Body & Design

At first glance the D200 does look quite similar to the D100, but the more you examine it the more the newer Nikon design cues become obvious and you realize the evolution of changes since the D100 will serve this camera well. Construction is much the same as the D2X with the same high quality magnesium alloy body, soft rubber coating around grip areas and rubber seals around compartment doors. You can only really appreciate how well put together it is by handling it. It really feels like a solid brick with no creaks or hints of flex. Around at the back the D200 has the same oversized controls as the D2X which make it easier to use normally but especially when wearing gloves.

Environmental seals

Just as with the D2X there are numerous rubber gasket seals around body seams, controls and compartment doors. Nikon don't claim the camera to be waterproof but it's certainly more 'weather proof' than the average digital SLR. Remember that the camera is only as weather proof as its weakest link, this includes the lens mount and only a few of the more recent Nikkor lenses have rubber seals around the mount ring.

Side by side

Here you can see the D200 beside the recently announced direct 12.8 megapixel Canon EOS 5D. Both cameras have similar proportions and similar levels of build quality (although I'd give the edge to the D200). The D200 weighs 920 g (2.0 lb) with its battery but without a lens, the EOS 5D weighs just 110 g less in the same form.

In your hand

I won't go on and on about how good the D200 feels in your hand, sufficient to say it feels very purposeful and extremely robust. The soft rubber of the chunky hand grip and excellent rear 'thumb hook' design make it feel as though it was designed around the form of the human hand first. As with the D2X control layout is excellent with large buttons and clear labeling. I much prefer the D200's control design and ergonomics to the EOS 5D (apart from the Canon's large rear dial).

LCD Monitor

The D200 has the same large and high resolution 2.5" 230,000 pixel LCD monitor as we first saw on the D2X. It has a very bright, sharp and yet smooth display with a very wide viewing angle. One big change from the D2X however is the on-screen user interface which has undergone some considerable make-over. The layout of the interface is identical but Nikon are now using high resolution anti-aliased fonts and icons and increased use of subtle color. The result is the best looking user interface I've see on any digital camera. Double Kudos then for the screen and making proper use of it to deliver such a satisfying and professional experience.

The screen doesn't have an anti-reflective coating and so can suffer from reflection in bright conditions. The camera is supplied with a clip-on screen protector which has a clear center which has no detrimental effect on image brightness and will help to protect the screen.

Top Control Panel

The D200 has one control panel on the top, this large display dominates the entire right top side of the camera and provides a full range of information covering photographic and digital settings. The panel has a green backlight which can be illuminated by flicking the power switch to the lamp position, it's spring loaded and returns to 'ON', the backlight stays on for the 'auto meter-off' time (CSM c3). You can also choose to have the backlight's come on with any button press (CSM d7). Note that even when the camera is 'Off' this panel displays the number of frames remaining on the card or -E- if no card.

A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagrams below.

*1 • Shutter-speed
• Exposure compensation value
• Flash compensation value
• ISO sensitivity
• White balance fine-tuning
• White balance preset number
• Number of shots in bracketing sequence
• Number of intervals
• Focal length (non-CPU lens)
*2 • Aperture (f-number)
• Aperture (number of stops)
• Bracketing increment
• Number of shots per interval
• Maximum aperture (non-CPU lens)
• PC connection indicator
*3 • Number of frames remaining
• Number of shots remaining before buffer fills
• PC mode indicator
• Preset white balance recording indicator
*4 • Electronic analog exposure display
• Exposure compensation
• Bracketing progress indicator
• PC mode indicator

Diagram reproduced with permission from the Nikon D200 user manual.