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I've had my first week with the Nikon D200 during my Christmas vacation in Washington DC. So far I absolutely love the camera.  It is slightly bigger and heavier than the D70 it replaced, but that has not detracted from the camera. However, take that with a grain of salt, as I am a fairly big guy, with big hands, and I might actually prefer it to be bigger rather than smaller.

As expected, I don't miss the creative modes at all, and when I am looking for an automatic camera, I just put it into P (Programmed Auto) mode, which works great.  I should have used this mode more often with the D70, because the auto mode locks down lots of the controls (like focus area) and turns on the flash by defalt in most cases, which the P mode does not.

I specialize in available light photography, so having to turn off the flash every time I switched modes in the D70 really was a pain, and I like the behaviour of the D200 much better, where the flash stays off, unless you pop it open manually.

The larger viewfinder in the D200 is excellent, and really helps for low light situations, also, the larger LCD makes checking for proper composition and focus a breeze.  The autofocus speed and volume are much better on the D200 than on the D70. Getting proper focus is much faster. However, the D200 does seem to have more problems with low-contrast focus than the D70 did. I can get it to spin back and forth along the focus range by trying to focus on something that has a color simmilar to the background.

The High speed (5 frames per second) continuous shooting will be a dream for anyone doing any kind of action or sports shots. I will use it a lot in my theatre photography, and it makes it easy to get “the shot”, like the dancer below.

I thought I would be in love with the extra ISO range the D200 offers over the D70. The ISO 100 mode is great. Absolutely no noise in well lit situations, and a welcome addition.  However, on the other end of the scale, the ISO 3200 has way too much noise to be really usefull.  I will tryplaying with the different noise reduction settings for high ISO in the camera and give a more detailed analysis, and photoshop may be able to recover images, but out of the box the images are pretty painful. On the other hand, a grainy image is better than no image at all, so if you are in a location where you can't use a long exposure, the grainy high ISO may be the answer for you.  See the shots below for an example.

 

These shots are of Washington DC Monuments, and of my little brother's school talent show. I think they provide a good overview of the outdoor and low light shooting capabilities of the D200. All of the school shots were available light, no flash. This is the style I prefer, and was required by the school for any photography. Obviously even the on-camera flash, but especially a SB-600 or SB-800 would significantly improve the exposure overall, but in my opinion might detrat from the asthetic.

The wide shot of the Washington Monument was done with the Nikkor 12-24 wide angle. All of the other shots were done with my Tamron 28-300. The Tamron is very convinient since it covers almost the entire useful range of focal lengths, but it is not as sharp as some of my other lenses. Also, all of these shots were done handheld. No tripods, monopods, and in most cases no bracing.

Update : Matt from Digital Photography Journal made a post that also does some good comparison shots of ISO noise with the D70 and D200.  Those posts can be found here - http://www.dphotojournal.com/nikon-d200-nikon-d70-iso-comparison/ and http://imageevent.com/pmattf/d200d70iso  Matt's shots are of the same subject each shot, so you can get a better apples to apples comparison of the different settings.















Posted on Sunday, December 25, 2005 5:56 AM photography | Back to top


Comments on this post: Nikon D200 review with test shots and initial impressions with comparisons to the D70

# re: Nikon D200 test shots and initial impressions with comparisons to the D70
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Thanks Jason !!

You answered several of the practical questions I've been waiting to hear about. The flash was my biggest concern for all the reasons you mentioned ( ie. not having to turn the flash off everytime ).

Cheers
Left by Zeissikon on Dec 25, 2005 10:44 AM

# re: Nikon D200 review with test shots and initial impressions with comparisons to the D70
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Hi, I have just purchased a nikon d200 with 30 to 70 2.8 lense I will require s/speed of 250 to shoot available light could you advise me on the best settings for my camera for best results please.
thank you
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