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Which Nikon camera should I buy to replace my D90?

My camera, a Nikon D90, was recently stolen. This didn't happen while we were on vacation but was a theft from our home while contractors were in and out for three weeks doing repair work after water damage. The next time I went to use the camera, after the work was all done, the camera bag was in the cabinet in our living room but was empty. I need to replace the camera before our upcoming trip to Scandinavia in July.

I loved my D90. The salesman at my favorite local camera store is trying to console me by informing me it was very obsolete and it was time for me to upgrade it anyway. I'm probably going to stick with Nikon because I don't have much interest in learning a whole new system after becoming so used to the Nikon buttons and dials and menus and functions, etc. The salesman thinks that the Nikon D5600 will be a nice replacement. He knows my primary use will be travel photography and he likes the fact that the D5600 small and lightweight.

I read that the D90, when introduced 11 years ago, was intended to fill the spot between entry level and professional level. The salesman at my store admitted that the D5600 is closer to "entry level" and that if I want to get something comparable to what the D90 was when introduced, that would be the D7500.

I acknowledge that the D90 was heavy, with the 18-200 mm lens that I always used for travel. Before discovering the theft of my DSLR, I'd been thinking about getting a small travel camera for those trips when I'm moving around a lot and want to travel especially light. Now, though, my focus is on replacing my DSLR. The D5600 does seems nice and lightweight, but the store where I'm shopping has a great sale right now and the D7500 is well within my budget. Is that a far better camera? Worth the extra weight for what it's going to give me? If I get that, will the kit lens, which is 18-140mm, be adequate as my only lens for the upcoming trip to Sweden, Denmark and Norway, or will I regret not having a longer lens?

I know nothing about mirrorless cameras. They're quite a bit more expensive but is now the perfect opportunity to be looking into buying one?

Posted by
1076 posts

You would do better asking this question on a photography forum. I would suggest "dpreview". I am a Canon user and am not familiar with Nikon cameras.

Posted by
266 posts

I am so sorry to hear that your camera was stolen. The D7500 is essentially the up-to-date version of D90, and the 18-140mm should be fine for travel. If I were going outside the focal range of the 18-140mm, I would go wider instead of longer.

When I made my first trip to Europe five years ago, I decided that the D90 was a bit more than I wanted to lug around, and I opted for a Micro 4/3 system, specifically an Olympus OMD EM-10 (which I have since upgraded to a EM-5ii). It gives me a lot of the flexibility of a dSLR in a much lighter package. I have been very happy with it. Just something to think about.

And one more thing ... there are a lot of full frame mirrorless cameras out now, including the Nikon Z6 and Z7. They are fine cameras with fairly compact bodies, but I would look long and hard at the size and weight of the lenses. One of the Z series cameras may well be replace my d750 one day, but not for travel.

Posted by
989 posts

Two years ago I upgraded to a D7100 and gave my D90 to our daughter (both are terrific cameras). You can purchase online a used D90 for under $200 at reputable camera shops.
However, after our London trip last year I made the decision to switch to using only an iPhone camera. I am a serious amature photographer and asked my wife to help create a photo comparison using her iphone to my dslr (using a 2.8 18 - 200 nikkor lens on my D7100 to her iphone 6). The raw results were so compartively close and the editing apps produced essentially the same images that i decided to go with the convenience of an iphone. The iphone camera community is rapidly expanding and the expense of aftermarket add on lenses is a third of the price of quality dslr products. I use a website called "Moment" for professional tips and purchases.
https://www.shopmoment.com
Check out the following website to learn more about camera comparisons:
https://www.kenrockwell.com
Overall I love the freedom of travel convenience with the iphone and the challenge of learning how to best adapt and use the iphone for photography.

Posted by
440 posts

Retired photographer here. After carrying two or four Nikons around for decades, I also recommend you learn to enjoy using your phone’s camera. Remarkable little machines that dramatically alter the way you perceive documentation. They also streamline the whole process into a nearly seamless experience. There are a few photo things you simply cannot do but you keep those shots in your heart anyway.

Posted by
245 posts

I do take a lot of photos with my iphone camera on vacations. The problem is battery life. On a 2 week vacation, I typically come home with 4,000 images. The battery of my iphone would never stand up to that. I can recharge the battery througout the day with my portable charger, but that's a hassle.

Posted by
1650 posts

If you want to stick with Nikon, the D7500 should be fine. There's a sale going on now where you can get the D7500, the 18-55 and the 70-300 $996, or $500 off. See B&H Photo, which is a reputable store.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of super zooms like the 18-200. To have such a wide zoom range, there are too many compromises that need to be made in the lens design to have such a big range. They are usually not very sharp and they have small maximum apertures which make shooting in low light problematic. That particular lens also suffers from distortion and chromatic aberration (purple fringing).

Regarding mirrorless cameras, someone mentioned the new Nikon mirrorless cameras. Be aware they are full frame and your 18-200 is designed for a camera with a smaller (APS-C) sensor and will not work.

If you are interested in looking into mirrorless, you could consider the Fuji X-E3 . I taking my full frame Canon DSLR on trips, but got tired of the weight and bought the X-E3. It's a great little camera! It offers different film simulation settings which look great. It also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. When I travel, I can take a photo and in less than a few minutes, I can share it on social media. Like other mirrorless cameras, it has an electronic viewfinder (EVF) which helps you see better how the final image will look. You will have to buy the camera with the 18-55 kit lens and a 55-200 (~$500) so it would run you about $500 more than getting the Nikon 7500. The Fuji is very intuitive and you should have no problem adapting.

BTW, I was a full time professional for nearly 25 years back in the film days and have taught photography at local universities in their continuing education department off and on for over 30 years. I also have a degree in photography.

Posted by
622 posts

IMO the D7500 is hands down the best choice to replace the D90. In my opinion the size/weight difference between the D7500 and D5600 is worth it, for the better capabilities in many respects of the D7500. There are lots of online comparison tools, like this one, with the details. Also IMO the D7500 with the 18-140mm lens ought to be fine for vacation travel photos. Unless your main goal is photographing birds in flight or stalking wildlife in the great outdoors, 140mm on a current-technology APS-C sensor like the D7500's, should give you plenty of telephoto reach.

Neither the D5600 nor D7500 is a featherweight compact travel camera, especially with a good walk-around telephoto lens like the 18-140. But if you're fine with traveling with that gear, then that's what you need.

There are more lightweight compact cameras you could take on your travels. I often read this guy's website for reviews and information on the latest greatest tech in this regard: http://photoseek.com/. He has a useful discussion of camera sensor sizes, and keeps an updated page where he reviews the best travel cameras.

I own a bunch of nice camera gear - bodies and interchangeable lenses - which is now all Sony mirrorless (I came over from the Nikon world and it was all about smaller size). However, I don't lug all that stuff along on foreign vacations, and I'm currently trying out a (not inexpensive) fancy all-in-one Sony camera with a 1" sensor and superzoom lens which may become my go-to travel camera.

My best advice is to become very familiar with your new camera (whether it's a DSLR replacement or a small lightweight camera for travel), before your big trip. I should have known better, but I made that mistake last year with a camera I took to London. It was an ideal travel camera, but I hadn't used it enough to become familiar with its setup, button locations, etc.

I'm so used to shooting with my Sony cameras that I can use them the dark and half-asleep. This new-ish camera was a different make, and the hassle of fumbling with the camera while out and about was ruining my fun. That camera sat in the room, and I just made do with the Sony camera + 35mm lens that I'd also brought. (All that gear together was packable and not heavy, but I regretted taking the new-ish camera.)

Oh yes. The photo I took on that trip, that I think was the best, and that got the best reaction from my friends and family? I snapped with my Pixel 2 smartphone.

Just saying.

Sweden sounds wonderful! Have a great trip!!