D90 still worth it now or wait?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_schmidt|5, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Hello everyone!
    I have an aging Nikon D50 that I've used for many years with loving care and finally feel like I've reach the technical limits of the D50 with my 2 lens (18-200 VR and 50mm f1.8). My frustrations with the D50 have been very poor ISO performance other than 200 or 400 and it's intolerably large areas of autofocus so that when I use the 50mm f1.8 lens what I want is almost never in focus (so I usually take 3-4 shots moving slightly in and out). Finally, I like to print my pictures out at 12x18" (fantastically cheap at Costco) and my 5-6 megapixel lens just doesn't cut it.
    Anyways, with some important family events coming up, I figure it might not be a bad time to upgrade. I've read a lot about the differences between the D300, D300s, and D90 and I feel like the D90 would be a great fit for me. With the prices for a D90 body only seem very reasonable, I've been thinking of pulling the trigger on bhphoto but the only thing stopping me is worrying about an update to the D90 making me regret getting the D90 now.
    Does anyone have any advice for me about this? Will a generational update to the D90 be significantly better and cost more than the D90 now? Would I be able to buy a new D90 body after an update comes out from one of the big three (Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto) and would it be much cheaper? If people have seen through these generational changes in prices before any historical input would be really appreciated!
  2. You will see a nice jump in IQ in upgrading. The 6mp Nikons are good, but in rendering of detail, especially with cropping, 12mp's can come in handy. You will also get a stop or so in quality at higher ISO's.
    The biggest down shot may be those larger raw files will bog your computer down if it's showing it's age. There will always be "the next greatest thing," in camera bodies. I usually buy the silver boxed Nikons.
    B&H has new ones for $777. Not too bad of a deal and you can get a couple $$ for your D50, if you don't want to keep it as a backup.
  3. Electronic equipment always is dated as soon as you purchase.
    Electronic equipment always goes down in price.
    Electronic equipment always has a new model just around the corner.
    Electronic equipment that you buy now and use for 6 months gives you 6 months of use of that thing. 6 months less than if you'd waited for that next big thing.
    Expect that the price of the D90 will go down regardless of the next big thing.
    If you need it now / want it enough now, there's no harm in buying it. The next big thing doesn't make the current big thing obsolete. If the price and feature set is what you want. just buy it! Regrets over purchase are just a waste of time. Buy the D90 now and you'll still want to upgrade when the successor to the D90+1 comes out.
  4. The D90 is a very good photo producer, and it has a great hi-rez LCD. I would mate it up with an SB 600 flashgun and you will prepared for just about anything a enthusiastic amateur (like me) is going to encounter. If you had a bunch of older manual focus lenses or if you were going in harm's way, The D300 is more rugged and sealed and can set the exposure with the older lenses. The image qualities of the D90 and D300 are very similar.
    I also use Costco for film development and for making 12 by 18 inch prints. But I have found that I could get very nice prints of that size from my Fuji A602 (3 megs extrapolated to 6, 2002) and a Canon A95 (5 megs) and a Canon A620 (7.2 megs) and my D70 (6 megs). Having more megs is nice when you want to tightly crop, but more megs also means a lower signal to noise ratio, unless you increase the size of the sensor.
    The D90 seems to always get the exposure right, especially with TTL balanced fill flash that is bounced off the ceiling. I dislike the popup built in flashes found on most cameras, red eye and harsh shadows.
  5. I had a D50 and shot it alongside a D200 for a while. I currently have the D200 plus a D700 and a D300s on the way. I bought a D90 and returned it. Mine overexposed by almost two stops. Your luck may be different. Assuming it does, you will see a big difference in image sharpness vs. your D50 (which is a highly under-rated camera, IMHO), plus more crop room, and a significantly larger LCD.
    Your D50 was introduced almost five years ago and continues to take very good photos. Your D90, should you buy one, will most likely take good photos for you until 2015. While a D90 replacement may be coming, it will be coming at a higher price than the D90. Nikon introduces a new model at a relatively high price and it drops 20% or so over the the life-cycle of the camera, dropping even more in price when the replacement does come.
    So, to me the questions are: 1) do you need/want the D90 advantages over the D50? and 2) do you value the $250 or so more I would think the D90's replacement would cost vs. the additional improvements, whatever they will be?
  6. You might consider a used D200. I've been very happy with mine and noise isn't the issue some would have you believe with that model. IMO, the 18-200 is a very versatile lens, but it does sacrifice some optical quality. The shorter range kit lenses are noticeably better for IQ. My experiences with a MF 50/1.8 and faster have not been good. Focusing is way too difficult compared to the optical system and screens in something like an F3HP. If your AF is missing focus, moving in and out probably won't help. If you're switching to manual focus and moving in and out, that situation may not improve with a new camera. Fast low DOF lenses just don't work as well with small sensor dSLRs as they did with film SLRs in dim light conditions. If the AF is just locking to the wrong thing, than the D200 system would be far better once you learn how to use it- there's a significant learning curve and many options for fine tuning how the AF works, what it locks to and what it rejects. I believe the D300 adds a user adjustment for the focus offset, which would be even better.
  7. I agree with Conrad about the D200. Sure, it doesn't have the best low-light performance (in my experience the 20D or maybe even the Rebel XT are more manageable) but I've found that the only people that make a big deal about it are those that haven't really used D200's. Overall I would say its a great camera and far more solidly-constructed than the D90.
  8. Take a look at this recent thread:
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    There are several reqent threads on similar topics on the D90. Besides the two Michael and Narayan have pointed out, there is also:
    Sure, it doesn't have the best low-light performance (in my experience the 20D or maybe even the Rebel XT are more manageable) but I've found that the only people that make a big deal about it are those that haven't really used D200's.​
    Come on. The D200's high-ISO is now at least 3 stops below the current state of the art, which is the D3S. It is very easy to figure it out: The D300 is a stop better than the D200, the D3/D700 is another stop better and the D3S is yet another stop better.
    And I own a D200 and have used all of those cameras extensively. In fact, the only sensor type I don't have is the D3S but got to test one extensively. Once I was forced to use ISO 1600 from the D200 and got some fairly useless results. Today, a D3S or D700 would have been able to handle that easly.
  10. Sure, state of the art is great, but it costs. I find sitting somewhere behind the curve is cheaper and my D200 results keep both me and my commercial clients happy. No question if low light is all somebody does, they need to spend $$ on the latest & greatest, but for that application alone one might reasonably suggest Canon. The OP sounds price sensitive, so the suggestion of a used D200 isn't unreasonable. IMO, he should save some money for improved glass because the 18-200 isn't going to show what a decent body can really do.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My frustrations with the D50 have been very poor ISO performance other than 200 or 400​
    High-ISO results is clearly a requirement for the OP.
    The D200 was a fine camera in 2005 to the early part of 2007. But once the D300 came out, Nikon was stuck with so many D200 that they eventually went on a firesale in 2009. Nikon dumped new D200 bodies at almost 1/3 of the original price: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00SYcn
    Sorry, for what the OP needs, IMO the D200 is not something I would recommand. In particular, he has not indicated that he needs metering with AI/AI-S lenses. If one mainly shoots at ISO 100 and needs metering with AI-S, the D200 might be an option.
    If you think Canon has better high ISO results, your information is out of date. That used to be the case prior to 2007.
  12. The question is - are you missing shots with your D50 that having a D90 would allow you to get? If the answer is yes - then don't wait on a product that may or may not be coming anytime soon and get the D90.
  13. Go for it!
    I just upgraded from a D50 to a D90 and passed along my D50 to my daughter. I've never regretted buying the D50 through all the newer entry level models, but the D90 really adds to my picture taking experience. It not only performs better with respect to exposure, focus and noise, but it handles better as well. You can do so much more with the physical controls so you don't have to go to the menus as often. You also have a lot better focus, white balance, and metering options. I find I am able to concentrate more on the picture and less on the camera.
    I use it with Nikon's 12-24 f/4, 16-85 f/3.5-5.6 VR, and 70-300 f4-5.6 VR zooms. It works in commander mode with an SB600 flash. I can't imagine what a next generation camera will do that the D90 doesn't now do. The next step up would be the pro-level cameras, and realistically I don't need the frame rates a sports photographer would need nor do I need the build quality of a journalist in Iraq.
  14. I keep seeing these "should I buy or should I wait threads" and I have to chime in now.
    Unless you absolutely need the camera (to shoot a job counts as a need or a once in a lifetime event), waiting is always a good idea.

    Let's say something better comes out. Well, you have the money and you don't have to worry about having the other body. No need to sell it, keep it, or regret purchasing it.
    Now, let's say that the next version isn't all that, well, the price of the current version will fall. By how much depends on how "good" the next version is.

    An example a not so good version was the Canon G10 to G11. The G11 wasn't that much of an improvement (some say it's worse) but the G10 still came down in price - just not as much. And it was still for sale for a few months (new) from the B&H, Adorama, and Amazon. And even then, there are G10s up for sale used in great condition.

    And even then, who knows how another brand's release will affect it. When the Canon 5D Mark II was released, it destroyed the sales of the Nikon D700. The price of the D700 started to soften a little after that.
    The same goes for waiting for the D700x, D800 or the DGimmeYourMoneyNow. If the Nikon people aren't complete morons, they'll release the successor to the D700 with the D3x' sensor - the D700GimmeYourMoney will have to have a 24MP sensor or Canon will continue its market lead over Nikon.
  15. All I can say is, I shoot with a D90, and am extremely happy with it. I bought it in August last year and plan to keep on using it for a couple of years yet (at least). I stuck with my D70 until it really started to limit me (only in some ways - the pixel count, ISO performance and rear display).
    Just one note - the price on the D90 went up after I bought it (twice actually) and after a recent drop in price is now back at the price I bought it at. That was due entirely to the Yen/£ exchange rates but is an indicator that camera prices don't always go one way.
  16. Second Shun's suggestion, I own and love my D200 but cannot recommend it over a D90 for OP. It's either a D90 now, or wait a year for a possible D90 replacement at MSRP $1300+.
  17. I bought my first DSLR about 5 years ago, a D50. Upgraded the kit lens to the excellent 18-70/G found on the D70 back then. Then I added a few more lenses, all Nikon and an SB-600 flash with various accessories. I couldn't have asked for a better camera. About a month ago I picked up a D90 body from Cameta Camera. It is an excellent camera and does a few things better than the old D50. Better in camera programming, ISO, more MP's, etc. All in all, the images may be marginally better, but very hard to tell. I do like the higher MP's though. Really helps out when cropping. So, was it worth buying the D90, sure it was...
  18. I would be first certain that you are getting the best out of the D50 at higher ISOs. Both the D50 and the D40 seem to be very good at ISO1600. And they both look to me to be a bit better than my D80 at ISO 1600 which would be the same or maybe better than a D200. The D90 does look to be better at ISO1600 and ISO 800 looks really very nice but I can't say that ISO3200 looks all that great. I make sure that your noise problems are not due to under exposure or over sharpening.
  19. Incorporates Nikon's comprehensive digital image-processing EXPEED (Ex what?)
    Scene Recognition System (stop making one)
    Incredibly low-noise performance (keep it down in there I'm watching "Law and Order")
    Live View enables face priority (it knows what I want, thanks Mom)
    Active D-Lighting ( I didn't like the retouch version)
    Multi-CAM 1000 (Supercharged 500 hp fueled by carbon monoxide- we're green and clean)
    Apparently the Nikon R&D department has no idea what to make of the requests it gets from marketing. I'm going to check out Canon because they are about to release the new version of the most recent update to compete with Nikon. Microsoft's new ads show a woman at an outdoor cafe claiming she invented Windows 7 and MS heard her wish for an operating system that never crashes. I wonder if I can dream up the next camera?

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