© 2009 xiao Nikon D200

Nikon D200

Acquired new in Photo Royal, Montreal

One solid piece of rock.

Nikon D200

Nikon D200

First the build is very solid and doesn’t feel like a toy in the hands like lower models. The weather proofing is very well done. I haven’t submerged the camera in water yet and am not planning to try out anytime soon but it can handle some serious heavy rainfall, dust storm and ice pellets. But, 1, you gotta dry it properly after you come back inside since if it’s wet for too long, water can get in between the first and second sheet of protective plastic on the rear LCD. It doesn’t break it but if the water’s dirty, it’ll leave a patch of dirt under the screen when it dries. 2, it doesn’t mean that your body or lens is well protected at all if your lens is crappy. Ie, dirt can still get in the body by zooming if the lens is not sealed behind the rear zoom/focus ring since zooming can create suction at those points and dirt can get in the lens if the sections of the lens that extend out while zooming is not sealed. Dirt can then get in between glass elements and become impossible to clean out.

Another point to highlight about the construct of the body itself is that it’s much much heavier than the D80. Doesn’t mean that it’s not a travel body but do get a proper bag for it or it can be very painful after a long day’s walk. Especially if you have a few lenses with you as well, plus some water and food for the day. If you’re just doing day trips, the camera’s fine by all mean.

About performance, it is a grade lower than the new D300 for managing chromatic aberrations, so it does take another step in photoshop/lightroom/aperture once it’s in the computer. But all of this can be automated so it’s not a big problem. AF is very fast on non silent wave lenses and fast and accurate on silent wave motors. Focus is accurate and with the AF assist, I’ve very rarely been in need to use manual focus. Plus, the AF assist on mounted flashes is powerful enough to cover at least the range of the flash unit. D200 is the last camera with CCD sensor in the prosumer line of Nikon SLRs. It does mean that the battery lasts shorter than CMOS (I get around 300 shots if I don’t try to make an effort to save power, ie pic reviews on LCD, long exposures/aperture preview, AF and AF-S lenses etc) and the shooting rate is lower (but still an impressive 5 fps if you’re not shooting birds and sports). But years of experience with CCD does give Nikon a big edge for noise management at long exposures and high ISOs. With a solid lens, pictures shot at 3200 are still very usable for web and newspaper applications.

In terms of control, D200 still does have about five times more options in its menus than the D80 and external buttons/switches are all very useful and huge time savers. Once it’s properly set, LCD screen is hardly ever needed to get your camera into the shooting configurations of the environment. The only things I go into the menu for is turning on AF assist very seldom at night for long exposures and turning remote flash control on/off. The 2.5” is great for viewing pictures but a bigger screen can be helpful. Every hard button on the body is very useful. AF, metering, bracketing, WB/ISO/Qual, everything’s there and once you know the camera a bit, you will never have to move the camera out of the shooting position to get it into the ideal shooting settings of the environment. Finally the D200 sucks for infrared. It takes a couple more times the exposure needed by the D70 to get a proper picture. The focusing isn’t too accurate on infrared and may need a bit of manual focusing.

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