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 Post subject: New D90
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:12 am 
Hi all. Have been reading here for awhile, as well as other places like dpreview.

First off, I am very new to digital slrs. Not slrs, but definitely a noobie when it comes to dslrs. Started out in 1976 with a Minolta SRT201. In the last several years, I had shot with a x700 Minolta with many zoom and prime lenses for several years, before transitioning to the world of digital with a compact Canon s3is superzoom a few years back. All that being said, I have been an on and off amateur/enthusiast, at best.

But lately, in the past 3 years, I have been shooting a lot of high school football games with the s3. Needless to say, the s3 was ok for day games, but very iffy for night games, even with a decent nikon flash unit, flash slave, and bracket to mount the whole jerry rigged mess

Nikon became the top choice for me after reading many reviews about it's better low light/high iso after agonizing for several weeks over whether to go with the D5000 or the D90, I finally bit the bullet and went with the D90 with the kit 18-105, and the additional 70-300mm VR lenses. The D90's viewfinder, lcd, additional capabilities with the 2 power wheels and such, and especially the ability to take older AF lenses convinced me in the end.

So I bought the camera and lenses and a class 6 8 gig memory card on 12/ the battery charged up....briefly looked at the manual, especially the areas that I would need for shooting a basketball game.....and then went off and shot 2 high school basketball games that evening......with the Nikon quick guide in my back pocket, of

Shot both games on manual(sports mode was too slow on the shutter speed...either that or I was doing something wrong), at 3200 iso at around 1/250 to 1/320 shutter speed, aperture wide open with the 18-105mm.

Not being used to the 4.5 fps, I shot an overly enthusiastic 570 fine jpegs overall. Wow, is it ever nice to be able to track a subject again while shooting(had a good motor drive for my old x700 and terribly missed that) digital s3 blacked out for long periods of time while shooting multiple frames, so it was complete guesswork tracking anything. This D90 camera is such a joy for shooting sports.

Anyways, I absolutely LOVE this camera. Without any fine tuning and such, due to my unfamiliarity with the D90.....I still got some really incredible shots last night. Even though the jpeg auto white balance processing can be a bit odd and undependable at times.....for the most part, the shots turned out just wonderful!!! I am so damned pleased!!!! I mean, this is my first shoot with the totally unfamiliar with it......and it still is able to pull out some really decent shots.....I am just incredibly impressed with the D90.

I can only imagine what sort of shots I'll be able to take once I learn how to fine tune and tweak the wb and iso nr settings. Especially after I get a top end low light 2.8 lens.

Sure, the shots had noise.....but for a high school sports web site and for student's families......they were just great. Especially for using the camera 6 hours after I bought it.

About the only complaints that I have so far is the auto wb setting, and how it can vary from shot to shot, even when the same lighting conditions exist(that certainly might be the kit lens more than it is the camera)....I definitely need to learn how to tweak that setting to be more consistent from shot to shot.

Overall, the D90 is a truly wonderful camera.....a truly outstanding piece of work..and very user friendly for anyone who has had any sort of 35mm slr experience...hopefully I can say the same in another 3 months as I learn the ins and outs and oddities of this particular camera.

Having come from the simplicity that is a Canon compact superzoom camera the supposed complexity of a Nikon DSLR menu.....I truly can say that I am having absolutely no problems whatsoever so far. The Nikon menus are organized logically, even though they might be quite deep at times with the customization options. They seem to have a very natural flow, imo.

At this point, I would highly recommend this camera to ANY slr enthusiast.

Any tips or tricks with the D90 and the wb settings, noise reduction, high iso, sports shooting, or anything else would be greatly appreciated.

Also, any suggestions on post processing software would be greatly appreciated. I want to shoot raw, but only after I get to really know the camera and it's limits, as well as my own with it. I have a very old version of photoshop that works ok, but is quite dated. Is the Nikon software worth the upgrade and price to the top end Capture NX 2? Or is there some really good 3rd party software out there that I should look into.

Any comments and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

My apologies for writing a novella.

Last edited by kirkcad on Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:36 am 
Hi kirkcad,

and a warm welcome to the forum. And no apologies necessary - this is a place for enthusiasts and your well-written prose and interesting first experience with the camera, makes it a good read.

I'm glad you like your new gear. I've shot with the D90 as well and I experienced all the same things you have expressed here.

You could try to get an expo-disc or some other similar device. You put in in front of your lens and take a reference shot that the camera will use to set WB itself. I've found it very useful in indoor lighting.

@ ISO3200 you do get some graininess of course, but decent shutter speed I see. Considering it's high number of mega-pixels, you could consider grabbing the very inexpensive 50mm F1.8 AF-D. It will allow you to get the same shutter speeds @ ISO800, which is noticeably better. Some cropping might be necessary if you cannot get close enough, but there should be a lot of mega pixels left.

Good luck with your further exploits. I'd like to see a few samples sometime if you're up for it.

Cheers :-)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:36 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Posts: 6010
Location: The Netherlands
Welcome to the forums, good that you love your D90 (join the club) :D
As far as noise reduction goes: I don't use it at all. Slows down the camera, and I prefer detail over smoothness (plus the D90 grain film grain).

As far as postprocessing goes: I shoot RAW (neutral picture control), and use Lightroom (by adobe). Capture NX's RAW conversion is a bit better, but I hate the bloody interface and using it in general is a pain.

I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:21 pm 
Thanks for the nice welcome! Some good tips...thanks. I had read some in the Nikon manual about the WB card. Sounds like I need to get that to solve the wb woes for indoors sports shooting.

That 50mm isn't a bad idea. My head is still in 6 megapixel mode from using the S3 for 3 years. I got tons of mps to play with now, so of course I could do cropping and such, and shoot at a lower iso. :oops:

I have also thought about getting something in either a 70mm or 100mm, so that I could have a bit more bokeh to play with.

I'll have to mess around with noise reduction some more. I like the idea of completely shutting it off, especially if it makes the camera faster.

As I am new to actually posting here, how do I post pictures? Do I need to copy some of my pictures to a place like photo bucket, and then reference the url? Any suggestions on good places to store photos for posting here would be really appreciated.

Thanks again for the suggestions and tips!

Edit: Nevermind on the posting images questions.....have been reading the new member stickys, including the posting images one. :)

 Post subject: Pics
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:01 am 
Here are my first stabs with the D90.....high school basketball(1A).

Thought these would all load up in the saved orientation, but I guess not....I obviously need to get to know flikr better. Sorry that you have to rotate most of the pics.

Keep in mind that these shots are downsized, and processed to be smaller images for a high school sports website. But it at least gives you an idea of how good the camera did 6 hours after being bought with not much knowledgeable input from me, yet.

Also, I shot most of the boys basketball shots in vivid color and with a couple notches up on the sharpness scale. I used to shoot the Canon S3 in vivid all the time, but I am thinking that I need to maybe shoot the Nikon in neutral or standard. The girls basketball shots were mostly default after setting the manual mode to 1/250 and wide open at 3200 iso, as I shot that game first. The boy's game I experimented with the camera settings some more.

Truly outstanding camera, imo. It compensated for most of my mistakes and lack of knowledge of the camera, even when shot in manual. My project this weekend is getting through the manual and getting to really know the D90 and what it can or cannot do. I am really excited about finding out all the extremes of this camera......I'll probably be reading and experiencing for quite some time learning all the true capabilities of this camera. I truly am very jazzed about heading into a very new type of photography with this camera.

Can you tell I love this D90?

Let me know your honest take on the pics. None of them are what I would consider earth, but it's a decent start to a new camera, imo.

And yes, the interior of this gym looks like a cinderblock pillbox.....not the best of shooting

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:14 pm 
Just added your review to this list.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:22 pm 
you said that you might be interested in getting something bigger than 50mm prime so you can introduce a little more bokeh or maybe get a little bit closer.. what about the 85mm? That's equivalent to 128mm on you're D90, which will help you get quite a bit closer than the 50mm (75mm equiv.) of the aforementioned lens. Plus it's still a nice fast lens, so you can get away at shooting lower ISO's.

 Post subject: Agreed
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:03 am 
Yea, I have been looking at the 85mm. I have heard wonderful reviews of the 85 from my photographer friends, and I'll probably end up picking up one. I have lots of time atm, as basketball season doesn't start for a good long while, yet.

In the meantime, I have Ebayed all my old Minolta manual focus gear and bought some fun lenses to play around with on the D90. I also sold my 18-105 Nikkor kit lens that came with the camera. It was a very good lens, but, quite frankly, I hated the plastic lens mount on the lens. Plus, the VR was an absolute waste, imo, even with my 50+ year old somewhat shaky

Keeper lenses that I have picked up on Ebay since I bought this camera....

70-210 f4 AF older Nikkor's a beautiful lowlight lens, quick focus, sharp on both ends even wide'll make a wonderful football season lens at about 1/10th the cost of the newer 80-200 f2.8 AF Nikons. I have already used the lens in lowlight conditions, and it has performed well beyond my expectations.

24-120 AF older AF Nikkor. Wonderful, dirt cheap lens, that performs just as well as the newer 18-105 VR Nikon. Plus it has a metal mount and mostly a metal lens housing. It's a bit softer than the 18-105 wide open, but once you get used to it's limitations, it's an outstanding lens for easily 1/3rd the cost of the newer 18-105 plastic VR.

Tamron 200-400mm AF LD lens. Again, got this for dirt cheap(under $200), and the thing was in pristine condition. I have been hugely surprised by the IQ, especially when you figure out it's weaknesses. It's great wide open from 200-300, but beyond that, you have to stop it down some to get excellent IQ. It's a great bright sunshine lens, albeit a bit heavy and huge to lug around. If you use proper long telephoto technique, and a tripod or monopod or some sort of support for the lens at longer focal lengths......some wonderfully, and surprisingly crisp pictures are obtainable with this lens. It's a surprising keeper, to say the least.

Anyways, just some of the stuff I have been experimenting with. Still love the Nikkor 70-300 VR kit lens that came with the's a wonderful lens and will be hard to part with if I get to that point.

And most of all, I truly love the's a perfect camera for me so far. Broke down and bought Thom Hogan's ebook on the D90, and it has been a very good read so far. Teaching me how to use the D90 in a more experienced and efficient way.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:48 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Posts: 6010
Location: The Netherlands
to comment on the 85: I've shot tabletennis with both my 85 1.8 and 70-200 2.8, and I liked the results from the 70-200 much better. AF speed was pretty good on the 85, but the prime was just too restricting. I sold it and bought a 50 1.4 (new version) from the money.

Not for sports, DOF just gets too thin at 1.4 (or 1.8 for that matter)

I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".

 Post subject: D90 and lenses
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:28 am 
I bought that 50mm f1.8 AF D lens that LahLahSr suggested and it worked great for basketball season. I shot basketball with it mostly at 2.2, as the D90 seemed pretty comfortable and quite accurate with the af at that f-stop, and was able to shoot most everything at 1/320s or better, and around 1800-2400 iso. I actually had a photographer friend change from his 85mm to a 50mm, as he liked the shots that I was getting with the 50 better than what he was getting with the 85 1.2. Toward the end of the year at some tourneys, I played around with the 50mm and a 1.4 tamron AF tc, and with some exposure compensation, it actually worked a lot better than I expected. I hated the combo when I first tried it, but went back to it a few times and figured out the quirks, and it ended up being quite usable in certain situations.

This last basketball season was such a wonderful and intriguing learning experience for me!! It really forced me to quickly learn the quirks of the D90, and what focus points and focus modes worked best, and how to anticipate and accurately frame quick moving subjects. By the end of the season, I was also playing around more with manual focus, as I started to trust my eyes again.

I ended up selling about $300($180 in profit) worth of my sports photos, which easily paid for my smugmug pro subscription and gas money to the that worked out well.

Some other dirt cheap lenses that I picked up....60mm micro Nikkor manual focus and a very dirt cheap tamron 28-200 ld if af....just for giggles. I also found a Vivitar 2x macro tc for real cheap. I had that same tc with my Minolta, and it was a very versatile tc for macro work, as it mimics extension tubes to a certain extent.

Have also thought about getting one of the older Vivitar primes in the 400mm range......something in a t mount, as you can get those for less than 40 bucks, and would probably be fun for moon shots.

I went nuts with lenses with my old Minolta, and I am finding that I am doing the same thing with the One of the main reasons why I bought the D90, since it can use the older AF stuff.

I also picked up an old, in mint condition, Nikon N90S for around 40 bucks, just to shoot film every once in awhile so I don't get too lazy in my habits with the D90....easy to do with digital, imo. Already shot a test roll on the N90s, and it's a wonderful camera, too.

Have also been looking at the Vivitar 383 flash unit. My SB28 works fine in manual mode on the D90, and the N90s loves the SB28, but I wanted something at a reasonable price that would do TTL on the D90, and I have seen good things about the Vivitar 383. Anyone have any experience with it? I don't do enough external flash work to justify the cost of a sb600-900. Plus, I have some wein slave units for when I used to use my old Canon S-3 with external flash, so might be fun to experiment with the 383 and the SB28 in a dual flash setup.

Anyways, sorry I rambled so much......I sure love being back into SLRs, again!!! I don't post here often enough, as you all always offer such good advice and opinions for the most part.

I have all my sports shots over on my smugmug site, now.....but I have some junk family and friend shots, and some test shots with the Tamron 200-400 if anyone is interested.

 Post subject: Expodisc
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:34 am 
Oh yea, forgot to mention.....

LahLah, the expodisc worked wonders for me during basketball season. It didn't help much with the older gyms and the nasty cycling lights....but it worked like a charm in the newer gyms. An excellent buy!!!!

You're 2 for 2. Both the 50mm f1.8 Af D Nikkor and the Expodisc were rock solid purchases. Thanks so much for the advice! :D

 Post subject: Basketball shots...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:02 am 
Somebody asked, so here are some of my better shots from last basketball season.....

If you want to skip all the photos, this is, imo, by far, the best shot I got all season..... ... euCN8-A-LB

For all you basketball freaks out there, the guy in the blue actually made the shot, got royally hacked/fouled in the process, and made the free throw. His team lost, and they went on to capture 3rd place, while the team in white took the 3A championship in a later game for Oregon, USA. ... XDWLC-A-LB ... euCN8-A-LB ... 2417_VnB6P ... 9036_GM8cm ... 7979_x9hR5 ... 7155_NnjPs ... 2094_tb8te ... 0319_WRGQv ... 7373_RmEba ... 3870_rckXe ... GuUZD-A-LB ... asvdt-A-LB ... EkDWP-A-LB ... 3280_XgK26

Some honest and blunt opinions from sports shooters would be greatly appreciated. I know I need to improve a lot, and I welcome all comments/advice. Thanks in advance!


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:27 am 

1. Use cloudy when shooting overcast in the forest for sure. Brings out the TRUE colors. (auto usually will make it bland and bleak in these conditions)

2. Shoot Manual. Adjust your exposure.

3. When shooting water and using a tripod. USE a timed exposure to prevent even the smallest of camera shake. (found this out myself)


D90 owner

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:18 am 
1. Yup, or use my expodisc.

2. I shoot manual in certain situations, and mainly to keep me from getting lazy. (my film N90S is for keeping me from getting too lazy) Most of the time, however, I shoot aperture or shutter speed priority. Manual is useless for sports shoots, as I need the camera to help out just because of the speed of the sport. (Maybe if I was 20 something with still young eyes, I might still shoot fully manual) The D90 does a wonderful job with that.
I have shot manual with a Canon S3Is with an external flash and a stroboframe flash bracket and a wein slave for the last few football seasons. (American football, not soccer) The pics have turned out ok, but I am truly looking forward to having a dslr help me out with the shots for this next season. I would bet that I'll get a lot more usable shots due to my D90 this next season.

If I had wanted to shoot all manual, I would have never bought a dslr. I shot full manual for a couple decades with a Minolta SRT201 and a X700. At this point in time, I'm ready for the more advanced camera to help me out some.

3. Agreed on the water shots. I find that lots of experimentation is almost a requirement for the best shots.

Thanks for the tips! :)

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