So, it’s been a while since I last reviewed a DSLR camera and despite rumours to the contrary, there’s still plenty of people who are not willing to give up their pentaprism and optical viewfinder.
I spent two weeks checking out the newly released Canon EOS 90D, which Canon says is a “fast and reliable DSLR, with a familiar, robust body perfect for sport and wildlife photographers”.
As DSLRs go, the 90D has a relatively lightweight body, a deep grip that makes the camera a joy to use, and a top screen. It also features a three-inch, fully articulating touchscreen.
There’s a 32.5MP APS-C sensor with the latest DIGIC 8 processor, 4K video without a crop, although you can use a crop mode to give you an even further reach. It can also shoot up to 10fps with autofocus tracking and up to 11fps in Live View.
Wildlife photographers, in particular, will appreciate the extra resolution on the 90D since a lot of their photos need to be heavily cropped in to fill the frame with the subject.
The optical viewfinder offers approximately 100% coverage and 0.95x magnification.
The advantages of an OVF over an EVFs are well documented, but now that EVFs are getting so good, the differences are not as big anymore.
I discovered a major disadvantage of an OVF while using the 90D when I forgot my reading glasses when out taking photos one day. With a mirrorless camera, I can just look through the EVF and perfectly see settings and review images.
Unfortunately, you can’t do this with an OVF and I couldn’t clearly see the rear screen without my reading glasses.
The mechanical shutter speed maxes out at 1/8000 second, which is great for freezing the moment when your subject is quick-moving, but the electronic shutter speed can go up to 1/16000 second.
With this shutter speed, the aperture can be opened even wider to create a greater depth of field, even in bright ambient lighting.
Mirrorless cameras have continued to improve battery performance, but most still can’t match cameras like the 90D, which has a CIPA rating of 1,300 shots. In real-world shooting scenarios, you can expect to far exceed that number.
The native ISO sensitivity of 100-25600 (which is expandable to ISO 51200), is impressive and I found the jpegs coming straight out of camera controlled noise reduction well without being too aggressive.
However, don’t expect it to compete against full-frame cameras in low light and I wouldn’t consider this the best camera for landscape photography where you need all the flexibility of a broad dynamic range.
That being said, I was happy with what I was able to extract from the RAW files in software like Lightroom and PhotoShop.
There’s only one card slot, but at least it’s UHSII. It has a buffer capacity of just 58 JPEGs and 25 RAW files, which wildlife shooters will fill up far too quickly.
There is a hotshot, but the 90D also has a built-in flash, which does come in handy.
Not surprisingly, for a Canon camera, the 90Ds autofocus system is no slouch. It has 45 cross-type AF points and 220K RGB+IR metering sensor. Dual Pixel CMOS AF is only available in Live View, where you can use 5,481 AF points. You now also have eye autofocus tracking, but only in Live View.
The EOS 90D is well built and weighs around 700g including battery and card. It’s also weather-sealed against dust and moisture, but I wouldn’t use it in a downpour.
The EOS 90D now features an eight-way AF joystick, something the previous model the 80D lacked.
The EOS 90D features both wifi and Bluetooth, making it easier to connect to your smartphone to transfer images and perform remote shooting.
Video features have radically improved over the 80D, too.
You can now shoot 4K UHD videos up to 30fps (24fps (23.98fps) in a future firmware update) and Full HD videos up to 120fps.
Most significantly, the 90D is one of the first Canon interchangeable lens body cameras to offer uncropped 4K recording.
Overall, the Canon 90D offers incredible features with fantastic image quality in a semi-professional body.
It’s almost a mirrorless body when using it in Live View, including features like silent shooting, but you still have an optical viewfinder.
The Canon EOS 90D body retails at €1,450.