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First impressions of the D200

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by ronnies, May 7, 2007.

  1. Hi,

    I promised I'd get back after the weekend to give my first impressions of my new D200, so here they are. This post is not very structured and probably rambles a bit too much.

    Moving from the D70 the first thing that strikes you is the size and weight. The D200 on it's own is slightly bigger than the D70 but is a lot heavier. There's a solidity that just breeds confidence in the build quality. That's not to say the D70 feels bad, just that the D200 feels so much better. The texture on the grip is much less slippy than the D70, more in line with the D2x. One possible gripe is that it's now a longer reach to the DOF preview button and I don't have big hands.

    I'd heard reports about the much bigger and brighter viewfinder so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. It is bigger than the D70 finder but not as big as the finder in my F4. This was actually a relief as I sometimes find the F4 screen too big to keep track of everything in the frame. The viewfinder information is also better than the D70 since you can now see the ISO setting .

    The menus are well laid out (as are the D70's) but I must admit I have no idea yet what some of them do. Particularly in relation to those settings for the AF system. The possibilities to set the camera up just the way you want seem endless. Of course the problem then is what setting to use in what situations? I think I have lots of reading ahead of me.

    I mentioned earlier that it was slightly bigger than my D70. It's MUCH bigger when you add the MB-D200. In fact in this configuration it's bigger than my F4 ! It's so big it won't fit in my Lowepro TLZ 2 case I use every day and it'll probably have to go on it's side in my Computrekker backpack ! It'll be interesting to compare sizes with the D2x later this week. I've yet to be convinced about using it with the MB-D200. The build quality on the battery pack is not as good as the actual body and there does seem to be a little movement between them when attached. I'll obviously have to try both configurations to see what I like best. It may be like the F4 where I change between the MB-20 and the MB-21 as the situation dictates.

    Image quality is stunning. We've not had a good weekend weather wise so my pictures have been limited to family shots. Having said that I did manage a comparison shot of the end of some DVD cases using a 55mm Micro Nikkor which actually showed how good both cameras are ! A few of the shots I did manage to get were at ISO 400 and look very clean.

    Talking of 55mm Micro Nikkors brings me to another big plus for the D200. Metering with non-CPU lenses. Dial in the focal length and maximum aperture and off you go. I've got a couple of older AI lenses that I can use on it and the D200 has given new life to my 1967 (but AI converted) 28mm f/3.5. This lens can't be used on the F4 (fouling on the internal pins) and of course has no metering on the D70.

    The big screen on the back is much clearer than my D70 screen and also allows much more zooming in to check focus. I also like the ability to customize the playback information screens in use. I must get round to swapping the playback controls over to be the same as D70 before I get too confused. I like the way the centre button on the 4 way switch can be set up to show a close up of the focus area used.

    I was also surprised at the difference in sound when the D200 is fired. I've yet to quantify it but it seems to be much quicker in reacting to the shutter press than the D70. everything seems to be just that bit slicker.

    Overall, I'm very impressed. I knew it was better but not exactly how much better. The D70 is a great camera. :smile: The D200 is better. :biggrin:

    As soon as I get the chance to get some images recorded I'll post them here.

  2. Hi Ronnie,

    Good to hear that you are enjoying the D200. It is a great tool, isn’t it.

    With the grip it will be just a bit taller and I think just narrower than the D2X (I think I remember checking it against my D2H). I am hooked on the grip just because I got used to having some camera on the bottom of my palm from shooting the D2H so it feels more secure to me, but I have read people who feel the opposite so I’m sure it is just a matter of opinion. I have a D2H and still have the D70 that got me started in this whole mess! There is nothing wrong with the D70, and I can’t bring myself to sell mine.
  3. It most certainly is, Mason.

    I think the grip thing will vary from day to day. I like the MB-21 on my F4 if I have a flash in the hot shoe for example but if I'm on holiday and want to save space/weight I use the MB-20. Horses for courses.

    Like you, I wont be selling the D70. My wife Haizhen will probably use it which means we'll start fighting over lenses !

  4. Dave


    Feb 7, 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    Congrats on the upgrade Ronnie. This is the camera that I am most looking at upgrade to (going from the D50 though) and I appreciate your review. I am pretty much sold...just have to get the camera fund built back up again. Thanks for the review.
  5. Your welcome, Dave. Good luck with the fund !

  6. I too just moved up to a D200, from a D80. I had bought the D80 in December for my move to the DSLR world (from a N80).

    I'm very pleased with the D200 as well. While the D80 was a nice camera, I wanted the higher FPS and weather sealing (kid's sports, weather not always cooperative).

    I also like the multiple banks you can set, didn't realize you can save separate shooting and custom settings banks, along w/ named custom WB as well. This will be very helpful when basketball season comes along again and the indoor venues that are horrible in terms of lighting. I also wanted the (perceived) faster autofocus, especially w/ older screw-driven lenses (like my 50 1.4 and 85 1.8 that I use for BB)

    I am not liking the group mode dynamic autofocus; I tried it this past weekend (in line mode, not diamond) and I found it was not grabbing my focal point (yes, could be operator error). I'm going to go back to dynamic autofocus, single spot (LAX games) and see if that's any better.

    But overall, dynamite camera!
  7. I moved from D50 to D200 and my first impression was...this is awesome.:smile:
  8. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I made the switch a couple of months ago. Agree with everything said so far. One of the things I like best about my D200 is that it just seems more organized than the D70. I don't want the idiot modes on top. I want my ISO & WB buttons there. The QUAL button doesn't hurt, either.
  9. Hi all there
    of course I have to agree with you all. D200 is a wonderful camera indeed. Of course, the first impression is a great solidity, a pleasant touch feeling. But, by the time, what I most appreciated is its readiness in accessing REAL useful settings in an eyeblink. No longer looking in inner menus: what you need is already at your fingertips. ISO, WB and QUALITY, focus and exposure. It makes you feel comfortable in any condition. Despite all its detractors, I found the 18/200 a good walkaround to pair with.
    Compared to D70s (my older camera) I just found a couple of cons:
    1) Battery lasting, especially if used with a vr lens, is much shorter than D70s
    2) All in all I found the skin rendition slightly better on the D70s, but it's just my opinion, nothing for sure.
    Of course, as I told to someone asking about it, D200 hasn't to be a "just-to-buy-the-latest-pro-camera". It works like a pro but it needs to be understood. It's useless someone that hasn't any experience with P S A M modes plus all the rest (WB, mainly) gets a D200 just as an expensive gift. It's better and cheaper a D80, for that kind of use.
    I like pointing out this since I've seen a very poor man asking for a latest-model-canon camera when it was clear he hadn't ANY photographic knowledge and was just looking for the latest expensive toy to be happy with, a caprice. I tried to make him thinking of his real needings but he still decided to get the Canon since it was the best. I don't know how many Euros he paid for it.
    all my best wishes to enjoy the D200..
  10. jeremyInMT

    jeremyInMT Guest

    Boy, the review seems a little late to the game since the camera has been out since something like January 2006! Good luck with the camera though, they seem to be very nice!
  11. I said I'd give people an idea of my first impressions after getting the camera last week as an upgrade from the D70. It wasn't meant to be a full review. I know the camera has been around since 2005.

    Thanks. I'm enjoying what I've managed to do with it so far but there is so much to learn.

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