How to Take Action Shots With a Nikon D90

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How to Take Action Shots With Nikon D90

Learning to take action shots with the Nikon D90 is straightforward if you follow the steps outlined below.

The Nikon D90, launched on August 27, 2008, is a 12.3-megapixel DSLR, succeeding the D80 and positioned for entry-level and intermediate photographers. It features a DX-format sensor, characteristic of Nikon’s product line.

Notably, the D90 was the first DSLR capable of video recording, marking a significant milestone in camera technology.

It was also honored with the TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) Photo and Imaging award in the “BEST DSLR Advanced” category, celebrated for its interchangeable Nikon F-mount lens system and elegant design.

How To Take Action Shots With Nikon D90

The Nikon D90 builds on the D80’s foundation, offering a significant upgrade to 12.3 megapixels, enhanced light sensitivity, and pioneering HD 720p video recording at 24 frames per second.

It incorporates an autofocus system for sharp imaging and introduces face detection in live-view mode. The D90 supports a wide range of accessories for customization and enhancement.


Capturing fast-moving subjects might seem daunting, but with the D90, it becomes achievable.

Employing a fast shutter speed allows for the easy capture of dynamic scenes.

While the camera’s Sports mode offers a simplified solution, the steps below provide a more controlled approach to achieving striking action shots.

Step 1

Locate the Mode dial on the top right side of the camera and set it to S (shutter-priority auto-exposure mode). This setting grants you control over the shutter speed, facilitating the capture of action photos.

The D90 automatically selects the appropriate aperture for optimal exposure in this mode.

If you find difficulty in using this mode, the Sports mode serves as a fallback, though it limits control over other image attributes.

Step 2

Adjust the main command dial to set your desired shutter speed.

This action will display the selected shutter speed on the camera’s screen, with the D90 adjusting the aperture accordingly to maintain exposure levels.

Experimenting with different speeds is encouraged; however, a speed of 1/500 second generally suffices for most scenarios, excluding extremely fast subjects like racing cars.

Step 3

Correct exposure may require adjusting the ISO or utilizing flash to enhance brightness, especially in low-light conditions.

These adjustments can improve image quality without compromising the action shot’s clarity.

Step 4

To access burst mode, locate the button near the bottom left corner of the camera, adjacent to the screen.

Set the Release mode to either Continuous High or Continuous Low. This allows capturing multiple images with a single button press as long as the button remains pressed.


The Nikon D90 stands out for its robust feature set, making it an excellent choice for capturing action shots. Following the outlined steps, you can leverage its capabilities to produce dynamic and compelling photographs.

See Also

Nikon D90 portrait settings