly.