Those of us who purchased this camera a short time after it came out can’t help looking back with nostalgia. The Nikon D90 is by far one of the most important landmarks in DSLR history. It was the first ever DSLR that could shoot video and it was also the first camera that introduced that awesome cinematic look to the general public. Before the D90, if you wanted the “film look” you had to rent gear that had a five figure price tag.
Even by today's standards, at HD 720p, the D90 produces acceptable video quality. If it has a weakness in this department, it may be in somewhat sub-par audio, but a little tweaking there is a small price to pay.
Speaking of small prices, you can pick up a good condition Nikon D90 for under $300. I think personally believe it’s a steal. But let’s take a closer look.
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For this modest price tag you get a camera body that actually feels professional. It has comfortable grip, it’s not too big and certainly no tiny toy and it is overall very well built. You can see Nikon’s tradition of making reliable cameras for serious amateurs and enthusiasts that certainly sets it apart from entry level models.
The 12.3MP sensor is, in fact, a very good one that can get the job done admirably. Unless you want to make gigantic prints on photographic paper, 12 MP is actually enough for most needs.
You get a camera with a built in autofocus motor that lets you put on older Nikon lenses with superb glass and still enjoy AF. This will allow you to build an affordable system capable of delivering very good image quality. In fact, it just might do a better job for you than an entry-level DSLR and a couple of kit lenses.
With a burst rate of 4.5fps it certainly won't win any prizes for speed, yet the results looked just fine when I took it to the basketball court to shoot several games.
The D90 is overall a very versatile camera and yes, I’m saying it in 2015. It’s not going to be the first choice of a professional, but it is an ideal learner’s camera. The simple argument of paying less than $300 for a camera that gives you so much control, a great body, the Creative Lighting System and a sensor that can still get the job done should be enough.
If for whatever reason your budget revolves around this figure, don’t make the mistake of buying a compact or an entry level camera. Get a Nikon D90, because it will serve you well as a solid, highly capable still camera.