Maybe I am approaching digital from the wrong direction

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Michael Mohrmann

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For the longest time (18 months!) I have delayed the purchase of a DSLR for one reason or another. Most of the time, it appeared that the D200 was the camera for me (and the reason I sold my last film SLR back in November 2005). But there always seemed to be one reason or another why I haven't purchased the D200.

Well, the family is pressing hard for me to get a DSLR (compact digital cameras haven't cut it for me). There are two graduations in the family happening less than 4 weeks from now, and I have been asked to photograph these events, before, during, and after.

I decided that I would purchase the D200, and if it turned out to be a mistake, I would sell it after these graduations. I'm just waiting for the various online stores to return from their time off in order to make the purchase.

In the meantime, I mentioned the type of lenses I like to shoot, and I have received PMs and emails indicating that I might not be taking best advantage of the D200's image capability. The general consensus is that the zoom lenses I have chosen aren't up to the ability of the D200.

The main lenses in question are the 18-35 f/3.5-4.5D and the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5D. I also have an older 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 that I don't figure on shooting past 200mm (the lens gets soft near 300mm anyway). I also have several primes (20 f/2.8D, 35 f/2D, 50 f/1.4D, 85 f/1.8D) which I figure to not be a problem.

Are the two main zoom lenses going to be a problem with the D200? I am not looking for the absolute best quality, otherwise I would force myself to shoot the f/2.8 zooms. I don't figure to enlarge past 8"x10" that much since I haven't in 25+ years of shooting film. OTOH, will I be disappointed with the D200 in combination with these two zooms?

Would I be better off with a lower MP camera? If that is the case, I would love to go with a D2Hs (which is also better with the screw-drive lenses). But I have not been able to justify the $3000+ cost for new, and I would really like my first DSLR to be new (although that deal on NikonCafe for the mint D2Hs that sold for $1900 should have been mine:frown:).

My other lower MP options are the Fuji S5, which keeps me in the F-mount, or I can go back to Canon with the 30D, although I am not sure which lenses I would pair with that camera.
 
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D200 will drive all the lenses

Who is telling you the D200 won't handle the lenses must be crazy

Plus you can print a big as you want.

This is printed 16x20 and can be printed larger if I want

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Commodorefirst

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Of the lenses you mentioned the only question mark might be the 18-35, however, you can still get great images with that lens and the D200, you are not wasting the D200 talents, can the camera maybe outresolve the lens?, sure, but you wouldn't be noticing that in your uses and prints. If you have the funds and like the camera go for it. The user operations of the D200 are superior to the other lower level camers, and you do get what you pay for in the body with sealing, gaskets, and other nice features of the D200. The screw drive focus of the D200 works well with the primes you listed, you won't notice any speed problems.

The 28-105 is a great well respected lens and a pretty good macro lens too, Your primes are superb, and based upon your setup you could sell your three zooms and spend a tiny bit of money and get a nice 180 prime that would work very well at indoor graduations, and then you would have a super kit of primes that many would be envious of.

but I would keep the 28-105 for now until you get things under your belt, it is a great first lens along with all the primes.

One other thought would be to get rid of the 18-35, 28-105 and 70-300 and try to find a 18-200VR but that would mean more money, but might prove useable in your situations too.

Wade
 

Commodorefirst

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Great shot Gale, and this has always been one of the top images on the cafe.

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SRA

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D200 will drive all the lenses

Who is telling you the D200 won't handle the lenses must be crazy

Plus you can print a big as you want.

This is printed 16x20 and can be printed larger if I want

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
WOW Gale, Classic shot! :Shocked:
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
Wade,

Thank you for the feedback on the 28-105. Back in my Minolta XD-11 days, my favorite zoom was the 50-135 f/3.5. I was hoping that the 28-105 was as good as some have reported, as its 35mm equivalent FOV on a DX body is ~42-157mm, making it an ideal everyday lens for me (most people like wider).

I figured that the primes would be good enough, which is useful for me when I need to photograph candids in lower light.

Gale,

I probably didn't word my post very well. I made it sound like some were saying that the D200 couldn't handle these lenses. It is more like what Wade described in that the D200 probably can outresolve these zooms, and I think that's what some were trying to warn me on.

I should remember that many on these forums tend to use the most expensive lenses they can afford (and sometimes can't afford!) and are looking for the best absolute quality from their images. For some, their livelihood depends on the equipment they choose and use.

BTW, what lens did you use to capture your wonderful image?
 
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I used an 80-400 Vr:>)))))) (did not use tc on this shot)

Sure ain't the most expensive lens
But best I can afford and use it also with the Kenko Pro 300 DG 1.4 TC ...600mm

Most of my gallery is with this lens and most with the tc

The D200 is so great to me , I do not believe I will ever need another camera:>)))))))))))))))


PS that image was hand held:>)))))))
 
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Michael,

I can only echo the advice that Gale and Wade have given. The D200 is a very good camera, and has an outstanding price / performance ratio.

I don't have as much insight as Wade regarding the lenses that you have (I shoot almost exclusively with long telephotos), but I can tell you that if you liked the lenses that you have with your SLR that you will love them with the D200. :smile:
 
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Hi Michael,

I haven't used it on a D200, but the 18-35 has been awesome on any of the DSLRs I've had: D100, D1X, D1H, D70 and D2Hs. I'd go as far as to say I would rather have it than the legendary 17-35 just because it is so much lighter. So don't sweat the 18-35.
 
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Michael Mohrmann

Guest
... but I can tell you that if you liked the lenses that you have with your SLR that you will love them with the D200. :smile:
Well, coming from a Canon SLR (film) of 12 years, I am flying somewhat blind into the Nikon system. I decided which Nikon lenses would suit my shooting preferences, and went from there.

I did look at Canon first, but I felt that with the digital sensor crop (I was looking at the 20D vs the D200 at that time), the available Nikon lenses gave me more flexibility than the Canon lenses. The only downside is that none of the lenses that I have chosen so far are AF-S. Having used USM lenses, that is one feature I will miss.
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
I haven't used it on a D200, but the 18-35 has been awesome on any of the DSLRs I've had: D100, D1X, D1H, D70 and D2Hs. I'd go as far as to say I would rather have it than the legendary 17-35 just because it is so much lighter. So don't sweat the 18-35.
Glad to hear some more positive feedback about the 18-35. I have been told that the 18-35 on a D1 body autofocuses as fast, if not faster, than an AF-S lens. I think part of that may have to do with the screw drive system in the older D1 bodies. I wish that the D200 was like the D1 in this regard, but you can't have everything at the D200's price point.
 
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Glad to hear some more positive feedback about the 18-35. I have been told that the 18-35 on a D1 body autofocuses as fast, if not faster, than an AF-S lens. I think part of that may have to do with the screw drive system in the older D1 bodies. I wish that the D200 was like the D1 in this regard, but you can't have everything at the D200's price point.
Michael, look at what Thom has to say about the 18-35...

http://www.bythom.com/1835lens.htm
 
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As many have said, the D200 is a fine camera and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using it with your lenses. You will not get better results with a lower quality body. So, if you like the D200 and can afford it, go for it.

What I think people are trying to say is that if you start from scratch and are trying to spend your money effectively, you usually want to buy a body and lenses that have equivalent quality. To go to a pro-level with one and not match that level with the other is an ineffective use of money and the overall system may not reach the potential of the more expensive part of the pair (thus wasting part of that investment).

I don't have experience with the 18-35 myself, but judging by Thom Hogan's review (referenced in this thread), that lens only keeps up with the quality and resolution of the D200 when it's stopped down significantly. If you don't stop down, it sounds like there will be parts of your image where the 18-35 can't "keep up" with the 10MP sensor in the D200. That does not mean you will necessarily get better image with a lower resolution sensor, just that you won't be able to fully utilize the 10MP resolution that you paid for.

If you had a fixed budget for awhile and you were going to spend all of it on the D200, then I would probably suggest a better balance of quality between the lens/body. You might be better off getting something like a D80 and using the rest of the money on a lens upgrade.

If you want to get a great body now that you can use with all your lenses (many of which match the quality of the D200 - especially the primes) and you can consider upgrading a few of your pieces of glass in the future, then the D200 is a great choice.
 
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Michael, my honest opinion, based on your comments of the last 18 months, is that you probably won't be happy with the d200. I think that your reservations about the d200 will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It seems that you are most familiar with the canon system, so that's what I'd advise you to buy. AFAIK, there's nothing wrong with the 30d. It seems to be a fine camera, when paired with good lenses.
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
Michael, my honest opinion, based on your comments of the last 18 months, is that you probably won't be happy with the d200. I think that your reservations about the d200 will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Possibly, although I have had reservations before about my SLR purchases, and generally I enjoyed those particular purchases. Although I would have to say it was easier making purchase decisions for SLRs than it has been for DSLRs (at least for me).

It seems that you are most familiar with the canon system, so that's what I'd advise you to buy. AFAIK, there's nothing wrong with the 30d. It seems to be a fine camera, when paired with good lenses.
I am most familiar with the Canon system, but that is one reason why I wanted to make the switch. Canon makes good equipment, but at the prosumer level of lenses, I like the offerings and optical performance from Nikon more so than Canon.

I owned Canon's (all USM) 20-35 f/3.5-4.5, 28-105 f/3.5-4.5, and 70-210 f/3.5-4.5. These represent (or represented) Canon's best zooms above their basic consumer zooms and below their pro zooms. Nikon's equivalent offerings (i.e. 18-35 f/3.5-4.5D and 28-105 f/3.5-4.5D) are better optically than what I used with Canon. If I were shooting f/2.8 zooms, this wouldn't be an issue because Nikon and Canon are mostly on par with each other.
 
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Michael,

If at all possible, why don't you rent a body and lenses for the two graduations. It would seem that it might be more cost effective, and if you factor in the lens depreciation (even if minimal) and if you ultimately are not happy with the Nikon approach, the dark side of white lenses is always there.
 
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