D2H, Why so Much for a 4MP Camera?

Started Jun 7, 2013 | Questions
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Try one before you buy one; aim for a D2Hs over D2H
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 8, 2013

Gpruitt54 wrote:

I currently have a D200 I recently upgraded to the D200 from a D70.  During my search which ended with the D200 (a 10MP camera), I saw lots of D2H cameras.  I passed on the Dh2 because it only delivered 4MP.

So, I pose this question.  Why is the D2H so expensive when it delivers 4MP images?

I shot my first pro commission with a D2Hs and used it happily until 2012.  Many satisfied clients.  Some things about the D2H/D2Hs that others haven't pointed out:

Pros

  • Off-center AF points are cross-type and *very* widely spaced.  Makes for killer AF speed / accuracy with radically off-center subjects.
  • 4MP DX sensor is *very* forgiving with lenses and pinpoint AF accuracy--not only are you imaging in the center "sweet spot" of FX lenses, but a 100% view of a 4MP image just doesn't enlarge enough to really show lens or minute focus calibration defects the way 16MP or 36MP would.
  • 4MP images fly through post-processing software on even modest computers.  You could easily roll through D2H/D2Hs RAW on a netbook.  Not much data to crunch, not much data to store.
  • D2Hs has excellent D2-era color modes: exceptional skin tones, wonderful vivid shades.  (D2H, by comparison, has more trouble controlling the red channel response.  I've heard it's due to near-IR interference.)
  • Battery life is outrageous.  Thousands of shots per charge.
  • I've seen some big 4mpx prints that look great.  Depends on the subject and how important detail is to making the point.

Cons

  • High-ISO performance is terrible by modern standards.  (Honestly, it was only mid-pack when the camera was released.)  It's about on par with C41 film in many ways.  It's not just that individual pixels don't perform; it's that with only 4 megapixels, it's harder to "dilute" noise the way larger, high megapixel sensors do.   (For the sake of rough comparison, it's about a stop behind your D200.  ISO 800-1600 shots will look pretty rough.)
  • The viewscreen is tiny, coarse, and not at all visible in direct sun.  It's a generation behind your D200, and looks it.  Modern 3" / 921K screens make it look outright primitive.
  • No on-board flash = no CLS control without an accessory of some kind.
  • 4mpx means little-to-no margin for cropping.  Cut even a little out of your frames and you've got a tiny 2mpx image.
  • We're a year into "retina" displays; the first "4K" monitors / TVs are hitting the market.  So we're entering a world of 220 - 300 DPI everywhere, even at big sizes.   At a lowly 72 DPI, the D2H's RAWs won't even fill today's 30" computer monitors. 

You really need to get your hands on one and sample the output before you make any decisions.  It really was a wonderful camera for a long time, but I have a hunch you'll conclude you're better off just using your D200.

If you do shoot one and like what you see, try hard to find a D2Hs rather than a D2H.  They aren't much (if any) more expensive on the used market, but there were a few meaningful improvements--a fix to the near-IR pollution issue and viewscreen improvements (which needs all the help it can get) to name a few.

Good luck!

M.

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Re: Try one before you buy one; aim for a D2Hs over D2H
In reply to MarkJH, Jun 8, 2013
  • We're a year into "retina" displays; the first "4K" monitors / TVs are hitting the market.  So we're entering a world of 220 - 300 DPI everywhere, even at big sizes.   At a lowly 72 DPI, the D2H's RAWs won't even fill today's 30" computer monitors. 

You could add a frame around your image and, voila, it now fits the screen

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breivogel
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If you like the D200...
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 8, 2013

You will really like the D300. I have had both, and the image quality is so much better at higher Iso, and I liked the handling better too. Bigger, hi res screen, live view.   If you can find a D300s at a good price, that would give you video capability.

I can't really see the utility of the D2H for a hobbyist.  The D300 is plenty tough and fast enough for all practical purposes.  4MB is really limiting.

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coudet
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Re: If you like the D200...
In reply to breivogel, Jun 8, 2013

breivogel wrote:

I can't really see the utility of the D2H for a hobbyist.

Young photographers were all over dirt cheap ones for their skateboard pics, a few years back.

I can think of some uses too, but then, you can get better cameras for not much money.. D2h makes very little sense today.

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plevyadophy
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wow!! gorgeous! Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to RBFresno, Jun 9, 2013

RBFresno wrote:

Gpruitt54 wrote:

I currently have a D200 I recently upgraded to the D200 from a D70.  During my search which ended with the D200 (a 10MP camera), I saw lots of D2H cameras.  I passed on the Dh2 because it only delivered 4MP.

So, I pose this question.  Why is the D2H so expensive when it delivers 4MP images?

Hi!

For many years, the D2H was my heavy duty, well built, accurate/fast focusing DSLR, usually mounted with a 200-400VR.

The 4 MPs of the D2H might be among the best 4MPs ever pit into a DSLR. Some not only got good results from the D2H, but using programs like genuine fractels, could get decent enlargements as well:

I tried listing mine on Craigslist for $50, but no takers 

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/1600s f/4.0 at 400.0mm iso200

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/1600s f/4.0 at 400.0mm iso200

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/320s f/5.6 at 400.0mm iso320

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/3000s f/4.0 at 400.0mm iso320

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/1000s f/4.0 at 400.0mm iso250

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/800s f/4.0 at 400.0mm iso800

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/160s f/6.3 at 380.0mm iso800

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/1250s f/4.0 at 400.0mm iso400

Nikon D2h ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
TC14e-II, 1/1250s f/7.1 at 550.0mm iso320

Nikon TC-14E 1.4x II ,Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR
1/2500s f/6.3 at 550.0mm iso400

Best Regards,

RB

http://www.dpreview.com/members/2305099006/challenges
http://www.pbase.com/rbfresno/profile

Wow!!

Gorgeous images pal!!

I also have a 4Mp pro body cam,  the original Canon 1D, which I am not going to sell.

If your Nikon has those two unusual features, well, unusual by today's standards, of being able to sync flash at full power at 1/500s or faster and having a shutter speed faster than 1/8000 then I would recommend you keep it as a special purpose cam rather than dumping it on Craigslist; don't get caught up in the idea that 4Mp is no longer any good, because judging by your beautiful images it still has a lot of use left in it.

Regards,

plevyadophy

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windsprite
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to Chuck Yadmark, Jun 9, 2013

Chuck Yadmark wrote:

Man I'd give you easily twice that for camera only.  I have owned 3 D2H's.   I have a love/hate relationship with em.  I love the handling, autofocus and the way they shoot.  I hate it when the lights go down and I have to go to 800 or worse.  Nowadays my assignments (maybe arbitrarily) won't allow less than 6mp, but I do love using this around the house in the daytime to shoot my kids and local nature.

Three years ago you made a comment about the D2H that I loved so much, I bookmarked it:

I'll put it another way, it's good enough to get you hooked on pro bodies, and bad enough that you'll wish you had a different pro body.

That is so true.   I bought mine four years ago.  I was shooting another brand and it was a relatively cheap way of testing the high-end Nikon autofocus.  I also figured that if I eventually updated to a D300/D700, I could use the EN-EL4 in a battery grip for 8 fps.

Even though it was a six-year-old camera, the D2H was good enough to convince me to go Nikon, but the old 4 MP sensor was not great for cropping or low light.   Within eight months, I ended up buying a D700.  Since then, I have barely touched the D2H, except when I have needed a backup camera.

Some things about the D2H still haunt me, though.  I love the chassis and the handling.  Earlier this year I bought a D300 because I wanted a second body with more reach.  It's a fine camera, but I find myself wishing I had bought a D2X instead.  The D300 sensor is probably better in most respects, but after using the D700 for three years, the noise annoys me.  When I can't use the D300 at or near base ISO, I switch over to the D700.  Considering that, I might as well have bought a D2X rather than a D300 and enjoyed the more high-end body.

Julie

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Gpruitt54
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to RBFresno, Jun 9, 2013

Yeah,

There are times when I get fixated on something and I don't stop until it is completed. The idea of trying out a D2h was one of those things. I located one on Ebay that seems in good condition. According to the Ebay store, the camera has a Shutter count of 53K. Making an offer, I was able to get the camera for 300.00 complete with charger and batteries.

I've heard all the comments posted here, both good and bad. Initially, I was of the mind that the hype about the D2h was nothing more than hype. Then I saw the results that some of you are getting along with a whole lot of reviews. Those were enough to justify spend a small amount on a much needed second body to support my D200.  Besides, I could not buy anything else for the amount I spent (except maybe another D200).

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zakk9
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Try it
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 9, 2013

After you've tried one of the top Nikon or Canon models, current or an old one like the D2H, all other cameras seem to response slowly. For sports, events, press conferences etc., that speed can mean the difference between getting the photo or not getting it. Most news photos are printed well within the limitations of 4 MP, so the file size isn't as much of a problem as one would believe.

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M Lammerse
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Its a well build workhorse
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 9, 2013

Gpruitt54 wrote

I do not own a D2H and I do not know anyone who has one.  However, from a Megapixel point of view (my only frame of reference) I am a bit confused at the value proposition as it relates to the D2H. I use to use a D70.  No, I NOT asserting an equivalence between them. But, the D70, like the D2H are both low Megapixel cameras.  From the reference point of Megapixels (alone), the photo quality between the D70 and my current D200, is a very notable improvement.

Good question. I've never owned one either. But i remember that I and several colleagues of me were full of envy when  a few staff photographers got the D2H and we had to keep using the F100 or F5's or our self financed digital Nikon dslr camera's

The D2H is a typical need camera, its very well build, and it had very good operation for its time. A typical workhorse so to say. Image quality is especially in the sector where this camera is aimed on news and sports coverage only partly important. What is important is that you get the news fact, the D2H could do that under all kinds of extreme (weather) conditions and for that time with an excellent AF and speed. The 4mp excellent files it produces is more than enough (by means of image quality)  for low resolution (black&white) news  photography and there it was merely aimed at, at least at rhe news organization I worked for.

Michel

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Charles Currey
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 9, 2013

Gpruitt54 wrote:

I think I am sufficiently impressed enough to look into a D2h as a second body.  I’ve seen some interesting prices on Ebay.  However, the really low price examples cam be pretty beaten up and have with no charger or battery.  Also, those examples have clicks in the of 117K and higher.

Bottom line is that I am taking a closer look. Especially if I can fine one at a really great price and is not to beaten up.

Do you shoot jpeg or RAW? If you shoot jpeg, you should look at the D2Hs instead of the D2h because the JPEG processing engine was substantially upgraded in the D2Hs. I used both and the difference in JPEG pictures was significant. I was not shooting RAW at the time, so I cannot compare the two on that feature.

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Gpruitt54
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to Charles Currey, Jun 9, 2013

Charles Currey wrote:

Gpruitt54 wrote:

I think I am sufficiently impressed enough to look into a D2h as a second body.  I’ve seen some interesting prices on Ebay.  However, the really low price examples cam be pretty beaten up and have with no charger or battery.  Also, those examples have clicks in the of 117K and higher.

Bottom line is that I am taking a closer look. Especially if I can fine one at a really great price and is not to beaten up.

Do you shoot jpeg or RAW? If you shoot jpeg, you should look at the D2Hs instead of the D2h because the JPEG processing engine was substantially upgraded in the D2Hs. I used both and the difference in JPEG pictures was significant. I was not shooting RAW at the time, so I cannot compare the two on that feature.

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Chuck Currey

I shoot both. I shoot JPE for events and RAW for my personal photography.

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Chuck Yadmark
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to windsprite, Jun 9, 2013

Now I'm going to have to get another H, Hs, X or Xs  

windsprite wrote:

Chuck Yadmark wrote:

Man I'd give you easily twice that for camera only.  I have owned 3 D2H's.   I have a love/hate relationship with em.  I love the handling, autofocus and the way they shoot.  I hate it when the lights go down and I have to go to 800 or worse.  Nowadays my assignments (maybe arbitrarily) won't allow less than 6mp, but I do love using this around the house in the daytime to shoot my kids and local nature.

Three years ago you made a comment about the D2H that I loved so much, I bookmarked it:

I'll put it another way, it's good enough to get you hooked on pro bodies, and bad enough that you'll wish you had a different pro body.

That is so true.   I bought mine four years ago.  I was shooting another brand and it was a relatively cheap way of testing the high-end Nikon autofocus.  I also figured that if I eventually updated to a D300/D700, I could use the EN-EL4 in a battery grip for 8 fps.

Even though it was a six-year-old camera, the D2H was good enough to convince me to go Nikon, but the old 4 MP sensor was not great for cropping or low light.   Within eight months, I ended up buying a D700.  Since then, I have barely touched the D2H, except when I have needed a backup camera.

Some things about the D2H still haunt me, though.  I love the chassis and the handling.  Earlier this year I bought a D300 because I wanted a second body with more reach.  It's a fine camera, but I find myself wishing I had bought a D2X instead.  The D300 sensor is probably better in most respects, but after using the D700 for three years, the noise annoys me.  When I can't use the D300 at or near base ISO, I switch over to the D700.  Considering that, I might as well have bought a D2X rather than a D300 and enjoyed the more high-end body.

Julie

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RedFox88
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Re: Try one before you buy one; aim for a D2Hs over D2H
In reply to MarkJH, Jun 9, 2013

MarkJH wrote:

Gpruitt54 wrote:

I currently have a D200 I recently upgraded to the D200 from a D70.  During my search which ended with the D200 (a 10MP camera), I saw lots of D2H cameras.  I passed on the Dh2 because it only delivered 4MP.

So, I pose this question.  Why is the D2H so expensive when it delivers 4MP images?

I shot my first pro commission with a D2Hs and used it happily until 2012.  Many satisfied clients.  Some things about the D2H/D2Hs that others haven't pointed out:

Pros

  • Off-center AF points are cross-type and *very* widely spaced.  Makes for killer AF speed / accuracy with radically off-center subjects.

That's only because it is aps-c image sensor which is cropped which is why it "seems" they are spaced wide.

  • 4MP DX sensor is *very* forgiving with lenses and pinpoint AF accuracy--not only are you imaging in the center "sweet spot" of FX lenses, but a 100% view of a 4MP image just doesn't enlarge enough to really show lens or minute focus calibration defects the way 16MP or 36MP would.

Sounds like more nikon pre-2007 marketing, when they said dx aka aps-c was superior to 35mm.

  • 4MP images fly through post-processing software on even modest computers.  You could easily roll through D2H/D2Hs RAW on a netbook.  Not much data to crunch, not much data to store.
  • D2Hs has excellent D2-era color modes: exceptional skin tones, wonderful vivid shades.  (D2H, by comparison, has more trouble controlling the red channel response.  I've heard it's due to near-IR interference.)
  • Battery life is outrageous.  Thousands of shots per charge.
  • I've seen some big 4mpx prints that look great.  Depends on the subject and how important detail is to making the point.

Cons

  • High-ISO performance is terrible by modern standards.  (Honestly, it was only mid-pack when the camera was released.)  It's about on par with C41 film in many ways.  It's not just that individual pixels don't perform; it's that with only 4 megapixels, it's harder to "dilute" noise the way larger, high megapixel sensors do.   (For the sake of rough comparison, it's about a stop behind your D200.  ISO 800-1600 shots will look pretty rough.)
  • The viewscreen is tiny, coarse, and not at all visible in direct sun.  It's a generation behind your D200, and looks it.  Modern 3" / 921K screens make it look outright primitive.
  • No on-board flash = no CLS control without an accessory of some kind.
  • 4mpx means little-to-no margin for cropping.  Cut even a little out of your frames and you've got a tiny 2mpx image.
  • We're a year into "retina" displays; the first "4K" monitors / TVs are hitting the market.  So we're entering a world of 220 - 300 DPI everywhere, even at big sizes.   At a lowly 72 DPI, the D2H's RAWs won't even fill today's 30" computer monitors.

LCD screens have a native ppi (not dpi) and you should not deviate from the design specs.

You really need to get your hands on one and sample the output before you make any decisions.  It really was a wonderful camera for a long time, but I have a hunch you'll conclude you're better off just using your D200.

If you do shoot one and like what you see, try hard to find a D2Hs rather than a D2H.  They aren't much (if any) more expensive on the used market, but there were a few meaningful improvements--a fix to the near-IR pollution issue and viewscreen improvements (which needs all the help it can get) to name a few.

Good luck!

M.

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windsprite
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to Chuck Yadmark, Jun 9, 2013

Chuck Yadmark wrote:

Now I'm going to have to get another H, Hs, X or Xs  

You can never have too many! 

Julie

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Gpruitt54
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to RBFresno, Jun 14, 2013

Well OK, I did purchase a D2h. I picked it up on Ebay for 300 bucks. I am very impressed with the camera. Yes as many of you have said the build quality is outstanding and the amount of customization through menu options is almost overwhelming. I've spending lots of time with the manual in an attempt to understand all the choices. I love my D200, but honestly, the D2h is a more versatile tool.

I've taken a couple of test photos with the D2h. I like the results from this 4MP camera.

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Great shots!
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 14, 2013

Gpruitt54 wrote:

Good stuff, man.  And these photos leverage the D2H's strengths: big subject filling the screen, comparatively low requirement for detail.   As you'd expect, it'll be similarly great with headshots, product macro, etc.   Quite a bit of versatility there.

I love my D200, but honestly, the D2h is a more versatile tool.

Eh . . . I'd say "whoh whoh whoh, hold yer shootin', Tex" on that statement.  The D2H can't control a setup of off-camera CLS strobes on-the-fly with a built-in flash.  It can't shoot a clean ISO 800.  Take another shot three steps back from those flowers (or shoot a portrait that isn't head-and-shoulders--say 3/4 or environmental / full body) and you'll start to see some serious lack of detail, even in web-size results.

It's great for what it is--but I think it's a good thing you've kept your D200, too.

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Gpruitt54
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Re: Great shots!
In reply to MarkJH, Jun 14, 2013

MarkJH wrote:

Gpruitt54 wrote:

Good stuff, man. And these photos leverage the D2H's strengths: big subject filling the screen, comparatively low requirement for detail. As you'd expect, it'll be similarly great with headshots, product macro, etc. Quite a bit of versatility there.

I love my D200, but honestly, the D2h is a more versatile tool.

Eh . . . I'd say "whoh whoh whoh, hold yer shootin', Tex" on that statement. The D2H can't control a setup of off-camera CLS strobes on-the-fly with a built-in flash. It can't shoot a clean ISO 800. Take another shot three steps back from those flowers (or shoot a portrait that isn't head-and-shoulders--say 3/4 or environmental / full body) and you'll start to see some serious lack of detail, even in web-size results.

It's great for what it is--but I think it's a good thing you've kept your D200, too.

Good points all.  I will shoot this same image, exposure, lens, and tubes using but with the D200.  I expect to see lots more detail, after all, its a macro shot.

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ralphcramdon
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Re: D2H, Why so Much for a 4MP Camera?
In reply to Gpruitt54, Jun 14, 2013

Gpruitt54 wrote:

mironv wrote:

Why used Corolla is chiper than used Jaguar??? Same differance.If you don't see it than it's not for you. From all DSLR's I used ( D70, D1, D2H, D2Xs,D2Hs, Fuji S5 , D700) D2Hs put biggest smile on my face every time I used it. Even with small 4MP sensor.

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I do not own a D2H and I do not know anyone who has one. However, from a Megapixel point of view (my only frame of reference) I am a bit confused at the value proposition as it relates to the D2H. I use to use a D70. No, I NOT asserting an equivalence between them. But, the D70, like the D2H are both low Megapixel cameras. From the reference point of Megapixels (alone), the photo quality between the D70 and my current D200, is a very notable improvement.

This is where my question is based. How does the D2H produce better images (if any), from any similarly equipped low MP (Nikon) camera?

it doesn't

my other fav is the d2x guys

nostalgia is fine but the little toy camera, the d7100, blows away the d2h and d2x in every category but build.....

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ranalli
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Re: For some of us ...
In reply to Mr Gadget, Jun 14, 2013

Mr Gadget wrote:

there is more to photography than megapixels.

Build quality, handling, speed and ruggedness play important roles.

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AMEN!!  But you wouldn't know that by reading the forums on DPReview.

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ranalli
Contributing MemberPosts: 840
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Re: You should be able to get a used D2H for around $400 (pics)
In reply to RBFresno, Jun 14, 2013

Lovely shots...proof that megapixels are FAR FAR FAR from everything when it comes to good photography.

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