Canon G5 X Mark II vs Nikon D90
The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2019 and August 2008. The G5X Mark II is a fixed lens compact, while the D90 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (G5X Mark II) and an APS-C (D90) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II and the Nikon D90? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon G5 X Mark II and the Nikon D90 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D90 is considerably larger (101 percent) than the Canon G5 X Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5X Mark II nor the D90 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G5X Mark II has a lens built in, whereas the D90 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D90 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G5X Mark II gets 230 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the D90 can take 850 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack. The power pack in the G5X Mark II can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|2.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|7.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|8.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|10.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|11.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|12.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|13.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||115 mm||66 mm||65 mm||392 g||300||n||Aug 2018||999|
|15.||Panasonic ZS200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|16.||Sony ZV-1||105 mm||60 mm||44 mm||294 g||260||n||May 2020||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||102 mm||58 mm||43 mm||301 g||240||n||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G5X Mark II was launched at a lower price than the D90, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G5 X Mark II features an one-inch sensor and the Nikon D90 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D90 is 222 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G5 X Mark II offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D90. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the G5X Mark II is much more recent (by 10 years and 10 months) than the D90, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G5 X Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G5X Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D90 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D90 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||Four Thirds||16.8||4736||3552||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the G5X Mark II provides a higher video resolution than the D90. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5X Mark II has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D90 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G5 X Mark II and Nikon D90 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||2764||n||3.0||1240||fixed||Y||1/4000s||11.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||Y||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G5X Mark II has a touchscreen, while the D90 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G5X Mark II has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the D90 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the G5X Mark II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon G5 X Mark II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The G5X Mark II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D90 uses SDHC cards. The G5X Mark II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D90 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II and Nikon D90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the G5X Mark II offers wifi support, while the D90 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The G5X Mark II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D90 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D90 was succeeded by the Nikon D7000. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G5 X Mark II and the Nikon D90? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 12.2MP) with a 28% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/24p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (30 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D90 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x61mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D90).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D90 launch.
Advantages of the Nikon D90:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G5X Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G5 X Mark II and the Nikon D90 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G5X Mark II or the D90. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|2.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon SX740||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|6.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|7.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|8.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|9.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|10.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|11.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|12.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|13.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|14.||Panasonic LX100 II||4.5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||999|
|15.||Panasonic ZS200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|16.||Sony ZV-1||4/5||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||May 2020||799|
|17.||Sony RX100 VI||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2018||1,199|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon G5 X Mark II vs Nikon D90
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon G5 X Mark II||Nikon D90|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-120mm f/1.8-2.8||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2019||August 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G5 X Mark II||Nikon D90|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||977|
|Screen Specs||Canon G5 X Mark II||Nikon D90|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G5 X Mark II||Nikon D90|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||30 shutter flaps/s||4.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/25600s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G5 X Mark II||Nikon D90|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon G5 X Mark II||Nikon D90|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||230 shots per charge||850 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
111 x 61 x 46 mm
(4.4 x 2.4 x 1.8 in)
132 x 103 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||340 g (12.0 oz)||703 g (24.8 oz)|
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