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First weekend with the D2x (and 200-400vr) with pics

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by JeffKohn, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Well I got to play with my new toys a bit this past weekend. I took delivery of the D2x and 200-400 VR from Cameta Camera at the end of last week. Initial impression taking the D2x out of the box was, to put it simply, "WOW". It is certainly bigger than the D70, but it has a nice balance to it and doesn't feel excessively bulky or heavy to me. It seems very well made and just has a really solid feel to it. Overall, camera operation isn't too difficult having come from the D70; although, there are some minor differences and a lot more options/controls. The viewfinder is big and bright, and the color LCD and informational LED's are bigger and provide more information than what I'm used to (Yay! ISO setting displayed on back and in viewfinder!). The shutter release has a slightly different feel to it (not bad, just different), but is amazingly responsive. Mirror blackout is incredibly short also. The resolution is amazing, being able to take a vertical crop from a horizontal shot and still have 5MP worth of image is pretty incredible.

    There's are a few things about the layout that will take a bit of getting used to. The func button is where I expect the DOF preview to be (D70 habits die hard), and I found myself fumbling for the AF-ON button a few times when shooting vertical. My only nitpick so far is that I wish the AF-L/AE-L button could be programmed for FV lock so I don't have to tie up the Func button with that functionality. I almost never use AE-L so I would rather use it for FV-Lock and then be able to use Func for HSC mode or some other function.

    The 200-400 VR is a monster of a lens. I've never even seen one of these big lenses in person let alone owned one. I've seen pictures of the 200-400 and knew it was big, but that just doesn't prepare you for the experience of actually holding it in your hands. This lens is truly awesome. I've only done a limited amount of shooting with it yet but I'm already in love. All you 70-200VR lovers out there, this lens has that same magic just at twice the focal length.

    The afternoon everything arrived I started out with boring stuff like checking focus and shooting some ColorChecker charts for ACR calibration. I also started wading through all the custom settings and reading Thom's D2x guide (which arrived that same day). Basically I just tried to start getting familiar with the camera.

    Saturday morning I went to the zoo. Unfortunately I got there a bit late and it was already quite hot. Most of the animals were hiding in the shady corners of their exhibits, if they were out at all. But I did take a few shots and get some practice. The orangutan shot is heavly cropped, he was on the other side of the exhibit and there was a structure in the way that prevented me from getting a really good composition. The snake shot was taken with the Sigma 150 Macro, not the 200-400VR.

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    On Sunday Heather and I went hiking. I left the 200-400 at home but took the rest of my kit even though I don't use it much on these hikes, because it's good practice/exercise for times when I do want to hike with everything. Not much in the way of scenery for broad landscapes in the piney woods, so I usually keep the macro lens mounted while hiking since I'm more likely to be taking pictures of insects, etc.

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    Second shot is pretty lame but these "detail"-oriented landscape shots are something I want to get better at. Unfortunately our hike got cut short by the weather; we got poured on and hiked the last couple miles back in the rain. Thank God I had rain covers for the camera and belt-packs with me.

    All in all I'd say I'm definitely happy with my purchases so far. My initial impression is that the D2x is a truly awesome camera: AF, resolution, shooting speed, you name it, the D2x does it well. It's going to take some practice to get the most out of it I'm sure but I've got several shooting opportunities coming up between now and our vaction that should give me plenty of time to get
     
  2. Hi Jeff,

    Very nice sharp pictures especially the first one. I like them all!

    Thanks for sharing,
     
  3. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for looking Melissa.
     
  4. Welcome to the D2X club Jeff. I am looking forward to seeing you put the beast through its paces. You appear to already be through the learning curve :D 

    The 200-400 is an amazing lens - have fun!
     
  5. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    wtg Jeff!

    Great looking initial shots. You didn't say, but were you handholding the 200-400? Have you tried the HSC mode yet? Nice for when you don't want ginormous pics to edit.
     
  6. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Rory: Thanks. I'm already feeling pretty comfortable with the D2x (excellent ergonomics help here), although I'm sure it's going to take some time to learn all the ins and outs to get the most from the camera.

    Steve: I was using the 200-400VR on a monopod (Feisol + Bogen 3232 head). The 3232 isn't really up to the task IMHO, so I'm debating what to do about it. I briefly hand-held it for a couple of throw-away shots in the back yard just to see if it was doable. Although hand-holding it for brief periods is possible, holding it steady is pretty tough so I doubt I'll be doing that much unless there's enough light for really fast shutter speeds. I think I'm going to get a bean bag before our Teton/Yellowstone trip for use when shooting from the car.

    Haven't tried the HSC mode yet, I'm not sure how easy it would be to remember to compose for the inner viewfinder brackets but I'll probably give it a try for those times when I want 8fps.
     
  7. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    HSC mode is very easy to remember

    since it lights up the corner brackets surrounding it :wink: Most set the Function button to activate it, then you turn the sub-command wheel either direction to go in or out of it. Thought I'd throw that out there for those times you don't want to fool around with huge files.
     
  8. phranc

    phranc

    23
    Apr 30, 2005
    Central Texas
    You cruel, cruel man. How dare you? I will not be able to get that combination out of my head. What I am going to do? I need a D2x now. That camera and 200 micro should be awesome. I have to figure out a way to get one. I must, I must, I must... Oh help me! Someone please help me!

    Anyway, congrats. I look forward to your calibration in ACR discussion.
     
  9. I just cant come into this forum very often. I decided against a D2X for now. This is torture.
     
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