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REVIEW: Canon EOS 90D

CANON EOS 90D: A 32.5-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor make Canon’s latest cropped-sensor DSLR camera attractive to mid-level enthusiasts who prefer a traditional DSLR body. It doesn’t look like a huge advance from the 80D it replaces, but improved autofocusing, higher resolution, greater buffer capacity for continuous shooting and better battery capacity make it a worthwhile upgrade. But, if 4K video is a high priority, a mirrorless alternative, whether from Canon or another manufacturer, will probably be a better choice.
RRP: $1959 (body only).

Canon EOS 90D review main
The EOS 90 D is a decent upgrade from the 80D, but if you need superior 4K performance, the mirrorless ‘unidentical twin’, the M6 Mk II, might be a better alternative.

Announced simultaneously with the mirrorless EOS M6 Mark II, which uses the same sensor and processor, the EOS 90D provides a conventional pentaprism viewfinder that provides close to 100 percent field of view. Designed to replace both the EOS 80D and the anticipated next generation of the EOS 7D, it can record 4K video clips at 25 fps as well as Full HD 1080p movies at up to 100 fps, HD 720p at 50 fps or HDR (1920 x 1080) movies at 25 fps. Frames can be cropped or uncropped, with the latter using pixel binning to maintain quality.

Another key feature of the 90D is its autofocusing system, which combines advanced TTL technology for viewfinder-based shooting with Canon’s proprietary Dual Pixel CMOS AF system for Live View shooting. Forty-five cross-type points are distributed across 88 percent of the horizontal frame and 100 percent vertically, with each point individually selectable. Eleven 11 AF modes enable them to be configured in groups to provide superior tracking performance.

Exposure metering has been boosted from a 7560-pixel system to a 220,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor that can measure both visible light and invisible infra-red light. Electronic capabilities have also been added to the mechanical shutter to extend its 30-1/8000 second range to 1/16,000-second. The native ISO range of 100 to 25,600 can be expended to ISO 51,200 for shooting stills but remains fixed at ISO 100 to 12,800 for movies.

Physically, the 90D is very conventional and buyers of this camera will welcome the return of the rear panel joystick, which allows direct control over the AF point position. The grip moulding is also deeper and more comfortable than the 80D’s, while the mode dial has been simplified with the removal of the flash-off and Creative Auto positions. The SD card slot now accepts UHS-II-compliant cards but the battery is the same LP-E6N as used in the 80D and 70D and the camera accepts the same BG-E14 battery grip.

Purchasing Points:

Canon 90D rear
The inclusion of the rear panel joystick control, ditched for the 80D, makes a welcome return.

1. A good choice for traditionalists who prefer the look and feel of a DSLR body and would rather use an optical viewfinder than an EVF.
2. The 1.6x crop factor extension in focal length can be handy for sports and wildlife photographers.
3. The new camera’s body is made from aluminium alloy and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre reinforcing – but it has only basic weather resistance. It could probably withstand brief exposure to light dust or spray.
4. The hybrid AF system supports fast and accurate autofocusing, even in dim, low-contrast lighting, regardless of whether the viewfinder or monitor is used for framing shots.
5. Comprehensive shooting information can be displayed in the viewfinder window as well as grid overlays, an electronic level and other framing aids.
6. The 90D uses Canon’s new CR3.RAW raw file format and introduces a new C-RAW option that provides lossless compression to reduce file sizes and increase buffer depths. There are also seven compression ‘sizes’ for JPEGs and users can choose from four aspect ratios: the standard 3:2 plus 4:3, 1:1 and 16:9 aspect ratios. The latter three are via cropping.
7. 4K/25p video recording is available without cropping the frame, along with Full HD at 100p, 50p and 25p plus HD at 50p. Digital stabilisation is available for movie recording, with two settings cropping the frame by differing amounts.
8. Built-in Wi-Fi and low-energy Bluetooth for easy connection to a smart device. Both types of Raw file can be exported over Wi-Fi when using the Canon Camera Connect App, which also supports remote controls over key shooting functions.

Distributor: Canon Australia,  1800 021 167; www.canon.com.au.

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