Digigraphica

Nikon N90s/F90x

Dan Knight - May 2002

I never expected to own a camera of this caliber, but sometimes a deal is simply too good to pass on. I'd been thinking of saving up enough for a N65 body to supplement my N6006, but when a customer sold my employer his F90x (the inernational version of the N90s) system, I took one look at my cost and had to have it. It took a few days to come up with the cash, including selling my N4004 to my business, but within a week the N90s was mine.

Compared to my N6006, the N90s is even larger and heavier, but the wide-area autofocus is so fast and smooth and precise that I don't mind the extra bulk. This camera handles like a dream and has become my primary SLR. The N90s is sometimes classified as a professional camers - Nikon USA does so, but Nikon Japan does not. Regardless, it's a camera pros use and love.

For me, the most important feature of the N90s is the faster flash sync - 1/250 gives you a fighting chance of using fill flash outdoors. I don't need shutter speeds faster than 1/1000; I don't recall a situation where I've even gone that far. I certainly don't need 4+ fps film advance. The slightly improved matrix metering definitely isn't enough reason to switch cameras.

I wouldn't mind trying high speed flash sync, but that requires a very costly Nikon flash (SB-28).

The one thing I wish the N90s had is a built in flash like Nikon's consumer models, something which hasn't been traditional on pro models. It's not that I use a built in flash often (I prefer my Sunpak 433AF), but if Nikon had included a flash on the N90s, I'd have high speed sync. Not a big deal, and so far this is the only improvement I can think of for an otherwise stellar camera.

Nice as the really cool tech features sound, what convinced me that this would become my primary camera was using it a few time. The autofocus is so quick (compared with my N6006) that I've sometimes taken the picture before I knew it. Focus is very sensitive and very accurate. I need to learn the trick to focus, recompose, and shoot without taking a picture as soon as focus is achieved. This camera is remarkably responsive.

I've played with the MB-10 multipower vertical grip, which you'll usually see attached to the N90s in photos. It adds size and weight, doesn't increase power capacity, costs money, and the only thing it really gives you is a shutter release specifically designed for vertical photography. I'll save my money and do things the old fashioned way.

The only complaints I've heard are that the N90s seems a bit loud compared to newer models.

If you have any comments on the N90s or see any errors on this page, please email Dan Knight . Thanks!

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