True to form, while the professionals were shooting the F4, many of those advanced semi-pro photographers were clamoring for something a little better than the entry level auto-focus SLRs. Nikon gave them the F90, in a system that Nikon keeps pretty much to this day. And what a camera the F90 turned out to be! This is a fast, accurate, and surprisingly quiet semi-professional camera that doesn’t feel like a cheap system despite the price they command on the used market (You can get a decent body for under 50$!). But don’t let the price scare you because you’re getting a whole lotta camera without dinging your wallet too much!
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 35mm, 24×35
Lens: Interchangeable, Nikon F-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1992-2001
This is one of those cameras that you really can’t say anything bad about it, or you want to wax poetic about it, so I’ll try and restrain myself. First off this camera is comfortable to handle and light weight without feeling overly cheap and plasticky either. It also packs the same matrix metering system that the Nikon F4 has inside it, which is one of my favourite meters next to the one in the F5. Next off the camera works great with both auto and manual focus lenses and AF is certainly a step up from the system in the F4 and is quick on the older D-Type lenses and the focus assist is nice and easy on manual focus lenses. As for ease of use, this is probably one of the easiest menu based cameras to operate because everything is laid out pretty clearly on the camera body and with a nice command dial even working in manual mode is nice because the aperture control is on the lens!
While not really a bad thing over all, this camera doesn’t support the modern Nikon G-Type autofocus lenses completely. They will attach and auto focus but you can only run the camera in full program and shutter priority mode. While not a total loss, it does limit you in what you can do. And as someone who shoots mainly in aperture priority or manual, it means I can’t use my lovely 14-24mm f/2.8G lens completely with this camera. Another issue is that the F90 cannot support the vertical release that is found on the optional battery grip only the F90x/N90s can. But overall neither of these are real deal breakers on the camera, only minor annoyances.
It isn’t like I need another strong autofocus Nikon SLR, I have the F5 and it is a nice piece of equipment, but it’s heavy. The F90 is the best of both worlds, it gives me a fast, accurate camera in a light weight package. Since I do most of my street shooting with the 105mm and an autofocus SLR the F90 gives me a smaller lighter camera to work with. Plus at the price point you can get these cameras at you can afford to have one in your collection! And if you already have the lenses you’re in luck!
All photos taken in Chicago, Illinois
Nikon F90 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Rollei Retro 80s @ ASA-80 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C