Nikon D90 vs Nikon D80

by Enche Tjin on October 18, 2008

Nikon D90 has shocked the DSLR for photography enthusiast this year with many new features such as movie recording ability, auto sensor cleaning, 50% faster continuous burst, better iso and 2 extra megapixel.

But it is worth it for users to upgrade from Nikon D80? Or for first time buyer, is it better to buy D80 and save some money rather to buy D90? And are there any other options outside of Nikon?

It is back to the users if they value the enchantment provided by D90.
Some improvement will make photographer life a lot easier, but some other does not significantly help the job. Let say 2 megapixel increase is not significant.

Here are some improvement on D90:

  • 2 extra megapixel
  • 1 stop extra iso up to 6400
  • 3″ LCD with higher resolution
  • Live view and movie recording capability
  • Faster continuous burst from 3 fps to 4.5 fps
  • Option to buy kit lens with VR 18-105mm


  • 11 points autofocus points
  • Same body construction and similar buttons placement

Improvement on ISO and VR lens will help new photographers better in low light condition. Live view mode will help on macro and precise focusing, and movie recording will be a nice extra features for recording casual events, artistic project or even recording a new flash for web.

But movie recording capability is not perfect. Taking movie by hand will result on shaky movie. In addition to that, there is no auto focus. But the nice thing about this feature is the ability to use different kind of lens to get various exciting effects, such as shallow depth of field and ultra wide effect.

Users who are only focusing on taking artistic and casual photography might not use many of the improvement. Thus, Nikon D80 will provide enough features. Also, the price of D80 now is very affordable. The price differences are up to $500.

But if you are photographers that interested to expand to another medium such as video, and will do many low light assignments or action photography, D90 is a better well-rounded camera for those purposes. I can imagine that you will use this camera for a long run.

Another camera to consider is Canon 40D, which has the same price point as D90 and features better body/handling and faster continuous burst (6.5fps) but no movie recording and lower iso sensitivities (3200). These features make 40D is better suited for sport/action photography.

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