Well no sooner is Canon (NYSE:CAJ) out with its EOS 50D than Nikon creatively is out with its D90. However, for most consumers, at least at first blush, the D90 sort of blows the more expensive 50D out of the water.
The killer feature on the D90 is that it shoots video (1280x720, .avi format, HD720p). In addition to being a kick ass DSLR, it also shoots video. If video wasn't a big enough bell and whistle for you, it also includes GPS geotagging. As far as I know, this is the first DSLR to include both video and geotagging on the market today. Amazon lists the price for the new D90 at $999.95 here (but it's out of stock). The Nikon press release confirms the camera at that price: "The D90 will be available throughout the United States beginning September 2008 at an MSRP of $999.95 for body only and $1299.95 for body and lens outfit that includes the new AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens." (Note, that's $400 *less* than the suggested retail price of Canon's 50D which won't be out until a month later in October).
Personally I've always felt that Nikon and Canon are an either/or sort of thing, sort of like Lightroom or Aperture for processing. Whenever someone asks me what camera they should buy I usually suggest that they choose either a Nikon or a Canon system depending on their price point. Mainly I suggest these two systems because they are the two most popular DSLR systems and both have fantastic camera bodies and even more importantly a fantastic range of great lenses. Because they are both popular systems, you are likely to run into other people/friends etc who are also using those systems and who can give you advice, share lenses, etc.
At least at the D90 50D-price point, once again Nikon seems to blow Canon out of the water with this camera. The fact that the D90 includes both video and geotagging also means that it is likely that future Nikon DSLRs will also begin to include this technology. It also means that Canon is going to have one heck of a challenge when they finally release their 5D Mark II (likely at the photokina photo show in
Another cool thing that Nikon did is that it released the news on its new camera through Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis. It's a hip well-produced video with great music by the Blakes targeted squarely at the advanced amateur market (complete even with an iPhone ring that interrupts the video shoot at one point). How did Canon release their news on their new 50D yesterday? Through a dry, boring old Canon, press release. Yeah, maybe, just maybe, some of the leaks through Photography Bay earlier were planted (screen grabs from a Chinese site), but Chase's personal introduction of the Nikon D90 is so much cooler. It just goes to show you that Canon, their PR and marketing teams still just don't get the web.
Anyway, here are the basics (from Jarvis):
12.3 megapixels (the same luscious chip that’s in the Nikon D300)
D-movie function (that’s right, MOVIE function. 1280x720, .avi format, HD720p)
High ISO/low-noise performance (Nikon’s ace in the hole. I shot this at 3200 and dug it.)
4.5 frames per second
3 inch, 920dot LCD with Live View
Pop up flash with ‘commander’ mode to interface with Nikon's lighting system
More details on the new camera can be found on Jarvis' site.