Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon EOS 90D
Resolution: 32.50 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(22.5mm x 15.0mm)
Kit Lens: 7.50x zoom
(29-216mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/16000 - 30 sec
Max Aperture: 3.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.5 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.
(141 x 105 x 77 mm)
Weight: 42.9 oz (1,216 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 09/2019
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon 90D specifications
size sensor
image of Canon EOS 90D
Front side of Canon 90D digital camera Front side of Canon 90D digital camera Front side of Canon 90D digital camera Front side of Canon 90D digital camera Front side of Canon 90D digital camera

Canon 90D Review -- Now Shooting!

by Mike Tomkins and William Brawley
Preview posted: 08/28/2019

08/28/2019: Initial Gallery images posted
09/06/2019: First Shots added
09/10/2019: Performance posted
09/30/2019: Field Test Part I posted
11/17/2019: Field Test Part II posted

Click here to jump to our in-depth Canon 90D Product Overview


• • •

Hands-On with the Canon 90D and M6 Mark II

• • •


Canon 90D Field Test Part II

One more time with feeling: Canon's enthusiast DSLR returns for night shooting and video

by Mike Tomkins | Posted 11/17/2019

A few weeks back, we kicked off our review of the Canon 90D with a first field test posted by senior editor William Brawley. In this second field test, I'm picking up the ball from Will to cover some of the remaining points he didn't get a chance to address previously.

If you've not already read that previous field test, you'll want to start there for the full story. In part one, Will shot the enthusiast-oriented EOS 90D DSLR alongside the simultaneously-announced EOS M6 Mark II mirrorless camera at Canon's launch event, which was held at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta circuit, giving him some great opportunities to try the 90D for sports shooting. (As well as a chance to compare it against its mirrorless sibling, which actually offers even greater burst performance so long as autofocus is locked from the first frame, although the 90D has the edge when continuous AF is added to the equation.)

35mm (56mm eq.), 1/80 sec. @ f/4.5, ISO 2000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Will's first field test also took a good look at the Canon 90D's ergonomics and handling, and especially some of the design changes made since the previous-generation 80D. He also reported on the 90D's image quality in daytime shooting, with a particular focus on how the new, slightly higher-resolution 32.5-megapixel image sensor shared by both the 90D and M6 Mark II compares to the earlier 24.2-megapixel chip from a few years ago. Click here to read part one of the field test for the full story.

What's on tap for part two of our Canon 90D field test

For part two, there are a couple of areas in particular on which I'm going to focus. Firstly and perhaps most importantly, I've been shooting extensively with the 90D in low-light conditions and towards the higher end of its sensitivity range. Will already addressed this a little in his own writeup, noting that he already saw more noise than he was expecting in shots at relatively moderate sensitivities on the order of ISO 800-1600 equivalents, and found himself somewhat disappointed.

But where the imagery Will shot, which you can see in our gallery, was pretty much all confined to relatively low sensitivities, I've now captured a good range of images all the way from sunset to full night conditions, and across the 90D's entire expanded sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 51,200 equivalents. (Since Will already provided a wealth of photos at the lower sensitivities, I've limited those I've added to the gallery to ISO 2000 and above, however.)

50mm (80mm eq.), 1/125 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 3200
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

The other main area which I'll be focusing on for this second field test is video capture. Here, you'll find both 4K and Full HD clips in both day and night conditions. I've also provided an example of the 90D's full-time video autofocus performance, and tried out its high frame-rate video capture mode as well.

And since Canon answered our call for the return of a cinematic 24p frame rate option -- it added support for 23.98 fps capture impressively quickly, shipping firmware version 1.1.1 just two months after we first posted our preview -- I've added that to the roster of features to try out, as well. (And I've also updated our earlier preview text to note this addition.)

Kudos to Canon for acting so quickly. To be sure, not everyone is going to want to shoot in 24p, and many 90D videographers will likely never touch it. But it's nice to have the option, and now you do.

18mm (29mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 4000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

It's worth considering the M6 II instead, if you want the smallest possible package

I mentioned the Canon M6 Mark II previously, by the way, and it's probably worth noting here that I also reviewed that camera recently. Both the 90D and M6 II share basically the same imaging pipeline, and so not surprisingly, their image quality is also very similar. Hence the choice of which to shoot comes down more to other features like their performance -- as I said, the 90D will have a slight edge here -- and even more importantly, their handling. If you want an optical viewfinder, you're on the right review here. If you prefer the smallest and lightest possible camera body, you'll want to consider the M6 II instead, and I'd recommend reading that review too.

Speaking personally, while I enjoy shooting both types, I'm still a DSLR shooter at heart. My own daily shooters, when I'm not out and about with a review camera, obviously, are mostly DSLR models. And I still prefer the experience of shooting through a good optical viewfinder to that of shooting with an electronic viewfinder or at arm's length, at least in most situations. Out of the pair, I've definitely enjoyed shooting with the Canon 90D more than I did the M6 II.

67mm (107mm eq.), 1/50 sec. @ f/5.0, ISO 5000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

The 90D is a pleasure to shoot with in low light thanks to its pentaprism finder

But enough of the preamble; it's time to share my thoughts on the 90D after a good bit of time spent shooting in low-light conditions. You'll find a generous selection of my photos from those shoots sprinkled throughout this field test -- largely in order of sensitivity, so the further down the page you read, the higher I'll have cranked the ISO -- and there are still more to be found in the gallery, all the way up to the 90D's expanded maximum sensitivity of ISO 51,200 equivalent.

35mm (56mm eq.), 1/80 sec. @ f/4.5, ISO 6400
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

And in terms of its low-light performance, I found the Canon 90D to be a very capable camera indeed. Its glass pentaprism viewfinder is crisp, bright and roomy by the standards of an APS-C DSLR, making it easy to see and frame your subjects even in low light. And AF point selection is a breeze even in total darkness, as a tap of either the AF area or point selection buttons clearly illuminates all AF points within the viewfinder in red, beneath an indication of the current AF area mode.

(Like Will, though, I find it a bit sad that the new joystick control simply duplicates the function of the multi-controller beneath. I'd really like to see Canon allow customization of the multi-controller separately from the joystick, to give quick access to even more functionality.)

High ISO results are perhaps a little disappointing, but certainly acceptable

I also found myself in agreement with Will when it comes to the 90D's high ISO image quality. Although I certainly found it to be acceptable when the sensitivity was dialed up some, just as I did the EOS M6 II, I also found myself a little disappointed that there wasn't a step forwards in terms of high ISO image quality, given that its predecessor's sensor design is now nearing its fourth birthday.

Like the M6 II before it, I felt image quality was very usable all the way to ISO 6400, and even ISO 12,800 was usable in a pinch. But with that said, I did notice some adverse affects of noise reduction even in shots as low as ISO 3200 equivalent, and some noise was noticeable at even lower sensitivities.

18mm (29mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 8000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

A slight tendency towards overexposure, just as for the M6 Mark II

Just as I did for the M6 Mark II with which it shares its imaging pipeline, I felt that the Canon 90D had a slight but noticeable tendency towards overexposure. It's easily corrected by simply dialing in a 1/3 stop of negative exposure compensation by default, though, or can readily be fixed post-capture if you're shooting raw, so even if you're concerned about clipped highlights I don't think it's a significant issue.

35mm (56mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/4.5, ISO 10,000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

With that said, it's easier to overlook that in a camera like the M6 II which costs US$850 body-only as of this writing, but with the 90D costing more than a third as much again at US$1,200 body-only, It'd have been nice if the metering system could be tuned to the user's tastes. But again, it's a pretty minor quibble, really.

A swift and confident low-light shooter with capable autofocus

I also found the 90D to perform pretty well in terms of its low-light white balance. For the most part, it handled the complex mixture of different lights around downtown Knoxville well, with the auto white balance system turning in fairly attractive results the overwhelming majority of the time. Towards the highest sensitivities, colors did feel a bit muted though.

And autofocus performance was very good even in low light. I never really had any issues with getting the 90D to focus on my subjects. Even in pretty low light, autofocus was swift, confident and accurate unless my subjects had very little contrast indeed. And with the dioptric correction dialed in, I found it easy to focus manually through the optical viewfinder, as well.

Avoid ISO 25,600 and above, although DXO PhotoLab may soon make them more usable

For my money, the cutoff point in terms of acceptable image quality was around the ISO 6400 to 12,800 mark, depending on the subject and my purposes for the shot. I didn't find ISO 25,600 or 51,200 to be very usable, just as I noted in my M6 Mark II review.

24mm (38mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 12,800
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

But also as I noted in that review, my current noise processing tool of choice -- the utterly superb PRIME denoising engine in DxO Labs' PhotoLab application -- doesn't yet support the 90D, just as it didn't support the M6 II either. That support is currently slated to arrive in December 2019, and once it does I think there's a very good chance that raw files at ISO 12,800 and even ISO 25,600 will likely prove to be quite useful.

27mm (43mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 16,000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

I won't know for sure until PhotoLab support arrives, obviously, but I'm optimistic based on its results with past cameras.

But enough of stills, what about video? While the Canon 90D and M6 II share basically the same imaging pipeline -- and therefore, basically the same video image quality and capabilities in most respects -- there are a few ways in which the DSLR bests its mirrorless sibling.

In terms of their basic design, a case could be made for either camera. The M6 II, being smaller and lighter, will be easier to shoot handheld for extended periods without tiring. But the 90D's larger body has a much more generous grip and better-positioned controls that for my money make it the easier of the two to keep steady while shooting, and its tilt/swivel LCD monitor can be seen from a greater range of angles than can the tilt-only screen on the M6 II.

More importantly, though, where the M6 II has only a microphone jack, the 90D supplements this with a 3.5mm headphone jack. This means that you can monitor and manually control the audio levels, making adjustments not just before capture starts, but also during recording. That's a significant advantage for the DSLR over the mirrorless model, unless you prefer to rely on an external device for recording audio anyway.

Good video image quality, both during the day and after the sun goes down

You'll find a variety of video clips shot with the Canon 90D just a little further down the page, as I've still got a few more high ISO images to fit in first. To sum up quickly, though, I was pretty pleased with its image quality for both day and night footage.

50mm (80mm eq.), 1/80 sec. @ f/5.0, ISO 20,000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

4K video is packed with fine detail, and even Full HD video is reasonably crisp, although obviously with much lower resolution than the 4K footage. I didn't spot any of the moire or false-color artifacts that trouble some cameras, and color / white balance were good as well.

Great full-time autofocus for video capture, too

18mm (29mm eq.), 1/80 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 25,600
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

The Canon 90D's full-time video autofocus also performs very nicely. You can either select subjects manually using the touch-screen, or allow the camera itself to determine the primary subject as I did in the clip further down the page. Either way, focus shifts are smooth but fairly swift, and the camera detects changes in subject distance well even while panning fairly rapidly.

If you're selecting subjects on the touch screen, you can change the subject during video capture. A white box appears on-screen where you've touched, and that box will then follow your subject as it moves around the image frame. Another tap elsewhere will select a new subject, or you can tap on an icon near the top right of the screen to cancel the subject tracking, returning the camera to selecting where to focus by itself.

And since the screen is very sensitive, it's easy to make these changes without shaking the camera, even when shooting handheld.

Slow-motion video is fun, but rather limited in its capabilities

As well as standard video, the Canon 90D can also record slow-motion footage in-camera. However, unlike some rivals, your choices here are rather limited.

To access high frame-rate recording, you enter the movie recording quality menu, and then enable the high frame-rate option. When you do so, the movie recording size option is greyed out, as you have only a single fixed choice of capture resolution and frame rate, and the output frame rate is also fixed.

35mm (56mm eq.), 1/200 sec. @ f/8.0, ISO 51,200
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

High frame-rate video is recorded at Full HD resolution, with a capture rate of 119.9 frames per second, and plays back at 29.97 frames per second. This yields a fixed 4x slow-motion effect, although you could of course adjust the playback rate post-capture to achieve anything from a 2x slow-mo at 60fps to a 5x slow-mo at 24 fps, should you choose to do so. As is typical with in-camera slow-motion / high-frame rate capture modes, no sound is recorded during capture, and so your HFR movies will be totally silent.

All things considered, I found the Canon 90D's video recording feature set to be pretty decent, for an enthusiast-grade camera. It may lack some of the options of higher-end gear, but for its pricepoint offers a good amount of control with great image quality, and the full-time autofocus means you don't have to learn how to pull focus manually to make the most of it.

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 23.976 frames per second

Download Original
1,920 x 1,080 pixels @ 59.940 frames per second

Closing thoughts on my time with the 90D

I have to say that I've really rather enjoyed shooting with the Canon 90D over the past few weeks. Although I didn't discuss handling much, as this was already covered by Will in the first field test, I found it to be very comfortable in-hand. Its body, while made from fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate over an aluminum frame, is nevertheless rock solid and free of creak, even if it might not feel as rugged as a metal-bodied camera.

And its vast number of external controls are all quite well positioned and easy to locate by touch, once you have become familiar with them. Still image quality might not lead the pack, but it's certainly very acceptable even once the sensitivity is dialed up somewhat, and performance is great. My quibbles, such as they are, are relatively few and quite minor. Honestly, my biggest complaint -- other than that I'd have liked to see a bit better high ISO image quality and a function for fine-tuning the metering system to taste -- is that I'd like to see Canon provide for better customization of the joystick / multi-controller.

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 23.976 frames per second

Download Original
1,920 x 1,080 pixels @ 59.940 frames per second

I am definitely holding out hope that they do so, because they've already listened to early reviews once in adding support for 24p video capture in firmware, and improved customization seems like another natural fit for a firmware update. Even as-is, though, this is clearly one very capable camera for a pretty affordable pricetag, and I'd say it would make a great option for Canon shooters looking to upgrade from an older or lower-end Canon DSLR.

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second

Download Original
1,920 x 1,080 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second, 119.9 fps record rate, 4x slow-motion effect

And that brings me to the end of this field test. Watch this space for more as we work to complete our review in the coming weeks!

• • •


Canon 90D Review -- Product Overview

by Mike Tomkins

Mirrorless might get all of the buzz nowadays, but a quick glance at the sales numbers is enough to tell you that DSLRs are still the bread and butter of the interchangeable-lens camera market. Globally, SLR cameras made up almost 2/3 of all interchangeable-lens camera sales from Japanese manufacturers last year. And in the Americas that gap is even greater, with almost three out of every four ILCs sold still featuring a reflex mirror.

Yet while the mirrorless camera market has been growing more competitive each year, the DSLR market is dominated by just two brands: Canon and Nikon. (Pentax, Sigma and several medium-format manufacturers still make DSLRs too, but their sales are relatively miniscule by comparison to these two brands.) Clearly, then, the SLR market remains important to Canon, and to its customers as well.

Blows the 7D II away for resolution and rivals its flagship burst performance, too

And now, the Canon EOS 90D arrives as the latest addition to the company's DSLR lineup. A replacement for the rather long-in-the-tooth 80D, which launched some 3.5 years ago now, the 90D brings with it a brand-new 32.5-megapixel, sub-frame (APS-C) imaging pipeline that's at once higher resolution, and yet can shoot significantly faster for far longer. In fact, it can now not only match the 10 frames-per-second burst capture performance of the company's APS-C flagship 7D Mark II, and simply demolishes it in terms of outright resolution while retaining similar burst-capture buffer depths, for raw shooters at least. (Just want to know how the image quality looks? We've already published our initial gallery, which you'll find here.)

And that's not all. The EOS 90D also adds support for 4K, HDR and high frame-rate video capture, and boasts a speedier UHS-II compliant SD card slot, as well. It also promises much better battery life, and there are plenty of other more minor improvements over the old model, too. There are also a couple of areas in which the 80D bests the 90D just slightly, such as its auto popup flash strobe, its fractionally faster startup and ability to function in higher ambient temperatures up to 113°F (45°C), versus the 104°F (40°C) limit of the 90D.

The same sensor as in the mirrorless EOS M6 II, but with important differences

The brand-new 32.5-megapixel imaging pipeline which makes its debut in the Canon 90D is shared with the simultaneously-announced Canon M6 Mark II. If you're in that fast-growing minority which prefers the compact nature and live view-centric design of a mirrorless camera to the handling and optical viewfinder of a DSLR, then you'll want to consider that camera instead. (Note than an EVF accessory is available for the M6 II, but will add to both its cost and bulk.)

Doing so will score you even greater burst-shooting performance at a manufacturer-rated 14 fps, but Canon tells us that the dedicated AF sensor of the 90D should still have a slight edge when it comes to tracking performance, so depending on your subjects and focusing setup that performance gap may well be narrower.

Obviously, you'll also find a much less generous handgrip and fewer physical controls on the M6 II, and the 90D will also give you a more versatile tilt/swivel-articulated LCD monitor, in place of the M6 II's tilt-only screen. And the 90D will also accept both EF and EF-S mount lenses natively, whereas the M6 II works only with the much smaller EF-M lens lineup out of the box, and requires a pricey and somewhat bulky adapter to shoot with EF or EF-S lenses.

A modestly restyled body adds one new control (but there's a catch)

Comparing the Canon 90D side by side with its predecessor, the two cameras look very similar indeed. The new dust and splashproof body is just fractionally wider and less deep, and a little bit lighter too, but you're not likely to notice either change unless comparing them carefully against each other. Their control layout is almost identical, too, although there are a couple fewer positions on the 90D's mode dial, and it adds one new control on the rear panel, with a couple of others moving positions a bit to make room for it.

On the mode dial, you'll no longer find a Flash Off position, as the flash strobe can no longer be raised automatically. Instead, there's a new mechanical release button in place of the 80D's electronic release button, and to prevent flash you simply lower it against the top of the pentaprism viewfinder housing. And the 80D's Creative Auto position is also absent from the Canon 90D's mode dial.

Moving to the rear of the camera, you'll find that as well as the existing multi-controller pad which still sits inside the quick control dial, there's also a new joystick control -- but sadly, there's a gotcha here. This newly-added control serves as a duplicate of the multi-controller pad. That is to say that however you configure one of these controls, the other will share the same function, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity for customization.

To make space for the new joystick, the quick control button has taken over the spot previously occupied by the playback button. This, in turn, has jumped down alongside the delete button, which along with the lock lever has moved rightwards a little to free up room for its new neighbor.

A deeper dive into the new imaging pipeline in the Canon 90D

We mentioned near the outset of this article that the Canon 90D sports a newly-developed, 32.5-megapixel, APS-C sized image sensor which is identical to that used in the mirrorless EOS M6 II. Compared to the 80D's 24.2-megapixel sensor, the new chip is just fractionally smaller but has significantly higher resolution.

The total pixel count is 34.4 megapixels, and individual pixels measure 3.2μm on each side, versus 3.72μm on the 80D's sensor, giving them a surface area that's about 1/4 smaller than before. The sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio and Bayer RGB color filter array, and is overlaid with an optical low-pass filter that helps prevent moire and false color artifacts at the expense of some finer image detail.

In concert with a DIGIC 8-class image processor which debuted with the EOS M50 in early 2018, the Canon 90D promises a huge step forwards in performance. (By way of comparison, the 80D was based around a DIGIC 6 chip, meaning that the 90D has skipped the DIGIC 6+ and DIGIC 7 generations entirely.)

A new C-Raw file format promises raw burst depths that trounce the 7D II

Thanks to the new sensor and processor pairing, the Canon 90D can shoot at up to 10 frames per second regardless of whether autofocus is active between frame, matching the performance of the APS-C flagship EOS 7D II and besting the 80D's 7.0 fps with focus locked by a country mile. And it can do even a little better in live view mode with autofocus disabled, where Canon predicts 11 frames per second. (Enable AF with live view and the rate falls to 7 fps, though.)

And despite its far higher resolution, it actually manages to roughly equal Canon's manufacturer-rated raw burst depths for the 7D II and 80D, with the 90D promising to offer as many as 25 raw frames in a burst. (Canon technically rated the 7D II for 24 raw frames to SD card, or 31 frames to UDMA7 CompactFlash, but we couldn't match that latter figure in our own testing and scored 26 frames with a UHS-I SD card, which is pretty similar to the rating of the 90D here.)

And you can get even greater raw buffer depths if you're willing to switch to Canon's technically lossily-compressed C-Raw mode, which is a new addition in the 90D. We say "technically" because in our experience of past C-Raw compatible models, we've found it challenging to spot much difference from standard raw other than the significant reduction in file sizes (and attendant increase in raw burst depths). Shooting in C-Raw format, Canon predicts as many as 39 raw frames in a burst.

As for JPEG shooters, with a UHS-II SD card Canon predicts as many as 58 large/fine JPEG frames in each burst. The 7D II, in fairness, is in a class of its own here with a manufacturer-claimed 130 large/fine frames in a burst to SD card, and over a thousand if shooting to UDMA7 CF. And even the 80D is manufacturer-rated for 110 JPEG frames in a burst to UHS-I. But then, those cameras also have about one-third lower resolution than does the 90D. Still, if you're a JPEG shooter given to long bursts, you're going to notice a reduction in burst depth.

A broader sensitivity range, despite the significant resolution increase

Like the 80D before it, the Canon 90D has a native sensitivity of ISO 100-equivalent. At the other end of the scale, though, the 90D can roam all the way up to ISO 25,600 without needed to enable an expanded sensitivity range, where the 80D topped out at ISO 16,000 unless ISO expansion was enabled and couldn't go beyond ISO 25,600 even if it was. Expand the range to its maximum and the Canon 90D will now reach ISO 51,200-equivalent.

Dedicated autofocus similar to the 80D, but there are some improvements

Although its dedicated autofocus sensor is unchanged since that of the 80D, the 90D does bring with it an uprated Dual Pixel CMOS AF system using a vast array of on-chip autofocus points covering most of the sensor surface.

The standalone phase-detection AF sensor underlies a 45-point, all cross-type AF system with microadjustment support. Of those 45 points, 27 of them are functional to f/8, including nine cross-type points. And in concert with an uprated metering sensor which we'll be coming to in a moment, the Canon 90D can also offer EOS iTR face-priority autofocus even when shooting through the optical viewfinder.

Shoot in live view mode, though, and you'll have access to a whopping 5,481 manually-selectable AF points covering 100% of the frame height, and 88% of its width as well. That means you can position your subject almost anywhere within the image frame, and still get phase-detection AF for a quick and accurate focus lock.

A much higher-res metering sensor for better exposure and iTR autofocus

In place of the 63-zone, 7,560 pixel metering sensor in the 80D, the Canon EOS 90D sports a new 216-zone, 220,000-pixel metering sensor. This much higher resolution is not only useful for more accurately determining the best exposure for your image, but also enables the aforementioned EOS iTR face-priority AF function.

In live view mode when using the main image sensor for metering, the EOS 90D offers 384 (24 x 16) zones. By way of comparison, the 80D yielded 315 zones when shooting with live view.

A new electronic shutter and a bunch of added creative tools, too

Although its mechanical shutter mechanism looks to be much as in the 80D, with a top shutter speed of 1/8,000-second, the Canon 90D can manage even faster with an electronic shutter. Enable this option, and you'll gain access to a top speed of 1/16,000-second.

While most exposure and creative options are pretty similar to its predecessor, there are several new additions. First of all, there are two new drive modes, for continuous panning and continuous self-timer, respectively. There's also a new focus bracketing tool, as well as additional scene modes for group photos and panning shots.

With the exception of the aforementioned manual popup mechanism, the built-in flash is unchanged from that in the 80D, with a guide number of 39.4 feet (12m), 28mm-equivalent coverage and +/- 3EV of flash exposure compensation in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps. The built-in flash can also act as an autofocus assist lamp, unless an external strobe with AF assist beam is attached, in which case that will be used instead.

Much the same viewfinder and LCD panel as in the previous generation

The Canon 90D's thru-the-lens optical viewfinder and LCD panel both look to be much the same as those in the 80D, although specs do differ just slightly for the LCD panel size, suggesting the specific panel used may have been changed. The optical viewfinder has 0.95x magnification and a 22mm eyepoint from the viewfinder lens, and has a manufacturer-rated 100% coverage horizontally and vertically for 3:2 aspect ratio images. A -3 to +1m-1 diopter correction function is provided to cater to those with less-than-perfect eyesight.

And beneath the viewfinder, you'll discover a 3.0-inch, 3:2-aspect LCD monitor with a resolution of 1.04 million dots. This, too, has a claimed 100% coverage, as well as wide 170-degree viewing angles horizontally and vertically. An anti-smudge coating is overlaid on the cover glass, as well as a touch-sensitive overlay that allows the display to be used to select subjects, and so on. There's also a seven-step manual brightness control, and the screen is mounted on a tilt/swivel articulation mechanism which allows viewing from a wide range of angles.

4K, Full HD, HDR and high frame-rate video, but no cinematic 24fps frame rate

Video is another area that's received plenty of attention since the 80D, although there's one rather disappointing omission. The Canon 90D can now shoot not just Full HD video, but also 4K ultra high-definition footage too, entirely in-camera. And better still, there's not a mandatory crop associated with 4K video. Instead, you can shoot using the full sensor width, although it isn't yet clear if pixel skipping or binning techniques are employed.

However, there's no cinematic 24 frames per second capture rate, either for 4K *or* Full HD footage. Instead, you're limited to 25 or 30 frames per second at 4K, and 50/60 or 100/120 frames per second at Full HD. The high frame-rate 120 fps option would allow up to a 5x slow-motion effect while still providing a 24 frames per second playback rate. It's also possible to shoot high dynamic range movies entirely in-camera, with the 90D varying exposure as necessary to capture highlights and shadows on alternating frames, with the result being stitched in-camera to create a Full HD HDR clip with a playback rate of 30 fps.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is supported during video capture except for high frame-rate movies, and recording time is normally limited to 29:59 but capped at 7:29 for high frame-rate clips.

Oh, and as well as any lens-based image stabilization on offer, the Canon 90D also sports a digital IS function specific to movie capture. There are two strengths on offer; with the standard strength there's a 90% crop for HD, Full HD or 4K content, or a 70% crop when in enhanced mode. If shooting cropped 4K movies in the first place, this increases the overall crop to 75% for standard digital IS, or 58% in enhanced mode.

Wi-Fi is now supplemented by Bluetooth, and there's UHS-II SD support too!

The 80D already offered in-camera wireless communication, but in the Canon 90D the Wi-Fi radio is now supplemented by a Bluetooth one. We don't yet have specifics as to frequencies and so forth. This is a pretty common setup these days, though, and typically offers low-speed, low-power communication via Bluetooth to your Android or iOS phone, and then raises a high-speed (but more power-hungry) Wi-Fi connection automatically as needed to transfer your creations to the phone or to control the camera remotely.

As well as its wireless communications options, the EOS 90D also includes both a Micro-B USB connection for USB 2.0 data transfer, and a Type-C HDMI connection for high-definition video output.

As mentioned previously, images and movies are still stored on a single SD card slot, but it now includes support not just for higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC cards, as well as higher-speed UHS-I types, but also for the significantly faster UHS-II cards, which add a second row of electrical contacts for greater bandwidth.

Power still comes courtesy of an LP-E6N (or, if you have older cells you want to keep using, an LP-E6) battery pack. Battery life looks to be significantly improved, though. Where the 80D was CIPA-rated for 960 shots on a charge through the viewfinder, or 300 frames in live view mode, the 90D simply blows this out of the water. Canon predicts 1,300 frames through the viewfinder on the same battery pack, or 450 frames when using the LCD monitor. That's a one-third improvement through the viewfinder, and a 50% improvement when using live view!

The Canon 90D is compatible with the same external BG-E14 battery grip as the 80D and 70D, and with dual LP-E6N batteries installed, battery life is roughly double the above figures.

Canon 90D price and availability

The Canon 90D ships from mid-September 2019 in the US market, with a list price of about US$1,200 body-only, $1,350 with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens, and $1,600 if you opt instead for an EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM kit lens.


Canon 90D Field Test Part I

On the track & around town: Canon's new intermediate-level DSLR tested

by William Brawley |

Announced alongside the compact EOS M6 Mark II, the new 90D shares many features with this smaller, lighter mirrorless camera. Both offer the same imaging pipeline (and thus more or less identical image quality performance), both have similar performance specs and the video-shooting features have a lot in common. For photographers and videographers alike, the 90D and M6 II offer a lot of bang for the buck.

In the end, Canon is providing customers with a choice in form factor. Do you prefer a smaller, lighter, more portable camera with an electronic viewfinder? If so then grab the M6 II. If you love a bright optical viewfinder, prominent handgrip and better ergonomics with longer, heavier lenses, then the 90D is probably the better choice.

Let's take a closer look at the new Canon 90D and see how it handles and performs in the field...


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