Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Nikon D90 And D-Movie Mode HD Video Has Arrived

Since Nikon has now officially announced the Nikon D90 DSLR, and has provided details about its D-Movie Mode which allows shooting 720p HD format HDTV video at the traditional 24 frames-per-second cinematographic frame-rate, I have decided to create a new blog post that deals with the verifiable facts about the Nikon D90, especially its groundbreaking D-Movie Mode, rather than rumors and speculation.

Nikon Canada is really pushing the D-Movie Mode of the Nikon D90 on it's web page announcing the Nikon D90 DSLR. The first thing that it has to say about the Nikon D90 is -

The D90 is the world’s first* digital SLR camera with an innovative movie shooting function that delivers cinematic results, creatively enhanced by the shallow depth of field made possible by the DX-format sensor. This is further refined by the optical quality and broad selection of NIKKOR lenses — the same lenses used by professional photographers. D-Movie images exhibit less noise than those of a typical camcorder, most notably in low light situations, thanks to the D90’s large image sensor.

It then goes on to talk about the Nikon D90's still photography features and capabilities. Here is the PDF format English language Nikon D90 brochure provided by Nikon Canada. Et voici le Nikon D90 sur le siteweb de Nikon Canada en francais pour mes amis francophones.

Nikon Imaging has posted a webpage explaining the new D-Movie Mode of the Nikon D90 titled World's first D-SLR movie: D-Movie.

Here is the official Nikon word from that page -

A new idea for D-SLRs, the D90 offers a movie function, allowing you to shoot movies in three different motion JPEG formats: 320 x 216 pixels, 640 x 424 pixels and 1,280 x 720 pixels. Now you can capture life’s moving moments with added drama by using many of Nikon’s NIKKOR lenses, including the AF DX Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G ED and the Micro-NIKKOR lenses. The shallow depth of field can give your movies a more creative and emotional impact. An additional benefit is the D90 image sensor, which is much larger than a typical camcorder for higher image quality and exceptional high ISO performance during low-light shooting.

Regrettably the official Nikon Canada brochure indicates that higher frame-rates than 24 FPS, such as 30 FPS or even 60 FPS as provided on my Samsung NV24HD compact digital camera, are not available on the lower resolution video formats of the Nikon D90. It is the traditional cinematographic frame-rate of 24 frames-per-second all the way. . . The video format is AVI with Motion-JPEG compression. The sound is monoaural only, presumably as provided by the built-in mic on the front left side of the Nikon D90 as seen in this close-up photo of the D90 courtesy of the Nikon Rumors blog. I guess if people want high quality stereo sound with their D-Movie video they will have to record it separately and dub it in later when editing their video.

It would have been great if Nikon had gone all the way and provided full 1080 HDTV HD video capability on the D90 but high quality 720p HDTV from an APS-C size CMOS chip is a fine first effort. Presumably subsequent Nikon DSLR cameras will provide full 1080 HDTV video capability. Things will really get interesting when Nikon provides D-Movie Mode on a full-frame FX sensor Nikon DSLR, this scenario may not be too far down the road judging by Nikon's current onslaught of new and improved DX and FX DSLR cameras. . .

More in-depth information and discussion about the Nikon D90 DSLR and it's D-Movie Mode will be posted here later.

Update Wednesday September 3, 2008 - I had a chat with the staff of a couple of Montreal camera stores that I buy from about when the Nikon D90 will actually be available in their stores. In both cases they spoke about late September but more realistically October. I just discovered that Best Buy Canada is offering the Nikon D90 with the 18-105mm VR lens kit for pre-order on at $1449.00 with a "release date" of September 30th. It thus seems that it is unlikely that the Nikon D90 will actually be available in Canadian stores before the beginning of October. Hopefully the supply of Nikon D90 kits will be quite plentiful in November and December. The price difference between the Canadian store prices for D90 kits with full warranties from Nikon Canada and American kit prices is so small that there is little point in Canadians buying the Nikon D90 from non-Canadian suppliers.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nikon D90 DSLR Camera Is Finally On The Way!

Photo courtesy of

I am going to place the most recent updates about the Nikon D90 DSLR "rumors" at the top of the page here to save repeat visitors the trouble of having to scroll through the whole blog post to find out the latest available information about the new Nikon D90 digital camera. When a new update is posted the current one will be moved to the bottom of the page -

Update Wednesday August 27, 2008 1:30pm: Nikon officially announced the Nikon D90 DSLR on its websites last night. A search for "Nikon D90" in Google News currently turns up 28 results but there will be a lot more articles about this groundbreaking Nikon DSLR soon enough.

Here is the Nikon USA webpage for the Nikon D90. It provides a link to a demo of the Nikon D90's "D-Movie Mode" which provides 720p HD video capability.

Here is the Nikon Canada webpage for the Nikon D90.

Here is the excellent Digital Photography Review blog's preview of the Nikon D90.

end of Update

I have been expecting this new Nikon DSLR to appear for months now, but the D300 and D700 got there ahead of it. The much awaited Nikon D90 DSLR should be one great Nikon digital camera. Probably the best bang for buck yet. I remember paying about the same amount as the "rumoured" $1299.00 price for a Nikon D90 DSLR camera with a new 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR kit lens on it for my late lamented (i.e. stolen) Nikon D70s with the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G DX high end kit lens back in the summer of 2005.

What a difference three short years makes in the DSLR business!

Here is what PhotographyBLOG has to say about the new, but as yet not officially announced Nikon D90 -

We don't usually feature unsubstantiated rumours, but when one of the best known Nikon-related authors decides to publish the key specs and a release date, it's pretty clear that the Nikon D90 is on its way. David Busch, creator of the popular Nikon Digital Field Guides series, has revealed that the D90 will offer a 12 megapixel sensor, Live View shooting mode, "larger" LCD screen than the D80's (pictured) 2.5 inch model, 4.5fps continuous shooting, HDMI connectivity, video recording (!) and GPS compatibility. Busch states that the price of the Nikon D90 with a new 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR kit lens will be $1299, something that's also verified by recent stock listings at Best Buy and Circuit City. Finally, August 27th will apparently be the launch day according to Busch.

Although I agree that this "rumour" about the brand-spanking new Nikon D90 DSLR may as yet be "unsubstantiated", it is almost certainly a highly reliable "rumor". If Nikon Digital Field Guides author David Busch has a web-page dedicated to the Nikon D90 on his website it is unlikely that this rumour is not every well founded and highly accurate about most of the specs of the Nikon D90 camera. Here is some of what David Busch has to say about the Nikon D90 digital camera -

Nikon D90. At 12 MP, and with the list of cool features I outline below, the D90 serves three purposes in the Nikon line. It's easy enough to use to serve as a first dSLR, and won't overwhelm anyone who wants to move slowly into more advanced features. And yet, those features are in there, ready for you when you're ready for them. It also makes a great upgrade from the D80, and works as a backup camera for those with a D300 or other more advanced Nikon body. Other than the flexibility you get with the D300's four Shooting banks/four Custom Setting banks, you don't lose much by going with the D90. I'll know more when I can compare sensors and high ISO image quality between the D300 and D90. I expect to see the D90 sell for about $999 with the 18-55mm VR lens, which makes it only about $50 more than the current price of the D80 with that lens. If you read on, you'll see just what you get for that extra fifty bucks.

Read on about what David Busch has to say about the Nikon D90 digital camera by following the embedded link to his Nikon Guides website. Here is what I have to say about the Nikon D90 based on its rumoured specifications -

I am posting now for the benefit of those who may be interested in the Nikon D90 and want to check out the "rumour" on the two linked photography blogs. I will add my two cents worth here within a short time. Hopefully later tonight or tomorrow but I need to get some food into me now.

Update: OK It is now 11:36 pm in Montreal and I downed a hamburger, glass of Coca-Cola, and some chocolate coconut date cake made by a Tahitian chef I happen to know to fill the void. Healthy diet eh? Did I forget to mention that I had some Häagen-Dazs® vanilla swiss almond ice-cream with the cake and washed it down with a cup of coffee? ;-)

I have been scouring the internet for the latest rumours about the Nikon D90 and it does seem that this time around the latest rumours are "unsubstantiated" only in that Nikon has not officially announced the launch of the D90 just yet. The power of the internet may well cause Nikon to make the official announcement sooner than they had originally planned to. When there are digital photographs of computer screens at Best Buy and Circuit City stores showing the order information for the Nikon D90 kit with the new, but as yet unannounced, 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR kit lens selling for $1299 U.S. it is hard to believe that at least those elements of the Nikon D90 rumors are not highly reliable and accurate. In fact, the Nikon Rumors blog has some seemingly very credible posts on it with some interesting reader polls. It has even posted what would appear to be a genuine photo of the left front side of a Nikon D90 camera. I have snagged that uncredited photo and posted to illustrate this blog entry. As I said on my StumbleUpon blog earlier this evening,

"I would be happy to credit the photographer who took this image but I expect that he or she would prefer to remain anonymous. . . ;-)"

One of the main things that I intended to blog about here is the rumored video capability of the Nikon D90 camera. As it turns out there was a poll about that rumored video capability on the Nikon Rumors blog so I voted and submitted the following fairly extensive comment there -

I am very surprised that about half the people voting think that having some sort of video capability available as an option on the Nikon D90 or any other DSLR is "a horrible idea". My Pentax K20D has a 20 frames per second lower resolution still shot capability that is so close (yet so far away. . .) from 24 fps HD format video it's not funny. Why Pentax and Samsung didn't go all the way and add a microphone to the K20D with functional 24 fps 1080 HD format video is beyond me.

For the record I am a semi-retired professional photographer with over 20 years of experience who is something of a traditionalist. For those who think that it's "a horrible idea" to have some form of video capability on the Nikon D90 all I can say is you don't have to use that function. I don't use many of the functions on my DSLRs or compact digital cameras. Heck, most of the time I am shooting in manual exposure mode and barely looking at the light meter in my Nikon D300 or Pentax K20D. Autofocus does come in handy though.

I just bought a Samsung NV24HD compact digital camera in part because it can shoot 720p HD video at 30 fps. I am having a blast with it and would be only too happy if the Nikon D90 has similar capability. In fact I will be somewhat disappointed if the D90's video capability is limited to 640X480 VGA quality. I would want at least 720p HD video but 1080i or 1080p would be better, even at a lower frame rate. Of course a lower resolution high frame rate video capability would be great too. Let's say 60 fps at 640X480 for example. But I'll take 60 fps at on 720p HD video if Nikon will be so kind as to provide it.

I look forward to owning a Nikon D90 in the coming months. It may even relegate my D300 to back-up use. Seriously, I don't need most of the features of the D300 and it is just a tad too big and heavy for my liking. I expect that the D90 would become my primary Nikon body if it has decent video capability. I know it is asking too much to have an articulated viewing screen on it but it sure would be nice if Nikon and other DSLR manufacturers made it possible to attach an articulated viewing screen as an optional accessory on future models of DSLRs.

You can chase down the latest rumours about the Nikon D90 on the Nikon Rumors blog by following this link to all the Nikon D90 rumors posted to it.

More later. . .

Update 14.08.2008 9:15pm - Well it looks like the 1001 Noisy Cameras blog has kindly directed some readers my way so I guess I had better add what I can to this post although it's not doing too bad so far. I will definitely be adding to this thread rather than starting new ones so do check back every now and then. I will notify readers when it is wrapped up. For people interested in finding recent posts about the long rumored Nikon D90 camera I would suggest running a simplified Google search on the Nikon D90 with the 18-105mm DX VR kit lens. Doing this will bring up the most recent posts and separate what is probably wheat from a whole lot of old Nikon D90 chaff. . . It seems that there is a fair bit of chatter on French language web sites and blogs. A lot of posts don't provide all that much information, quite a bit less than I have already posted here, so I will try to save you some trouble by making a point of updating this post and making it as comprehensive as possible over the next several days if not a week or two. Still nothing new about the D90 on Ken Rockwell's blog or the excellent Digital photography review blog but do check them out from time to time.

Update 15.08.2008 12:30pm - An alleged photo of a Nikon D90 viewing screen in video mode was been posted to the Nikon Rumors blog earlier this morning. I notice that neither the selected video resolution nor frame rate is displayed on the viewing screen so I remain skeptical about its authenticity. I will say that, in that Nikon does not currently market any video camcorders (unlike its rivals Canon and Sony) it has little or nothing to lose by incorporating a very advanced video mode into its future DSLRs to say nothing of its compacts. To be honest I was rather disappointed that Nikon chose not to provide HD video capability in the new CoolPix 6000 digital compact.

Update Sunday August 24, 2008: The Nikon Rumors blog has just announced that the Nikon D80 is no longer listed on the Nikon Europe web site. This is a strong sign that the Nikon D80 is being discontinued and that the forthcoming Nikon D90 camera is soon to be officially announced by Nikon.

Update Monday August 25, 2008 7:00pm: The Nikon Rumors blog has posted sales photos of the Nikon D90 and this thread in the online forums of Chasseur d'Images magazine's web site has posted the same or similar photos.

Update Tuesday August 26, 2008 1:45pm: Thanks to a heads up from the Nikon Rumors blog it has come to my attention that CircuitCity has jumped the gun on Nikon's official announcement of the Nikon D90 DSLR camera and has listed it on its website for pre-order. The product information regarding the D90's video capability says -

HD movie mode: Capture your surroundings in cinematic quality. The D90 features the D-Movie mode, which shoots HD movie with sound at 24fps.

This product information does not specify that the Nikon D90 has full 1080 HD format video capability but I would be surprised if it is not full HD. As I mentioned earlier, Pentax came so close to, yet so far away from. . . providing the equivalent of full 1080 HD video at 24 FPS on the Pentax K20D with its reduced resolution 1.6 MP 20 FPS Burst mode. Admittedly this Burst Mode on the Pentax K20D only allowed for a couple seconds of silent "video" in JPEG format but it was kind of fun. The Nikon D90's HD video D-Movie mode will be much more interesting, even if it does not have great audio capability which is likely to be the case.

Update Tuesday August 26, 2008 2:35pm: Well that didn't last long! CircuitCity promptly removed its webpage that offered the Nikon D90 DSLR for preorder before Nikon had officially announced its release. Scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to read my earlier update that provided CircuitCity's product information about the Nikon D90's HD video D-movie mode. I added three screenshots of sections of the CircuitCity webpage at the bottom of this post. Just click your mouse on the low-res images to see full resolution versions.

Labels: , , ,