Nikon D90  (Source: Nikon)
D90 adds first ever D-SLR HD movie mode

It has been a big week so far for D-SLR cameras. Yesterday, we saw new cameras announced from Canon and today Nikon has officially announced its new D-SLR camera called the D90.

The D90 will sit in the Nikon range right above the D80 and Nikon says it gets its inspiration for the top-end D300. The D90 has a 12.3-megapixel image sensor that uses Nikon's EXPEED image processing. One of the D90's biggest features is something that is missing on D-SLR cameras in general -- the ability to record movies.

The D90 can record full motion video at resolutions up to 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) at 24 frames per second. Nikon says that the D90 is the first D-SLR camera in the world to offer the ability to record movies. Nikon also says that the large image sensor used in the D90 means that it offers better performance in low-light conditions than your typical camcorder. Video shot with the D90 is recorded in AVI format with mono sound.

The D90 also adds something that some other D-SLRs in the Nikon range are missing -- Live View LCD. The D90's 3-inch LCD has 920,000 pixels and can be used to align shots without using the viewfinder. When a Nikon lens with vibration reduction is being used, images taken in Live View will get the benefit of Vibration Reduction. Live Mode viewing angle is 170 degrees.

A Scene Recognition system is built-in and uses a 420-pixel RGB  sensor to improve autofocus, auto exposure, and auto white balance performance. In-camera retouching is offered with options including Distortion control, Straighten, and Fisheye.

The ISO range for the D90 is ISO 200 to ISO 3200 and it can be set to an ISO 6400 equivalent. The camera's picture control system can optimize customized colors in both portrait and landscape modes. The viewfinder has approximately 96% frame coverage.

For fast action shooting the D90 offers 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting and a blazing startup time of 0.15 seconds and a shutter release lag time of 65ms. The built-in flash offers 18% lens coverage and can control wireless lighting.

The Pictmotion menu allows users to create slideshows on the camera with image effects and background music. HDMI output is also supported. Power for the camera comes from rechargeable EN-EL3e Nikon batteries. Optional multi-power MB-D80 battery pack extends battery life and allows the camera to be powered by six AA batteries. Images taken with the camera are stored to SD/SDHC memory cards, which are much cheaper and easier to find that CF cards used in many DSLR cameras.

A number of exposure modes are offered including automatic modes, advanced scene modes, shutter-priority auto, aperture-priority auto, and full manual. Exposure metering is via 3D Color Matrix Metering II offering center-weighted and spot metering.

Dimensions of the camera are 5.2-inches x 4.1-inches x 3-inches (W x H x D) and the camera weighs 1 pound 6 ounces without the battery, memory card, LCD cover or body cap. Pricing for the D90 is the U.S. is $1,299 with the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens ($995 without). 

Images and specifications of the D90 were leaked yesterday ahead of the official announcement.

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