Do new DSLRs still have a place in a market that’s been overtaken by mirrorless? Michael Topham reviews the new Canon EOS 90D to find out
Canon EOS 90D review: Image quality
At the time of testing the 90D offered the highest resolution of any APS-C camera on the market, with the move from 24.2-million-pixels to 32.5-million-pixels being quite a jump. Canon has once again opted to overlay the sensor with an optical low-pass filter to help keep moire and false colour artefacts under control. While this does come at the expense of some finer image detail, users will be enthralled by the quality of the 90D’s images when they’re inspected at high magnification. Sports and wildlife photographers will be especially grateful for the increased pixel count when they need to crop tightly. There’s excellent latitude when you’d like to return detail too. Raw files let you to pull back a lot of information from deep shadowed regions, which is great for times when you’d like to underexpose for high contrast scenes in order to prevent highlight detail blowing out and being lost.
Canon EOS 90D Review: Resolution
A close inspection of our resolution chart tells us the EOS 90D’s new sensor resolves a very creditable 3,700l/ph at its base sensitivity of ISO 100. Detail remains high at low sensitivity settings; with resolution figures of 3,600l/ph and 3,400l/ph recorded at ISO 200 and ISO 400 respectively. Push higher into the ISO range and you’ll start to observe fine detail being affected by noise. We recorded 3,100l/ph at ISO 3200 and 2,900l/ph at ISO 6400. The sensor can resolve 2,600l/ph at ISO 12,800 and 2,400l/ph at ISO 25,600 before expansion, with detail dropping right off at ISO 51,000 (2,100l/ph).
From the crops below, multiply the number below the lines by 200 to calculate the resolution of lines per picture height.
Canon EOS 90D Review: Noise
A greater number of pixels on the same sensor surface area risks more noise at pixel level, yet the EOS 90D controls noise well up to ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, putting in a respectable performance. For optimum results you’ll want to shoot in Raw and work between ISO 100 and ISO 400 where you’ll be presented with clean images that are noise free. Luminance noise can be observed at ISO 800 and ISO 1600, but detail isn’t affected too heavily at these settings so you can use them confidently. ISO 3200 is perfectly useable too provided some noise reduction applied during post processing. I’d say this is the upper limit of where I’d want to push to on a regular basis though as fine detail does take more of a hit at ISO 6400 and ISO 8000. Increased noise at ISO 12,800 impinges fine detail and although vibrancy and saturation holds up well at ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200, both these settings should be avoided.