Nikon D90 Announced—with High-Def 'D Movie' Mode

Today the Nikon D90 (a digital SLR camera) was announced, and I think it will be a game-changing camera. It not only has the same image sensor as the excellent Nikon D300, but it has a feature that sets it apart from every other digital SLR on the market—a movie mode.

Nikon D90 - Image from

I think this is a revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, change. I have been wondering when something like this would happen. I had a Canon S2 IS, and have used the S5 IS, and their movie modes were quite excellent, but with their small image sensors, recording in less-than-ideal conditions meant a lot of digital noise, and very control over the depth of field (for that nice blurred-out background or foreground effect).

I had wondered if Nikon or Canon would ever think to take one of their high-end SLRs and incorporate a good movie mode—I mean, they can already shoot 9 or 10 fps... what's so hard about just leaving the mirror up and recording at 24 or 30 fps? Well, Nikon finally made my dream camera (almost); the D90 shoots at 12.3 megapixels (still), or in the movie mode, at a maximum of 1280x720 (720p resolution) at 24 fps. With the excellent image sensor on this camera, the movies recorded on it promise to be of the highest quality... and you can use any Nikon lens for the recording!

There are still a few sticky points, though. One is the fact that there is no microphone-in port on the camera. This means that for good on-location recordings, one will have to bring separate recording gear then mix down the audio later. Also, there is no electronic zoom control, so you have to try to have a steady hand if you want to zoom in or out during the video (I assume the autofocus still works). Finally, I don't know what kind of damage video recording does to battery life, but I have high expectations.

The positive aspects far outweigh the negative, however—not only is this an excellent still camera (the third best in the Nikon lineup!), it is also a high-resolution video wonder! I'm actually considering finding some way to get this camera, as it would be considerably easier to take pictures in all the dark environments I usually shoot in—but it probably won't happen for a while. I'll putz along with my old D40 for a while yet!