I purchased my Nikon D90 the first week it was released in 2008. The camera was a big improvement over my Nikon D70s, and almost two years later the D90 is still a top seller, and for good reasons.
My favorite upgrade from my D70s is the great high ISO performance you can squeeze out of the D90. With the D70s, I rarely shot at ISO 800, but I’ve used ISO 1600 quite a bit on the D90, with impressive results. The VR kit lens is also a cut above most kit lenses and offers a nice 18-105mm focal range. Skin tones look good, and landscape shots have a much punchier look than the older model. There is also much more control over color and tone, with an improved menu system.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be thinking about upgrading to the replacement model, but the DSLR landscape has changed dramatically since 2008, a change made possible by the inclusion of a Video mode in the D90.
In other posts on this blog I’ve bemoaned the rather poor look of video from the D90, and it’s very awkward control. Truthfully, if I didn’t already own 6 lenses for my Nikon cams, I would have switched to the Canon 5D MKII, just for its video feature.
In the case of the D90 replacement, there’s not a whole lot Nikon can do to improve the model within the market the camera is aimed. There will be the inevitable megapixel increase, even better ISO performance, and maybe a slight frame rate increase, as well as a flip-up LCD screen. I can’t believe Nikon is going to let Canon and Panasonic eat their lunch in video performance, so I’m hoping the new model finally does video right.
Video on a DSLR may not be an important feature for most photographers, but even with the great footage I shot with my Panasonic TM700 camcorder on my recent trip, I really wished I could have used the wide lenses that I have for my D90.
IF Nikon doesn’t come through with a compelling replacement for the D90, there’s always The replacement for the Panasonic Lumix GH1. Panasonic has said that one of the main upgrades for the GH2 will be improved video performance, which was already decent on the GH1.
Having stated above that I wouldn’t upgrade to the Canon because I didn’t want to switch systems, why would I make the Panasonic in addition to my Nikon system?
Up until last March I did own two systems with my Olympus E410 and two kit lenses. I sold it to my brother who gave it to my nephew for his birthday.
The Lumix Micro 4/3 system cameras are getting good reviews, The cameras and lenses are smaller than those for the Nikon and Canon DSLRs, but I can also purchase adapters that will le t me use some Nikon lenses, or borrow the lenses for my Olympus E410. I can even purchase a lens that is wider than my Sigma 10-20mm so I can get those epic shots when I need them.
The new Nikon and Panasonic models should be released within the next three months. I’ll be following reviews and checking out as much sample video footage as I can. I’m not in a hurry to upgrade or invest in another system, so if either new model isn’t compelling enough in video performance I won’t mind waiting until even better models are released in a couple of years.