Multiple cameras?

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Michael Mohrmann

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I can't seem to decide between the D2Hs, D200, and the S5. I have the funds to get any two on this list, so long as the total doesn't exceed about $4000 (okay, I know that budget limits are made to be stretched!).

The cameras I have owned (in order) are: Minolta XD-11, Minolta X-700, Nikon N8008s, and Canon EOS-A2. Not top of the line cameras, but models that were a notch below the current pro bodies during their respective times.

My main interest has been with non-flash candids (is there such a thing as flash candids?) at public and family events. Some of my favorite enlargements (8"x10", 11"x14") were of coastal landscape photos. Starting this fall, I will be shooting girl's high school basketball and track & field.

The issues I have with each camera are as follows:

D2Hs: pricey ($3000+ new), loud shutter/mirror (not good for unobtrusive candids), pricey, narrow exposure latitude, pricey

D200: fair high ISO images (some say they are good, some say they are bad), bulky add-on grip, good but less than the D2Hs for AF speed, low light AF, focusing screw-driven lenses, viewfinder, and eye relief

S5: Same as the D200 except for the high ISO images (may be the best of this group), almost $600 more than the D200, large RAW file size for wide dynamic images

The solution would appear to be to purchase two different cameras to cover all of my interests, but is this a workable solution? Some have indicated that it is best to purchase the same (or nearly the same) camera as a backup. Others like to have different cameras for specific situations. And while the D200 and the S5 share the same body and control layout, that's where the similarity ends with these two cameras.

I would like to hear the opinions of users as far as owning two (or more) cameras, and deciding whether it matters that these cameras are similar to each other or not. Thanks. :smile:
 
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There's a good argument to say that you should have two identical bodies for ease of switching, but there's an equally good one to suggest that you pick 2 that complement each other as no one camera seems perfect for everything. I shot with both a D2Hs/D200 and a D2x/D200 combination and it never caused me any problems. I ultimately found the lack of outright resolution an issue with the Hs for weddings but it was a lovely camera.

For your suggestions I'd probably lean towards the D2Hs for the sports and the S5 for people and events. The D200 appears to be more of an all-rounder than the S5.

I also know someone who shoots with a 5D and a D2x, choosing the camera that suits whatever their particular situation best at that moment and cherry-picking the best glass from each system. As a wedding shooter I find the S5 appealing so I can understand that approach as well. For me a 5D and S5 combination would be nice.

I'm not sure there's a right answer to this, more what works best for you.
 
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I would love to have two D200's
I have one. Using the same camera would be great for me. D200 does everything for me.. So far:>))
 
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Whatever you do, I would recommend buying 2 bodies of the same model. Even though Nikon's controls are very similar in all bodies, it is much easier to master one than two. You can also exchange accessories much easier. If it were my money I'd get 2 D200's and at least 1 MB-D200 battery pack. Plenty fast enough and you can print 8X10's and 11X14's all day long until you run out of ink.
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
Thanks to everyone for your responses so far. I must admit that I have been intrigued by the D2Hs, not ever having owned a pro body since I purchased my first SLR in 1982. The fact that I will be shooting all screw-driven lenses is a plus for the D2Hs. The fact that it has a loud shutter/mirror sound is a big minus when shooting candids.

But I also know from my demos of the D200 that its AF speed and accuracy, including in low light, is far better to what I had with my last SLR. And aside from the D2's and the 1DmkII's, I would be hard pressed to name a DSLR that I demoed that was better than the D200 in this regard.

The D200 and S5 combination would seem to be a natural, given their common body, AF, and metering capabilities. But from a speed, imaging, and processing standpoint, these cameras are very different.

I think I am leaning toward getting a D200, but I am not sure whether the second camera will be another D200 or the S5. In either situation, I would be able to fit in a D2H (instead of a D2Hs) near my budget limit. Three DSLRs? Maybe I should worry about getting my first DSLR and then go from there.
 
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I have 2-D200's and have just purchased a new D2Xs. The Xs is just a fantastic camera. I thought the D200's were good. Fast autofocus. A D2hs with a D200 will make a great kit for you,give it a shot.
My plan was to sell one of the 200's when I got the D2Xs but I'm keeking them both. I always take 2 along when going out and many times all 3. I have the 200-400vr and 70-200vr for switching on the D2Xs. I keep a 12-24f/4 and a 17-55f/2.8 on the D200's at all times. Its a full time job staying on top of battery charging and making sure I keep empty cards available.
Dan Berg
 
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M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
Dan,

Thanks for making the argument for three bodies! You are trying to kill my budget!

I actually can see numerous combinations of the D2Hs, D200, and S5 working for me. For high ISO needs, the D2Hs and the S5 would work well together. For sports, the D2Hs would be the primary camera, but the D200 would be no slouch, and even the S5 could help out with high ISO indoor sports. For landscapes, the D200 would be the primary camera, although a wide dynamic scene might be covered better with the S5. With their quieter shutters/mirrors, both the D200 and the S5 would work well for candids, although in fast moving candids where the surrounding noise level is moderate or higher, the D2Hs might be a better solution.
 
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Dan,

Thanks for making the argument for three bodies! You are trying to kill my budget!

I actually can see numerous combinations of the D2Hs, D200, and S5 working for me. For high ISO needs, the D2Hs and the S5 would work well together. For sports, the D2Hs would be the primary camera, but the D200 would be no slouch, and even the S5 could help out with high ISO indoor sports. For landscapes, the D200 would be the primary camera, although a wide dynamic scene might be covered better with the S5. With their quieter shutters/mirrors, both the D200 and the S5 would work well for candids, although in fast moving candids where the surrounding noise level is moderate or higher, the D2Hs might be a better solution.
Budget-smudget LOL! Just teasing Michael. I shoot with the Xs and Hs and both complement each other well. Same AF systems and super fast and the Hs performs better than the Xs in low-light. I really like both cameras a lot.
 
Joined
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Upstate New York
Michael,

I doubt that control similarity and menu similarity are all that important if other factors seem more important to you. I've shot events with two bodies at the same time, my D200 (main camera) and my D70 (my prior DSLR and otherwise my backup), using different lenses, and perhaps one camera using available light, the other with flash. The controls aren't the same but they're close enough. Once each camera is set up there is (in my experience anyway) little reason to change menu settings, etc. during the shoot.

Obviously your planned use might make it better to have two identical cameras, but if you choose to get two different bodies, each with certain characteristics optimized, that shouldn't be too much of a problem if you take the time to become familiar with each.
 
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Michael,

Just a little different thought pattern; For you basketball and track shooting - will it be for you kids and friends or for money? The reason I ask is, if it is for your own personal enjoyment..(you kids, friends kids)...then their is really no reason to have duplicate body types. You would be better served with different bodies that meet your personal shooting requirements. If you plan on generating revenue with the camera then a strong case can be made for similar bodies.

With that being said; I'm not sure that the S5 will lend itself to sports shooting without significant frustration. So if you want two bodies that can support each other in case of malfunction, then the D2hs/D200 or D200/D200 pairing might be the best choice. If you want two bodies that give you the broadest range of ability then the D200/S5 (within your budget) would be your better choice.

Mike
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
Mike,

The planned need is for personal use. Over the years, many of my photos have ended up in the albums of friends and family members, but I was never the "hired" photographer. I suppose this could change in the future, but for now, I am not making a living with my photography.

To answer what you and BobC spoke of, I think I have a preference for flexibility over having identical cameras. With that in mind, just about any combination of the cameras I have listed would work well for me.
 
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I'd say s5 and d2hs, as the s5 is the better d200. Same body, better sensor. Although I personally am thinking d2hs and d1x, but that is just me being me. I don't care too much for the d200 or the s5, but definitely prefer the s5 off what I have read.
 
Joined
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I'd say s5 and d2hs, as the s5 is the better d200. Same body, better sensor. Although I personally am thinking d2hs and d1x, but that is just me being me. I don't care too much for the d200 or the s5, but definitely prefer the s5 off what I have read.
Actually I'd say you should try the S5 first. I haven't used one, but based on some reports I read, it's not exactly a D200 with a different sensor, it has its own quirks and different overall speed.
 
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How about getting one body first. Don't plan on a second body at all (you really don't "need" it after after all as you are not a professional and you always have a film camera to fall back on should it be absolutely necessary for family photos). Get the best camera you can afford or would consider.

Honestly, unless I had a stable of Nikon lenses, I would conisder a 5d. If Nikon is the brand of choice, then a D200 - I find there is little need for a big "pro" body for family and friends shots.
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
Honestly, unless I had a stable of Nikon lenses, I would conisder a 5d. If Nikon is the brand of choice, then a D200 - I find there is little need for a big "pro" body for family and friends shots.
I have started to consider that option (going with the 5D). I did sell off my Canon SLR equipment back at the end of 2005 and purchased some used/new Nikon lenses to add to a few older ones I already had from my N8008s days. I could easily sell them off and switch back to Canon, but I'm not sure that's what I want to do.

At least I have eliminated the D2Hs from consideration, primarily because of the cost ($3000+ new). It's a wonderful camera to hold and use, but I probably will find the D200 (or S5) sufficient for my needs.
 
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Michael,

I'd like to contribute my priorities - to make your decision not too easy :smile:

Like you, I take photos as a hobby, not for a living. While I do have multiple D-SLR bodies, 2 bodies are in many cases very helpful. Having the wideangle on one and the tele on the other body, makes your life waaaay easier. No stress to figure out what lens you need next, no dirt on the sensor through too many lens changes, but the best thing is, it maximizes your time you can shoot and don't need to fiddle around with your gear.

I don't want to give you specific recommendation which combination you might use, but don't forget to consider 2 very important aspects: 1) Ease of use and familiarity and 2) the value of the platform.

Let me explain:
ad 1) After some years of use, it is very convenient when many of the operational actions moved from a concious to a mostly intuitive mode. Checking all the settings (that you dind't forget to reset the AF lever back from ýesterday night to it's normal mode, etc...) is way easier and less error prone on a single (or very similar) user interface.

ad 2) I don't know how you are processing your pictures, but my personal limit for post processing on the PC is simple. It need to be less than a minute per photo. I take one software (NC) to do all the usual settings. If you have 2 different brands, you loose the power of what I call the platform. Subtle differences which makes your life a bit harder.

regards,
Andy
 
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If it were me and I had $4000 to spend that wasn't going to take away from anything else in my life I'd probably go with a 2 x D200, MB-D200, 2 x EF-500 DG Super, and a used 17-55mm f/2.8 AFS or 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS (depending on the lenses you already have).

That said, I could EASILY make due with 1 x D200, MB-D200, 2 x EF-500 DG Super, and Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro for around half the price.
 
M

Michael Mohrmann

Guest
If it were me and I had $4000 to spend that wasn't going to take away from anything else in my life I'd probably go with a 2 x D200, MB-D200, 2 x EF-500 DG Super, and a used 17-55mm f/2.8 AFS or 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS (depending on the lenses you already have).

That said, I could EASILY make due with 1 x D200, MB-D200, 2 x EF-500 DG Super, and Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro for around half the price.
I had $5000 saved as of November 2005 when I was planning on the D200 at that time. My wife has stated "do whatever it takes to get a DSLR, but get one soon", even if that means spending more than the originally planned budget of $5000. We are not wealthy, but we do tend to save before we spend (home ownership being the exception).

I am pretty well set on the lenses I want to start out with if I go with an F-mount DSLR. My main zooms will be the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5D and the 18-35 f/3.5-4.5D. I have a 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 from my previous ownership of a N8008s years ago if I need longer (which is rare). If I need faster, I have some primes available, including a 20 f/2.8D, 35 f/2D, 50 f/1.4D, and a 85 f/1.8D. I also believe I have a 24 f/2.8D stored somewhere in the house.

Note that none of the Nikon lenses I own are AF-S. All are screw-driven, which is why I considered the D2Hs in the first place (even thought about the D1H for awhile). The D200 does fine with screw-driven lenses, but the D2Hs is much better.

BTW, what's an EF-500 DG Super?
 
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It's Sigma's equivalent of the SB800 with iTTL, auto zoom motor, and wireless command mode (though I don't know if you could use the D200 on-board to trigger it).
 

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