A Week with the Nikon D90

02 December 2009

Someone on the non-metering lens Flickr group asked for notes on switching from a D40 to a D90, and given the non-metering context, I felt particularly qualified to answer. Here's a copy of my response:

I switched to the D90 a week ago after my beloved D40 went into a creek. I've found with all my ME/MF experience of my old prime lenses, I could pick up the new body pretty quickly. The extra buttons are nice to have, but many of those added buttons are useless too -- metering modes, focus modes, etc.

I chose the D90 over the D5000 for the better viewfinder, though it still only has the green focusing dot , upon which I continue to rely. The D90 viewfinder *is* pretty big and bright, so I expect it *is* helping me focus a bit. I did see some missed focus that surprised me in my first day out with the camera, but I seem to have adjusted by now -- I'm not sure what was going on there. It may have been the switch to my backup 50mm Series E which caused it -- my first one went in the creek the previous week.

Chimping on the new LCD led me to under-expose my photos quite a bit initially, because the display was so bright. Once I backed down the display brightness, and started to use the nicer histogram displays on the big D90 screen, I was exposing well again.

I did stumble upon one non-AI Nikon lens that I have laying around which I can't mount -- a 55mm micro. I had never really used it with my D40 either.

I ended up using the same raw processing software (rawstudio on Linux) and even the same camera profile I used with my D40, and the look of my photos is the same as with the D40.

Photo processing is a bit slower having to work with twice as many pixels, but the good news is that I'm finding I have to run noise reduction much less frequently! ISO 800 is looking quite nice.

Check my photostream, and you may not be able to quickly notice the switch to the D90.

My only reservation has been giving up the D40's faster flash sync at 1/500 sec. The D90 only does 1/200 sec, so I anticipate having to pump up my strobes a bit next time I shoot with them outdoors.

Filed Under: Photography