Nikon D200 Review

In what ways would you desire to make money off of your photography? Perhaps you might begin selling your photographs by uploading them to an internet gallery or getting them published in periodicals, calendars, or greeting card companies.

It is not in the least bit improbable. There are a lot of amateurs that do it, and they have some success. Some of them even make a career out of it and work full-time in the industry. You just need to be able to take decent pictures, have a basic understanding of how the market works, and get the appropriate sort of equipment.

Although it is feasible to sell images captured using a digital compact camera, what you truly need is a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR), preferably one with a resolution that is sufficiently high. This has been a bit of an issue up until fairly recently; until recently, there weren’t that many to pick from, and the ones that were available were priced beyond of reach for many fans who were interested in moving to the next level.

The good news is that this circumstance is shifting, as costs are decreasing and requirements are increasing; in addition, certain manufacturers are now aggressively pursuing this market. One such firm is Nikon, which proclaims that its newly released D200 model is “the ideal camera for the semi-professional and freelancer” and that it will also be suitable for “professionals seeking for a second camera to complement their Nikon D2X or D2HS.”

In theory, the D200 is intended to serve as a replacement for the D100, which was Nikon’s first digital SLR camera and was released all the way back in February 2002 – an eternity in the world of digital photography. Since then, the D100 has not been a particularly attractive option for consumers to purchase.

Different

The D200, on the other hand, is a very different proposition. It is mostly derived from Nikon’s D2X and hence shares a significant amount of the style as well as many of the features of the flagship model. Most significantly, it has a street price of 1,200 dollars and is still going down, making it very inexpensive for a digital single-lens reflex camera that can record 10.2 million pixels.

When you’re attempting to sell your photographs, you want as many pixels as you can get your hands on. However, in actual use, the difference between the D200’s 28.7Mb and the D2X’s 34.9Mb is not going to make a difference one way or the other. Therefore, a lot of people who are thinking about becoming freelancers or even working professionals can choose to go with the D200 because it would save them over two thousand dollars.

There is, however, one significant reason why a professional could choose not to purchase an SLR camera from Nikon’s lineup. The Nikon D200 is not a full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera. Because the lens has a magnification factor of 1.5x, the amount of wide-angle coverage that may be captured is significantly restricted.

Those who routinely photograph subjects such as landscapes, groups, and buildings—things for which a wide field of view and dynamic perspective are essential—may discover that the lens magnification factor imposes limitations on their photography. However, individuals who focus on portraiture, still life, or sports may find that this presents less of a challenge—or maybe an opportunity.

When it comes to the features, you truly do have a wide variety of options to choose from. The D200 comes with more than enough features to satisfy the requirements of a serious photographer. It is absolutely necessary to have a precise metering system, and this is one area in which the camera shines thanks to the inclusion of Nikon’s highly respected 3D Color Matrix Metering II.

Additionally, there is the choice between a spot and a center-weighted exposure, in addition to a thorough exposure compensation system, bracketing, and an exposure lock.

You receive a typical range of exposure modes, but there are no subject-based modes included because photographers who are experienced enough to purchase a D200 are unlikely to make use of such modes. The sensitivity may be adjusted from 100 to 1,600 ISO, and it can go as high as 3,200 ISO in H-1 mode. There is a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 seconds, and the flash sync, which is an essential component in some aspects of freelance photography, is 1/250 seconds.

The Nikon D200 also features a built-in flashgun that has a guide number of 13. This flashgun is incredibly helpful in situations when you want a little fill-in or when you don’t have a more powerful accessory gun with you and can get you out of a jam when you don’t have it with you. There is also a PC connector, which is something that was sorely lacking on the D100. This socket enables the camera to be linked to studio flash equipment, which is a feature that the D100 did not have.

A broad variety of white balance features, including both the direct selection of Kelvin values and a number of pre-sets, allow for exact control over the colors in an image. In addition, there are a variety of options that fall under the category of “optimization,” which provide the user the ability to tailor the image’s color, tone, saturation, hue, and sharpness to their own specific tastes.

A plethora of choices

In addition, there are a lot of different focusing options available, such as the capability to choose any one of the individual focus points offered by the 11-Area/7-Wide Area autofocus system, as well as the ability to adjust the manner in which the camera selects the focusing point on its own automatically.

The Nikon D200 puts in an amazing performance in terms of its speed of capture, which is a significant factor in many aspects of photography. A respectable five frames per second may be recorded onto a CompactFlash card at a pace that allows for the acquisition of up to 37 JPEGs or 22 RAW files.

It should go without saying that pictures may be saved in RAW format for the highest possible quality, in addition to a number of different JPEG compressions. The Nikon Electronic Format (NEF) RAW files are designed to be processed with Nikon’s Capture 4 software; however, this software is not included with the camera for whatever reason, most likely due to cost considerations.

There are so many features that it would be impossible to describe them all here; nonetheless, it is important to highlight the 40 Custom Settings, wireless transmission and GPS compatibility, depth-of-field preview, and mirror lock-up functions.

Because it has so many capabilities, the camera naturally has a large number of controls. In all, there are 11 buttons, two input dials, one multi-selection, five selector switches, and one mode dial on the device. However, despite the fact that this might easily make the D200 difficult to use due to confusion and complexity, that does not appear to be the case.

Everything appears to be just where it should be, giving the overall impression that this camera was created by a group that has a solid grasp of the operational requirements of more experienced photographers.

The controls that are used the most frequently, such as White Balance, ISO, Mode, and Exposure Compensation, are all conveniently located on the top of the camera. With a little bit of practice, it is possible to modify all of these variables without having to take one’s eye off the viewfinder.

On the D200, several operations that are difficult to do with other SLR cameras are a piece of cake. For instance, deleting photographs may be accomplished with just one finger or thumb, however, with certain cameras, the same activity requires the use of both hands.

The 2.5-inch LCD, which is becoming increasingly common on high-end cameras, is a joy to work with. Because it has 230,000 pixels, the image that is presented is extremely clear and detailed. Because the viewing angle is 170 degrees, you do not have to be perpendicular to the camera in order to see the image in its entirety. To determine whether or not a picture is crisp, you can zoom in on it to a factor of 25.

Menus

When you press the Menu button, all of the available menus will become visible. The writing, which is white on black and of a typeface that is simple and easy to read, is huge. Because there are not an infinite number of sub-menus for you to become disoriented in, you are able to swiftly explore the system by using the multi-selector control that is located to the right of the LCD.

The broad top-plate information panel has a conventional appearance and displays information such as the shutter speed, aperture, mode, number of photos that are still available, and so on. The viewfinder is bright and crisp, and it displays 95% of the real picture area; hence, what you see in the viewfinder is quite similar to what you receive in the final picture.

The magnesium-alloy core that serves as the foundation of the D200’s body ensures that the camera is incredibly sturdy without being unduly cumbersome. It is 240g lighter than the D2x, bringing the total weight down to 830g, which makes it more comfortable to carry around for longer periods of time. Because the body is hermetically sealed against moisture and dust, this camera is extremely durable and can withstand active usage in a variety of difficult conditions.

To be sure, everything looks promising on paper; nevertheless, how does the D200 perform in actual use? Simply said, it was done wonderfully. You can pretty much throw anything at it, and it will handle it with ease. Simply turning it on makes it ready to be used almost as soon as you do. The time required to start up is merely 0.15 seconds, and the lag time associated with the shutter is only 50 milliseconds.

No matter which of the four autofocus modes you choose to use, the process is quick and precise regardless of how the camera is set up. When the levels are extremely low, the focus-assist light enables accurate focusing to take place.

In the past, the 3D Matrix metering that Nikon used has left an impression on us, and with the D200, it did so once more, demonstrating its value. Almost every photograph was usable right out of the camera, however, most of them might have benefited from some minimal editing in order to bring out their full potential.

Once again, the White Balance system performed really well, and we did not see any significant color casts even though our test images were taken in a broad variety of lighting conditions.

The D200 possesses the same powerful processing engine as the D2X, in addition to an optical low pass filter, which helps to eliminate moiré patterning and color fringing. The results of these features are visible. The quality of the image is quite high overall. When viewed at a regular degree of magnification, there is no discernible noise at ISO 100 or ISO 200. Even with an ISO setting of 400, the noise is hard to spot until you specifically search for it.

The quality of the photographs does begin to suffer after the ISO is increased to 800, but they may be used without any problems. If you turn up the ISO to 1,600, you’ll see that there is more noise, but the quality is still far higher than anything we’ve ever gotten from the film with an ISO of 1,600. However, the HR-1 ISO 3,200 level is not one that we would advocate using unless you really want the increased speed.

The flaws and restrictions of a camera will frequently become apparent to you for the first time when you use it, and they will continue to frustrate you after that. However, if your initial thoughts about anything are positive, your appreciation for it will grow the more you utilize it.

When I used a D200, everything worked out in this manner. There are no significant issues present. In point of fact, there are hardly any annoyances that need to be mentioned. The more we utilized it, the more in awe we were of its capabilities. Although it costs $1,200, which is a significant amount of money, you get a lot for the money, and if you want to make a life from photography, it might easily pay for itself. Steve Bavister

Nikon D200 Specifications

Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD sensor
• DX format
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 10.92 million total pixels
• 10.2 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
Image sizes• 3872 x 2592 [L]
• 2896 x 1944 [M]
• 1936 x 1296 [S]
File formats• NEF (12-bit RAW)
• NEF + JPEG
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
File sizes (approx.)• RAW + JPEG Large/Fine: 20.7 MB
• RAW: 15.8 MB
• JPEG Large/Fine: 4.8 MB
• JPEG Large/Normal: 2.4 MB
• JPEG Large/Basic: 1.2 MB
• JPEG Medium/Fine: 2.7 MB
• JPEG Small/Fine: 1.2 MB
Color space• sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB
Lens mount• Nikon F mount
• 1.5x field of view crop
Usable lenses• AF Nikkor (including AF-S, DX, VR and D-/G-type) : All functions possible
• D-type Manual-Focus Nikkor: All functions except autofocus and some
exposure modes available
• AF Nikkor other than D-/G-type: All functions except 3D Color Matrix
Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash possible
• AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering,
3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash and AF possible
• Non-CPU AI Nikkor : Usable in [A] or [M] mode with Matrix-Metering,
Center-Weighted and Spot metering available. Indication of aperture No.,
after user inputs the aperture f/No. and focal length f=mm by multi-selector
operation.
Electronic Rangefinder usable with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster
Auto Focus• 11/7 area TTL (7 in wide focus area mode)
• Multi-CAM 1000
• AF working range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, normal temperature)
Lens Servo• Single Servo AF [S]
• Continuous Servo AF [C]
• Manual focus [M]
Focus Tracking automatically activated by subject’s status in [S] or [C] AF
AF Area Mode• Single Area AF
• Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock-on
• Group Dynamic AF
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF
AF assistYes, white lamp
AF Lock• Locked using the AE-L/AF-L button
• Half-press shutter release button in AF mode [S]
Exposure modes• Program Auto [P] – flexible program possible
• Shutter-Priority Auto [S]
• Aperture-Priority Auto [A]
• Manual [M]
MeteringTTL full-aperture exposure metering system;
• D-/G-type Nikkor lenses support 3D Color Matrix Metering II using the 1,005-pixel CCD while other AF Nikkor lenses with built-in CPUs support Matrix Metering (Non-CPU lenses require manual input of lens data)
• Center-Weighted Metering (75% of the meter’s sensitivity concentrated on the 8mm dia. circle)
• Spot Metering (3mm dia. circle, approx. 2% of entire frame); metering position can be linked to the focus area when using Nikkor lenses with built-in CPU
Metering modes• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-Weighted
• Spot (3 mm circle, 2% of frame)
Metering range• 3D Color Matrix Metering: 0 to 20 EV
• Center-Weighted Metering: 0 to 20 EV
• Spot Metering: 2 to 20 EV
At normal temperature (20°C/68°F), ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens
Meter CouplingCPU and AI
AE LockLocked using AE-L/AF-L button
AE Bracketing• 2 to 9 frames
• 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV steps
Exposure compen.• +/-5.0 EV
• 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
Sensitivity• ISO 100 – 1600 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
• ISO 2000, 2500 or 3200 with boost
Shutter• Electromagnetically controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter
• 30 to 1/8000 sec (1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps)
• Flash X-Sync: 1/250 sec
• Bulb
White balance• Auto (1005-pixel CCD, image sensor)
• Presets (six) with fine tuning
• Manual presets (four)
• Color temperature in Kelvin (2500 – 10000 K, 31 steps)
• White balance bracketing (2 to 9 frames, 10,20,30 MIRED steps)
Image parameters• Preset modes: Normal, Softer, Vivid, More Vivid, Portrait, B&W
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom tone curve
• Color mode: I, II, III
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
Viewfinder• Optical-type fixed eye-level pentaprism
• Built-in diopter adjustment (-2 to +1m-1)
• Eyepoint: 19.5 mm (at -1.0m-1)
• Frame coverage 95%
• Viewfinder magnification approx 0.94x with 50 mm f/1.4 lens
Focusing screenB-type BrightView Clear Matte Screen II
Viewfinder info• Focus indicators
• Metering system
• AE/FV lock indicator
• Flash sync indicator
• Shutter speed
• Aperture value
• Exposure/Exposure compensation indicator
• ISO sensitivity
• Exposure mode
• Flash output level compensation
• Exposure compensation
• Number of remaining exposures
LCD monitor• 2.5 ” TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• Backlight / brightness adjustment
Flash control• TTL: TTL flash control by 1,005-pixel RGB sensor.
• Built-in Speedlight: i-TTL balanced fill-flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering or mode dial set to [M])
• SB-800 or 600: i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR and standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR.
• Auto aperture: Available with SB-800 with CPU lens
• Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, and 22s
• Range-priority manual; available with SB-800
Flash Sync Mode• Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync)
• Red-Eye Reduction
• Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
• Slow Sync
• Rear-Curtain Sync
Built-in Speedlight• Manual pop-up with button release
• Guide number (ISO 100, m) approx 12 (manual 13)
Flash Ready-LightLights up when flash fully charged with Speedlight SB-800/ 80DX/ 50DX/ 30/ 28/ 27/22s; blinks for full output warning
Flash Accessory ShoeISO 518 standard-type hot shoe contact; Safety lock mechanism provided
Flash Sync TerminalISO 519 standard terminal, lock screw provided
Flash compensation• -3 to +1 EV
• 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
DOF Preview• Stop-down lens aperture by pressing button
• Activates modelling flash
Shooting modes• Single frame
• Continuous High [CH] – 5 fps
• Continuous Low [CL] – 1 to 4 fps (custom)
• Self-Timer (programmable)
• Mirror-up mode
• Interval timer (Timelapse)
Continuous buffer• JPEG Large/Fine: approx. 37 frames
• RAW (NEF): approx. 22 frames
Self-timer• 2, 5, 10 or 20 sec programmable
Orientation sensorTags images with camera orientation
Playback mode• Full frame
• Thumbnail (4 or 9 images)
• One-touch zoom
• Slideshow
• RGB histogram
• Shooting data
• Highlight point
• Auto image rotation
Connectivity• USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) Mini-B connector
• Video out
• Remote control 10-pin
• PC Sync flash terminal
GPSNMEA 0183 Interface standard supported with GPS Cable MC-35 (optional)
CommunicationsFTP and PTP/IP file transfer with optional Wireless Transmitter WT-3 (IEEE 802.11 b/g)
Video out• NTSC
• PAL
Storage• Compact Flash Type I or II
• Microdrive supported
• FAT 12/16 and FAT 32 support
• 36 characters of text can be input and stored in EXIF header
• No CF card supplied
Vertical grip• Optional MB-D200 battery pack / vertical grip
• 2 x EN-EL3e Lithium-Ion batteries
or • 6 x AA batteries
Power• Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e (7.4 V, 1500 mAh)
• Included battery charger MH-18a
• Optional AC adapter EH-6
• Optional MB-D200 battery pack / vertical grip
Battery monitoringThe LCD monitor on the camera back displays the following information
about the EN-EL3e battery:
• Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots taken since last charge
• Battery life (5 stages)
Dimensions147 x 113 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
Weight (no batt)830 g (1.8 lb)
Weight (inc. batt)920 g (2.0 lb)
Box contentsRechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Quick Charger MH-18a, Video Cable, USB Cable UC-E4, Strap, Body cap, Eyepiece Cap DK-5, Rubber Eyecup DK-21M, LCD monitor cover BM-6, PictureProject CD-ROM
Optional accessoriesWireless Transmitter WT-3, AC Adapter EH-6, Speedlight SB-800/SB-600/SB-R200, Nikon Capture 4 (Ver. 4.4), CompactFlash card, Nikkor lenses, Multifunction Battery Pack MB-D200, GPS Cable MC-35, Remote Cord MC-36 (replacement of MC-20), Semi-soft Case CF-D200

Conclusion

The D200 made quite a commotion when it was introduced in November of the previous year (and not just in the Nikon camp). It was immediately apparent that the Nikon logo and the ’00 designation were the only things this camera had in common with its official forerunner, the D100. This was made abundantly obvious right from the beginning.

Since of its design, construction, features, and overall performance, this camera truly carves out its own space in the market. It would be a shame to designate it as “semi-pro,” because once you start using it, you will quickly understand that it is a professional camera. Which takes us to the competition; in terms of its design and functionality, it definitely trumps the Canon EOS 20D/30D, and in my opinion, it’s a step above the EOS 5D, which is a baby D2X.

Next, we’ll talk about megapixels, or I guess the marketers would like that, but to be honest, there’s really very little to gain or lose in two megapixels either way, which is why in a neutral comparison (like the one we did here, shooting in RAW and using the same converter), you really can’t see a significant advantage or disadvantage going either way (8 to 10 or 10 to 12). Even if you blew up the poster to an extremely huge scale, you still wouldn’t be able to see the difference.

The manner in which what is captured is developed, on the other hand, can make a difference. This takes us to the default sharpening that the D200 uses (for JPEGs). There is a difference between avoiding sharpening artifacts and not being able to resolve detail that was collected by the sensor due to inadequate processing or sharpening.

Because of this choice to have a low level of default sharpening, someone who is using a D200 for the first time can have the impression that the camera is “soft.” If you turn the sharpness up, or even better, shoot in RAW, and incorporate a subtle unsharp mask into your workflow, the photos produced by the D200 will be as sharp and crisp as you could ever hope for.

Concerning problems, I’m afraid the D200 has at least a couple of them. First, there is the issue of noise. It’s simple to argue that a camera isn’t meant to have a specific high-sensitivity performance, but unfortunately, there is a benchmark out there, and people now have an expectation of performance when using a digital SLR at this level.

That is not to suggest that the D200 is especially terrible; rather, it is to state that the competition is very strong. If you capture a lot of photos at ISO 1600 or above, you should definitely devote some of your time to examining the results of our noise tests as well as the high ISO gallery examples.

The second concern isn’t widespread, but it has led some people to have doubts about Nikon, and that’s the vertical banding issue that some owners have reported having. Personally, I was taken aback to discover that such an important new product had been negatively impacted by something that looks to be pretty simple to duplicate (QC?). I was also taken aback by the rather late reaction from Nikon to recognize that there was a problem and provide a solution.

If the purpose of field testing a beta product is not to discover issues like this one, then you really have to question the value of doing so. It’s possible that it didn’t harm too many cameras, but it definitely left a “negative vibe” that no camera wants or needs.

Nikon D200 Price

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Instant power on, extremely responsive, extremely little blackout period and extremely rapid media write
  • Excellent resolution, despite the fact that it is not a significant improvement over eight megapixels.
  • A compact body design with genuine professional in terms of quality and feature package
  • Excellent continuous filming at a rate of five frames per second as well as quick “smart buffering.”
Need Improvements
  • Adjustments to an insufficient number of picture parameters, with very little room for error
  • Noise levels that are higher than we would like at ISO 1600 and 3200, particularly in the shadow areas
  • Noise reduction at high ISO can be effective, but it comes at the sacrifice of detail.
  • Because the default sharpness is insufficient, a new user’s initial impression may be unfavorable.

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