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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My 2015 Film Adventure, Part 3 - Nikon N90s/F90X Review

General
I was telling you last time about the N80/F80 being my go-to film camera from all the three I used during this past few weeks. Nikon EM, Nikon N80, and today...drumroll...Nikon N90s (known outside the USA as F90x; exactly the same thing). The N90s is a well-appreciated camera, so you might be puzzled by my preferring the F80. Read on, and you will see why - your experience might vary, depending on the application.



Pros/Cons
+ feature-rich, most of the stuff you need are there.
+ it can take a beating, while still being light-ish and small-ish.
+ can meter with non-cpu lenses (just CW and spot, no Matrix)


- VR doesn't work; G lenses can be used only on Program or Shutter Priority.
- AF is fast and reliable but not as sophisticated as in more modern cameras.
- older design philosophy, it will feel strange coming from a DSLR

Intended Users
Great for:
  • the best value if you want to use both non-cpu and AF lenses.
  • tough, cheap, expendable (= great for traveling, using in wet or dusty environments)
  • 1/250 flash sync speed is a plus for heavy flash users.


Not for:
  • the N80 is a better option if you have many modern lenses (G, VR)
  • the design philosophy and overall ergonomics are inferior compared to the sweet, modern 2-dial layout of the N80,
  • If you thought the 3 focus points of the D40 made composing difficult, try that with the N90s - only 1 focus point.

Final Verdict
The Nikon N90s/F90x is a great little camera - and revolutionary for its time. But the years have gone by, and things have gone better. The biggest issue that I faced using the N90s was the different (obsolete) design philosophy. I love double command dials, and I love not having to think too much swapping from a DSLR to a film camera. With the N90s, you have to consciously stop and think what you're doing. Not good, but not a deal-breaker, Not being able to take full advantage of G and VR lenses is also not a deal-breaker, but it's not good either. And, once you start piling up these things, you might realize the N80 is, for about the same money, a better deal. It can't meter with non-cpu lenses, but, in my opinion, it is a better option regarding everything else.






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