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Nikon D200 Review

February 2006 | By Phil Askey



Review based on a production Nikon D200

The Nikon D200 was announced on 1st November 2005, some three and a half years since Nikon revealed their first prosumer digital SLR, the D100. It's fair to say however that the D200 is a completely different beast altogether, it shares far more with its 'bigger brother' the the D2X than its earlier namesake. The D200 has the robust build quality of the D2X, a 10.2 million pixel CCD sensor and a compact design more like the D100. Just as the D100 the D200 has a CCD sensor, unlike the D2X which utilized a CMOS sensor. It's clear that this camera is aimed at the same kind of market as the recently announced Canon EOS 5D. From a features, control and performance point of view the D200 is closer to the D2X than any other model.

Compared to the Nikon D100, major feature and specification differences

Three years is a long time in the digital photography industry, a lot has changed since the D100, so treat the table below as a summary of the major changes. The most immediately noticeable however is the build quality, the D200 feels like a professional tool.

 
Nikon D200

Nikon D100
Body • Magnesium alloy
• Body seams sealed
High-impact plastic
Sensor • 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD (DX format)
• 10.2 million effective pixels
• 23.7 x 15.6 mm CCD (DX format)
• 6.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 3872 x 2592 [L]
• 2896 x 1944 [M]
• 1936 x 1296 [S]
• 3008 x 2000 [L]
• 2240 x 1488 [M]
• 1504 x 1000 [S]
File formats • RAW (compressed / uncompressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (compressed / uncompressed)
• TIFF
• JPEG (3 levels)
Auto focus • 11/7 area TTL
• Multi-CAM 1000
• 5 area TTL
• Multi-CAM 900
AF area mode • Single Area AF
• Continuous Servo AF
• Group Dynamic AF
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF
• Single Area AF
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF
Metering • 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• 1005 pixel CCD
• 3D Matrix Metering
• 10 segment sensor
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 1600
• Up to ISO 3200 with boost
• ISO 200 - 1600
• ISO 3200 & 6400 with boost
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/8000 sec
• 1/250 sec X-Sync speed
• 30 - 1/4000 sec
• 1/180 sec X-Sync speed
AI aperture ring Yes No
Continuous • 5 fps
• 37 / 22 frames (JPEG / RAW)
• 3 fps
• 6 / 4 frames (JPEG / RAW)
White balance • Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset (four)
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset (one)
• Fine tunable
Image params • Six preset looks
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
• Sharpening: Auto, 4 levels
• Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom
• Color: 3 modes
• Hue: -9° to +9°
Viewfinder • Eyepoint 19.5 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx. 0.94x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte II
• Eyepoint 24 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.8x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte II
LCD monitor • 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• Removable protective cover
• 1.8" TFT LCD
• 120,000 pixels
• Removable protective cover
Memory banks • 4 x Shooting
• 4 x Custom functions
• 2 x Shooting
• 2 x Custom functions
Timelapse Yes No
Remote 10-pin remote terminal With battery pack (optional)
GPS Yes, NMEA 0183 with optional cable No
Wireless Yes, optional WT-3 transmitter No
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 1.1
Battery Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e (7.4 V, 1500 mAh) Lithium-Ion EN-EL3 (7.4 V, 1400 mAh)
Battery status • Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots taken since last charge
• Battery life (5 stage)
3 level on LCD panel
Vertical grip MB-D200 MB-D100
Dimensions 147 x 113 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in) 144 x 116 x 81 mm (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
Weight (no batt) 830 g (1.8 lb) 700 g (1.5 lb)

Compared to the Nikon D2X

It would be fair to describe the D200 as a 'compact D2X', while some features have been removed to preserve the D2X's uniqueness you would be hard pressed to find a situation (other than high-speed crop continuous shooting) where the D200 couldn't stand up to its bigger brother.

Compared to the Nikon D2X, major feature and specification differences

 
Nikon D200

Nikon D2X
Sensor • 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD (DX format)
• 10.2 million effective pixels
• 23.7 x 15.7 mm CMOS (DX format)
• 12.4 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 3872 x 2592 [L]
• 2896 x 1944 [M]
• 1936 x 1296 [S]
• 4288 x 2848 [L]
• 3216 x 2136 [M]
• 2144 x 1424 [S]
High speed crop No Yes (2.0x FOV crop, 6.9 MP, 8 fps)
File formats • RAW (compressed / uncompressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (compressed / uncompressed)
• TIFF
• JPEG (3 levels)
Auto focus • 11/7 area TTL
• Multi-CAM 1000
• 11/9 area TTL (9 in High speed crop)
• Multi-CAM 2000
Settings lock • AF Area
• Shooting mode (continuous)
• AF Area
• Shutter speed
• Aperture
• Shooting mode (continuous)
Color space • sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB (2 modes)
• sYCC
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 1600
• Up to ISO 3200 with boost
• ISO 100 - 800
• ISO 1600 & 3200 with boost
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/8000 sec
• 1/250 sec X-Sync speed
• 30 - 1/8000 sec
• 1/250 sec X-Sync speed
AI aperture ring Yes Yes
Continuous • 5 fps
• 37 / 22 frames (JPEG / RAW)
• 5.3 fps
• 22 / 17 frames (JPEG / RAW)
Continuous
(high speed crop)
n/a • 8.0 fps
• 35 / 29 frames (JPEG / RAW)
White balance • Auto (metering CCD)
• Six presets
• Manual presets (four)
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto (hybrid external and CCD)
• Six presets
• Manual presets (four)
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Image params • Six preset looks
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
Built-in flash Yes No
Voice record No Yes, up to 60 sec per image
Viewfinder • Eyepoint 19.5 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx. 0.94x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte II
• Eyepoint 19.9 mm
• Frame coverage 100%
• Magnification approx 0.86x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte III
• Built-in curtain
• Interchangeable finder screen
LCD monitor • 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• Removable protective cover
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 232,000 pixels
• Tempered glass coating
• Removable protective cover
Wi-Fi WT-3 (802.11 b/g) WT-1 (802.11b) or WT-2 (802.11b/g)
Battery Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e (7.4 V, 1500 mAh) Lithium-Ion EN-EL4 (11.1 V, 1900 mAh)
Battery status • Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots taken since last charge
• Battery life (5 stage)
• Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots taken since last charge
• Calibration status
• Battery life (5 stage)
Vertical grip MB-D200 Built-in
Dimensions 147 x 113 x 74 mm (5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in) 158 x 150 x 86 mm (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 830 g (1.8 lb) 1070 g (2.4 lb)

Lens compatibility

Thanks to its new AI aperture ring connector the D200 supports A / M modes and metering with AI manual focus lenses (essentially anything made since 1977). Click on the chart below for a bigger view. (Table reproduced from Nikon brochure with permission).

  1. IX Nikkor lenses can not be used.
  2. Vibration Reduction (VR) supported with VR lenses.
  3. Spot metering meters selected focus area.
  4. The camera’s exposure metering and flash control systems do not work properly when shifting and/or tilting the lens, or when an aperture other than the maximum aperture is used.
  5. Electronic range finder can not be used with shifting or tilting.
  6. Manual exposure mode only.
  7. Compatible with AF-I Nikkor lenses and with all AF-S lenses except DX ED 12-24 mm f/4G and AF-S series ED 17-35 mm f/2.8D, DX 17-55 mm f/2.8G, ED 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G, VR ED 24-120 mm f/3.5-5.6G, and ED 28-70 mm f/2.8D.
  8. With maximum effective aperture of f/5.6 or faster.
  9. If AF 80-200 mm f/2.8S, AF 35-70 mm f/2.8S, new-model AF 28-85 mm f/3.5-4.5S, or AF 28-85 mm f/3.5-4.5S is zoomed in while focusing at minimum range, image on matte screen in viewfinder may not be in focus when in-focus indicator is displayed. Focus manually using image in viewfinder as guide.
  10. With maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster.
  11. Some lenses can not be used (see following page).
  12. Range of rotation for Ai 80-200 mm f/2.8S ED tripod mount limited by camera body. Filters can not be exchanged while Ai 200-400 mm f/4S ED is mounted on camera.
  13. If maximum aperture is specified using Non-CPU Lens Data option in shooting menu, aperture value will be displayed in viewfinder and control panel.
  14. Can be used only if lens focal length and maximum aperture are specified using Non-CPU Lens Data option in shooting menu. Use spot or center-weighted metering if desired results are not achieved.
  15. For improved precision, specify lens focal length and maximum aperture using Non-CPU Lens Data option in shooting menu.
  16. Can be used at in manual exposure modes at shutter speeds slower than 1/125 s. If maximum aperture is specified using Non-CPU Lens Data option in shooting menu, aperture value will be displayed in viewfinder and control panel.
  17. Exposure determined by presetting lens aperture. In aperture- priority auto exposure mode, preset aperture using lens aperture ring before performing AE lock or shifting lens. In manual exposure mode, preset aperture using lens aperturering and determine exposure before shifting lens.
  18. Exposure compensation required when used with AI 28-85 mm f/3.5-4.5S, AI 35-105 mm f/3.5-4.5S, AI 35-135 mm f/3.5-4.5S, or AF-S 80-200 mm f/2.8D. See teleconverter manual for details.
  19. Requires PK-12 or PK-13 auto extension ring.
  20. Use preset aperture. In exposure mode A, set aperture using focusing attachment before determining exposure and taking photograph.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This article is Copyright 2006 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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Comments

CagomoC
By CagomoC (2 weeks ago)

Two of awesome creative machines that I still use. I'll never give them up. I haven't reached 20,000 shutter counts yet! had these babies since 2006.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
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