Nikon D90. The first digital SLR camera that also makes video.

The DSLR that makes video

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

Argh! That's it, in September 2008, it finally exists: a digital SLR that also makes video! Like the compacts !!! The kind of camera I dream of to accompany me in my travels...

A dream of technomade, as my sister would say... Marie-Julie Gagnon. The toy is called D90 and it is Nikon who made it.

The Nikon D90.

This camera will be available in September 2008, in the 950 €. Well, at that price, I won't be able to afford it anytime soon. Especially since I would feel forced to invest in the underwater housing that goes well with it (and these little things are not cheap either).


But if Nikon starts, others will follow. In a year or two, technologies will improve again, competitors will position themselves, prices will drop, and we will be able to find used ones.

I spent the evening surfing the web, drooling over all the tests and press releases from blogs and sites. I put here the page of the Nikon website for the D90, where all the features are listed. And the link to an article from New York Times.

The thing that amazes me is that the video can be in HD quality and benefit from the same optical adjustments as in photo mode (depth of field, etc.). This is really a new era in digital cameras.

A few months ago, I would have let myself be tempted by the Canon PowerShot G9a compact camera, which is not an SLR, so, especially after reading the remarkable test made by But there, having already done a good tour of the possibilities offered by my current camera, a compact one too (the Canon Powershot A95), I have a new temptation, as it were...

The desire to progress in underwater photography tickles me. Even if I have to spend money on this kind of equipment, why not go to the next level? The technology evolves so fast, in the field of photography, that it is always a difficult choice, especially when you have a limited budget. So I'll be patient and wait a bit, to see the new products that will be released... And that will be compatible with underwater photography.

Updated January 2010 : A little addition to this post, one year and a half later... I got my video camera! Yes... It's the Canon Eos 7D ! I love it already!!!

Updated January 2021 : My equipment for underwater photography has evolved a lot, since the publication of this post in September 2008... I invite you to read this article to know how I am equipped today:
→ Photo and diving equipment: my equipment


  Between Two Journeys

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  1. The only problem with this camera is its size. But I have to admit, if you want top-notch images, it might be worth it! Then I'll have to invest in an EeePC to avoid taking up too much luggage space with the computer... 😉

  2. I'm not convinced of the value of the thing... but it's true that video isn't really my thing.

    However, if I want to take a video sequence, I prefer to take my little compact camera, which I always keep alongside my SLR, and which is always very useful in certain situations.

  3. @ Marie-Julie:
    Yes, it's true that I like to travel light, and without fear. So carrying around an SLR, which is heavier and bulkier than a compact, and also more expensive, requires some thought. However, I'm at a stage in my "technomade" life where I want to work more on my photos, so it's time to move up a gear.
    When it comes to computers, I don't even take my beloved MacBook Pro with me when I travel (and God knows I miss it), I make do with the computers I find in Internet centers.
    EeePC-style machines are tempting, but, Macophile I am, Macophile I remain... The thin and light MacBook Air, which I tested a few months ago for a paper, is tempting too, but I can't really afford it right now either.

    @ Thib:
    I'm quite the opposite! I was so enthusiastic last night, reading all that stuff about the D90, that I wrote a post... I'm really interested in this new type of camera, because I've been thinking about getting an SLR for my travels for a while now. The only one I have is the one at work, but I can't take that one with me... In case of theft or breakage, I'd be in a lot of trouble with the newspaper!
    Unlike you, I'm very interested in video. I always bring back footage from my travels. And that's the advantage I've always found in compact cameras: their all-in-one nomadic nature, so I can feed a blog with both photos and videos. So if you can now find a good-quality SLR that also shoots video, I'll go for it... It saves you having to deal with two cameras.
    In a nutshell. I won't be making a purchase just yet, but for my part, given my travel photography, I'm more than convinced of the value of this new technology.

  4. It looks nice, but I'm not sure how interesting the video mode is. Is it really nice to look at, or is it just a gimmick? At the moment, I'm looking at the Canon eos 450D, which is in my price range. Knowing that I have a small digital camera that shoots video, I don't know if this option would give me anything extra.
    PS: this is my first post I think here but not my first visit. I love your videos and photos which take me on a journey every time 😉

  5. Yes, I also wonder what the video mode is worth. As I'm also a multimedia columnist for my newspaper, I've asked to receive the camera on loan, to test it out... I should in principle have it in my hands for a few days at the end of the month. I'll be back to talk about it here then.

    My little digital camera takes videos, but only 30s sequences. And as I said earlier, I'm keen to move up a gear when it comes to photography. Usually, I tend to go for Canon, like you. But now, having a good SLR that can also shoot video would be ideal for my little blog reports during my travels (I don't feel like lugging around two cameras). Obviously, given the price, it won't be for a while.

    Finally, thank you for your kind PS. I'm delighted to be able to take you on a little journey with my images. That's what this blog is all about!

  6. The G10 with a 28mm!!! Gosh, I'll have to look into that too... Especially since the price is so much more affordable.

    Thanks for the info, Alimata!

  7. Yep!!!! Thanks again for the G10 link, Alimata. I'm going to take a very close look at this new toy and go fishing for links of my own in the days to come. We'll talk about it later!

  8. Except that, with the Eos 5D Mark II, we're moving out of the "enlightened amateur" range and into the professional one... It's not the same budget at all!

    But that doesn't stop you from drooling all the same. As far as I'm concerned, I think the G10 is the most sensible option for keeping the blog going while traveling light and carefree.

    Still, it's really interesting, this announced fusion of photo and video on professional equipment. Digital technology will completely change our relationship with images. We'll no longer know whether we're being photographed or filmed. And photographers will be tempted to supplement their still images with animated sequences...

  9. I've given up: I've just bought myself a Canon SLR that doesn't do video and will take up far too much space in my luggage. I'm a hair's breadth away from doubling my initial budget to buy the Nikon D90... (sigh) Maybe next year!

  10. Pff... I still haven't seen it up close, this damn Reflex that does video. The guy at Nikon who was supposed to send it to me on loan forgot all about it. And since I've been so busy with work since then, I've completely forgotten to get back to him.

    You're going to do wonders with a brand-new camera! I can't wait to see it. 2009 is going to be a fun year...

  11. Hello

    🙄 My ideal camera as a successor to my Canon A620 would have :
    - 1 or 2cm macros
    - 4 batteries to not open the case before 400 or 500 photos
    - Sd cards not to throw mine
    - a manufacturer's housing that does not obstruct the flash
    - an internal flash not too bad
    - a manual mode, priority speed or opening
    - a wide angle
    - HD video
    🙁 And it doesn't exist yet!

    ➡ But for HD video, I'm blown away by the quality of the Panasonic TZ5

    Some interesting articles published recently
    and here, for example, to compare the video quality of the TZ5 with other devices

  12. Ah, là là!!! Manta, it's not nice to make me drool like that... 👿
    I still don't have enough money to replace my poor little digital camera, which is getting a bit old (I'm spending it all on plane tickets and scuba diving, I must say).

    But they are interesting, indeed, these little comparatives. And it's awfully good, your ideal device. I want it too!

    You should go take a look at the new buzz that caused the divers-photographers (reported by Ceucidit):