Updated (February 2010): Compare the Canon EOS 550D vs Nikon D90

Nikon D90 vs Canon EOS 550D

Nikon D90


Canon EOS 550D



Reasons to buy the Nikon D90

Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
300 ms startup delay
Great viewfinder
Barely any delay taking photos
Shutter lag
208 ms shutter lag

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 550D

Movie format
Full HD
1080p @ 30fps
Really small
Prosumer size (129×98×62 mm)


Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Canon EOS 550D.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D90.


Nikon D90 Competitors

Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Entry-level DSLR

$289 body only

$379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Higher resolution movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution
Viewfinder size Much smaller viewfinder
Nikon D7200

Nikon D7200

Entry-level DSLR

$949 - $1,097 body only

$1,397 with 18-140mm lens

Movie format Higher resolution movies
Low light performance Significantly lower noise at high ISO
Viewfinder size Smaller viewfinder
Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000

Entry-level DSLR

$479 body only

$723 with 18-105mm lens

Movie format Higher resolution movies
Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
Shutter lag More shutter lag

Canon EOS 550D Competitors

Canon EOS 1200D

Canon EOS 1200D

Entry-level DSLR

$367 body only

Autofocus Video autofocus
Lowest price Much cheaper
Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
Canon EOS 600D

Canon EOS 600D

Entry-level DSLR

Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
Startup delay Much more startup delay
Canon EOS 700D

Canon EOS 700D

Entry-level DSLR

$540 with 18-55mm lens

Autofocus Video autofocus
HDR Has in-camera HDR
Color depth Worse color depth


Advantages of the Canon 550D

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Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video at a higher frame rate
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
True resolution
Significantly higher true resolution
17.9 MP vs 12.2 MP
Capture around 50% more detail in your photos
Much smaller
129×98×62 mm vs 132×103×77 mm
Around 30% smaller
Screen resolution
Higher resolution screen
1,040k dots vs 930k dots
More than 10% higher resolution screen
Much thinner
2.4" vs 3"
Around 20% thinner
Significantly lighter
530 g vs 703 g
More than 20% lighter
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
The 550D's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
The 550D's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Canon EOS 550D Learn more about
the Canon 550D

Advantages of the Nikon D90

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Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.5 EV vs 11.5 EV
1.2 f-stops more dynamic range
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
977 ISO vs 784 ISO
The D90 has a slight edge (0.3 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Overall image quality
Better image quality
73.0 vs 66.0
More than 10% better image quality
Viewfinder size
Significantly larger viewfinder
0.63x vs 0.54x
Around 40% larger viewfinder
Battery life
Significantly longer battery life
850 shots vs 440 shots
More than 90% more shots per battery charge
Color depth
Better color depth
22.7 bits vs 22.1 bits
Distinguishes 0.6 more bits of color
Has a pentaprism viewfinder
Pentaprism vs Pentamirror
Pentaprism viewfinders are typically brighter
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
208 ms vs 252 ms
Around 20% less delay when taking photos
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
4.5 fps vs 3.7 fps
More than 20% faster continuous shooting
Built-in focus motor
Has a built-in focus motor
Yes vs No
Autofocuses with all autofocus lenses
Startup delay
Slightly less startup delay
300 ms vs 400 ms
Around 30% less delay when turning on
Viewfinder coverage
Better viewfinder coverage
96% vs 95%
Almost the same
Lowest price
$579.99 vs $756.20
The best price we've seen is $176 cheaper (more than 20% less)
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
230 lenses vs 220 lenses
Almost the same
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
11 vs 9
Set focus accurately within the frame
Nikon D90 Learn more about
the Nikon D90


Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent entry-level DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS 550D 56
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        67 Nikon D90 Nikon D90
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              Compared to recent entry-level DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              550D220 lenses
              D90230 lenses
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              550D400 ms
              D90300 ms
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Autofocus No video autofocus Help
              Manual focus only
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Light sensitivity (boost) Poor boost ISO Help
              550D12,800 ISO
              D906,400 ISO
              Viewfinder coverage Below average viewfinder coverage Help
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              Light sensitivity Poor maximum light sensitivity Help
              550D6,400 ISO
              D903,200 ISO
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              550D17.9 MP
              D9012.2 MP
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              550D3.7 fps
              D904.5 fps
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Movie format Poor movies Help
              550D1080p @ 30fps
              D90720p @ 24fps




              Nikon D90 Canon EOS 550D
              Nikon D90 Canon EOS 550D
              Nikon D90 Canon EOS 550D


              Nikon D90

              Report a correction
              Canon EOS 550D
              EOS 550D

              Report a correction

              Showing 25 comments

              Avatar for Muhammad Farooqi Muhammad Farooqi (11:25 AM, January 13, 2015)
              i've the same 550D :p
              Brian (0:13 PM, September 03, 2013)
              BUILD QUALITY.... Not even Canon "Fanboys" would say that the Canon 550d feels as solid and well made as the Nikon D90. Come on Canon fanboys you HAVE to be honest and admit the Nikon D90 is SO MUCH better built!
              C.E.S 12 (5:34 PM, April 14, 2013)
              only 420 shots :P NIKON for US
              C.E.S 12 (5:32 PM, April 14, 2013)
              AGREED (Y) Megapixel has nothing to with Picture Clarity :)
              C.E.S 12 (5:30 PM, April 14, 2013)
              these comparisons are rated based on Photography Experiences... Actually MP has nothing to do with Picture Clarity... and about Cropping... A real photographer don't edit or crop photos. If MP does really matters then, There is, This one Nokia Phone which has 42Mp... that is you Camera... I personally recommend you that :P lol hahahahahah
              C.E.S 12 (5:23 PM, April 14, 2013)
              you need to shut up too... because all these comparison are shits...
              stankovich (5:20 PM, April 14, 2013)
              its the best (Y) old but still the best... its a much better camera than 550d at least :P
              Avatar for Satyam Joshi Satyam Joshi (4:13 PM, October 13, 2012)
              Now I understand why Nikon is more popular in USA and Europe because they use left hand ..and every setting button is in left side..... ;) !
              Avatar for Satyam Joshi Satyam Joshi (4:11 PM, October 13, 2012)
              550D "Q"(quick button is my savior ! It helps me to get quick access to different settings and its vdo live shoot manual exposure control really beats other ! though it has less color depth , but who posts,uploads without editing now-a-days..so color depth is no problem.I vote for 550D !
              Lovevelentine2 (9:44 AM, May 10, 2012)
              I used both Cameras, My point of view CANON EOS 550D is Best & Reason is
              1, Cheaper than Nikon D90
              2, More Mega Pixels
              3, Great LCD View
              4, For Live sound Recording Input
              5, Light Weight
              6, Free Carry Case
              7, For Print Large Banner You don't loose quality
              8, Great Useful For Professional & Wedding Photographer
              9, Full HD Video Recording
              10, I Take more than 800 shots / Day
              Mini_salter (1:57 PM, May 02, 2012)
               For me (an amateur photographer) I prefer having a slightly smaller body when it comes to cameras. I've got the 550D, and I much prefer it to my friends D90, which I find awkward to hold as it is heavier. Obviously, personal preference is what's important. For me, being a small person (with small hands too!) the lighter, smaller body is perfect for me. This site is designed to explain many different aspects of cameras to ALL photographers , whether they be beginners or professionals.
              Mydreamname (11:00 PM, April 05, 2012)
              I have used D90 and own a 550D as well as 1Ds. D90 with 550D have no difference at all. Image quality has to do with the lenses not the bodies of these cameras. A good glass in any of these cameras will make the other look inferior if using cheap lenses. Both with good lenses give great results. Personally I went for 550D. After all is a personal choice.
              Arun ajay (5:33 AM, February 24, 2012)
              Compare to D90 . most needed things 550D is better in my view. Myself i recommended to buy a 550D .
              Ben (3:19 PM, February 10, 2012)
              Ben (3:19 PM, February 10, 2012)
              SHUT UP
              Ben (3:18 PM, February 10, 2012)
              I AGREE
              Fdg Es (11:21 AM, December 11, 2011)
              Connorjohnpritchett (8:16 AM, October 28, 2011)
              I don't care what this review says, I think the canon eos 550d is better than the d90 - From Canon Fanboy
              T Pibulsilp (3:45 AM, October 02, 2011)
              What really grates me is that all comparisons i find seem to be technical. I would rather see an actual photo comparison. What is true in theory does not always hold true in the real world where cameras are actually used. I would like to let my eyes judge what rendering etc i like. 
              Melani (0:45 PM, September 29, 2011)
              I am a first time camera shopper, female, and love to take pictures of people, cropping them, see how to make any occation, one to remember. I do care about the size and weight, I do care about video, I do care about MP, why drive a V6 when you can have a V8.  Thank you for all the comments, all of it was helpfull.  My choice, Canon, lighter, smaller, video and, as was mentioned, easier to master.  When I master this one, I'll buy the other one as well, then I can do Bill boards and scrapbooks.
              Thanks for a great site
              canonikon (8:31 AM, June 14, 2011)
              Personally, for me, i think the 550d is slightly better. The 550d would be better for the people who are new to DSLRs, since this camera is a little easier to use than the Nikon. However, the Nikon is a camera for more of the people that have used DSLRs for a longer time. I have both of the Nikon D90 and the Canon 550d, and they are both excellent cameras. The canon 550d is magnificent at Macro shots, and the Nikon is fantastic for taking long-distanse shots, and it was zoom in quite well. 
              I enjoy using the 550d better, since it took quite a long time for me to get used to the Nikon and all of it's different buttons. 
              Overall, if you are new to DSLRs, i'd recommend the 550d. :)
              Ilia (8:44 AM, March 04, 2011)
              D90 is the best
              Darkacre (3:56 PM, January 30, 2011)
              I think what it comes down to is preference & priorities - what do you think is more important? There is no clear winner here; for the snobs that are suggesting Nikon outclassing Canon (or vise versa), clearly have their own agenda. IQ wise, you can't really argue either way. Technically you can say that Nikon have slightly better image quality and but then you can also argue that Canon clearly has the 5 Meg pixel advantage. For those that argues its not the pixel that counts, then why not buy a Nikon with 10 meg pixels? It does matter to some degree . 5% this, 10% that.... In the end result, if you look at the photos, we are talking about literally no difference visually, one way or the other - both producing gorgeous images - you literally can't tell them apart if you took 1000 pictures each and mix them up. Unless you plan to make a billboard from it (thats where the 18 M pixels will come in handy.)

              Yes Nikon is a bit faster and auto-focus a tad better.. But then Canon gives you better video recording resolution and control. In the end I went with Canon because of the video features.
              To me 4.5 fps vs 3.7 fps shutter speed may translate to 20% faster shutter speed for Nikon but in the real world, .8 fps really doesn't mean anything. I mean you take 4 shots instead of 3 shots per second, are you really counting? If you are really into sports, then you should be looking at 7-10 fps cameras, not these .8 fps difference. Of course on the other hand, some people may not need the video advantage of Canon, then why not buy a cheaper Nikon without video?
              Salonjoe (6:07 PM, January 22, 2011)
              but d7000 is batter
              Salonjoe (6:06 PM, January 22, 2011)
              nikon d90 is the best ............................