Nikon D90 versus Nikon D3400
The Nikon D90 and the Nikon D3400 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2008 and August 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D90 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the D3400 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D3400
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D3400. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D90 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3400 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Nikon D90. Moreover, the D3400 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the D90. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D90 nor the D3400 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Nikon D90»||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||-|
|Nikon D3400«||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|Canon 200D« »||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon 40D« »||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||-|
|Nikon D7500« »||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D5600« »||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5500« »||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899||-|
|Nikon D7200« »||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||-|
|Nikon D3300« »||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||-|
|Nikon D7100« »||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||-|
|Nikon D3200« »||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||-|
|Nikon D7000« »||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Nikon D3000« »||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599||-|
|Nikon D5000« »||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749||-|
|Nikon D60« »||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629||-|
|Nikon D40X« »||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||-|
|Nikon D80« »||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||-|
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 D3400 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D3400
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 D3400 is 2 percent smaller. 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D3400 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the D90. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the D3400 is much more recent (by 7 years and 11 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the D3400 offers substantially better image quality than the D90 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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 200D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.4||1041||79|
|Canon 40D« »||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.1||11.3||703||64|
|Nikon D7500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.3||14.0||1483||86|
|Nikon D5600« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84|
|Nikon D5500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84|
|Nikon D7200« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87|
|Nikon D3300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82|
|Nikon D7100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.2||13.7||1256||83|
|Nikon D3200« »||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81|
|Nikon D7000« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80|
|Nikon D3000« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.1||563||62|
|Nikon D5000« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72|
|Nikon D60« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.5||11.4||562||65|
|Nikon D40X« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.4||11.4||516||63|
|Nikon D80« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.1||11.2||524||61|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D3400 provides a better video resolution than the D90. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the D90 is limited to 720/24p.
Feature comparison: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D3400
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D90 and the D3400 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D90, the Nikon D3400, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 200D« »||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Canon 40D« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||6.5||Y||n|
|Nikon D7500« »||optical||Y||3.2||922||tilting||Y||8000||8.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D5600« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D5500« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D7200« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D3300« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D7100« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D3200« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||4.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D7000« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D3000« »||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D5000« »||optical||n||2.7||230||full-flex||n||4000||4.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D60« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D40X« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D80« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
The D3400 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the D90 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D90 was succeeded by the Nikon D7000.
Review summary: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D3400
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D3400? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D90:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3400:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- More compact: Is smaller (124x98mm vs 132x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 258g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 850) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D90 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3400 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 3 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D90 or the D3400. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Nikon D90»||HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-|
|Nikon D3400«||Rec||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|Canon 200D« »||HiRec||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon 40D« »||HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299||-|
|Nikon D7500« »||HiRec||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D5600« »||-||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5500« »||Rec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||-|
|Nikon D7200« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||-|
|Nikon D3300« »||Rec||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||-|
|Nikon D7100« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||-|
|Nikon D3200« »||HiRec||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||-|
|Nikon D7000« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Nikon D3000« »||Rec||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599||-|
|Nikon D5000« »||HiRec||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749||-|
|Nikon D60« »||80/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629||-|
|Nikon D40X« »||79/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4/5||Mar 2007||729||-|
|Nikon D80« »||Rec||HiRec||rev||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||-|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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