Colors - D200 vs D300s
It has been a while since I sold my D200 (CCD) for a D300 (CMOS), then D300s (CMOS), but I seam to remember that the colors of the D200 were REALLY good, better than the D300s - not that I don't like the D300s' colors.
Am I just doing the "back in the good ole days" thing?
Firstly when we say camera A has better colour than Camera B, I think in general the word better is confusing; It would be fairer to say "easier to get good colours". There is allot of anecdotal information that says the D2x had good colours and the D200 had inherited this as well, yet one was CMOS and the other CCD.
But! Both cameras had Analogue colour preconditioning prior to Digital conversion something that Nikon highlighted in their brochures. Reading the behind the scenes technology at Nikon's Webb site, they state that the D200 had better hardware than the D2X. and the experienced gained with D2x metering was used in the D200. http://imaging.nikon.com/history/scenes/
What is interesting is that the advantage of CMOS was the pixel level Analogue digital conversion; So why did the D2x use CCD type Analogue Digital conversion at the expense of Hi ISO ability?
My guess is that at this time Nikon was obsessed with getting easy to get good colours, but as the high ISO and faster FPS battle was stepped up by Canon, Nikon changed to traditional CMOS implementation to compete. Hence the priorities were changed with the D300.
The D3 series used a combination of the D2x approach and traditional CMOS configuration and large volume and expensive off chip electronic hardware. These electronics were so large that they would not fit in the D700. This may also explain why CCD was used in the D200. Although CCD was a more expensive technology it did not require so much off chip bulky hardware as the D2X, as CCD was by nature less noisy than CMOS, which used complex noise cancelling techniques.
The Mixed approach used in the D2x, is I believe typical of the LBCAST thinking that was prevalent at that time at Nikon.
I wish that Nikon had continued to improve the multi-channel CCD approach and found innovative solutions to its weaknesses, rather than jumping on the CMOS band wagon. It would have been expensive, although ironically it could have paid off by providing superb video.