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Canon EOS 90D Review

Canon EOS 90D Review - We review the 32mp Canon EOS 90D, Canon's highest resolution APS-C DSLR, with full-width 4K video recording and high-speed shooting, find out how it performs.

| Canon EOS 90D in Digital SLRs

Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (15)

Quick Verdict

The Canon EOS 90D lands on the photography scene with an all-new 32mp APS-C CMOS sensor, giving additional choice in the DSLR market. The camera also offers 4K and FullHD video using the full width of the sensor, so could be a great choice for videographers. The Canon EOS 90D delivers both high-resolution images, as well as 10fps continuous shooting, making it a compelling option for those looking for a DSLR. The impressive battery life is also another positive, however, you'll need to make sure the lenses you use with the camera are up to the job.

+ Pros

  • 32mp APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 4K / FullHD video without crop
  • 10fps continuous shooting
  • High-image quality
  • Excellent colour reproduction
  • Excellent 1300 shot battery life
  • In-camera raw editing

- Cons

  • Conservative design
  • Smaller buffer than expected
  • Focus options are hidden in custom settings
  • Shows weaknesses of kit lenses


Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (9)

The Canon EOS 90D is Canon's latest APS-C DSLR, and features an all-new 32mp APS-C CMOS sensor, which is shared with the new Canon EOS M6 Mark II. The use of a 32mp sensor means that the 90D is the highest resolution APS-C DSLR camera available. It also offers high-speed continuous shooting, with up to 11fps continuous shooting, there's 4K video recording, built-in Wi-Fi, and a vari-angle touch-screen. 


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Canon EOS 90D Features

Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (3)

The Canon EOS 90D updates the 80D with a new 32.5mp APS-C CMOS sensor, with a 1.6x crop. The new sensor has more megapixels than previous Canon APS-C cameras but also offers a wide ISO range of up to ISO25600 (Photo), which then expands to ISO51200. You can use up to ISO12800 (for video), and this expands to ISO25600. 


The use of a 32.5mp sensor means that the 90D is the highest resolution APS-C DSLR camera available.


The sensor features Canon's "Dual Pixel CMOS AF" which is active when using live view, and focus is sensitive down to -5 EV. Face and Eye Detection AF is available, in live view. This gives 100x88% coverage of the sensor and a choice of up to 5,481 AF positions. This will also help with focus during video recording. There are 45 AF points when using the optical viewfinder, and these are all cross-type, with sensitivity down to -3 EV.

The camera used the Canon EF / EF-S lens mount, and we've tested the camera with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens, and the camera is available with this as a kit. 

A first for a DSLR is face detection when using the optical viewfinder. The optical viewfinder gives a 100% view with 0.95x magnification.

iTR face detection with OVF: "The iTR AF focusing system uses colour and face information to recognise and track moving subjects."

iTR AF stands for intelligent Tracking and Recognition Auto Focus. By using the 220,000-pixel RGB metering sensor the camera uses this to read colour information as well as recognise human faces so that the camera can focus on human faces. This can, of course, be switched off if you want your focus to be less face-focused. (pun intended?) More information can be found on Canon's website.  


Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (6)

The camera has P, A, S, M shooting modes, giving you full manual controls, along with a B (Bulb) mode, and 2 custom modes (C1, and C2), there's also A+ (Scene Intelligent Auto), Scene modes, and Creative filters. All of these are accessible using the top (left) mode dial, which has a locking button in the middle which you need to press before you can turn the dial.  

You can shoot at speeds up to 10fps with continuous AF/AE tracking via OVF. 11fps in LiveView and Fixed AF. There's also flicker detection, and focus stacking available. The camera uses a DIGIC 8 image processor, with Digital lens optimizer, diffraction correction, distortion correction, and peripheral illumination correction (for vignetting). 

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in letting you transfer images, and remotely control the camera, using Canon's Camera Connect app, available for iOS and Android devices. You can also use this to add location information to your photos.

Video recording - 4K and FullHD video is recorded using the full width of the sensor, with the only crop being from the change of aspect ratio from 3:2 to 16:9. Microphone and headphone sockets can be found on the side, along with HDMI out, and MicroUSB connection. It's worth noting that Canon have decided not to include a MicroUSB cable in the box. The camera is weather-sealed, and features a built-in pop-up flash. 

Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (5)

Key Features

  • 32.5mp APS-C CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 8 image processor
  • Optical viewfinder (100% coverage, 0.95x magnification), with face detection
  • 3inch, vari-angle touch-screen, 1040K dots
  • Eye-detection AF (Servo AF, during live-view)
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 45 all-cross type AF points
  • 220K dot RGB+IR metering
  • 11/10fps continuous shooting, live-view / viewfinder
  • Focus stacking
  • ISO100 to ISO51200 (Hi)
  • 4K 30/25p video
  • FullHD 120/100p
  • Rear joystick
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Weather-sealed body (dust and water-resistant)

Canon EOS 90D Handling

Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (11)

The Canon EOS 90D is slightly lighter than the 80D it replaces, but remains substantial, with a good level of grip, and a large handgrip. In terms of handling, there's plenty of rubber grip provided both where you would expect it, on the handgrip, as well as on the rear for your thumb. On the left (from the back), you'll find more rubber grip, as well as the sockets and ports for a microphone, headphone, USB, and HDMI out. These are covered with soft rubber covers that provide weather protection. 

The camera feels well constructed, with an aluminium alloy and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber body. The camera is weather-sealed, so can be used in less than ideal conditions, with weather sealing visible around various parts, including the battery compartment. There are numerous rounded edges which make the camera more comfortable to hold. If you're used to Canon EOS DSLRs, then this camera should feel "right at home" so to speak. 

The camera gives quick access to commonly changed settings, with dedicated buttons on top for AF (Auto-Focus), Drive, ISO, Metering, with another button to adjust the AF area. Behind the shutter release button, you'll find the top command dial, and along with the rear dial, you can quickly adjust settings such as aperture, shutter speed, etc (when in the relevant mode). Both dials have been improved with a new grippier texture, giving a better feel, as well as an updated and more modern look.

The rear joystick is completely new on the 90D, letting you quickly adjust the AF point, for example, while holding the camera up to your eye. This is neatly placed where your thumb naturally lands when holding the camera, making it easy to find and adjust, and comfortable to use. There is a lock button provided on the back of the camera, that lets you lock out the controls to avoid accidentally changing settings.

When using the optical viewfinder (OVF), 45 Auto Focus (AF) points cover a fairly wide area of the scene, however, this doesn't offer as much coverage as live-view focus. When photographing people, you can see how the camera will give priority to people and their faces, which is a clever, and useful feature (this can be switched off if needed). The OVF shows where the camera is focusing with grey/black squares.

Live view focus, using the rear screen, gives you 100x88% coverage of the frame, as well as a choice of up to 5,481 AF positions. Face and eye detection works well and can result in a higher success rate when photographing people. 

The optical viewfinder (OVF) has a soft rubber eyecup making it comfortable to use. There's dioptre correction, and the OVF gives a good view of the scene, working well in a variety of conditions. You can even use the OVF with the camera off, unlike mirrorless cameras.

Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (13)

The menus follow Canon's familiar design, are clearly laid out, and you can use the touch-screen to navigate through the options and change settings. 

There are advanced focus options, however, these are slightly hidden, in that you'll find them in the custom function menus, rather than being more accessible. On cameras like the 5D Mark IV, you'll find all the AF options within an AF section. I guess Canon see the 90D as more of an enthusiasts camera, or perhaps they're simply making it look easier to use for people who might be intimidated by too many options. For those that want to adjust these settings, it makes it more difficult to find the options, and we'd prefer the more visually pleasing design of the AF menus on other Canon cameras.

The 3inch touch-screen looks good and being able to tilt the screen out, and towards the front gives added versatility. Colour reproduction is good, and visibility outdoors is also quite good. Being able to adjust the angle of the screen also helps with using the camera in different angles, as well as letting you move it for the best view.

Canon EOS 90D Review: Canon EOS 90D DSLR (10)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 1300 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results, which is excellent and can be further extended with the optional battery grip. The camera has an SD card slot on the side and supports high-speed UHS-II SD cards.

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 90D

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Mike_Smith Avatar
Mike_Smith Plus
16 1.1k 2 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2019 8:09PM
Very good and interesting review of this camera, I am thinking of buying one. So this has been great to read
MikeyC38 Avatar
MikeyC38 15 1 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2019 12:30AM
Thank you for the review but for me it did not cover the issue of focus tracking accuracy through the optical viewfinder not being as good as on the 7D mkII. This has been reported by a number of wildlife photographers when testing this camera. My interests are in aviation and sports photographer where accurate focus tracking through the viewfinder is critical. This is a disappointment as now that Canon has no effective APS-C camera to compete against the Nikon D500 for sports and wildlife photographers,

I was hoping that it would be as good as the 7D mkII so that I could buy it as my next upgrade, as the 7D mkII is getting a bit long in the tooth.

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