Family Camera: 30D vs. D200

Started Apr 16, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Dainel Kim
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Family Camera: 30D vs. D200
Apr 16, 2006

Hello.

I’m buying a family camera and I’d like to have your comments on my reasoning. I don’t have lenses and I have had Maxxum 9 (sold), Sony DSC-F505 (mine), Canon SD400 (my wife’s). I thought I’d buy 30D, and have waited for a year, only to be disappointed. Nikon must have thought 30D would have 10MP, as I have. I think I know a solid camera. Maxxum served our needs very well. It never failed in any circumstances, even for my wife.

1. Budget
No compromise (no 5D). I’ll have to use this camera for 5 years at least.

2. Systems considered
-D200, 18-200mm VR, SB-600, 4GB CF
-30D, 17-85mm IS USM, 70-300mm IS USM, 430EX, 4GB CF

I don’t trust Sigma lenses, since I had two mechanically broken (24-70mm f2.8) in the same way.

3. Family camera

Both my wife and I will use this. The main objects will be babies (in & outdoor), my wife, dishes (cuisine), and landscape. And my wife’s graduation ceremony in May will be the debut. My wife is learning photography slowly. She doesn’t have full sense about noise, ISO, and DOF yet. SD400 has been satisfactory to her as a toy. She used to have Canon EOS5 a long time ago. These will bring up following requirements.

4. Speed and control
-D200: One-handed power-on and shoot (better)
-30D: 2-step power-on and shoot (bad)

I find that D200 control is more efficient. You can just grab it and shoot it with one hand, without losing objects. 30D needs more steps, losing moments and objects. Also D200 control is similar to Maxxum 9. At first sight, I couldn’t understand 30D control dial icons on the left shoulder.

5. Indoor w/flash -D200 (better), 30D (better-)

They say that D200 has better control and exposure over 30D, but 30D should be good enough.

6. Indoor w/o flash – D200 (better-), 30D (better)

We cannot use flash for sleeping babies and dog, for example. Then, 30D wins due to high sensitivity sensor. But I find D200’s ISO3200 images are not junks considering ISO3200 film. (BTW, I cannot by brighter lenses in the budget.) D200 has AF assist, which is useful, when I cannot use flash.

7. Auto focusing – D200 (better), 30D (better-)

I guess D200 has faster auto focusing generally with given set of lenses (17-200mm vs. 17-85).

8. Point & shoot – D200 (better?), 30D(better?)

I’m not a pro, and my wife is beginning. I expect her/me to turn the camera on and shoot it right away to get the moment. And I think a good camera should produce decent images for this (as Maxxum did). I would need your comments on this especially.

9. Construction - D200 (better), 30D (good)
I expect the camera needs to be baby-proof to a certain degree.

10. Lenses
-D200: 18-200mm (better)
-30D: 17-85 & 70-300mm (good)

I need a high power zoom lense mainly for my wife’s graduation ceremony. For me, D200 is more attractive because of this 18-200 lense, one-lense solution for almost every occasion. It can get close-up less than 2ft, and I think 300mm effective zoom would be enough from 100 feet away. (I used 70-200 f/4 with Maxxum before and it wasn’t that bad.) Sample images look good to me.

A bad thing about Canon lenses is, I will have to justify buying two lenses, one is for normal use(17-85mm f/4-, not bright), and the other for ceremony only at this point (maybe I should rent one instead). They must be good lenses, but changing lenses causes dust in the sensor, and we have to carry two lenses in the bag, all my burden. My wife will not like the idea of cleaning sensor and changing lenses often, instead of doing diaper.

Bottomline is I’d like to take care of my family more than the camera, and it should be reliable. It’s a tool anyway, and happiness is not made from the camera.

10. Availability - D200 (good or bad), 30D (better)

D200 and 18-200mm lense are out of stock in many internet stores. I live in NY, and I’d appreciate your recommendations (on/offline stores).

11. Color – D200 (better), 30D (better-)

I used ISO400 with 70-200mm f4 for my wife’s previous graduation, and grains were fine. I find that D200 has better skin tone- warm, while 30D is more neutral (according to this forum). I thought Canon provides warmer and Nikon has sharper image in the film.

12. Battery life - D200(good), 30D (better)
D200 (w/o vert grip) takes about 200-300.

Thanks for reading this long post. I read previous posts on D200 vs. 30D, and they were out of my budget range. I'd appreciate your comments.

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