Adjustment of a Nikon D200 camera according to KR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by david_benyukhis, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. Recently a Nikon D200 User's Guide by Ken Rockwell was read by me. Before readjust my camera according to this Guide, let me ask photo community: have anybody tested and used his recommendation, what is result?
  2. Isn't that obvious from his website: he likes oversaturated "nuclear" colors and he chooses his camera settings accordingly. The native ISO on the D200 is 200 not 100, his choice can result in some dynamic range restriction and a slight increase in noise. JPEG BASIC maybe sufficient for him, I certainly see a difference to NORMAL or FINE. But then, I have stopped shooting JPEG quite some time ago. But the short answer is - try them and see if they work for you. Then change what doesn't work. If you aren't familiar with the settings, it might be a good idea to write down what your current settings are before you change them.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Dieter, the base ISO for the D200 is indeed ISO 100. It goes up to ISO 1600 and then Hi 1 in 1/3-stop steps. It has no "Low ISO" settings below 100.
    Ken Rockwell is not a person I respect and neither is his photography. I would recommend against following his settings.
  4. Indeed Shun - base ISO is 100, just like the D80; thanks for the correction.
  5. Another Ken Rockwell thread...sigh...
  6. i agree with dieter in writing down the current settings of your camera before resorting to change, whether going with ken rockwell or not. i might get a beating here but why don't you try what you have read on. only you will know what you like.
    rockwell is fun reading. didn't like his D70s setting. i liked mine better; didn't like his D200 setting. liked mine better; didn't like his D90 setting. but borrowed some from it's your choice. it's your camera. do your thing.
  7. and don't forget you only need a D40 :)
  8. Read D200 instruction guide (eBook) written by Thom Hogan (you can order it on his web site). It will help you to understand the implications of the different settings. It's very important to make an informed decision weather to shoot raw or jpg. If you choose to shoot jpg (I don't) it's again very important to chose the right settings for the jpg. The wrong decisions have long standing implications for you because it's about throwing away forever a part of the data available to you and/or unrecoverable modification of the rest of it.
    The D-200 settings recommended by Thom Hogan make much more sense to me. His recommendations are based not only on deep knowledge of photography and technology but also on knowing the needs of different types of photographers.
    Beware - the recommendations of Ken Rockwell are based mostly on his own needs.
    Regards, Marko
  9. Please setup your camera according to your needs. If you need a good guide, I highly recommend Thom Hogan's D200 guide:
    Can you provide some more details on what you want to photograph and what lenses you are using?
  10. I used Ken's settings as a base point for my own settings, but I think this is a matter for personal choice.
    Also, I shoot RAW so I can always adjust any of the settings later.
    I think you should experiment to find what works for you and your style best.
  11. Indeed. Shoot RAW, and then use Capture NX2 to see how each and every in-camera setting will impact the same image. Once you see the results you like, note the software settings, and set up the camera the same way. Then the JPGs you have the camera produce will look the same way.
  12. Dear original poster
    Please understand that photography is an artistic medium, and that there are no right or wrong settings, no right or wrong composition, no right or wrong exposure. When using a camera, you are trying to make something that will look the way YOU want it to look. So, how do you want your picture to look? Nothing wrong with Ken Rockwell's settings, but you're not Ken Rockwell, are you?
  13. I remember when first getting into digital photography searching the net for reviews on bodies and lenses. Every single search had KR in the first half dozen results.

    Appealing reading at first until you start to cross-check reviews and read what he actually wrote instead of what you thought he wrote. Read between the lines - '...this lens works on every camera since 1950...', '...this lens auto-focus is as fast as my 70-210...', '...D3 is as good as the D700 is as good as the D300', '...I prefer to use my D40 to hauling around a D3x...' Honestly, how can you not laugh?

    Rather like the villagers of Aesop's Boy Who Cried Wolf story, I don't pay attention any more. Unless of course I need to know a filter ring size!!!

    KR's settings are so extreme I wondered if he had an ocular problem. Try shooting a snowy dawn or dusk scene with his settings and it looks like you were using crayola sticks.
    Shoot RAW and use NX2 to explore what you like. Read Thom Hogan, Bjorn Rorslett, Luminous Landscape and many others, but KR is National Enquirer level reading ...
  14. Ken "misses" a lot, but occasionally gets it right. But his settings do indeed produce rather garish colors. Some of his photography, however, I like a lot.
  15. He sets his color way too saturated for my taste.
  16. I agree, set your camera to what you prefer. Follow your own style. Books are great references, but that's all. If you want great photos, shoot RAW and never never shoot anything lower than Jpeg fine. I have 2 D200's and 1 D300. I prefer the D200. It has a CCD sensor which from my research is used for photographic images in high powered cameras. The color is so close to normal. The D300 is over saturated in jpeg so I never shoot anything with this camera other than RAW(much better). Studio work is also fine for the D300 and also low light. The D200 is fast, accurate and the best camera for the price that Nikon ever made. Everyone I know who has or had this camera loved it. Good Luck, have fun.
  17. KR is very good... at getting people to talk about KR.
    Why, look, he did it again.
  18. Matt, your suggestion is very thoughtful. I will try that when I get some time. Thanks.
  19. KR is entitled to his opinion just as much as anyone else. Taking 'snippets' and tearing him/them apart over them is insanity.
    While am not suggesting his site is 100% correct on everything, some of the comments being made are incomplete thereby making them somewhat incorrect or purely subjective.
    For example:
    KR recommends JPG OPTIMAL QUALITY, not just JPG Basic for the D200 which, according to him... "Using the Optimal Quality option in BASIC JPG lets the file size grow to the same size as JPG NORMAL if the subject needs it, and lets the file size shrink back to JPG BASIC when it's not."
    In my own personal testing of every Nikon P&S and DSRL body, I have yet to find a significant difference in a JPG Basic to JPG fine that would show up in an 8 x 10 (or even a bit larger) print. And even when pixel peeping, the differences are nominal.
    A lot of people shoot JPG. So what! You don't have to shoot RAW to get a good picture. Nikon cameras are capable of producing excellent JPG files.
    "He sets his color way too saturated for my taste." Everyone has different preferences. That is why they make saturation and other important functions adjustable. KR should not be chastised for liking bright, vibrant, brilliant color in scenes he is shooting scenes that have bright, vibrant, brilliant color in them. Or enhancing them when they don't by cranking up the saturation.
    "and don't forget you only need a D40 :)" I believe his opinion about the D40 is that he prefers to carry around a D40 for casual photography rather than a large, bulky body. I believe he knows when to break out the big guns. I have a D40. And a D3. The D40 is a very capable camera! Is its low light high ISO performance as good as the D3? No. Is its AF module as good as the D3? No. The D40 is lacking in many areas when you compare it side-by-side to a D3. But it does have a big advantage in at least several areas - size, weight, flash sync speed. It certainly does not lack anything in the IQ department (at lower ISOs).
    What possible harm could there be in following KR's settings recommendations. If a photographer doesn't like them, he can always reset the camera and start over.
  20. "In my own personal testing of every Nikon P&S and DSRL body, I have yet to find a significant difference in a JPG Basic to JPG fine that would show up in an 8 x 10 (or even a bit larger) print. And even when pixel peeping, the differences are nominal."​
    That's interesting. Does that include 4-6 mp cameras, 12 mp or what? I'd like to see those prints.
  21. Lex, I tested that statement with my D50 and found it to be true as far as prints were concerned.
    But... I still shoot JPG Fine + Raw.
  22. Lex, I have found that typically the megapixel count of a NIKON camera makes little difference in changes in image quality when comparing identical images shot with identical setting with that camera except for changes in quality from JPG Basic, JPG Normal or JPG Fine. I am not saying there are no differences. But I have found that the differences can be hard if not almost impossible to see in regular sized prints.
    I could be wrong but I don't believe megapixels have anything to do with image sharpness except for limitations in enlargements and/or cropping. A 6mp image and a 50mp image will render identical 4 x 6, 5 x 7 (and probably even 8 x 10) prints all other things being equal.
  23. Might I suggest some alternative sources of Nikon info?

    Dave Black

    Scott Kelby

    Thom Hogan
  24. KR is indeed entitled to his own personal opinions, but "I" would disregard his words. he is in my opinion a newb trap.
  25. With respect to the original question posed, when I bought my first capable DSLR, a D200, I downloaded KR's manual and worked through it a couple of times. I found it very useful despite the fact that some of his judgements (over-saturation + JPEG basic being the obvious candidates) were clearly opinionated and questionable. At that point I'd little for comparison having previously shot for years with an FM2n and briefly with a Canon Pro 1.
    Compared to the Nikon manual KR's terse description of the functionality was extremely useful, if misleading in parts. Having subsequently bought Thom Hogan's D700 guides, there's no comparison of course - however the KR guide was pretty much what I needed at an early stage and wasn't my only source of information in any case. So I'd say download it and give it a read through. I assume the OP is new to DSLRs and is now warned off taking KR's judgements at face value. His descriptions of some of the functionality is often admirably succinct.
    Just so there's no misunderstanding, I think the man's an a55h0le. Quite a clever business-a55h0le, without doubt, and sometimes even an amusing a55h0le. I'd strongly discourage anyone from actually sending him money for his manuals, much less a donation enabling to continue expanding his ever-expanding family.
    On reflection, he probably IS the OP...
  26. Thank you very much, gentlemen, posted your responses on my question.
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    First of all, while Ken Rockwell's web site has done a lot of dis-service to the photo community, we do not condone name calling with terms such as a-hole.
    Elliot, Lex, and Peter: you are debating about some totally meaningless generic "8x10 prints." All prints are not created equal. Some images have lots of out-of-focus areas and little fine detail. You can greatly compress those images without losing much information.
    However, if your image has a lot of sharp, in-focus areas with a lot of fine details and you decide to shoot JPEG basic, you'll be permanently throwing away a lot of useful information at the time you capture the image. Given that memory cards are dirt cheap in these days, we are always better off keeping a copy of RAW. If your workflow mainly uses JPEG, you can always capture RAW + JPEG and only use the RAW image when it is necessary. To me, it is a very bad idea to capture JPEG only.
  28. I would like to know what the big issue with Ken Rockwell is?? Why do a lot of people bag him so??
  29. Here are a few more D200 menu setting guides: (No longer at the site, but can forward a copy for those interested.)
    These dslrs' numerous switches, knobs and menus are meant to offer different settings for different shooting situations. But they are often not well explained in the user manuals, especially how each relates to the others. Get one wrong and you are down the wrong path. Nikon could have done a great service for their customers if they have come out with some suggested setting guides for each shooting situation. But they don't, leaving it to the above generous folks to share their experience.
  30. KR is entitled to his opinion just as much as anyone else. Taking 'snippets' and tearing him/them apart over them is insanity.​
    Not a great fan of KR, but cannot agree with you more. Somehow, the reference of KR always brings out the lynching mob.
    While am not suggesting his site is 100% correct on everything, some of the comments being made are incomplete thereby making them somewhat incorrect or purely subjective.​
    In this regard, KR is not an exception, but a norm. The Net is littered with irresponsible comments without context, either intentionally or insensitively. It is the responsibility of the readers to filter out the noise for the gems.
  31. Shun, the image I tested was kinda busy and I still, at normal viewing distances, couldn't tell the diff on my 8 x 10 (I'll grant you that there are all kinds of "print issues", too), but there's another WAY more important reason to shoot the higher-quality jpeg or RAW that Ken never mentions.
    If you do any kind of semi-major or major editing, you want every pixel as clean as it can be, otherwise you're exacerbating the jpeg noise in everything you do.
    If I shoot just a bunch of kid playing around stuff, I shoot jpeg HIGH and not RAW to keep file size down and make it manageable. I don't bother with RAW, and any cropping and editing I do to my high jpeg files comes out just peachy.
    Benjamin, people get on his back because he passes off entertaining fluff as important knowledge and does a disservice to many people in the process.
    But anyway, let's leave it, I guess...
  32. "I would like to know what the big issue with Ken Rockwell is?? Why do a lot of people bag him so??"​
    It may help to put things into perspective if you keep in mind that virtually every complaint ever written about any person or topic could have been produced by an automatic rant generator.
    For all you know, my own reply here may have been generated by a bot.
    "Somehow, the reference of KR always brings out the lynching mob."​
    It's also just as likely to rally the apologists and automatic reputation defense generators.
    The above was also generated by a bot, originally designed when I was a college newspaper editor to produce replies to irate reader letters.
  33. Besides the several available D200 "Dummy" books, I have found the settings and various advise in the Scott Kelby Digital Guide (2007) very helpful. At the time of writing he's using a D2x and D200 and a bit older versions of PS, of course where he is an expert. Being that I have only been into digital about 18 months and also use the D200, and PS Elements 6.0 this was a perfect little book for me. I have my settings in one or two menus and his in another and use them as I see fit. I guess the same can apply to KR who I don't find objectionable, I just read the info and take it for what it is, an opinion.
  34. Ken Rockwell even says he likes out-of-this-world colors. When I set my D200 for saturated colors, the pictures look almost cartoon-like and unrealistic. Notice how Rockwell rarely shoots people pictures. He even says he did a friends wedding once and it was not his thing. And he still thinks the D40 with an 18-200 is the greatest combo out there.
    I don't like his camera settings but his site does have some worthwhile articles. Camera settings are a personal thing.
  35. Benjamin, the gentleman in question seems like a nice fellow, and he writes some fun articles. I just doubt his

    For example, in one article he wrote about exposure. Effectively, he said to take the picture and if it looks good in the
    LCD screen, you're done. He literally said, "you're done." but this isn't good advice. If you are in bright sunlight, a well-
    exposed photo will look dark when you review it. If you adjust your exposure until it looks nice, you will have overexposed
    the shot. The converse can happen when shooting in the dark. And there are other considerations, such as when shootin
    very bright or dark objects or when you need to maximize the control of noise or when you need to ensure that you don't
    blow out the highlights. A more qualified writer wouldn't have oversimplified a topic this complex.

    Then there's a question of the guy's photos. Lots of folks here on have more impressive portfolios. Maybe I'm old
    fashioned, but I prefer to get my info from someone who can demonstrate their mastery of the discipline.

    Check out Dave Black's amazing website for a comparison.

    My two cents.
  36. I once again qualify the following statements in defense of KR that I do not agree with everything on his site.

    "he said to take the picture and if it looks good in the LCD screen, you're done" Well, if it looks good on the monitor, what more is there do to? If it is dark, you are not done. It its too light, you are not done.
    "A more qualified writer wouldn't have oversimplified a topic this complex." You are correct. If you check KR's site, you will probably find multiple areas where he deals with difficult exposure issues. I did a quick 10 second search and easily found this topic covered in a section titled "Highlight and Shadow Detail" KR's site is like large book with lots and lots of chapters.
    "there's a question of the guy's photos" Dan, please read Pierre Lachaine's comments near the top of the post.
    I have an 8 year old who is active in different sports. Often mom's will share their favorite pictures with me. They beam when they show them off. Often they are blurred, or out of focus, exposed incorrectly, not sharp enough, etc... you probably know what I mean. Yet, they are absolutely, positively THRILLED with the photo. Again, refer to Pierre's comments for the reason they are so happy.
    If you don't like KR's site, don't read it. If you don't agree with KR, that is OK. But in my opinion, his opinion is his, yours is yours and mine is mine. And we are still (as of today anyway) entitled to our own opinions. And we all may be right. Or not.
  37. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    "he said to take the picture and if it looks good in the LCD screen, you're done" Well, if it looks good on the monitor, what more is there do to? If it is dark, you are not done. It its too light, you are not done.​
    Elliot, the "LCD screen" here is apparently the small 3" (or smaller) LCD on the back of the camera, not some large computer monitor. That should be very clear in the context of Dan's post.
    The LCD on the camera is not color corrected, and its brightness can easily be changed and set incorrectly, which is also true for computer monitors. Unless a monitor is color corrected and brightness caliberated, it cannot be used to evaluate color and brightness. John Shaw once pointed out to a bunch of us that the small image on the back LCD on a camera is only good for evaluating the composition, not exposure and color. (If you enlarge it, you can evaluate sharpness also.)
    To evaluate brightness, we use the histogram, regardless of whether it is the small back LCD on the camera or on a large computer monitor. That is basic knowledge for digital photography.
  38. Shun, your points are well taken. You are certainly correct that is difficult to evaluate color on the camera's display. In fact, the only monitor I have ever used that I found to be detailed and accurate enough color wise is on the 5D Mark II. Its monitor is truly amazing in every way. Its auto brightness feature is one I miss on my Nikon gear. But having used numerous bodies with only fair to good displays, especially the original 5D's which is totally useless except for exposure confirmation and composition, I tend to use and rely on the camera's display only to evaluate exposure, sharpness (by zooming in) and of course composition. I trust my Nikon gear to get the colors right, focus accurately and get the exposure correct, and rarely does it fail me. Obviously a JPG shooter would need to pay more attention to white balance and exposure to get it right.
    As far as brightness, if the camera's clipping feature is turned on (that causes the blown highlights to blink), wouldn't you agree that a photographer can easily tell if the image is overexposed? I suppose that underexposed images could be a little more difficult. And as you mention, perhaps the best way to evaluate brightness is to use the histogram, especially when used in conjunction with the displayed image.
    But I think as one gets used to a camera after taking a lot of pictures, you learn to 'read' the display and understand exactly what you are getting regardless of its deficiencies. Not all monitors are created equally. This would obviously be more difficult for a beginner...
    Perhaps KR needs to divide his site up into several sections with one for beginners, one for intermediate photographers and one for the advanced group. But I think for general photography for casual shooters, his original comment is still a reasonable one and a good way to go.
  39. Elliot, I don't consult the site for advice, nor do I seek photographic advice from soccer moms, even those who are thrilled
    with their fuzzy pictures. As for there being volumes of good advice on the site, that may be true, but IMO it doesn't
    negate the inaccurate and misleading info that appears elsewhere. People who don't know better stumble upon the site
    and may assume that everything is meant to be informative when the author himself admits that he says some things
    purely to be controversial. More consistent and reliable advice is available elsewhere, and I have indicated suggestions

    Yes, I don't have to take advice from the site just as you don't have to take issue with my analysis if you don't agree with
    it. If I post inaccurate information about how to achieve a proper exposure, please feel free to point that out, and I'm sure we'll have
    a thoughtful discussion.
  40. To put things in perspective, especially for folks who are a mite too anxious about KR "bashing", the attached screencap demonstrates the Oscar Wilde effect, variously quoted but usually more or less as: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."
  41. A good teacher will present a range of ideas and techniques, in a factual manner, including many which she is not so keen on, and allow the student to draw their own conclusions. They will also communicate in a clear and concise manner even when presenting complex ideas, as they understand the core concepts.
    A poor teacher will tell you how they do things, and say that only idiots do otherwise. They will confuse you with long winded explanations because they don't really understand the concepts. They will also present a mixture of truths and falsehoods, because they are careless, and do not check information.
    In my view 'you know who' fits into the second category. However, I bet people are queuing up to go on his photo 'courses'. There ain't no such thing as bad publicity:,11322/
  42. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Related to the topic of RAW or JPEG, there is currently a very good discussion on the Wedding Forum:
    I would highly recommend reading Marc Williams' comment there. The field of digital photography is rapidly changing, not only the cameras but also the software. The latest PhotoShop CS5 and LightRoom 3 have improved raw converters. If you have your RAW files from a few years ago, you can process them again and potentially get improved results, depending on the particular image.
    Another difference is that memory cards and disk spaces used to be a lot more expensive 4, 5 years ago (when the D200 was a current camera) so that there was incentive not to keep those big RAW files. Today memory is dirt cheap and there is no longer any penalty to records RAW.
    As I poted to that thread, 2 days ago I attended a one-day LightRoom 3 class by Matt Kloskowski. There were about 600 people attending. Klowkowski asked how may people are shooting RAW and how many JPEG. Almost everybody now shoots RAW. I only saw one person raised her hand for JPEG. Perhaps I missed some hands, but the fact of the matter is that for people who are at least somewhat into photography (enough to spend a day to take a LightRoom class), very few still shoot JPEG only.
    If you are a more casual photographer and don't process your images much, by all means shoot RAW + JPEG. Among current Nikon DSLRs, only the D3000 forces you into JPEG basic if you shoot RAW + JPEG; a few older consumer-grade DSLRs such as the D40 also have that restriction. From the D5000 and up, you can select JPEG fine (or normal or basic) for RAW + JPEG.
    I personally shoot RAW only, but sometimes I need a bunch of small JPEGs for display. There are many programs that can automatically covert your RAW files into JPEGs. NikonView NX is one of them and it is free from Nikon.
  43. KR is very good at self promotion. It's no accident his name comes up at the top of every search. And he does have to feed his famly. Photography? Well, he's like the loudmouth sitting at the end of the bar offering his opinions on every subject.

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