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Nikon N90s

by Thom Hogan, 1997


In 1994, I went on a three-week photo safari in Botswana with Galen Rowell, author of Mountain Light. . One thing that I noticed towards the end of the trip was how well his Nikon equipment held up to three weeks of dusty, bumpy beating from a Land Rover. Upon my return, I sold off my older Minolta Maxxum equipment and bought a $5000 Nikon AF system. It seemed like a lot of money, but I take my equipment seriously. I never want to be on a shoot when the perfect picture pops up and I'm not ready or capable of taking it.

I chose the N90s as my primary camera over an F4. This surprised some of my photographic friends, especially those that equate cost with quality, but if you know anything about the two cameras you already can guess why. The primary advantages of an F4 over the N90s are:

  • Interchangeable viewfinders (right angle, waist level, reflex prism, etc.)
  • Mirror lockup
  • Conventional (traditional) controls
  • Slightly higher continuous frame rate (5.7 fps versus 4.3)
  • 100% view in viewfinder

The advantages of the N90s over the F4 are:

  • Faster and better autofocus mechanism
  • Lighter weight
  • More sophisticated matrix metering
  • Lower price

Only the missing mirror lockup and 100% view gave me a moment of pause in making my decision.

Having used the N90s for two years now--including shoots in Alaska, a high-altitude Andes trek in Peru, as well as a number of local, shorter, trips--I have strong opinions about what is good and not so good about the camera.

The Basics

The N90s is a professional caliber, Autofocus camera. It features a wide-area autofocus module (CAM246) with predictive autofocus that can track objects moving quite fast. Autofocus detection works from EV -1 to EV 19 (ISO 100; f/1.4 lens), and the metering range extends out to EV 21. Unlike the N90, the N90s uses 1/3 stop shutter speeds from 1/8000th of a second to 30 seconds (the N90 uses half-stop changes). You can shoot single shots, continuous at 2 fps, or continuous at 4.3 fps.

A lot of marketing noise has been made about program modes. Personally, I've yet to find anything other than auto program, aperture priority, shutter priority, or manual modes useful on any camera. Besides these, the N90s includes seven additional modes: portrait, portrait with red-eye reduction, landscape, silhouette, sport, and close-up.

An eight-segment matrix that incorporates information about the focus point if you're using "D-type" lenses does the metering. Alternatively, you can chose Nikon traditional spot or center-weighted metering. An exposure compensation button gives you a +/- 5 stop range in 1/3 stop steps. Exposure (as well as autofocus) can be locked by on-camera controls. ISO values from 25 to 5000 are automatically set from DX-coded film, with manual override and automatic override setting also possible.

Flash sync works to 1/250th of second for normal flash. Flash metering uses five segments and can be TTL balanced, red-eye enabled, slow-synced, and synchronized with the rear curtain.

In the viewfinder, you'll see about 92% of the full frame. Shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, metering method, focus indicator, exposure compensation, flash ready, and frame counter are all visible, even to eyeglass wearers like me.

The N90s takes any Nikon F mount lens (early models may need to be adapted first). And like all professional Nikons, it uses AA batteries (four). A depth of field preview button is included, but no mirror lockup. The self timer is user settable from 2 to 30 seconds; one useful addition is the ability to make two shots with a single self timer trigger.

The camera weighs in at 26.6 ounces without batteries or any other accessories.

Here are some significant missing features: mirror lockup, 100% viewfinder, built-in vertical grip, built-in exposure bracketing, and built-in multiple exposure abilities.

Handling

Pick up the N90s and you're immediately struck by how substantial it feels. Some might say "heavy," but it really isn't a heavy camera, just a densely packed, well-built one. The N90s is certainly heavier than the Minoltas I used to use, but the build quality is also higher, with more gaskets and better buttons all around. (Hint: invest in an Optech strap--you'll feel a lot less of the weight around your neck.)

Some of the controls on the N90s fall naturally under the fingers, others don't. (Caveat: I have rather small hands.) The shutter release and auto exposure locks are right where I want them to be. I can't say the same for the exposure compensation, autofocus lock, or metering method buttons, however. The exposure compensation button is a long reach from the shutter release for my index finger, although over time I've managed to get used to it. The autofocus lock involves using your ring finger pressing 90 degrees opposite of the shutter release mechanism, and is a small, hard-to-find button (fortunately, you can put light pressure on the shutter release to do the same thing). I've never managed to use it effectively. The metering method button is on the left side of the pentaprism, and this almost guarantees that casual shooters will have to take the camera away from their eyes to change metering methods.

The only stupidly placed button is the LCD light button (it lights both the LCD and the viewfinder display). This button is too close to the eyepiece.

All controls with multiple settings (flash, metering, exposure compensation, ISO, mode, drive) are set by holding down the appropriate button and rotating the knurled dial. Since the viewfinder provides a wealth of information, generally you can change these settings without removing your eye from the camera. Again, however, it helps to use the camera enough to know by feel where each control is. This is certainly possible, and I've watched masters in the field change settings without ever looking at the LCD panel on the top of the camera. On a three-week shoot, the first week I'll still be groping to control the camera; by the third week, I've nearly got it mastered.

One nice touch is that program modes and settings you've made are remembered when you turn the camera off and back on. This is both a blessing and a curse. If you're using the camera a lot, you'll find it a blessing. If you use the camera infrequently, you'll curse this feature. An example: you're shooting on snow, so you intentionally set an exposure compensation to make sure you don't get gray snow (typically +1 to 2 stops, by the way). You go home. A month later you take the camera out to take a picture of the goddaughter. The camera will still have the exposure compensation set (and be politely reminding you of this with a very discrete indicator on the LCD and in the viewfinder). It's easy to overlook those indicators and start shooting with the compensation still active. On the other hand, it's nice not to have to keep setting aperture priority, spot metering, 1/3 stop ISO adjustment, and so on, every time you turn on the camera.

So, my first rule of N90s use: always zero out any one-time settings before turning off the camera. The corollary: always check the LCD indicators when you turn on the camera.

As you would expect with a Nikon, mounting lenses, loading film, turning on the camera, and returning to the "idiot" settings are all straightforward. The camera back is opened by a two button lever on the side of the camera--it's near impossible to accidentally open the camera, and it's a one hand operation to open the back when you need to. I've never had a misload on the automatic film takeup, although I have had ISOs overridden due to my own mistake (see rule #1, above).

I've abused my N90s for a little over two years (it's been strapped to a goat's back, dropped, rammed into trees while falling down a hill, rained on, bounced around in a dusty vehicle over dirt roads, and more). There are two very small scratches on the pentaprism that you can't see unless you're right on top of the camera. And the rubber eyepiece accessory I bought refuses to stay on (fortunately, the eyepiece itself has a rubber gasket around its edge, so I'm not putting my glasses against metal or plastic as on some cameras). That's it. I've never had a camera that's stood up better against my clumsy follies.

One final comment on handling: if you're moving up from an 8008, the N90s will be intuitively obvious to you; the user controls are similar. If you're moving up from an N50 or N70, however, you'll probably be baffled at first. Why Nikon chose to use three distinctively different user control methods on the N-series cameras is beyond my capability to understand, but it does mean some extra learning for those who step up.

Modes

I noted my predilection against custom modes earlier, but the Nikon's seven special modes deserve a few more words of derision. In short, none of them are extreme enough to work as advertised.

The basic program mode (Ps) works well. It adjusts to the lens you're using (picking higher shutter speeds and wider apertures for longer lenses in the same lighting situation, for instance). Better still, you can use the control dial to "shift" the selected program if it doesn't meet your needs. For casual shooting, this works well, and as you would expect. (Caveat: I almost always shoot in aperture-preferred mode.)

The so-called vari-program modes don't do as well. For example, the Hyperfocal Program (HF) is a misnomer. A true hyperfocal program would look at where you're focused, select an f/stop and focus setting that would put everything in focus from in front of that subject to infinity (with the subject itself probably about 1/3rd of the way into the "in-focus" field). A bit of experimentation with this mode tells me that it simply sets a modestly small aperture (typically f/11). Sorry, close but no cigar. Worse still, none of the vari-program modes allow the control dial to shift the program! So you can't make up for the mistakes the vari-program modes make. Useless.

Want more? Portrait mode always picks the fastest aperture it can. It's not very useful unless you have fast lenses, and then it really is no different than setting aperture mode and picking your widest aperture. Portrait with red-eye reduction simply preflashes the SB-25 or triggers the SB-26's incandescent lamp; otherwise it is the same as Portrait (again, you can set the camera to do this without using the special mode).

The Landscape mode is similar to the hyperfocal mode, but even lamer, as it typically selects apertures between f5.6 and f16 using a method I can't fathom. The Sport program almost always selects a shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/500 (you'd think the predictive autofocus would be used here to calculate how high a shutter speed was necessary, but it isn't). The close-up mode picks relatively wide apertures (typically f/5.6 on most lenses), which seems contradictory to the limited depth of field you have at close range.

The only program that seems to work as advertised, and then only if the conditions are correct, is the silhouette mode. If--and that's a big if--you have a strongly backlit situation with an object in the foreground, this mode does indeed seem to ignore the foreground exposure, resulting in a silhouette. Most professionals, however, will still want to calculate their own exposure to make sure they get the amount of silhouette they want.

Exposure

The eight-area matrix metering is pretty darn intelligent. It does a good job of ignoring backlight and sky in horizontal exposures, and with fill flash and D-type lenses is nothing short of awesome in its accuracy. (Note: the N90s doesn't have a vertical detection mechanism like the F4, so it doesn't do as good a job ignoring backlight and sky in exposures when held vertically.) I've checked the camera against my Minolta flash meter on many occasions, and the results are dead-on.

If you don't like matrix metering, I suggest trying the spot metering option. Spot metering reads only the innermost 1% circle (the inner ring in the viewfinder). Switch to spot metering, place the inner ring on a neutral gray area, and you've got your exposure. If only the auto exposure lock button were easier to use and actually locked (you have to hold it to save exposure info).

It is possible (but not probable) to get outside the possible exposure range. The N90s does a good job of letting you know, popping up indicators in the viewfinder to help. In manual mode, you get an electronic match needle in the viewfinder that indicates up to one stop each direction in third stops. Unlike almost any camera I've used before, the N90s's exposure system feels natural to me, and always provides useful information.

Autofocus

I can't say enough good things about the N90s's autofocus system. Suffice it to say that it works better than my eyes do most of the time. One thing that will fool most newcomers is the ground glass indicators. While the brackets indicate the size of the autofocus area, what they don't prepare you for is the predictive nature of the continuous autofocus. What this means is that if you press lightly on the shutter release to start autofocus on something that's within the bracketed area, and then that object moves out of the bracketed area, there's a good chance the autofocus system is still locked onto it, even though it's outside the brackets. The autofocus detection on the N90s is wider than that of the 6006, 8008, and F4, although you can set it to a narrower view, if necessary.

Predictive autofocus is something you need to experience to understand and appreciate. My suggestion: shoot some test rolls of a friend riding towards you on a bike at varying speeds. Note the difference between starting with the subject centered and not. Note the difference between locking the autofocus on the subject first and just stabbing the shutter release. Note the difference in vertical operation from horizontal (the autofocus areas favor horizontal exposures).

Unlike my Minolta 7xi, the N90s does not hunt for focus with longer lenses anywhere near as much (longer lenses are sensitive to this due, in part, to depth of field differences). Autofocus works with any lens with a maximum aperture of f/8 or larger. I've even gotten the autofocus to work with a 2x auto extender on a 300mm f/4 lens (extenders are often have a problem with autofocus mechanisms). In darkness, the SB-26 flash system can emit an infrared signal that can be used by the autofocus system. Because of the autofocus system, you must use circular polarizing filters. Finally, if you use a manual focus lens, indicators in the viewfinder help identify when the lens is properly focused.

In my experience, the autofocus system works as you would expect. It's faster than I can manually focus, it deals with off-center subjects well, and except for macro photography, I use it all the time. (Note: with the expensive, fast long telephotos like the 500mm f/4, you can override the autofocus by simply rotating the manual focus ring on the lens, a nice touch that is especially useful in wildlife and sports photography.)

Flash

It's always been interesting to me how the three major SLR manufacturers differ in flash technology. I see nothing compelling about Canon's flash technology--it seems pretty basic. Minolta was the first to provide wireless flash, and I was a big user of dual, off-camera wireless flash with my Maxxums (the new Nikon flashes can also go wireless, but they don't work as well as the Minolta did). Nikon's claim to fame is the slow-sync, rear curtain abilities. Indeed, it was the rear curtain function that attracted me to Nikon's flash system.

When you press the shutter release with most cameras, even in slow sync mode, the flash fires immediately. The net result is that your subject thinks that you've taken the picture and starts to move. And if the movement is long enough or directional enough, you'll end up with subject streaks that often go the wrong way (we expect streaks to be behind the subject, not ahead of it). Rear curtain firing of the flash means that the flash fires at the end of the exposure. Movement streaks suddenly go the right way, and your subject (think about wildlife here, folks) doesn't tend to move during the slow sync portion of the exposure.

I also like the ease with which you can set fill flash with the Nikon cameras. Galen Rowell has written often about the magic fill number (set -1.7 on a Nikon flash head), and having watched him in the field and tried the same techniques myself, I now swear by fill flash for many, if not most, situations I encounter. (As Galen says: it's easier to control contrast when you're taking the picture than it is after you've processed the film.) The N90s and SB-26 make a great combination. I leave my SB-26 set on standby and the magic fill number. When I need fill flash, I mount the flash on the camera and shoot. Don't need fill? Pull the flash off. With a little practice, it's that simple. This method even works well with a remote flash cable (SC-17). The 1/250th top sync speed gives you a lot of flexibility when you're working with flash, and the camera is smart enough to remind you when you're out of its shutter speed range.

Better still is the way the flash operation integrates with the exposure system. First, with D-type lenses, both the flash system and the exposure system consider the focus point. This alters which of the matrix areas is used to calculate the primary exposure (the TTL exposure system uses a five-matrix pattern). In the aperture priority mode I use most often, the camera will even tell you if the background is likely to be over or underexposed! It does this by displaying a HI or – in the viewfinder (in slow sync mode, a LO may also appear to indicate background underexposure).

The SB-26 also allows a special high-speed flash up to 1/4000th of a second on the N90s (yikes!). Unfortunately, the guide number is substantially lower, meaning that this is only useful if you're close to your subject.

Drawbacks

Some controls are more difficult to use than necessary

Live with the N90s for awhile and the controls become more and more comfortable. But if you use this camera as an intermittent tool, you'll find that there's always a few day adjustment period as you relearn the feel of the exposure compensation, metering, and various lock buttons again.

Lack of some F4 features

You can't do anything about the lack of mirror lockup (use the self-timer to lower vibrations, if necessary), but some of the other missing features are possible to achieve with an N90s. The MF-26 databack provides multiple exposure, for example. The MB-10 grip provides a vertical release and battery flexibility (including Lithium power capability).

No exposure bracketing

Again, an MF-26 databack can add this function to the N90s, as can the Sharp Datalink connection. Unfortunately, neither is very convenient to use.

Competition

I'm not familiar with the current Canon or Pentax line-up, so I won't comment on them.

The nearest Minolta model is the 600si. I've also used 7xi's and 700si models, which also are in the same feature league as the N90s. The Minoltas are lighter, more plasticky in feel, and have slightly better control ergonomics than the N90s. The autofocus mechanism on the Minoltas is noisier, hunts more, but does as good a job as the N90s's. I found high variability in exposure accuracy in the Minolta models (over a stop), very little amongst the three or four N90s's I've used. The wireless flash on the Minoltas is better than the Nikon version, but the Nikon flash metering is more accurate. On the other hand, the Minolta models are substantially less expensive than the N90s, making the choice difficult for an advanced amateur. (One thing that put me over the edge was the availability of a completely manual backup body, the FM2n, which gives me the ability to use the same lenses on a battery-free camera, if necessary.)

In the Nikon realm, the N70 is the most likely camera considered by someone looking at an N90s. Feature by feature, the N70 is pretty much equivalent. It adds auto exposure bracketing and a built-in flash to the N90s feature list, and makes some minor modifications to the program modes. But an N70 body has a street price of about $500-600, while the N90s is impossible to find at under $1000. For a casual user, the N70 is probably a better choice than an N90s. For an advanced amateur or professional, the N90s is still attractive, however. As much as I've maligned some of the ergonomics of the N90s, it is possible to keep your eye at the viewfinder and control anything on the camera. The N70's control design is centered on a fancy, colored LCD display. Changing a setting on the N70 just won't happen as fast as a skilled N90s user can do the same thing. The depth of field preview button is also another vote for the N90s. Finally, the N90s's casing seems more substantial and sturdy, and I can certainly attest to how well it has stood any number of field abuses.

The N90s is one of the most expensive 35mm bodies on the market, pushing $1000 even at a discounter like B&H Photo. I've found my investment in the N90s worth it, however. I trust my N90s. I've taken better pictures with it than with any previous camera. I know its abilities and controls well enough for the camera to have become second nature, something I've not achieved with a lot of other cameras. The N90s is the best photographic tool I've owned.

Is it the best possible photographic tool? I've experimented briefly with an F5 and I liked it well enough to order one. Will the N90s go into the closet for good, or be relegated to a backup body only? Nope. My quick and dirty shooting kit, which I take everywhere, will consist of the N90s and the new 24-120mm zoom. That's how much I like my N90s: it accompanies me everywhere.


Copyright 1997 Thom Hogan

Article created 1997

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Andrew Kim , February 07, 1997; 10:04 P.M.

A minor correction is that the N90 has shutter speeds in full stop changes, although I've often wished for half stop changes. Also, the maximum continuous shooting range is slightly slower than the N90s.

Adam Ozturk , February 08, 1997; 01:14 A.M.

I have also switched from Minolta equipment to Nikon recently, and will never go back. I currently shoot with an F90x (Canadian body), with MB-10, an SB26, and an MF26 data back. Although the multiple exposure, and long exposure features are not the easiest to use, they work very well once you get the hang of it. I especially enjoy using the freeze focus setting while shooting various ski events. (The fastest subject I've tried it with is with a downhill race skier at Blue Mountain - worked very well.

To sum it all up.. the complete Nikon package is costly, but worth every penny in the long haul.

aozturk@idirect.com Adam Ozturk

Raymond Wee , March 19, 1997; 09:59 A.M.

I own both the F50(N50) & F90x(N90s). Both camera's metering systems are outstanding in spite of different number of matrix systems. Though I have not tried Canon's equivalent (with the USM 'L' lenses)to the F90x-D-lenses combo, many photographers over in Asia are slowly favouring Canon's edge in its AF system and the sharpness of the 'L' lenses whose prices are obscene.

The F90x's AF system has proved itself when it could even autofocus accurately (at f/5.6) with the MC-7 Teleplus 2X converter. MC-7 requires a minimum of f/4 for autofocusing. Photo Answers (UK) and many other UK publications are biased in their reports which depict glowing tests of Canon and other brands. In this case of using converters and their required f/stops for autofocus, I believe the art remains still in us.

Brian Duncan , July 11, 1997; 11:58 A.M.

I believe the reviewer is incorrect regarding the flexibility of program modes. The control dial will shift shutter speed/f-stop combinations in any program mode (including vari-program). The viewfinder and LCD screen display an asterisk beside the program mode to remind the photographer that he/she has selected an alternate setting. Nikon calls this feature "flexible program".

Joe Henry , August 03, 1997; 07:18 A.M.

The lack of mirror lockup on the N90 is not as serious as you may think. There is less vibration in the N90 at say 1/15 sec than an F3 with the mirror locked up. The vibration damping characteristics of the N90 versus the F3 body is the reason.

Mark Van Bergh , August 21, 1997; 09:41 P.M.

As a current Minolta Maxxum user I wish to comment on some of the author's comments. First, the closest Minolta camera to the N90S is the 9xi (recently discontinued but still available), but is still less expensive (and the forthcoming 800si) not the 7xi (an older model) or 700si. The 9xi has a much higher build quality and sealing than the 7xi or 700si. I have taken my bodies through the dusty African plains, to the frozen fields of Yellowstone in winter without any problems. Ergonomically, I think the author understates the better handling of the Minolta cameras. Few of the N90S controls are in logical positions or capable of easy operation with the camera at eye-level (as the author notes). Having owned several Minolta cameras I have not found the variance in meters that the author describes. He neglects to indicate which camera's metering has given the better results in actual field shooting situations - which is ultimately the key consideration (I am not in a position to make that analysis - others I know who are indicate the Minolta generally has the better of the argument). The 9xi has several features the N90S lacks, perhaps the most useful of which is the ability to adjust aperture or shutter speeds in the manual mode while maintaining the same basic exposure value (or, of course, changing the exposure value). The focusing field is wider in the Minolta, with a total of four sensors in the vertical and horizontal mode that can be used together or individually. In either vertical or horizaontal position, there is a sensor that falls logically at a subject's eye level for portraiture (human or animal). There are other features as well, but that is not the point. The bottom line is that all of the cameras discussed will provide professional level results. It is unfortunate that many people seem to denigrate Minolta cameras as lacking something compared to Canon and Nikon. Each camera has its strengths and weaknesses, just as each photographer has his or her own particular needs, and will view a camera's features and ergonomics accordingly. In my hands, the N90S is a beast compared to the 9xi, but those are my hands, not yours.

Fred B. , November 01, 1997; 07:39 A.M.

You quickly mentioned the fact that the N90s uses four AA batteries.

The N70 uses CR123A lithium batteries...two of them at about $12 for the pair. Mine last under 25 rolls (max). I use more than one set of batteries a month. Not cheap.

If you use rechargable nicads on the N90s, you might invest about $35 a year in batteries, max. Thats quite a savings. For a person using the camera at the 25 roll a month rate, you can pay for the difference between the N90s and N70 in under 4 years, well within the life span of the camera.

You can find AA batteries anywhere. CR123A?? Not as much in some areas.

Long term, for hard users, the N90s is the better buy.

Victor Pareja , January 13, 1998; 01:57 A.M.

I cannot agree more with most of Thom's remarks. Nevertheless, there are some small details, which I find incorrect or imprecise based in my experience with F70, F801s and my new F90x (N90s). Perhaps some of the differences in our appreciations are due to the difference in "age" of our cameras since mine is pretty new and it might happen that Nikon has changed some of its software, I don't know.

- When the "VariProgram" modes are enlisted the "hyperfocal" that is mentioned later is missing.

- About the self-timer the possibility of making two shots at once is a feature missing in my F90x although present in F801s (for sure) and the F90 (as far as I know).

- The "basic program mode" is "P" and not "Ps" as stated since "Ps" is the "VariProgram".

- With the "VariProgram" my F90x works also in "flexible" program, I mean, I can use the dial in order to change the aperture/shutter the same as in "P".

- The "Portrait" mode in my F90x behaves slightly different than stated since it depends on the lens you are using whether it will choose the widest aperture or not. For instance, with the 50 mm F1.8 AF even in low light I see it choosing F2.8 rather than F1.8.

And, a final comment about the "VariProgram": I found it useless at the beginning when I had a F70 but later I realized that once you know how they work some of the programs it might be useful. For instance, I use the Portrait program when I want the camera to choose wider apertures than those ones it chooses in "P" mode (I work a lot in P mode using the dial to quickly adjust the settings to my preferences depending on the picture I want to take). I know, I could do the same in other modes like aperture priority which I use in other occasions but, I don't think that extra functionality is bad. At the end, it is a matter of taste or personal preference.

Best regards and happy picture taking in 98, Victor.

Philip Chong , January 18, 1998; 02:08 A.M.

I read in your readers comments about holding the exposure lock switch and at the same time pressing the release button as being awkard. I am the owner of a Nikon F90x and an Olympus OM4TI. The spot metering system is superb and very user friendly. It has dedicated buttons also for photographing whites and blacks specifically. It is all done by the pressing of buttons which lock on and cancelling by pressing the same buttonn alternately. If the Nikon F90x were to incorporate this switching type system in their exp[osure locking I would say that the camera would be immensely improved. The preview button is also a little stiff.

John Chapman , January 27, 1998; 10:59 A.M.

An advantage of the F4S not noted by the author, but one that I consider prime, is the additional ruggedness of the F4S. The author's descriptions about even dropping the N90S without damage generally mean he was lucky in terms of no damage to the plastic (that's what I call it) body or the delicate electronics. While the N90 is rated as being more rugged than its 8008(s) predecessors, which could have their cases cracked open or the electronics damaged with surprisingly minor bumps (my experiences), it is no match for the F4S, and probably F5. However, I agree that ergonomically and electronically, it will devour an F4S.

Sergio Ortega , March 10, 1998; 11:09 A.M.

I agree with the N90s review. Great camera! I really appreciate the fact I can use all the Nikon manual focus lenses I have purchased over the years. I cannot comment about its durability yet, but time will tell. And having been a large and medium format user for about 20 years, I somehow seem to distrust any camera so technologically advanced and complex. But I must admit that I have re-discovered some of the pure pleasures of photography after using the N90s for nearly a year, pleasure lost after years of doing everything manually. I have to admit the matrix metering is incredible (with Velvia, 100SW, etc.). Previously, it would take me several spotmeter readings and lengthy consideration to do what this system does almost instantly. I do have some reservations about the N90s and its related accessories. The MF26 back is very useful, but I do find myself having to consult the manual just about every time I need to set up one of the many less frequently-used features. Yet, without the MF26 back, you only are getting about half the features advertised and available with the N90s. Just setting a timed exposure is a chore! I only hope that with continued use I'll become more adept at setting all the many possible functions. The MB10 grip is great! Once you use the N90s with this accessory you will never be able to comfortably hold and use the camera again without it. I got a backup battery tray for the MB10 so I could keep spare batteries handy (and warm). The SB26 flash is also great. Much more intuitive, easier to use and set up than the MF26 back. I also just had to get the Nikon Photo Secretary software. It's extremely useful. You can save all exposure info for dozens of rolls of film, download it, store it, and later print it for your records. No more notebook and pen! In contrast, the MF26 back's exposure recording feature is nearly useless--it prints the exposure info onto the film area itself. (35mm film area is small enough already!) You can also alter many of the camera's factory pre-set functions with this program. I cannot seem to fully understand and utilize the Custom Function settings yet. If anyone out there can help me with this, please send me an e-mail. But the one thing I simply cannot justify is the lack of a mirror lock-up function. Come on Nikon! The Canon A2 has one. All F models have it. My FM2N has one when you use the self timer function. Even the inexpensive Sigma SLR has one. Arguably, it may not be really necessary. But a camera as expensive as the N90s (especially with an MF26, SB26 and MB10 attached) really should have this feature. These days I find myself using the N90S, with my 24-120 AF-D zoom, more and more. Great body/lens combination! In summary, I would buy the N90S again.

Alexander H. Hahn , March 12, 1998; 04:36 P.M.

The Nikon N(F) 90 is NOT a professional camera. MOF its just crap. Reasons: Plastic back, electronics are unreliable bajonet got twisted 2 times by 80-200/2,8, AF contacts not aligned- as I said: crap. I use 2 F44s + 1 F5 and have had no problems with them. Alex

Scott Gant , March 15, 1998; 01:04 P.M.

Hmmm....I must be in the very small minority here. I'm a person that switched from a Nikon N90s to a Minolta 800si.

Why? Well, the Nikon is a fine camera, no doubt about that. But for ME it just didn't add much bang-for-the-buck like Minolta does.

I also like the lens quality better on Minolta, for me that is. Sure, there are bad lenses in the Minolta line-up, but there are bad ones in the Nikon line-up also.

But I couldn't see why I had spent so much on so little on the N90s body itself. So I opted to sell it and get a better body, again my own opinion here, for less money and spend the extra money on good quality Minolta G lenses.

So far so good. I plan on writting a full review of the 800si to go here on photo.net, since there really is no Minolta stuff reviewed yet.

Again, your milage may vary. Good luck and good shooting!

Wong Kim Seng , April 12, 1998; 09:44 A.M.

I owned a F50 and a F90x camera. I owned 24-120mm nikon lens, 60mm macro nikon lens, 80-200mm lens, nikon lens, 28-70D mm zoom lens and Tamron 200-400. I have no complain using it with F90x. I hate using F50 using tamron 200-400, 80-200mm lens for sport photograhy. It does haunt very often. The most often use lens is the 24-120mm nikon autofocus lens. I use it many times for wedding photography and trips. Best pictures I have is those taken outdoor with fill in attach SB26 flash heads. The handling of tne Nikon F90x is very good indeed. Using tamron 200-400 zoom lens with F90x does haunt often when using to photograph sport event. It is OK with 80-200mm nikon zoom lens. It another lens I love to use although it is heavy. But any way it does not matter to me as long as the picture is excellent. Pictures from the tamron zoom lens are quite good.

Stephan Shuichi Haupt , May 04, 1998; 03:03 A.M.

Though also using Nikon gear as the most reasonable overall compromise, one has to admit that they never manage to design a single camera such that they use prior knowledge/features so that there is no single really desirable Nikon as an allround body (marketing strategy? no: rather lack of proper planning within the company, I daresay). Adding to what has been pointed out already: A camera of the price of the N/F90 needs to have the following built-in: socket for mechanical cable release (even F601/N6006 has it), connector for standard flash sync cords (F4 has it). Besides, a disadvantage over the older F801/N8008 and F4 is that one can only see +-1 f-stops over-/underexposure directly in the finder, and, if I recall correctly, for only having used this body a couple of days, the illumination of the finder scales cannot be switched off.

Rafael Reynaga , May 29, 1998; 11:37 A.M.

I currently own an N90s, N8008s, and a FM2, I am looking for a back up body with a built in flash for the N90s, but I find the N70 a real dissapointment. It is packed with great features but it is useless on the field, I am a fashion photographer and usually use the exposure compensator FAST! and I change between spot metering to center weight FAST! the N70 is anything but FAST... so I find that the N8008s is the only body to match the N90s excellent operation, but it lacks the built in flash. I am VERY dissapointed with Nikon manufacturers that they only ptouduce the N70 which is way too amateur oriented, and the N6006 which is absolutely out of the question due to its very slow autofucus and noisy operation, (not to mention its lack of (D( lenses capability. PD: I think the N90s is a great camera, and agree with the review, but since I didn find any place to express what I think about the very dissapointing N70, I had to do it here I hope you don4t mind...

Philip Chong , June 07, 1998; 07:31 A.M.

If you wish to make fast compensation allowances the Nikon Photo secretary for the FX90 will fulfil your wishes.

Jose Eduardo Torres , June 12, 1998; 08:27 P.M.

I DO NOT agree on the durability of the Nikon series N cameras. I own a Nikon 8008s and I hike to the Volcanoes in Mexico (Popocateptl), Ido not use the vamera frequently but due to the abuse in my hiking adventures it got a scratch in the top cover also other parts of the camera are due to the use "loosy", ie, they do not fit well. I do not know if this were due to the low temperatures, high altitude (5000 meters) or simply to natural waste due to the use of the camera.

Now regarding to the automatic matrix metring, I really DO NOT RELAY on them, tricky lighting situations requires thinking by the photographer most of the "expert" saystems fails. May be the best "automatic expert intelligent program" for setting the "properly" exposure is the one developed by Minolta which relay on fuzzy logic. Therefore it adapts to every lighting situation that it caould found in the practice, as oposed by nikon and canon systems which try to match the real lighting situation to one that is stored in Memory. Is not of surprise for me that in a test published by POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY a couple of years ago the best lighthing meter is Minolta's.

Finally, it is sad to say but MANUFACTURES has imposed us what to buy, instead of accepting that we should go back an appreciate the elegance of a PENTAX LX, that now is unfortunatelly discontinued but it was one of the best cameras ever constructed. I wonder if one day we could be able to see a "renassaince" of such kind of cameras...

Thanks...

Scott Gant , July 05, 1998; 10:38 P.M.

Regarding Jose Eduardo Torres comments about the N90s durability: Just because a camera gets a cosmetic scratch doesn't mean anything about it's durability. Plus, you're basing your experience on an 8008s and not the N90s.

Are you also basing your opinion of Matrix metering on the 8008s also? If so, please be aware that the two cameras are different in terms of the way they meter. It's almost like saying you don't like the way the F5's RGB meter works because you used an F2's center weighted meter! The N90s' 3D matrix meter with D lenses and the 8008's matrix meter are two different meters. Can they be fooled? Of course. As can Minolta's "fuzzy logic" meter.

As for tests in magazines...I saw one that showed how the N90s' Matrix meter blew away the "fuzzy logic" meter on the Minolta 800si. Of course, I haven't had a chance to see both cameras side-by- side and test their meters...but my experience with the N90s has been that it's about 90% accurate for the shots I personally do. Of course, you're milage may vary.

Neil van Niekerk , July 23, 1998; 03:42 A.M.

I use two systems at the moment, built around two F90 bodies and one Pentax Z-1 body. I compare the two cameras on my website. The comparison is interesting because it shows how good the F90 could have been with some thought put into its design. As it is, it handles like a brick compared to the Pentax Z1.

http://www.icon.co.za/~south/fotogear.html

Brent Lestage , August 06, 1998; 05:19 P.M.

Like many of you out there, I pour myself completely into researching a camera/lens before purchasing. Before I purchased the Nikon N70, I read many reviews, spoke to many different photographic dealers, a few professional still photographers, and, finally, I read many of the opinions and recommendations provided on the Internet. I must say that, armed with all this knowledge, I was just as UNDECIDED as I was before. Trying to digest all the diverse, often conflicting information I gathered was painful to say the least. I found that in the consumer (non- professional) realm, there simply are too many diverse application considerations and too many good product choices. Professionals know what works best for them (in their respective areas/ mediums) because they are out there every day with their equipment. Competition is fierce, so in addition to their talents, they need the best, most reliable (and often most expensive) equipment to get the shot! SO, they make THEIR recommendations (based mainly on quality, specialty and professional considerations) accordingly. This is not the case with the novice, amateur or even the advanced-amateur. Their needs are vastly different than that of a working professional so their opinions on equipment are often less practical.

In sorting through all the information I amassed, I found that most people offering advice were merely justifying their own purchase decision by strongly recommending others to buy the same. Especially disturbing was the Internet chatter on why someone should select one particular model over another without any knowledge of its application. I often wondered if many of these people offering advice actually USED their cameras to take pictures. Most sounded like closet collectors or techno-geeks who just take them out and look at them, admiring all the buttons and technology. Basically, I found it comes down to this - If you are not a professional, then you must seriously ask yourself what kind of shooting you plan to do, what your budget is, and how extensive your technical/photographic knowledge is. This will help you make the decision that's best for you! Therefore, I have decided to offer/ share my critical opinion (based solely on MY needs) on the camera - why I made MY choice, and what other cameras I measured my decision against in the hope that someone out there can use the information subjectively.

Before I tell you what my choices were, let me tell you what my needs were. First, and foremost, I wanted a camera I could grow and have fun with - where the benefits of technology worked for me without getting in the way of my fun or creativity. A camera that would not insult my photographic intelligence (yes, I have professional knowledge), yet make most of my picture-taking effortless. Second, it would have to show quality construction or "build-integrity" and be rugged enough to handle my adventures - hiking, biking, trekking, etc. In addition, it would also have to possess good design and ergonomics (feel substantial and useful in my hand). Third, it would have to have the features (and only those features) I would use and appreciate - fast auto focus, variable intelligent metering, manual override/adjustment to any of the automatic features, advanced flash-photography (preferably built-in), fast motor drive, built-in exposure bracketing/flash bracketing, fast shutter speed, idiot program modes (I may not use them, but I appreciate having them), be fairly quiet so as not to distract, and have a self-timer. Fourth, it would have a compliment of high-quality lenses/ accessories available for it that also reflect the design, build-integrity, and ruggedness I seek in the camera. Lastly, the cost of the camera (I tried to keep camera/zoom lens under $1000) would have to justify my needs and usage.

Example: While an N90s may be slightly better built and have a few more desirable features that I might appreciate, it's twice as expensive as an N70! Furthermore, I would lose exposure/flash bracketing AND even lose the flash itself! By the time I add an equally capable flash to the N90s, I could own a spare N70 and lens! Not to mention the fact that photography (for me) will have become far less fun now because every time I need to use flash (and you'd be surprised how often you do), I'd have to take it out, mount it on the camera, turn it on and set it up. Believe me, oftentimes, by then, the moment is lost! Don't get me wrong here! The N90s is a fantastic photographic instrument of the highest quality (it was one of my choices) BUT better VALUED for professional applications!

OK, so here goes... my only OTHER choices were the Nikon N90s and Canon EOS-A2. the N90s was a difficult decision for me. The only thing that persuaded me to choose the N70 over it was the rationale mentioned above. A lot of people knock the N70 for the fan-shaped color LCD display. Opponents say that it's too difficult or not as fast to operate than the LCD on the N90s. I disagree. It is pretty fast and intuitive, actually. Again, here, one has to call into question the user - how technically adept he/she is to begin with, and whether or not he/she understands what the button functions do photographically. If you don't understand what all the choices mean and the display looks intimidating, how then could you possibly benefit from any of these advanced features anyway?

Here's the straight dope - the N70's display features three quickly-recallable custom user settings that take two finger moves to set! Plus, the camera's factory-initial full-auto setting can be recalled with equal ease. By comparison, the N90s also takes two finger moves to reset the camera, otherwise it will retain in memory any previous settings you had before powering down (both a blessing and a curse!). The N70 will remember your previous setting as well, BUT IN ADDITTION offers the three quick recall settings as flexible options rather than have you start again from scratch! The N90s has a button that activates a light which illuminates the LCD panel (a nice feature lacking on the N70). Both the N90s and N70 share the same 8-segment 3D Matrix metering and auto focus functions (although the edge is given to the N90s for a minor 1fps speed advantage) - all things considered, the N70 shares most of the N90s technology, and adds flash and exposure bracketing for less than half the price - an outstanding value!

I happened to read on the Internet, someone's high recommendation of the Nikon N6006 over the N70! I can't for the life of me see any logic in this (unless you already own non D-type Nikkor AF lenses and want to save a few (very few) bucks. The N70 offers faster/quieter auto focus, better exposure metering (8-segment 3D matrix vs. 5- segment), more advanced fill flash (with D-type lenses), a faster motor drive, and, finally, a faster top shutter speed (1/4000 vs. 1/2000). If this person's issue was to save a few bucks, the N6006 is hardly worth the $50 difference (in my opinion). The only other contender, one would argue, (and not a choice I seriously considered), would be the Canon Elan II (for cost vs. value only).

Finally, my last choice for comparison was the Canon EOS-A2. This one was simple. All things considered, I don't like that much plastic! The A2 is an excellent camera. It has all the features of (and then some) of the N90s plus offers a built-in (although mediocre) flash. Add to it Canon's outstandingly-quiet USM (Ultrasonic Series Motor) lenses and you have a cost vs. value package that's hard to beat - especially when packaged with the 28-105mm USM lens kit! BUT, after picking up the A2 and holding it my hand, I must say that the build-quality just isn't there. The plastic battery compartment cover on the side handgrip is just asking for trouble, and inside, there are no metal film guides - they're plastic! I even went beyond the build issue and looked at the only other remaining feature consideration left - the mediocre built-in flash. Here, Nikon won my vote! All the other advantages the A2 had over the N70 - the faster shutter speed, motor drive, mirror lock-up, 5-frame vs. 3-frame exposure bracketing - weren't enough to "sell me" on spending almost $200 more.

I matched the N70 a Nikkor 28-70mm AF-D zoom. For most purposes, this lens suits my needs. I considered the newer and more economical Nikkor 28-80 AF-D lens BUT, again the build issue! This lens is made primarily of plastic. Even the lens mount is plastic! This appears to be Nikon's answer to lens cost and weight issues people have complained about. Optically, I'm sure you can't tell the difference BUT heck, for all the money I saved on an excellent camera body - why skimp here! AND, when I'm ready to expand my package and buy, say, a medium zoom lens like the Nikkor 70- 210mm AF-D, I'll still be further ahead of the game than I would be having chosen the N90s with the same lens minus the built-in flash - both creatively and financially!

So there you have it! The N70 was MY best choice. I'm sure I'll be happy with it for years to come, and my picture taking will be more fun and creative than ever!

Tharler Tai Wai Fu -- , August 12, 1998; 12:37 P.M.

I want to contribute somethings about the lacking of mirror lock-up function of F90X. If you are not frequently make use of some ultra-wide angle lens that needs mirror locked up to fit into the camera body, than you don't need to worry about it. The damping for the mirror is pretty good.

Karsten Eig , August 15, 1998; 08:08 A.M.

I have not tried neither the F90x (as it4s called i Europe) nor any other AF bodies very MUCH. At the present moment I use an Olympus OM2S, a fantastic little tool - a solid modern classic, with modern "inside" and simple to use. But, I hope to change to AF within som time. Here are the cameras I considered in my hunt for the "ideal camera":

Canon EOS: EOS 1 is far too expensive, EOS 5 seems good ergonmically, but instead of a depth-of-field-prewiew (DOFP) button, the DOFP is eye-controlled. Not tried that much, but it does not suit me and works bad. The smaller Canons lacks necesary features as spot metering, DOFP etc.

Minolta: 600si has wonderful ergonomics, easy to use - and, it has no stupid, fancy idiot-functions.

Neither Canon nor Minolta offers the possibility to use the same lenses on a spare, mechanical body, and the lenses lacks the aperture ring.(OK, I4m old fashioned). I use a modern classic now, and want the possibility in the future too. Therefore, I was left in a choice between Nikon and Pentax.

F5?-I4m not rich. The F90x is the only other possibility, having a DOFP-button.(I4m shot much macro of flowers, etc. and DOFP is a must.) But, unless you purcase a databack, it lacks double exposure and (as far as I understand) autobracketing. (instead it has much of the program rubbish.) The handling also seems to be a bit clumsy - why is it Nikon4s speciality to make bodies with tricky handling?

The Pentax Z1p, on the other hand, seems to me a far better camera. It has not the stupid programs we never use, but it has double exposure, auotbracketing, manual override, easy handling, a built in flash - and (in Norway) costs 20% less. You can choose between using the aperture ring or a dial on the camera to set aperture. In short - more camera for less money.

The only real backdraws are: - Slow and often "bumping" AF. The new MZ5n has much better AF (tried both on the same lens), but lacks double exp. and manual override. Hopefully, a successor will have better AF (but, of course F90x may also get a better successor). - Difficoult to find off-brand lenses. No off brand AF 300/4 or 300/2,8 available.

Verdict: I probably will go for the Pentax. Will prob. not use the AF very much. Being a "poor" student, price is very important to me. Therefore, a big 300/2,8 will be a dream for some years anyway.And - the manual Nikons have a stupid feature in that the film advance lever must be in a position out from the body to press the shutter, making photographing with the left eye in the wiewfinder difficoult.

kenneth goh , September 29, 1998; 10:13 A.M.

I have a F90X and a FM2,& Nikon lens 20mm, 28- 70mm, & 75-300mm as well as a Sigma 70-210mm APO SB26 & MF26. I brought this Nikon because of its reputation and also the huge viewfinder. However, the MF26 made the huge viewfinder small because the MF26 is rather thick. My eye could not get close to the viewfinder with my glasses on (my degree is about 800). Thus the MF26 is not very usefull for me. Also, I had on many occasion wanted to buy the vertical grip for my F90X. But the hard plastic and the narrow/tiny grip makes it uncomfortable to grip as compared to the F5 or EOS1N. Why Nikon did not made one that is equivalent to the F5 or EOS1N is something I fail to understand!!! I am still waiting for the new vertical grip to be introduced.

-- -- , October 29, 1998; 05:23 P.M.

I have owned the n90s with mb10 and mf26 for about two years and can say that I have never owned a better camera.Sure I would like to have mirror lock and bracketing without the mf26. But beyond that it is about as perfect as you can ask for for the money. Compare Canon's top dog, EOS-1N, for more money and what I persive as less camera. Would I like a F5? You bet! Who wouldn't. But when all you realy loose for the price differance between the N90s and F5 is whe added build of the camera, I think I will stay with the N90s. Also, I see people complaining about the various metering systems (this has this this has that, and so on). But I dare you all to look at the pictures you took years ago like I did when I thought my Petax ME Super was the greatest thing in the world. You will find (as I did) that the pics from way back then are just as good. As long as you know what you are doing with your equipment, any camera these days is great.

Fuzzy -- , November 11, 1998; 12:32 A.M.

But why, oh why, must a $1000 camera not have multiple exposure capability, and require one to buy a $250 accessory back (with its own thick manual to understand) just to make a simple double exposure? The 8008 had it on the body... where God intended it to be!

Mark Mitchell , December 02, 1998; 09:39 P.M.

Reading the above posts just reaffirms my beliefs that many people will often bitch about what they own & what it lacks, why there is always something better. Just about every camera mentioned above is capable of quality results, but does it have: dof button? mlu? all metal construction? Too complex? Too simple? Too much plastic? Too much metal? The bottom line is.. go take pictures, exploit the tools for what they're intended to do. Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Minolta, hell even Leica, all have their virtues & strengths and their weaknesses. Exploit them, then really decide what's needed & what's not.

Darryl Pentz , December 06, 1998; 08:31 P.M.

I respectfully disagree with the post above from Mark Mitchell. I agree that a camera body is not the thing to focus on and (if you've read any of Phil G's comments) the lenses are THE most important part of your camera equipment.

HOWEVER...

Read Brent Lestages post above for the right perspective. I for one get tired of the purists out there who would call any of us serious amateurs total idiots if we dare use anything less than a brand-name prime. SURE, they'll give you the best images (perhaps), sure, a lot of zooms do sacrifice quality but many of us amateurs have a very limited budget, so either we go without, or we buy the cheaper compromise and we make sure the body we buy will see us well into the future. I can't believe some of the posts I read that say "so I bought a few F5's". Sheesh, my wife would take me to the cleaners if I did that.

Considering the limited budget, we don't want to make a mistake with our purchase and that's why we discuss things like "does it have: dof button? mlu? all metal construction? Too complex? Too simple? Too much plastic? Too much metal?". Absolutely, a good photograph is 90% photographer, 10% equipment (although I like to say 5% equipment and 5% luck) but to say, just go out and photograph is like saying that motor- racing depends only on the driver, the car makes no difference - just go out and drive. No, I might prefer close-up photography so maybe I should know that the N90s doesn't have MLU. And then I might also want to know that most likely the reason it doesn't is because it doesn't need it due to its dampening design. I also want to read that a photographer found that it was useful for him to have a built-in flash for the reasons he puts forward. I can analyse what he/she says and decide whether it's relevant to me.

At the end of the day I can read all these opinions and feel confident that I've considered all the options reasonable to make my purchase. THEN I can "go take pictures". Let's put away brand name wars, unqualified flaming and rather contribute information (negative or positive) that we feel could benefit others. Heck, you managed to log on to the Internet and get this far, I'm sure you have the savvy to figure out what applies to you and what doesn't.

So be cautious about your purchase, THEN go take pictures!

(Sorry if this note is offline. I'd just read Brent Lestages post and realized what had been frustrating me while using the Internet as a research resource. Thanks for the wise input Brent.)

J.S. Johnson , December 18, 1998; 06:01 P.M.

I currently own an N4004s; a fine camera for someone wanting to have a point & shoot SLR with the option of affecting aperture or shutter speeds if needed. This noisy beast was my pawn shop upgrade from my Canon AE-1 program body and FD lenses. I enjoy the Nikon quality and (in my mind) commited my self to it with my purchase of the expensive 80-200 2.8 D ED Nikkor, a beautifully sharp lens.

I am going to upgrade to the N70 for the incredible amount of features it offers for the price. The N90s was a consideration but has a lot of features I don't need and I couldn't warrent the cost. A lot of people would disregard the N70 based on it not having a DOF preview like the N90s. However, I discovered a good way around this with my noisy N4004s; just release the lens part-way but not all the way off and click the aperture manually to see the DOF. When you find the effect you want, slide the lens back on until it clicks, reset the aperture ring to 22, and dial in the aperture you want into the camera.

I admit this isn't as good as a real DOF button in terms of ease and you HAVE to keep ahold of your lens (though you should anyway), it does work.

The only thing I should add (possibly) in favor of the N90s is the N70's eclectic interface; If you find it hard to use, you may want to consider another camera. The only way to know this is to test the cameras out for yourself, something you should do anyway. Just give the N70 a little more time for you to get used to it, if it doesn't seem intuitive to use in under half an hour, it might not be your camera.

Buying a new camera is a big decision, don't buy on statistical sheets alone.

Remember what you set out to do, taking pictures. Buy a camera that let's YOU do that.

Ling-Nan Zou , December 19, 1998; 02:02 A.M.

I have a F90x (N90s) for about a month now. Overall I am pretty satisfied with the performance and the build quality. Two things that trully irritate me though:

1.) No autobracketing w/o buying an expansive data back.

2.) The meter scale in the view finder goes only + /- 1EV, which is not nearly enough to gauge for a full toned print! One either has to count shutter clicks or f/stops, which makes a mutiple spot- metering slow and cumbersome. The Pentax ZX-5 has a scale that goes +/- 3EVs, which is vastly more convinient and useful.

Bruce Faubel , December 19, 1998; 09:33 A.M.

I only saw one small comment Photo Secretary. It adds so much more flexability to the N90s that it seems like a different camera. Change exposure lock buttons and many other features. Check out easy exp comp. feature and load your own custom program instead of factory settings. All you need is photo secetary and a 486 windows 3.1 comp. It is a small price to pay for the added features. I take high speed action shots of motorcycle racers and started with a Cannon AE-1. A fine camera but my usable shots per 36 exp. went from 6 to about 25. Also try using fill flash on almost all close outdoor sunny day shots. You will be amazed. Bruce Faubel flashman9@aol.com

Bruce Faubel , December 19, 1998; 09:36 A.M.

I only saw one small comment Photo Secretary. It adds so much more flexability to the N90s that it seems like a different camera. Change exposure lock buttons and many other features. Check out easy exp comp. feature and load your own custom program instead of factory settings. All you need is photo secetary and a 486 windows 3.1 comp. It is a small price to pay for the added features. I take high speed action shots of motorcycle racers and started with a Cannon AE-1. A fine camera but my usable shots per 36 exp. went from 6 to about 25. Also try using fill flash on almost all close outdoor sunny day shots. You will be amazed. Bruce Faubel flashman9@aol.com

Scott Gant , January 17, 1999; 10:11 P.M.

I believe that the reviewer should revise his review, as the N90s can now be found for well under $700 in many places...not including rebates from Nikon. This is due to the new F100(N100?) model coming on the scene.

David Fancher , January 22, 1999; 11:34 P.M.

I have been looking a upgrading my N8008 to an N90s. I have found that if I trade my N8008 (note not the N8008s) and MF-21 for a used N90s with MB-10 and MF-26 it will cost me about $500. Still a lot of money but seems like a big change from my N8008. The reason I want to change is for better metering and most importnatly is better autofocus system. I have tried the N90s and it is much faster and flexible than my N8008. The big question is should I wait for the F100. It has the F5 auotfocus system which I hear is great (plus some minor improvements). The metering system is the same as the N90s but I am sure it has some improvements.

Frank LaFleur , February 09, 1999; 09:57 P.M.

Just wanted to add to all the talk about the F100, a Nikon rep came by the camera shop where I work with one and a new Nikon 28-105 lens attached. I got a hands on five minutes or so with it and here's what I found: The body looks and feels close to an F5 with no vertical grip. The prism head, though not removeable is very similar looking. The side grip is thin like the F5 with a red line on it, and it feels MUCH different than the N90s/F4s grip. The whole body is covered with a rubbery material and it feels good to hold, though I prefer the F5's built in vertical grip. The control layout with the focusing point selector is identical to the F5, but instead of the rewind crank there are four buttons controlling modes and drives on a raised round platform. The main complaint I found was the fact that if you move the aperture ring on the mounted lens from the smallest aperture, even in aperture priority or manual mode, the camera refused to work. A second ring by the shutter release controls this function. N90s users may have trouble adapting to this, though this is how EOS's work. As for the new 28-105, it's small and light, with an amazing macro built in (it looked like 1:1 capability when I tried it) but alas the front element rotated when zoomed (unlike Canon's 28-105). Overall I think anyone looking to replace their N90s will not be disapointed.

Andy Richards , February 14, 1999; 11:33 A.M.

In response to Frank LaFleur's comments about the aperture ring adjustments on the F100, one of the custom functions lets you change it so you can select aperture by turning the aperture ring. As an N90s user, I found the second "command dial" feaure for changing aperature a little disconcerting. HOWEVER, it does allow you to make aperature changes in 1/3 stop increments. So you can have it both ways. The custom adjustments are simple.

Mo Ersher , March 06, 1999; 04:30 A.M.

THE F100 vs F90x - this(F100) was not as easy to use as I am used to with the F90X or the Eos 3, that I have handled several times. In some ways I expected far too much from it and got disappointed in the process. It will not give you the smooth ride of the F90x, Dynax 9 or E0S 3 but be warned this camera is a beast it will take time to master handling it properly, but when you do you will be rewarded with a body that has THE MOST capable and silent AF system by quite a margin. Imagine taking a shot at an instant with a F100 & 80-200 AFS, now you have lost that critical moment because the lens momentarily went past the point of focus, well in other body/lens combination the shot would be lost but with the F100 the refocus is so fast that it is still instantaneous and the shot is bagged. That's how fast it is. The trouble is that if you are used to the F90x or managed to use a Dynax 9 or Eos 3 then you may be a little bit disappointed in the handling department because of the different feel of the body. But the F100 is remarkeably light even with the grip and is very silent and fast even with non AFS lens (it is comparable to Canons USMs, its a shame that it only does 5 fps though). But dont discount the F90x because of the F100 this body is a gem for AF speed/accuracy and handling, and I for have decided to hang on to it(until I have investigated the F100 rather more,it does have much better functionality) by which time I not quite so sure I will be any the wiser. As for the 28-105D Lens, I originally saw a picture of it showing 'Micro' on the barrel, but now it seems to have been removed. I think its an amazing bargain and another example of Nikon giving more 'bangs for your bucks'with their lenses. It focusses down to 22cm at 105 and gives slightly better than 1:2 lifesize and it costs comsumer grade prices. Now Nikon has two macro zooms in its arsenal of lenses ( which no one else has).

Henry Struckman , March 14, 1999; 07:19 P.M.

As I always say - if you want to get a favorable comparison against Minolta, be sure to compare the over USD1000 brand X model to the USD300-500 (7xi's, 600si and 700si). That is exactly what almost every Minolta comparison I have ever read does (exception, the new '9'). To really make it a ringer, use an older Minolta body too! Now Lets see

Flash news headline! Man Moves From Dodge to Chevrolet, Says He Will NEVER Look Back!! And The story is about 1992 Dodge Stealth owner James R. Doe explaining why his new Corvette is the far faster and better sports car. Implication - Dodge bad, Chevrolet good. IMHO this kind of review serves only one, very counterproductive service - and that purpose has nothing to do with photography.

If you can get past the propaganda and compare dollar for dollar performance, Minolta's offerings are *the* smart buy of the top 3. If you get beyond the bogus body comparisons, you can also check performance data at www.photodo.com and other sources, and see that the other common myths about Minolta - lack of scalability and low quality optics, are equally a product of misrepresented and bias. Sadly not facts.

Henry

Thomas Thompson , March 14, 1999; 09:14 P.M.

I purchased a N90S after my F2S was stolen. I went with the N90S for the auto focus and the variety of features (multi-program, exposures, etc). I had the camera for 2 years and finally traded "down" (but had to pay money) for a F3. I didn't like the "feel" of the plastic body (seemed like I had to be extremely careful in using it) plus the various exposure modes frustrated me beyond all words. I found that in even light, low contrast situations, the programmable modes were super but when exposing scenes with contrasty light (4 to 5 light ranges), the camera didn't perform adequately. I found myself using the N90S less and less...not something you want to do. One day when I was at my local camera shop I spotted a F3HP w/motor drive in the used camera display. I asked to see it and AS SOON AS IT WAS IN MY HANDS the magic was back. I traded my N90S and flash on the spot for it and have not regretted in one nanosecond. It took me a short while to get back to using a non-automatic camera but not long. I kept the autofocus lens I had and one day will try another auto camera as a back up to the F3HP. There were some good features about the N90S but I find the F3HP much more durable, simple to use (yes, there are some irrating quirks to it), great viewfinder (better than the N90S even), and a joy to use.

tomast3@earthlink.net

Daniel Youzefovitch , March 31, 1999; 10:34 A.M.

I, as a sick user of manual fetures on my FM-2 camera, suffer today because my vision ability is redused.I must to change to an autofocus camera atherwise I`ll find myself out of business. Thats another angel that helps me today. So we can realize that progress dosn`t oppose the ability to artistic presentation. Daniel Youzefovitch.

Gray Mason , April 27, 1999; 09:42 P.M.

Just traded in my 6006 for a used N90. The N90 is in pretty good shape and has worked well for the first dozen rolls or so. It was an OK buy at US$400 (less an allowance for my well used 6006). Both cameras are capable of taking excellent pictures, but the N90 has better fill flash control and takes AA's instead of lithium batteries. I really can't tell any difference in photos from the two cameras, except that the fill flash is better controlled on the N90 (with an SB-28).

Anyone have an opinion on the N90(s) as a used camera?

GM

Paul D. Martinez , May 07, 1999; 01:20 P.M.

I agree about the unfair comparison of the N90s to a 7xi. Also, I use only slide film, own both a 700si and 9xi, and I can say there is no difference in the meters. The large base of critical Minolta Mailing List members (http://www.rit.edu/~ecl6895/Minolta/Mail/date.html) have never expressed this as an issue. As for exposure accuracy in actual shooting conditions I get better exposed pics than my photo buddy who has an N90s. Minolta thought enough about their 14 segment honeycomb fuzzy logic metering system to stick with it on their new flagship "9" camera.

Minolta Durability: I've had a 700si for over 4 years, and a used 9xi for the last year. From Oregon rain, numerous hikes in the heat/cold, Death Valley sandstorms/backroad jarring (3 weeks), to being thrown into the air as I slipped on the ice in the parking lot at Crater Lake - hitting the concrete from about 8 feet up and landing on the camera body - it has never needed service and is still operating perfectly. The 9xi is a sturdier (feels more solid, sounds more precise in operation) camera and has extra protection against dust and moisture, but my 700si has held up better than I ever imagined I would need it to.

Minolta lenses: Sure Minolta makes some crappy consumer lenses - which Japanese 35mm camera manufacturer doesn't. Minolta may sell more of them than most but that doesn't mean they don't have many excellent ones too. I use the Minolta fixed focal length lenses and I find their sharpness, color, contrast, and bokeh characteristics to be unsurpassed by Nikon or Canon.

james moegaron , May 29, 1999; 04:28 P.M.

I think this is a truly wonderful camera and still has one of the best AF system around despite its age and when used with the MB10 is truly comfortable and responsive. I think some people cannot seem to adapt to new bodies or techniques and end up blaming the camera.

Mel Gregory , June 20, 1999; 11:58 A.M.

I have a Nikon N90s, a Nikon N90 and a Nikon 8008s. I love them all. I sold a Nikon F3 with all lenses and went autofocus a year or so ago and have never regretted this in the least. Before buying my N90s, I checked the Canon line and felt that it was an excellent line but not familiar with my hands or style. I bought the N90s and really like the autofocusing, the flash capability and most of all, the feel. The N90 is almost as good unless quick focusing is needed. Do I miss exposure bracketing, occasionally, but when I want to bracket I do it the old fashioned way manually. Do I miss mirror lock up? I guess not since I do not recall using it with the F3. Is it solid? You bet! I dropped the N90 when a strap failed. No cracks, no dings, no trauma and this was onto a concrete floor. I did crack a filter on my 80-200 2.8 lens but a thorough exam by a repairman showed no damage to either the body or the lens. I am sold on the N90s and, for that matter, all of the cameras I have. Each has it's own character, each has it's own style and features but they all feel the same in my hands. All controls are familiar and save for a lag in autofocusing, I still use the N8008s frequently. They are good cameras with excellent lenses and great flash units. I do not miss not having a F5 or a F100 at all. Certainly I feel the F4 would be a step backwards except for durability and I do not think I will be using any of my gear as a hammer.

J Viray , August 18, 1999; 05:46 P.M.

I don't know what is up with these Minolta guys. Sure Minolta may make good optics and nice/cheap bodies, but come on... You guys are like Saturn or macintosh owners. Fine they might represent the best bang for the buck, but it's a ton easier to rent out EOS or Nikon stuff, and they have the money and/or volume to stay on top of the game with innovation and time-tested reliability. I've yet to see any professional sports photographer without a white grenade launcher.

Timothy Breihan , August 22, 1999; 03:48 P.M.

In response to Mr. Viray's abpve comment... I am both a Macintosh users and one time Minolta owner (I shoot with a Nikon FE2 now), and I wish to address his rather ill-informed posting.

The comparison between Minolta and Macintosh is an excellent one. Both are cutting-edge pieces of equipment, celebrated by few and representing benchmarks in technological development. The only company has ever been able to produce a camera with a reliable top shuttter speed of 1/12,000 of a second? Minolta. How about 1/8000 of a second flash sync? And why in ten years have neither Canon nor Nikon been able to even equal the wireless flash systems that Minolta introduced in the late eighties.

Reliablilty, you say? Perhaps you should investigate the number of perfectly functioning Maxxum 7000s still in use and compare that with similar numbers of F-801s, N2002s and EOS 630s.

And the comment about the white grenade launchers? I'm afraid to inform you that Minoltas professional telephotos are indeed white.

The biggest fault that I find with Minolta and Apple alike is their relative lack of interest in marketing their products. Lagging sales in both areas are due to lack of marketing, not lack of quality. Oh, and by the way, Apple's iMac is currently the biggest selling computer in the world.

Maurice Pooler , October 02, 1999; 04:40 P.M.

I recently purchased a MINOLTA 800SI I LOVE THE FEEL &HANDLING of it as a camera it has every feature one needs.in the german tests it was rated best camera in its class.Nikon is not the world.

David Klotz , October 19, 1999; 01:54 P.M.

I just purchased an N90s after carefully considering the N70 and the F100. I did not consider anything from Canon because you can't use their older lenses on the new bodies. I did not consider anything from Minolta or Pentax because their resale value is terrible. Used camera prices clearly show that Minolta and Pentax equipment depreciates much more rapidly than Nikon or Canon equipment. The big 2 from a RESALE standpoint are Nikon and Canon, in that order, and that ought to figure into anyone's thinking when buying a camera. I see the N90s as a great buy, and it won out over the N70 because it feels much sturdier, and for me the interface is more intuitive. The F100 was my favorite of all, of course, but for my use not worth the 40% premium over the N90s. I also believe that the F100 will continue to drop in price over the next two years, so for now I will wait.

john paras , October 30, 1999; 07:48 P.M.

I have a Nikon N90 and an N90s...I was thinking of trading these 2 bodies with one F100..but I realized the F100 doesn't have a viewfinder blind, that you use to minimize unnecessary changing of metering when using the self timer since other lighting variations may occur when you run to the group/scene to include yourself in the picture. Also I am also waiting for an F100s with that will have that missing feature. I also need 2 bodies for my wedding photography business. johnparas11@hotmail.com elanbeautifulphoto@hotmail.com

Paul Evans , December 24, 1999; 08:29 P.M.

I've used and abused my N90s since that model came out. I just purchased an F100 and can say the F100 is worth the extra money if for autofocus alone! Much better camera.Better construction, much, much better vertical grip! I love the 100 and now use the n90 as a very good backup.

Paul Evans , December 24, 1999; 08:30 P.M.

I've used and abused my N90s since that model came out. I just purchased an F100 and can say the F100 is worth the extra money if for autofocus alone! Much better camera.Better construction, much, much better vertical grip! I love the 100 and now use the n90 as a very good backup.

P. Evans

Hardeep Parwal , February 14, 2000; 07:29 P.M.

I've recenlty brought N90s with 24-120mm, SB-26, MF-26. It's really a good combination. I think investing in N90s will pay in long terms as it appears from the review. I feel proud of its qualities over other models. It is agreed that no camera is perfect from any vendor but peoples are having good experience with Nikon products. I strongly suggest this camera.

Mark Wilkins , April 23, 2000; 07:55 P.M.

Regarding the F100 and lack of a viewfinder shutter -- it's only an issue when shooting with long exposures, not when using the self-timer (as the amount of light that gets back to the meter from the viewfinder is very, very small.)

Axel Kuhlmann , April 26, 2000; 11:47 A.M.

Hi, a year ago I decided that I needed a new camera - I was out of fun using the F801s with the F601. (I use the Lowepro Phototrekker and so I have two main-boddies) There where too many differences (in AF, viewer, flashynchro-speed, energy and so on) between these two cameras. I finaly had to decide between the F100 and the F90x. The decision wasn't easy and I have to say that the F90x was the perfect solution. The most important arguement was not the price but the interfaces of the two cameras. Knowing the F601 & F801s Interfaces it is just easy to use the F90x. And - of course, there is the price. But what can the F100 do the F90x cannot do. O.K. - there is the better AF - and the F100 just looks better - but that's not worth the additional money. Because, when do you really need the AF - if you are taking sports. I don`t do this mainly - except rowing pictures but there usually I focus manually because this is the easiest way to get sharp pictures. For me, there is an other reason against the AF: the lenses: Even the AF of the F801s can focus my 18mm lens quickly. The same is mostly through with my Sigma 28-70 2.8. For sure, the F90x AF is much more faster and this the F90x is my first camera where I can use the AF in C-Mode. But where I would need a fast AF, the lens is too slow. I meen this for the Sigma 70-210 2.8 APO. Here, the AF really slows down - because of the lens. But I see that the same is though with the older Nikkors 80-200 2.8. So, think the F90x is nearly as well as teh F100. May be, I would see this different if I would use an F5 - then I would use the F100 as back-up body because of the same interfaces. I even don't know how I would decide not having a F801s and a F601 also in my Phototrekker. But under these circumstances, I don't see the F100 is much better than the F90x. Finaly: Some of you say the F90x is not robust enough, but: Don't you have a hamer for putting nails in the wall - do you really have to take your Nikon?

William (Bill) Crabill , October 17, 2000; 01:03 P.M.

I just finished reading all the N90s reviews & comments. I felt I wanted to add my minor two cents worth. I shoot with a N90s & FE2. Both have their places/advantages/disadvantages. A comment to you "PRO's" or semipro's who just have to hit on any camera that doesn't have auto bracketing. Most amatures today shoot color negative film, not slides, for us bracketing is a waste of film, since todays processing equipment overides these settings during the printing process anyway. Learned that with my first 8008! You're the same individuals who claim the N90s isn't a Pro camera anyway, so why should we need an unusable feature? I feel the N90s is a great handling instrument, tho I agree that all the supplemental exposure programs are a total waste. I forgot they were even there until reminded by one of the reviewers. And why do we have to perpetuate the Nikon vs Canon arguements? Two great camera systems, we never had it so good. When I bought my first 35mm SLR in 1958 the only choices were a Miranda w/50mm prime lens or a Minolta w/55mm prime lens, No wide angle or tele lenses until the following year, no such thing as zooms!. No Nikon SLR-,No Canon SLR....count your blessings and enjoy todays great equipment. By the way ,I still shoot an occasional roll of film thru that Miranda , after almost 45 years.

David Taylor , February 07, 2001; 01:58 A.M.

Been fun reading all these reviews of the N90S. I got one in a Nikon system that I bought (stole) last summer that included the N90s with the fancy back on it. When I went to S.America with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently I took the N90S instead on my F5 for fear of I might be robbed and figured that if they took something they'd at least not get the F5. As it turned out I loved the N90S and never really missed the F5. . . although I missed the weight of the heavier F5 and was glad it was missing! The photos were invariably right on and I doubt the F5 takes better pictures. The weight and balance of the N90 in the hands is really ideal I think. Easy to turn on, easy to use, and easy to open and reload. . . . the N90S is easier to use than the F5 in all of these features. And now with the N90S dropping in price, it is a great buy. . . better than the F100 which costs more. She's a sweet machine. Incidently, I used two lenses: the 24-120mm zoom and the 20mm. Great stuff! I do love my F5 though. What a piece of technology!

Syed Latif Hossain , October 01, 2001; 03:20 A.M.

Having reviewd many, tech reviews, brochure, asking the vendors and other photographers I switched to Nikon from Canon. The first F90X I bought went out of order just after three months. The command dial won't respond. I loved the features of the camera and hence, bought another body and now after one and a half year of using this one also suddenly stopped working. The LCD keeps turned on despite turning the on/off switch to off position, then no other buttons would respond (including the shutter release).

For the first body, I had to change the command dial which cost me a lot. Now I don't know what to change from the second body. I used quite a number bodies of Canon and never faced a trouble despite long uses.

I don't know if I should switch to Canon again or accept the rigors of using Nikon FM2 or FM10 (a toy for a camera).

I always take good care of my equipment. Why this trouble from a camera and/or manufacturer of such good repute?

Mark Ragaza , August 10, 2002; 01:11 P.M.

I purchased my N90 (F90 in Asia) when it first came out and was so excited that I also purchased a data back and a 35-105 mm zoom to go with it. I was extremely happy with the results the first few years that I was using it until I stored it for a few months after a lull in interest in shooting photos. When I got it back from storage (actually, in a camera bag I placed in a closet), I noticed that the rubber coating on the data back was sticky. The rubber coating had turn to gluey black rubber mess! After a few more months, there was nothing to hold on to the back of the camera but sticky melted rubber. I looked for the original cover which was also rubber coated hoping that it was spared from the meltdown. To my dismay, the back cover was nothing but a piece of metal covered in melted black rubber. Right now I have a perfectly working camera which I can't use.

I have tried checking with camera shops in Hong Kong which is supposed to the one of the most well stocked market place for cameras and parts. I was told that I would be wasting my money replacing the back cover as this is a common problem for the N90 when living in tropical climate. It will just melt again. Even camera shops in the Philippines have told me of similar problems of those owning an N90 or similar N cameras with rubber coating.

Does anyone out there know of a solution to this problem short of storing it in my refrigerator?

I am now thinking of buying a sturdier FM3a as am sick of the prospect of having another meltdown if I buy one of those Nikon rubberized cameras.

Sandy Oktavian , November 03, 2003; 01:09 A.M.

F90 X is a good cammera. I've used it in extrem situation (in heavy rainy and extrem hot in a beach for couple days) and had any problem. My only compain is the cotrol lay out. I think the control lay out is confusing, both for the body and Data back MF 26. It's hard to use and not practical when shooting in the field. Otherwise, it's a fine cammera!

G P , December 24, 2003; 07:52 A.M.

I have recently traded in my Nikon FM2n for the n90s. I did this because I was using an F80 with the FM2n and found myself always choosing the F80. The FM2n is a fantastic camera and if I had extra funds I would of hung on to it and bought the n90s as well! But fantasy aside, I thought the n90s (f90x in Europe) would suit my style of shooting better and compliment the F80. I guess this has something to do with my age and the generation of cameras I've grown up with (I'm currently 28). My first SLR was the F80, I bought the FM2n after using the F80 for a couple of years and had some very good experiences/results with it but I was just thinking F80 the whole time. It's a bit like learning a simple language or a piece of software, these tools and functions just become instinctive and when they're not there I miss them. No disrespect to the FM2n, it’s a lovely camera and for some people the ultimate camera.

There have been some comments on switching from the F80/F100 layout to the N90s/F90x layout and vice versa and how it can get confusing. I haven't found this to be the case at all. I find the simplicity of the n90s really refreshing and haven't had any problems switching from one to the other.

I would rate the n90s/f90x very highly and recommend it to anyone who's in the market for a quality used SLR. On the other hand I would also rate the F80/n80 very highly as this camera has been nothing but a great performer for me and I’ve used it under all sorts of conditions. So if you’re after a new SLR the F80 comes in at the same price as a used n90s. They are both phenomenal cameras and both capable of perfect results; it’s all down to the guy behind the lens with these cameras so you’ve just got to work out which is right for you.

For both the F90x/n90s and F80/n80 I would recommend fitting the optional battery packs (mb10 and mb15 respectively) as the ergonomics in both cases are greatly improved.

Todd Murphy , July 14, 2004; 01:32 P.M.

I own nikon 801, f70, f90x the 801 is a great pleasure to use with its easy to use functions and has always produced excellent exposures when coupled to my brain in regards to exposure compensations. i still use it for weddings, the f90x is very similar to the 801 with the advantages one would expect with a newer model.the f90x and the f70 both have a little more unpredictive temperment and i find at times some exposures suffer from under exposure probably because i rely a little more on their technology advancements at times which breeds lazyness and hence fall into the trap of the odd under exposure in certain situations. the f70 is a great pleasure to use and exceeded my expectations when i purchased it. it was the most advanced camera at the time of release, it can do just about every thing with very quiet operation and the only reason i dont use it for weddings etc is that the flash sync is only 125 sec oh i wished it was 250. the camera (f70) is a better all round camera then the f90x especialy for the $$ compared to the f90x the f70 has always received poor reviews because of the way the functions are set, but when you use the camera for a while it becomes very easy to use and really prompts you to use its functions to experiment. it realy is an inspiration for the money and is right up the claka of the f90x for speed. the extra weight of the f90x makes it more unsuitable for astro photography, as you dont need that heavy weight hanging off your telescope as it can put extra stress on the gears (causing extra wear)if it is motor driven so i have been told! the f90x will be probably the last film camera i will buy as i expect it to outlast me!!

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Paul McCarthy , October 10, 2004; 06:03 A.M.

I started my return to 35mm photography, after a 30 year absence. The prices on used film equipment, made the return possible. I, chose the N90s, after reviewing many of the older articles on it, and don't regret it. I wanted the capability of using the lenses, on future digital bodies (when I can afford them). The, D series of lenses seemed to be the perfect, "investment". I purchased my N90s, about a year ago, and have been collecting some nice lenses and accessories for it. Have a few friends who have pooled our resources and have purchased the N90s. This gives us the opportunity for swapping lenses with each other. It has made the experience easier on our collective financial status. We've had only had one bad investment on the big auction site, on a 20-35 mm f2.8 D lens; but, after having it rebuilt by a reputable shop, it's back and taking some really nice photos (by MY standards). I, do favor my single focal lenses over the zooms, for crisp photos. I find it's easier for me, to step forward or back to "crop" the subject; rather than, carry the weight of a zoom or risk an out of focus one with a zoom. My "back up" camera is a, Nikon VR -105; which,is a 35-105mm zoom, p&s. The, vibration reduction, is handy on the, VR-105 for my motorcycle rides, as, it fits in a "fanny pack". It, doesn't have the features or lens and filter capabilities of the N90s, but for the fun photos of a bike ride, it fills in nicely for a p&s. I'd like to be able to use a VR lens on the, N90s; but, seems they aren't able to use them. I think the lack of a mirror lock up prevents the use of a VR lens. When it's cold and miserable, (I live in Pittsburgh!)a VR lens could prove handy. In, the meantime, I'm learning a lot about the N90s, using this site and reading a lot of guides and articles. Wondered about the Nikon schools; they've been playing around with the website, at Nikon and haven't mentioned this year's (2004) schedule, yet. If, anyone has any info on them, please advise. My email address, izzynormal@libcom.com

Luis Saavedra , June 06, 2005; 12:59 A.M.

I've owned a N90s for just over nine years now and shot many rolls of film through it and never had a problem with it. This is one reliable camera. 35mm SLR photography is full of conveniences and this camera is chock-full of convenient features. Three metering modes, several useful exposure modes, depth-of-field preview,film winder, low battery consumption and relatively fast AF all at an unbelievably low price. The fact that you can still buy this camera new 11 years after its introduction is a testament to the incredible performance and value it offers.

Ruslan Lavrentyev , June 09, 2005; 03:06 A.M.

I used to be dead nuts on manual cameras like FM2 or FM3a, I was about to order FM3a, but I found out that MF lenses were discontinued, (and batteries SR44 were becoming not available in shops any more). Moreover I shoot weddings and have to catch moments. I tried F90 with AF50/1.4. I relish it. It surpasses FM3a in every respect (try to shoot a person in dim light 7-10 meters away at f2 with 50 mm lens, esp. with dark VF- with manual you would have a focus error) . It is even better than Canon EOS 3. 1/250 vs 1/200, AF range -1 + 19 vs 0-18, manual lenses may be used ( Canon may not use ), AF lock is a very handy function in every mode (though the button is stupidly placed), PC connection, AA batteries... and cheaper. It only lacks all-metal body like F100.

Gary Bruce BOWEN , February 02, 2006; 04:16 P.M.


A Favorite Subject

I have had my F90 for 13 years and it has been incredibly faithful. My bag included an FE2 and an FM2. My next body will be an F90S, even if it is 2nd hand. My F90 is simply stated, comfy and a dream to use.

Luis Saavedra , April 24, 2006; 05:58 P.M.

This is an underrated camera currently going for incredibly low prices at the auction sites. For amateur 35mm use, nothing beats it in terms of price versus performance. I just can't believe what I paid for mine new 10 years ago.

chantal stone , June 26, 2006; 09:50 P.M.

Agreed that this is a completely underrated camera. With its ease of use and sturdy body, this camera is a must have for any film photographer. It's a shame that it is no longer being made, but a blessing that it can be still found on auction sites.

Leo Duckworth , October 20, 2009; 02:12 A.M.

It's great to know the N90s has such great history. I wanted to move away from my FM2 and decided on a used N90s and boy what a joy to use and what great photos it takes. I now own 2 N90s and a N8008s as backup. One mounted with a 85mm 1.8 lens, one with a 50mm 1.8 and the other with a 35-135mm zoom. I have a sb-20 flash and do not plan on buying anything outside of film for the next 10 years. The cameras I bought were in great shape and I try to take good care of my equipment. Needless to say that in October of 2009 all my equipment works exceptionally well. I shoot weddings, portraits, birthdays, holidays, inside and outside a studio and the compliments I receive are overwhelming. People sometimes ask what type of cameras I use and I announce with pride "just an old used Nikon." I find it's not so much the equipment, it's all in the eye of the beholden.

rick mason , March 01, 2010; 02:03 A.M.


Nikon F90X

Hi, I've just collected a couple of Nikon f90X's at camera market and both are in pretty good condition. However, one of them is showing no LCD readout in the viewfinder. The other one does. Is this a problem or is there some way you can turn this readout on and off. The LCD readout on the top is fine and everything else on the camera is good too. I've gone all through the manual but can't find any reference to an ability to turn the viewfinder LCD information on and off. I'm starting to think its a fault. Any clues?


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