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Nikon D90 Gordon Laing, October 2008

Nikon D90 results : Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / High ISO Noise / Noise Reduction

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  Nikon D90 resolution comparison
  To measure and compare the Nikon D90's resolving power we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with it and a number of rival cameras, each using their best quality JPEG and default image tone and sharpening settings. Each lens was tested at every aperture setting and the best result selected for this page.

The crops are taken from the original images, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS2 and presented here at 100%. Each number represents 100 lines per picture height (lpph), so a figure of 20 means a resolution of 2000 lpph.

In terms of resolving power, the Nikon D90 delivers 2250 lpph of horizontal and vertical resolution when equipped with the standard DX 18-105mm VR kit lens. This is virtually identical to the D300 as you might expect given the similarities in their sensors. It's also a very small step ahead of the Canon EOS 450D / XSi, which as you can see below is once again exhibiting punchier image processing by default.

The earlier D80 was one of the best-performing 10 Megapixel DSLRs we've tested, and when fitted with the (admittedly superior) DX 18-70mm lens, is only a very small step behind its successor when equipped with its kit lens. In tests with other models we've also only measured subtle differences between 10 and 12 Megapixel DSLRs, so existing D80 owners shouldn't upgrade to the D90 expecting a noticeably higher degree of resolved detail.

As for the D90, you can achieve slightly higher resolution figures by shooting in RAW - you can see examples at the bottom of this page. Alternatively to see how it measures-up against the 450D / XSi in terms of noise, head straight over to our Nikon D90 High ISO page.


Nikon D90
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
Nikon D80
with Nikkor DX 18-70mm
Nikon D80 with Nikkor DX 18-70mm
2250 lpph, DX 18-105mm VR at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2200 lpph, DX 18-70mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO

Canon EOS-40D
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
 
Canon EOS 450D / XSi
with EF-S 18-55mm IS
1950 lpph, 85mm, f8, 100 ISO
2200 lpph, EF-S 18-55mm IS at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO


Nikon D90
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
Nikon D80
with Nikkor DX 18-70mm
Nikon D80 with Nikkor DX 18-70mm
2250 lpph, DX 18-105mm VR at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2200 lpph, DX 18-70mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO

Canon EOS-40D
with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM
 
Canon EOS 450D / XSi
with EF-S 18-55mm IS
2100 lpph, 85mm, f8, 100 ISO
2225 lpph, EF-S 18-55mm IS at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO


Nikon D90 Studio resolution: JPEG versus RAW

We photographed our test chart in the D90's RAW plus Large Fine JPEG mode, allowing us to directly compare images created from exactly the same data. Below are crops taken from the original JPEG file alongside the RAW version, processed in Nikon's optional Capture NX 2.1 software using the default settings.

The RAW version, even without tweaking, reveals sharper and better defined details with a slight boost in resolution: a comfortable 2300 lpph horizontally and 2400 lpph vertically. This is the same resolution measured from the D300's RAW files, although there's none of the moiré seen in our previous test with that model - perhaps Capture NX 2.1 is performing better than the version 1.3 tested with the D300. Either way, it's also not a bad score for the DX 18-105mm VR kit lens.

So once again, if you want to see the best from the D90, you should shoot in RAW - there's benefits even when using Capture NX 2.1's default settings. Now let's check out the camera's performance at different sensitivities in our Nikon D90 High ISO noise results page.


Nikon D90 JPEG
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
Nikon D90 RAW
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
2250 lpph, DX 18-105mm VR at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2300 lpph, DX 18-105mm VR at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO

Nikon D90 JPEG
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
Nikon D90 RAW
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
2250 lpph, DX 18-105mm VR at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2400 lpph, DX 18-105mm VR at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO


Nikon D90 results continued...

Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / High ISO Noise
/ Noise Reduction

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