In the ever-expanding digital camera market place, the spotlight and attention are moving ever faster from the DLSR to the mirrorless format. Everybody wants the latest cutting-edge technology, but the DSLR platform still has years of growth ahead. One particular instance of this is the Canon EOS 90D.
The mirrorless format may have faster burst speeds, more AF points and such, but in reality a camera such as the Canon EOS 90D ticks all the boxes for the enthusiastic to the professional.
For instance, the 10fps burst speed and Dual Pixel Autofocus are highly efficient in the real world, and the 32.5-megapixel APS-C crop sensor is the same version as found on the EOS M6 Mark II. Yes, the 90D has the bigger DLSR body design, but tried and tested designs usually weather the storm better than a completely new version.
Let’s dig into what the Canon EOS 90D has to offer and can it tick all the boxes for the modern photographer.
The Canon EOS 90D follows on from the success of the 80D, with a familiar Canon-like design, but with slightly updated elements across the board. The top plate of the camera features the familiar mode dial with a very handy thumb lock switch. Settings range from manual to semiautomatic, with creative settings for different subject matter.
On the right side of the top plate is the familiar LCD screen which displays the most important camera settings, along with buttons for AF, drive, ISO, and flash compensation. A button is also available to light up the screen when in dark conditions.
A small dial is located on the top plate which can be customized to change various camera settings. The back of the camera has a fully articulating 3-inch, 1,040,000 Dot touchscreen LCD, which is ideal for accessing the camera’s menu system and previewing footage for tapping focus points.
The rear of the camera will be very familiar to Canon users, with a small but capable dial, commonly used for changing exposure settings, with buttons for play, delete, ‘Q’ button for quick viewing of camera settings, a mini-joystick for AF point selection, video button, menu, Info, AF-on, and zoom buttons. There’s also a handy lock switch for making sure the rear dial doesn’t move.
Only one SD card slot is available, but at least there are ports for USB, HDMI output, and a 3.5mm microphone jack for external recording. There’s also a built-in flash, with a hot shoe available for external units. The whole unit weighs in at 701g.
Imaging on the camera is wrapped around a 32.5MP CMOS APS-C (1.6x Crop Factor) sensor and DIGIC 8 processor with a 14-bit depth and ISO sensitivity from 100 to 25600 (expandable to 100 to 51200). Exposure compensation provides a wide range from -5 to +5 EV, with various metering modes available, such as spot, partial, evaluative and center-weighted average. In total, 45 all cross-type AF points are available with the optical viewfinder, while 5481 Dual Pixel CMOS AF points can be used in live view.
One thing that still sets DLSRs apart from their mirrorless brethren, is the optical viewfinder. Featuring a Pentaprism design, the viewfinder has 100% coverage with an approximate 0.95x of magnification. Shooting through the viewfinder provides up to 1,860 shots per battery charge. Amply in many cases for a full days shoot.
It’s also advisable to dig into the menu system and enable settings that aren’t switched on by default. Things like assigning a function to the joystick and eye detection autofocus need to be switched on through the menu system. A slight pain, but once done, it’s a matter of set and forget.
Lastly, video capabilities come in with UHD 4K at 24p with full HD going up to 120p. External recording is possible with 4:2:2 8-Bit performance, with NTSC encoding and can be recorded internally up to 29 Minutes, 59 Seconds.
The Canon EOS 90D in Use
While everything is getting smaller and more compact, I personally prefer the more sizeable feel of a DSLR body. The grip is ample for most hands, with buttons and dials within easy reach. The articulating rear screen is also extremely handy to set multiple viewing angles, while the optical viewfinder still feels like the best method to view a scene.
Using the rear LCD screen is both quick and precise using Canon’s Dual Pixel Autofocus with a simple tap of the screen that locks in focus. Focusing works very well in low-light conditions, obviously dependent on the lens being used.
The various AF zones can be swapped at a moment’s notice and can easily track moving subjects, with the only hiccups coming in when a subject is moving straight towards the camera. Live view includes a few other features not found through the optical viewfinder, such as autofocus, tracking autofocus and face detection. These features working best with static subjects.
The Canon EOS 90D wouldn’t be considered as a sports camera, but the 10fps is perfectly good for general purposes. JPEGs can be rattled off far faster than RAW files, with usually a five-second burst then a few seconds before continuing.
Image quality from the camera is smooth and crisp at base ISO levels. Noise starts to creep in around ISO 800, perfectly usable up to ISO 6400. Images are well saturated with lots of contrast, while using auto white balance temperatures usually err on the cool side, only being tripped up under artificial light.
The 4K video quality on the camera is shot without cropping, providing plenty of detail and accuracy. Audio can be recorded on the internal microphone but is just okay. Much better to use an external mic if you want to use this unit for predominantly video work.
How Does It Compare?
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II has the same sensor and processor as the 90D, coming in at less money. The M6 Mark II also has a faster burst speed of 14fps. However, the 90D has a fine selection of lenses on offer and has a far better battery life.
If an optical viewfinder is better than an EVF can be down to personal preference, but at least an optical viewfinder doesn’t have a blackout and still feels the more reliable in the long run. Obviously, this is more a subjective opinion, than long-run tests.
|Canon EOS 90D||Canon EOS M6 Mark II|
With its weather-sealed body, the Canon EOS 90D has a lot to offer to the modern photographer. High resolution, great video quality, and a robust design that will last years.
Mirrorless cameras may be cramming in all the latest tech, along with the latest range of newly developed lenses, but the results speak for themselves in the 90D for both stills and video. If you need a camera solution with a tried and tested background, then the 90D is a great fit.