I'm really starting to like the D200/digital

Started Jun 18, 2009 | Discussions thread
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GBThomas
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I'm really starting to like the D200/digital
Jun 18, 2009

-I'm an old film guy who has 3+ decades of experience with film in 35mm and MF. I recently (about 3 weeks ago) got a D200 and have been familiarizing myself with this new camera and new (digital) technology. Right now, I am very impressed with the camera and with digital technology.

I had wanted to try digital for a few years but hated to lose the ability to use my old non-cpu Nikkors (for which I had fond memories and mucho bucks invested). All of the Nikons which would take my non-cpu Nikkors were always out of my price range until Best Buy came along with its specials. So, about 3 weeks ago I got a D200 and have been playing around with it since then.

These are some of the things I really appreciate about the camera and digital technology.

1. Feel/quality---the D200 just feels like a solid camera and I really like the dedicated buttons and the fact that they all seem to fall naturally under the fingers.

2. Non-cpu friendliness---I set up the Function button to allow me to press it, then rotate the Main dial to select the focal length of one of my non-cpu lenses and, voila, there it was (after I had originally entered the lens)....really convenient and quick. And my non-cpu lenses seem to work very well with the D200.

3. ISO setting on the fly---I used to carry around three Nikkormat EL (precursor to the FE series and very similar) bodies with three different film types for various situations; now, just one camera with a selectable ISO...much more convenient.

4. Color temperature---My camera bag used to hold a bunch of filters (of different

sizes) for various lighting situations; with the D200, the white balance (with instant feedback) obviates the filters.

5. Depth of field preview---I don't know how many folks still use this function but I am addicted to it and routinely use it before just about every (static) shot. I'm always changing aperture, checking DOF, adjusting shutter speed and aperture, checking DOF, etc. I wouldn't own a serious camera without this feature (I'm really old school) ; the D200's DOF works well.

Although I've used AF lenses for sports and action photos (and I think that they are invaluable for those applications), I almost never use AF for routine, static shots. I especially don't see the value of AF for wide angle lenses. I have several old film Olympus XA cameras that I always used to carry around in my pocket; they had a color-coded setting for "grab" shots whereby the camera was kept set a f/5.6 and focussed at 8 feet...everything from about 3' to infinity would be in focus and it worked extremely well. AF on this camera (with its 35mm lens) would have been silly, IMHO.

Speaking of AF, I see that D300 owners have the option of fine tuning their "front' and "back" focus for their lenses. I don't have this option on my D200. Does this mean that my D200 is likely never precisely in focus for all my lenses? (The AF on my telephotos seem spot on to me in that they perfectly match my MF.) I've never heard of this fine tuning before.

Again re: AF, I'm still not getting the 11 focus points, and especially the option of selecting a focus area. I'm sure that once I start shooting moving subjects that those focus points will come in handy but it seems to me that, especially with slow moving or static subjects, it's a lot faster to just focus on the subject on the ground glass then re-compose, rather than taking the time to go through the hassle of selecting a left/right/top/bottom focus area.. Maybe I'm just an old school Luddite still steeped in in-grained habits.

Regarding the post processing exercise. It almost doesn't seem fair that so much can be adjusted after the "film" is exposed. Having spent so many years anguishing over "pre-exposure" issues, it seems like post processing is almost cheating, :-). Nonetheless, I love the ability of sitting at my computer to make changes instead of discarding film frames that are under- or over-exposed or laboring in the darkroom for hours doing gymnastics with dodging tools under the enlarger.

Speaking of post processing, it seems that my wife sold (for $5) my copy of Photoshop at a yard sale a couple of years ago ("You never used it!). So, I'll be loading the trial version of Capture NX as soon as I foresee a 30-day period of time when I can devote my uninterrupted attention to learning it.

So, in summary, I'm extremely pleased with the D200 and digital photography in general. I still anticipate using MF film for large enlargement (especially landscapes) but for almost all other applications, it's going to likely be digital.

I want to thank all the folks who have lent a hand in the past weeks helping me enter this new world. It's quite a rush to me seeing the possibilities of this new (to me) medium....thanks.

GT

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