Nikon D90 vs Nikon D810

  • APS-C
  • 12 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 40
    Overall
  • 13
    Imaging
  • 30
    Features
  • 72
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 36 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 55
    Overall
  • 36
    Imaging
  • 59
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D90 vs Nikon D810: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

The goal of this overview is to provide a detailed comparison of two popular camera models from Semi-Pro DSLR category, introduced by Nikon. We are going to take a closer look at the technical and physical characteristics, features, and performance. The models we are going to assess and compare in this review are D90 and D810. Both products that we are going to review are equipped with the same type of sensor - CMOS. However, they have different resolution. Thus, Nikon D90 comes with a 12.0 MP CMOS sensor, while the Nikon D810 features a 36.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Now, before we can move on to our comparison, let's take a moment to look at the key characteristics of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810.

Nikon D90 Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 3200 (Expands to 6400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 4.5 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 132 x 103 x 77 mm
  • Weight: 703 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D80. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D7000. Compare

Nikon D810 Key Features:

  • 36.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64 - 12800 (Expands to 32 - 51200)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 146 x 123 x 82 mm
  • Weight: 980 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D800. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D850. Compare

Since Nikon D90 has been around for some time, it was substituted by Nikon D7000. Be sure to check out some of our other comparisons that may also interest you:
Nikon D90 vs. D7000
Nikon D7000 vs. Nikon D810

Being a newer model, Nikon D90 substituted Nikon D80. Be sure to check out some of our other comparisons that may also interest you:
Nikon D90 vs. D80
Nikon D80 vs. Nikon D810

Why is Nikon D90 a better choice than Nikon D810

Flash Range 17 vs 12 5 better flash range
Weight 703 g vs 980 g 277 g lighter

What are the key reasons to pick Nikon D810 over Nikon D90

Timelapse Recording Yes vs No Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP vs 12.0 MP 66.7% more pixels
Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 vs 372.88 mm2 56.7% larger pixel area
Continuous Shooting 5 fps vs 4.5 fps 0.5 fps faster
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
Number Of Focus Points 51 vs 11 40 more focus points
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots vs 920k dots 25.1% higher resolution screen
Battery Life 1200 shots vs 850 shots 350 more frames with a single charge
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 vs 1280 x 720 Higher Resolution Video
Microphone Port Yes vs No High quality audio recording option
Headphone Port Yes vs No Has headphone port
Dxo Color Depth 25.7 vs 22.7 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 12.5 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2853 vs 977 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.7 vs 0.64 0.06 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810

Screen Size 3″ | 3.2″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Built-In Flash Yes | Yes External flash available
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Battery Life 850 shots | 1200 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Continuous Shooting 4.5 fps | 5.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Nikon D90 vs Nikon D810: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 from the front view.

Nikon D90
Nikon D810
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D90
Nikon D810
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D90 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 277g less than the Nikon D810. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D90 — 850 shots
Nikon D810 — 1200 shots
Min: 390 shots
Average: 871 shots
Max: 1840 shots
Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D90 — 77 mm
Nikon D810 — 82 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D90 — 703 g
Nikon D810 — 980 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D90 features a 12.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor . Nikon D810, in its turn, comes with a 36.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D90
Nikon D810
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Nikon D810 is equipped with a sensor that is 0.4x larger than the one featured in Nikon D90. Compared to the cameras with smaller sensor area, the ones with larger sensors ensure more control on the blurry background and depth of field if you shoot in the same aperture and focal length. Thus, the first model has a significant advantage here.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D90 Nikon D810
Portrait Photography
66%
94%
Street Photography
75%
89%
Sports Photography
70%
93%
Daily Photography
56%
39%
Landscape Photography
85%
99%

Nikon D90 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D810 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D90 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large APS-C(23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (850 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Nikon D810 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1200 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D90 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (4.5 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (977)
  • Small battery life (850 shots)

Nikon D810 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (51)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (15)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Nikon D90 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (703 g)
  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Nikon D810 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (980 g)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Nikon D90 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.5)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (977)

Nikon D810 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Comparison of Nikon D90 vs Nikon D810: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D90 or Nikon D810, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D90 and Nikon D810 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D810 deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D90. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D90 vs Nikon D810 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D90 Nikon D810
General
Brand Nikon Nikon
Model D90 D810
Announced Oct 13, 2008 Jun 26, 2014
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 23.6 x 15.8 mm 35.9 x 24 mm
Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 861.60 mm2
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP 36.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 7360 x 4912
Max Native ISO 3,200 12,800
Max Boosted ISO 6,400 51,200
Min Native ISO 200 64
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Nikon F
Number of Lenses 287 287
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No No
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes No
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 11 51
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 15
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 3″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 920k dots 1,229k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 96% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.64 0.7
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 4.5 fps 5.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Flash Range 17 12
Flash Modes Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction w/slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No Yes
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 73 97
DxO Color Depth 22.7 25.7
DxO Dynamic Range 12.5 14.8
DxO Low Light ISO 977 2853
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps) 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
Max Video Resolution 1280 x 720 1920 x 1080
Video Formats Motion JPEG MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 703 g 980 g
Physical Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm 146 x 123 x 82 mm
Battery Life 850 shots 1200 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL3e EN-EL15
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No Yes
GPS Optional Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC SD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant)
Storage Slots 1 2

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