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 BestBuy.ca 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.

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