Best entry level Nikon SLR digital camera
My Review of the Nikon D90 – my camera of choice
Since the Nikon D90 is my camera of choice it is naturally I should start off these camera reviews.
It is a Single Lens Reflex digital camers or DSLR for short. This is classified as an entry-level SLR – one that is a natural progression for someone from a compact or hybrid camera.
For me it was a step up from a hybrid Kodak EasyShare DX6490 which now seems really primitive although it served it’s purpose.
The Nikon D90 is suitable for the enthusiastic amateur and the semi professional photographer and I find it excellent for photographing birds.
It actually has some of the features of the more expensive professional cameras. It certainly has plenty of automatic and semi-automatic features to get you started and then even more functions for you to grow into as your ability grows.
Most kits on sale include an 18mm-108mm lens which is suitable for most situations from landscapes to portraits, and is effective even in low light. It also has a HD video capacity that is the envy of some more expensive cameras. It is compatible with all Nikon and Sigma lenses. Personally I have a Nikon 70mm-300 lens plus a Sigma 55mm-500mm.
CAMERA OF CHOICE
This is my camera of choice. I use it for all my wildlife photography, and you can see examples of my work illustrated on my blog. It is one of those cameras that just feel ‘right’. It feels sturdy enough for outdoor work, fits nicely into the hand and has a great grip. A few of the controls are a little awkward to use while you are shooting but you soon adjust to that. It is easy to use on automatic and semi automatic settings but has enough advanced functions when you want to take more control and get more creative. I highly recommended this camera.
Technical Details for the Nikon D90
The D90 is a sophisticated camera with typical Nikon technology to produce wonderful photography.
- It has a 12.3 megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor and EXPEED image processing system which means it produces outstanding sharp pictures over a wide selection of ISO light sensitivity ranges.
- The 3-inch LCD monitor provides a ‘Live View mode’ that you can use to compose your shots although using the viewfinder is probably the most comfortable way to use this cameras.
- The camera has and advanced Scene Recognition System and an autofocus.
- There is a good video option that you can use in a variety of creative ways as you become more proficient.
- 12.3 megapixel DX format CMOS image sensor with built-in self-cleaning sensor unit
- Low noise performance from ISO 200 to 3200
- D-Movie function offers Motion JPEG movies in exceptional D-SLR image quality
- Live View with 3-inch, 920,000-dot, high-resolution LCD monitor
- Extensive in-camera retouch functions
LET’S TALK LENSES
Every photographer will tell you there are always things you want to have alongside your camera. Buying the camera is just the beginning. Some options only sell you the body and you have to buy a lens so be sure to check.
When it comes to photographing birds you probably want a longer lens than comes with the standard kit. Personally I prefer a zoom and my favourite lens is a Nikon 70mm-300mm. This allows me to take close ups like this moorhen one, and then to zoom out for more distant birds. The rock pigeon one for example was taken at 300mm zoom.
Do check carefully to make sure the lens you buy is compatible with your camera body. Some of the older lenses are not compatible with the newer camera editions.
The range of zoom lenses in this section can be 55mm-300 or 70mm-300.
Of course there are always going to be birds outwith that range and I think the minimum you need is probably a 500mm. I actually bought a Sigma 55mm-500mm lens compatible with the D90 body. I’ve had it several years now and actually wish I had bought a static lens. The Sigma is actually too heavy to hand hold so you definitely need a tripod. I realise you probably would also need a tripod for the static one – what I am saying is that I don’t actually need that range between 55mm and 300mm that I am more than comfortable handholding the 70-300. The other benefit of a static lens is you can buy magnifying adaptors to extend your reach.
I would also recommend you get a lens with a Vibration Reduction function.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED WITH YOUR NIKON CAMERA?
Cost is always a consideration but there are some things I think are essentials. Little things like a memory card and a spare battery, cleaning stuff and a tripod and of course a bag to carry it all in.
Op/Tech Rainsleeve – Twin Pack: You don’t want to stop shooting just because it is raining. These are handy little covers that fold up small, keep the camera dry and are inexpensive enough that it doesn’t matter if you leave it some place.
67mm 3-pc Filter Kit: At the very least you want to have a UV filter on your camera to protect the lens. I learned this early on and was grateful for it just this last week when I dropped the camera climbing over a fence, the UV filter shattered protecting the lens behind it.