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Nikon D2X vs D90

The Nikon D2X and the Nikon D90 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2004 and August 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D2X   Nikon D90
Nikon D2X Nikon D90
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 720/24p Video
ISO 100-800 (100-3200) ISO 200-3200 (200-6400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 235k dots 3.0" LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 4.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
3800 shots per battery charge850 shots per battery charge
158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g 132 x 103 x 77 mm, 703 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D2X 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.

Body comparison: Nikon D2X vs D90

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D2X and the Nikon D90 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D2X vs Nikon D90
Compare D2X versus D90 top
Comparison D2X or D90 rear

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 smaller (43 percent) than the Nikon D2X. Moreover, the D90 is substantially lighter (44 percent) than the D2X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D2X is splash and dust resistant, while the D90 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D2X gets 3800 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the D90 can take 850 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D2X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D90, Nikon provides the MB-D80 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

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, 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2X» 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D90« 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 37.7 oz 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499- i Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D1H« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499- i Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D90 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 74 percent) than the D2X, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D2X vs D90

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D2X and Nikon D90 sensor measures

Even though the D90 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12.2 megapixels. This implies that the D90 has a lower pixel density and marginally larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 5.52μm for the D2X), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the D90 is much more recent (by 3 years and 11 months) than the D2X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Nikon D2X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. 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.

D2X versus D90 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D90 offers substantially better image quality than the D2X (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2X» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D90« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
 
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« » APS-C 4.0 2464 1632-18.910.035240Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D1H« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D90 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D2X does not. The highest resolution format that the D90 can use is 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D2X vs D90

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D2X and the D90 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D2X offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D90 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D90 has a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D2X, the Nikon D90, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2X»optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D90«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
 
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« »optical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D1H« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n Nikon D1

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D90 has one, while the D2X does not. While the built-in flash of the D90 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The D2X writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D90 uses SDHC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D2X vs D90

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 Nikon D2X and Nikon D90 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2X»Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D90«Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
 
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
 
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D1H« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D2X (unlike the D90) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D2X and the D90 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2X was replaced by the Nikon D2Xs, while the D90 was followed 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 Nikon website.


Review summary: Nikon D2X vs D90

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D2X and the Nikon D90? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D2X:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3800 versus 850) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D90:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/24p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.57x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 235k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (132x103mm vs 158x150mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 549g or 44 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (74 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D2X launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D90 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 7 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.

D2X 07:12 D90

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D2X and the Nikon D90 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D2X or the D90 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews: Nikon D2X vs D90

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2X»-+ +-o- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D90«+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
 
Canon 40D« »+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
 
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« »+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D5000« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D3« »-+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« »+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D80« »++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »+ ++ +o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« »-+ +-o- Jul 2003 3,499- i Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D1H« »-+ +-o- Feb 2001 4,499- i Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1X« »-+ +-o- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« »-+ +--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
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.

Nikon D2X:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D90:
Check Ebay offers

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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D2X 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D2X Nikon D90
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2004 August 2008
    Launch Price USD 4999 USD 1299
    Sensor Specs Nikon D2X Nikon D90
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.7 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 372.09 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.52 μm 5.53 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100-800 ISO 200-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 200-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 73
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 476 977
    Screen Specs Nikon D2X Nikon D90
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D2X Nikon D90
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 4.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D2X Nikon D90
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D2X Nikon D90
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-EL4a power pack EN-EL3e power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)3800 shots per charge850 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1252 g (44.2 oz) 703 g (24.8 oz)

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