Nikon D90 Movie / Video Mode Reviews

First published on: Thursday, 6 November 2008

Last update (Jun 22, 2009): The Nikon D90 Hits Prime Time.

This page is a compilation of annotated links to professional reviews, user opinions and experiences, tests, conclusions, ratings and feedback on the video capability of the Nikon D90.

Full attribution is given by linking to the source.

The Nikon D90 Hits Prime Time

The Nikon D90 Hits Prime Time

Pioneering filmmaker Noah Harald explains why he is using the Nikon D90 to create professional video content for clients.

The podcast, including sample footage, was captured with the Nikon D90.

Video and the Nikon D90

This is well-written piece by David Speranza provides a well-balanced overview of the good and bad of the D90’s movie mode, a feature David labels as a “clear bonus”. I like his summary:

Is it lacking features that can be found on most video camcorders? Yes. But the larger point is, here’s an affordable, potentially game-changing tool that offers low-budget filmmakers access to new levels of cinematic imagery.

That means smooth, rich, 720p images. Colors that shimmer and pop. And shallow, artfully designed depth-of-field. As bonuses go, that’s something aspiring filmmakers can take to the bank.

Nikon D90 Video Review at Luminous Landscape

This article covers the D90’s movie capabilities and limitations quite comprehensively, but one inaccuracy — it states that you cannot manually set the aperture for movie capture. I own the D90, and let me state that you can, provided you know how. Briefly, it’s best that you put the D90 into Aperture-priority mode, select the aperture, and only then enter Live View. Press the OK button to start recording. To change the aperture to another value, you have to stop the recording, exit Live View, change the aperture, and then re-enter Live View.

The article also says that the video quality of the D90 is comparable to a digicam. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting video with two modern-day digicams, the Olympus SP-570UZ and the Ricoh GX200 (I still own the GX200), and this statement could not be further from the truth. Video clips from digicams suffer from extremely limited dynamic range (you’ll see a lot of highlight blow-outs in high contrast scenes), and a ton of noise if you shoot in low-light situations.

The movie clips from the D90 won’t be able to match what you get from the Canon 5D Mark II, but on the other hand, they won’t eat up as much space (and CPU processing power). If you need to produce clips that meet the highest client and professional standards, I won’t recommend the D90.

But if you just need something hugely better than what digicams and camcorders can produce in terms of depth of color, dynamic range and low noise, then the D90 is for you.


The videos look great on HDTV: So said Simon Joinson, a reviewer with

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