Anyway, rant over, let's get back to the review. In all other respects, the D90's performance is excellent. It starts up almost instantly (approximately 0.15 seconds), focuses quickly and reliably in almost all lighting conditions, has negligible shutter lag (approx. 0.65ms), and has a good fast shooting speed. It can shoot at an impressive 4.5fps in all modes, including Raw+JPEG Fine mode, although I did find that with some SDHC memory cards the shooting speed was a little erratic.
In terms of image quality the results were generally very good. The level of overall detail is very close to matching the performance of the D300, although that camera's 14bit A/D conversion gives it the edge in colour depth, contrast and general sharpness. I also found that the exposure meter produced slightly varied results in low light, with repeated exposures under similar lighting conditions varying by around half a stop either way.
Image noise generally well controlled, and low-ISO images are clean and sharp, but it is a problem on longer exposures, with shots over 1/10th of a second at 200 ISO showing some image noise and uneven colour reproduction. 200 ISO is the D90's lowest normal sensitivity setting, and 3200 ISO the highest, although it can shoot as low as100 ISO and as high as 6400 in extended ISO mode. However results at the higher end of the scale are not good, at least in JPEG mode, with copious amounts of noise including some hot pixels. However hand-processing the shots in Raw mode produced noticeably better results, especially at the middle ISO settings.
The Nikon D90 is a logical progression from the D80, and covers the middle ground between the consumer models like the D40X and the new D60, and the professional models like the D300 and the D700. It has the creative versatility, performance and quality to appeal to semi-professionals and advanced hobbyists, while the scene modes, live view and the video mode will appeal to gadget lovers and the more casual user who wants a good all-rounder.