Canon M100 vs Nikon D90
The Canon EOS M100 and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2017 and August 2008. The M100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D90 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 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 EOS M100 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M100 and the Nikon D90. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D90 is only available in black.
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 (88 percent) than the Canon M100. Moreover, the D90 is substantially heavier (133 percent) than the M100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M100 nor the D90 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon M100||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Nikon D90||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon M200||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.5 oz||315||n||Sep 2019||549|
|Canon M50||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon T7||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.3 oz||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|Canon M6||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon SL2||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||16.0 oz||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon M5||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon M3||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon M10||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.6 oz||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon M||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon 40D||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Nikon D7000||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Nikon D300S||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D80||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the D90, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D90 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M100) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M100 offers a higher resolution of 24 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 3.72μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the M100 is much more recent (by 9 years) 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 M100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 M100 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 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 determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the M100 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D90 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M100 provides a higher video resolution than the D90. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D90 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M100 and Nikon D90 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M100 has a touchscreen, while the D90 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M100 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 M100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D90 uses SDHC cards. The M100 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 EOS M100 and Nikon D90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the M100 offers wifi support, while the D90 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the M100 and the D90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D90 was replaced by the Nikon D7000, while the M100 was followed by the Canon M200. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M100 or the Nikon D90 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M100:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP) with a 40% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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 (6.1 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 132x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 401g or 57 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- 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 into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 9 years of technical progress since the D90 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D90:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (850 versus 295) 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 M100 is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 M100 and the Nikon D90 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M100 and the D90 in practical situations. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Nikon D90||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|Canon M200||+||79/100||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2019||549|
|Canon M50||+||79/100||..||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon T7||o||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|Canon G9 X Mark II||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|Canon M6||..||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon SL2||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon M5||+||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon M3||o||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon M10||..||..||..||o||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon 40D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Nikon D7000||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Nikon D300S||+ +||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 300D vs Nikon D90
- Canon M100 vs Nikon D7500
- Canon M100 vs Olympus E-420
- Canon M100 vs Olympus E-PL7
- Canon M100 vs Panasonic G110
- Canon M100 vs Panasonic G7
- Canon M100 vs Sony NEX-7
- Nikon D90 vs Olympus E-M1 III
- Nikon D90 vs Olympus E-M10 II
- Nikon D90 vs Olympus E-PL5
- Nikon D90 vs Sony A6300
- Nikon D90 vs Sony NEX-3
Specifications: Canon M100 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 M100||Nikon D90|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2017||August 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M100||Nikon D90|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.9||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1272||977|
|Screen Specs||Canon M100||Nikon D90|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%|
|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 M100||Nikon D90|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||6.1 shutter flaps/s||4.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|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 M100||Nikon D90|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M100||Nikon D90|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||850 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 35 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in)
132 x 103 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||302 g (10.7 oz)||703 g (24.8 oz)|
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