Back up Digital Body--new D5000 vs.Used D200??

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_watson, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. In an earlier post, I inquired about how important it would be to have a back up body ( I have a D90) for a trip to Galapagos and jungle--the consensus was I should.
    Looks to me like $600 will buy either a good used D200 or a new D5000. The more rugged build quality and AF motor favors the D200, The D5000 has advantage of a warranty, flip out screen, and probably better low light performance.
    I am also considering D80s which are a bit cheaper...but I have read about issues with matrix metering--and tend to trust Thom Hogan
    In truth, I am sure any of these would be would you spend $600?
    Thanks in advance
  2. The most important factor would be, how important are non-AFS (or other motorized) lenses to you? Or, for that matter, the built in flash commander on the D90? If your lenses are AFS, the D5000 is a pretty obvious choice, since it's smaller and cheaper than the D90 and will give you nearly identical image files. If you need to be using non-AFS lenses or wireless flashes, you want the D80.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If your primary camera is the D90, presumably you don't need metering with AI/AI-S lenses and the more rugged build, so I don't see the point to get a D200 as a backup. Getting the D200 means you need to add some CF memory cards, which will be additional cost. You'll also be going to an older sensor with inferior image quality.
    Are you getting the backup for the longer term or just for this trip. If it is for just one trip, just something used and easy to resell. After the trip, sell it for pretty much the same amount of money so that you "rent" a backup body for a little money.
    If it is for the longer run, the D5000 is a nice small camera that has the same AF module and sensor electronics as the D90.
  4. I'd get the D5000. Nice little camera, and should be easy to sell when you get back if you decide to do so. After all - it's a backup camera - no need to tie up capital unless you are a pro. And maybe you get bitten by the video opportunities?
  5. I usually have more than one camera on trips, and often I back up with a film body because I still sometimes print in my darkroom. So, for me, an F100 would fit the bill if I want to only carry one set of lenses. For a trip to the Galapagos, though, I'd use a Mamiya 7 II as a 'backup' (I already own that). If I were shopping, I'd look for a Fuji GA645 - the medium format equivalent to a p&s. Not quite a true backup, but I prefer to carry things that I'll use even if misfortune is averted.
    YMMV. I don't own DX lenses, and I don't mind making scans of color shots.
  6. If you only need a new camera for a back-up - What about a Canon G10/G11?
  7. To clarify my earlier post
    I have a couple of Nikon lenses 18-105 VR and 70-300 VR, and only one non AFS ( Tokina 12-24). While I am buying primarily for the trip, my wife could use the backup body when we return, so I probably would not sell it. I think I would also like the flip out LCD for casual and street shooting. I am leaning towards the D5000, unless I stumble on a great deal for a D200-or a really inexpensive D50 or 60
    We often travel to distant places, so having a backup body is probably a smart thing
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers
  8. On a recent trip to Europe I brought a Canon SD780 IS as a backup to my D90 with a 18-200 VR lens. We only brought one carry on bag for a two week trip so bringing my N80 or D70s as my backup was out of the question. It was small enough for my wife to be comfortable with, carry and use. I never needed it as as backup, but we did get those "snapshot" pictures with me in them. As you know the photographer on vacation never gets photographed. This time was different. She also got some great shots since she has a better "photographic eye" than i do.
  9. I have a D90 and D200 combination and I love it. I actually shoot the D200 more.
  10. Interesting, why do you prefer the D200? I am very curious
  11. The D5000 is more compact, better image quality at high ISO (same sensor as D90/D300,) takes SD cards, and that flip out screen is just too cool. No way I'd pick a D200 over it for similar money. I wouldn't worry about the camera build. The D5000 is actually as solid as what it needs to be. Another thought would be a D80. Very similar to your D90, and it's less money tied up. You have to ask yourself if the money is better spent on camera, lens, flash, or tripod. If you have no tripod, go cheap on the back up camera and get a decent tripod & head. Camera is generally the least important thing for most kinds of photography (but having a back up on an important trip definitely is important.) Do you have a polarizer filter, too? I wouldn't leave home without one.
    Kent in SD
  12. I have a good carbon fiber tripod and head, so don't need that--thank goodness!
    I have been scared away from D80 and metering issues by Thom Hogan--who is not a fan of the D80. And, a good D80 seems to be close in price to the $600 I would pay for a D5000 body
  13. D5000, definitely.
  14. In the previous thread, I kind of made a case for the D80, with some very sound reasons (I think) in favour of other older bodies:
    - D80 body is nearly identical to the D90, so moving in between bodies is easy (not so for D5000 and D200, which have significantly different layouts)
    - D200 uses compact flash, while the D80 can share SDHC with your D90.
    - D80 is better at high ISO than the D200.
    - D80 should be cheaper than $600 by quite some. Here they go for ~€400, while the D5000 is around €600 (bodies only).
    So, the D5000 does have some compelling points in this comparison. But having worked once with 2 different bodies at the same time (a D80 and D300), I noticed that I was constantly fiddling with the wrong buttons on the D80, since I was used to the D300... So for a backup body, I'd always choose something as close as possible to the main body for convenience sake. Intuitive camera handling for me just makes or breaks the fun.
    And if I recall correctly, you had a Tokina 12-24 without motor.. so that won't AF on a D5000.
    Since I owned a D80: yes, the matrix meter can behave a bit unexpectedly, but it's not that big an issue. Or at least, it never was for me. I respect Thom Hogan's opinions too, but I never quite got his grunt against the D80. It still is a seriously good body.
    In my experience, the metering "problems" is very predictable, so after a few shots in complex light, it's clear what happens, and it happens like that all the time. Either dial in some exposure compensation, or shoot RAW. Or actually like the choice the D80 makes - like I do. I think it is a minor niggle, and one that's easily dealt with.
  15. " While I am buying primarily for the trip, my wife could use the backup body when we return, so I probably would not sell it."
    In that case, you should have your wife handle a D5000 and a D200 and let her choose.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It is totally unnecessary to be concerned about the D80's metering. You are shooting digital and can always shoot a sample image under the particular lighting condition and then adjust based on the histogram. I freuqently fine tune my exposure with the D2X, D700, and D300. That is just part of digital photography now.
    If this backup camera will be your wife's camera later on, just make sure she is happy with whatever you choose. I don't know the OP's wife, but a lot of women prefer smaller DSLRs, which is a plus for the D5000.
  17. Used D80 seems to run $400-$500 on eBay. That is U.S. If D80 = $500, I'd take a D5000. Smaller size, better sensor, flip out screen.
    Kent in SD
  18. I'm with Per-Christian. With all the new airline restrictions and walking you'll be doing, I'd go with something lighter than an SLR for a second body. But it seems that you are pretty set on getting a second SLR, although for vacation photography I don't really see the benefits.

    I would go with the D5000 because you won't have to buy CF cards, however doesn't the D5000 use a smaller battery (en-EL9) than the D90 (en-EL3a)? I'm not sure if battery life and computability would be as important as memory card compatibility to me, but it is also something to consider. The D5000 is also much lighter and more compact than the D200, which is another reason I would recommend it over the D200 for someone packing it as a second body on a vacation.

    As far as image quality on the D200 being inferior to the D5000. I haven't seen any direct comparisons supporting this. A newer sensor doesn't necessarily mean better image quality, there are other factors that also make up image quality. The D200 produces very clean images at ISO settings 400 and below, and unless you shoot a lot of sports or in poor light quite often what good does high ISO performance do you? The D200 also has a better viewfinder than the D5000 (0.94x vs 0.78x magnification), better battery life (1800 shots vs 560), built-in flash commander mode, a top lcd, etc. All of these things factor into image quality. I think that people get too hung up on test charts and forget that there is more to a camera body than the sensor.
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have used both the D200 and D5000. Once you go to ISO 800 or higher, it is very obvious that the D5000 gives you better results. The D200 is still fine at low ISOs.
  20. I would go with the the D200 or better, sell the D90 and get a D300. The D200 is weather sealed. Image quality is fine once you learn the limitations. The the D80/D200, when capturing an image at base ISO that more than fills the histogram, presents a lot of ugly red/green noise in the dark areas. So avoid these situations and it will be fine. The D80 which I own is much like the D90. I would not take either of these cameras to the jungle. If the D90 is like the D80, It may take two years to get the moisture out of it. Mine has begun to seem dry again. You could use the D90 for dry weather and reserve the D200 for anything else.
  21. Get the D5000, as it has the most current sensor technology and has features that even the D90 lacks, such as the variangle screen. Since it is simpler to use, lighter and smaller, you or your wife can use it after this trip. The D200 is too heavy for casual use and is outdated compared to the D90. Similarly the D80 is also outdated. It just does not make any sense to buy either one of these over the D5000, which is more technologically advanced. As I posted in your previous thread, I would take the 12-24 over the 18-105. You can mount the 12-24 to the D90 and the 70-300 to the D5000 to avoid the need of changing lenses and get the sensor dirty with sands, sea water, etc. You don't have any fast lens, so you want to consider taking a 50/1.8 or 35/1.8 to get shots with shallow DOF.
  22. wife could use the backup body when we return....​
    I agree with Shun. Speaking from experience, does your wife like to shoot with a dSLR? I thought my wife or my daughter could use my retired D70. They both hate the bulk and weight, and prefer a G10 or other P&S's. Ask her first.
  23. I would also go with the Canon G10 or G11. On a trip like that, weight is important. Yes, your original body might break, but most likely not, and you are not a pro. Having a smaller take everywhere camera will help u catch alot more images on your trip.
    michael hahn
  24. All
    Thanks largely to your help, I am about to buy a D5000 as a second body to my D90 with my lens line up of 18-105, 70-300, and 12-24 non AFS. Thom Hogan has a great article on Galapagos, and this line up matches his pretty well. My wife can use second body, so we should be set. I thought about adding the 18-55 VR for another $100, but felt it was too repetitive. I will also have a P&S waterproof camera, which should be handy for casual shots.
    My only remaining issue--unless I run across a fabulous buy on a D200--is whether or not to add a 50MM 1.8 to get animal shots with shallow depth of field.
    Your time and advice has been extraordinary--thank you !
  25. John,
    have a nice trip. Enjoy!
    (And don't forget to show us some pic's when you're back!)
  26. is whether or not to add a 50MM 1.8 to get animal shots with shallow depth of field.​
    Go for it; you can pick a used one up for $100 and it is so light and it begs to be carried around. Also be aware that it is usually very dark in the forest so you need all the help you can get from the lens to give you enough light.
  27. another vote for the D5000. the better high ISO performance alone should sway you away from the D200. the 18-55mm will be nice on the D5000. you don't need the VR version in that short range. it won't be a redundancy if you look at it as two cameras ready to shoot ----- you put the 70-200mm on the D90. or put the 18-105 in the D5000 that the wife will carry and you have the D90 with the 70-200mm and the 18-55mm in your pocket. of course the 50mm can easily be put in one of your pockets also. it's weightless. i suggest a shooter's vest.
    i'm sure your wife will just love the D5000's size and other features.
  28. Have you handled a D5000 yet? I have a D90 and I just played with the D5000 last week, I really hated the D5000. For starters, the viewfinder image is a lot smaller, so it's a lot less pleasant to compose your image, then all the little things; the missing top LCD, the small low-res back LCD, lack of lens support (like my 50mm 1.8D), and a whole hose of other issues. For the $200 price difference, I can't understand why anyone would buy the D5000.
    Depending on budged, I'd either buy a D300/D300S and use the D90 as a backup or buy a nice rugged, waterproof point and shoot for about $300 as a backup for the trip.
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For the $200 price difference, I can't understand why anyone would buy the D5000.​
    Smaller size and the swivel screen.
    I have been using a D3000 and a D5000 in the last few weeks. I let my wife and some of her friends play arond with them and also talked to some of my friends about it. A lot of women prefer the D40, D60 and those newer models because of their small size. Those are cameras they can carry around all the time to take pictures of the kids.
    The swivel screen is very convenient for shooting from a high or low angle, e.g. small children from their eye level. As I mentioned before, I am looking forward to seeing Nikon add a swivel screen on the D3, D700 and D300-level cameras.
  30. I find that the D90 is already smallish for me, though I do have fairly large hands. To carry a camera around all the time and take pictures of the kids why would you want a cheap SLR instead of a good point and shoot for half the price? It will be much smaller, and still take decent 4x6 snapshops. If the SLR you choose has so many comprimises anyway why cling to the form factor?
    My own reaction to the swivel screen was negative, and I really do miss having a waist-level viewer like on my F2. It's an SLR, I want to view throught he eyepiece. And the view through the 5000/3000 is so tiny it's not worth viewing through the eyepiece. The only thing I use the screen for is reviwing images; I find live-view to be a joke because to take a picture, you have to wait while it closes the shutter and lowers the mirror, so you have close to a second of shutter-lag. For these reasons I doubt you'll ever see a swivel screen on the higher end cameras. It's not a useful way to compose an image so it's not useful to the target market for those bodies, and it is a more fragile point on the camera, when those are the more rugged bodies. I'm moving towards buying a D700 (though by the time I'm ready it'll probaby be an 800 or 900), and I'd never buy one with a swivel screen.

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