D200: How good is it on its own merits?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joshloeser, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. In researching the D200 and D300, it's been a bit difficult to determine just how good the D200 is on its own merits. I know that the D300 is a
    big step up from it, but is the D200 still worth $750-800 (used via Adorama)? I'm dying to get a camera that will autofocus my 50 1.8 AF (I
    have a D40, and I'm moving forward a bit in photography). I feel like there's a lot of stuff closed off to me because of the D40's inability to
    autofocus older but still high quality lenses. I know it's not the camera body that makes the image, but the lens has a lot to do with it, of
    course, and the D40 sort of gets in the way at times in that respect.
  2. As a person also considering the same upgrade, I have the same questions as well. Still, you have to ask yourself what you are using the camera for. If high ISO performance is your thing, then maybe the D200 isn't the greatest option today. If you aren't looking for high ISO performance, then maybe the D200 is good enough. A weather-sealed body with solid construction and full support for manual focus lenses clearly isn't something to sneeze at.
    The D200 is the camera that I wanted to buy in 2005. For my purposes (I don't need the high ISO performance so much), the D200 fits the bill; it's a D2X-lite, and it's clearly head and shoulders above Nikon's previous generation low- and mid-range DSLRs.
  3. I should add that I plan to use whatever I get next for some sports (casual, but action is action). The D40 gets in my way
    because it won't let me AF certain older lenses I'd like to use for that purpose, and it's a slower camera overall.
  4. The D200 is a much more advanced camera than the D40. I paid $825 for my D200 in February or March, and retired my D50. I have been very happy with the D200 and feel it was worth it (and it's kept it's value).

    Get the D300 if you can. The CMOS sensor is better than the older CCD's for low-light. But if you can't afford the D300 yet, there's nothing wrong with the D200.
  5. Get a D300 only if you do a lot of high ISO work. A D200 and photoshop will go a long way to reduce noise for the occasional
    high ISO shot. Make an edge mask to protect sharpness, and you can be quite aggressive in noise reduction.
  6. The D300 focus engine is a lot better than the D200... the high ISO noise is a bit better too. They are very similar otherwise. If you are really serious about shooting sports, though, I betcha the D300 will produce many more in focus images than the D200...

    That being said, I read a rumor that nikon was coming out with a 50 1.4 afs perhaps this month at photokina. Just a rumor, but if I had a D40 I would go nuts for that lens!
  7. The D200 is a heck of a machine and will come at a much better price than a D300. It's built like a tank and has a nice set of features to boot. Ergonomically speaking it doesn't get much better. That said, high iso (and I mean from 400 on) performance is pretty dreadful, so if you are into high speed, low light shooting, this might not be the right tool for you...
  8. I have had my D200 since Aug 2006, and the only shortcoming I've found with it is the very well documented focus issues.
    Over time, I have learned to deal with that and rarely have a problem today. I love to photography the interiors of churches,
    missions, and public building, and the high ISO capabilities of the D300 would be valuable, but other than that, the D200
    performs very, very well.
  9. How well does the D200 focus (not in comparison to the D300 necessarily, but just on its own)? Does it really have a lot of
    trouble on a regular basis, or does it do well enough in most situations?
  10. it scores very well with users-see dpreview (hope the link works!). cb :)

  11. I was out all morning today, in terrible cloudy light from just after sunrise until mid-morning, shooting highly active, difficult subjects (if you've ever wandered by my portfolio here, you'll know I'm talking about working bird dogs out in the field, doing their thing). I spent most of the time using a 70-200/2.8 on a D200. You do have to know the camera's focus system, and know its sweet spots. The D300 should be an improvement there, and I would certainly enjoy going a stop or two faster (in terms of ISO, as the D300 will allow) so that I can get myself stopped down a bit more in the lens, to make up for focusing troubles. But: I through out only about 20 images out of over 200 this morning. Spent most of the time shooting at ISO 500, so that I could get a tolerable shutter speed. The end results - especially when printed, are still amazingly good. I'm quite certain that the D300 would make me happier, given my living-on-the-edge poor light and difficult shooting style. But would I get $1600 worth of better results, over the next 12 months or so? That's very debateable. I may just skip the D300 generation entirely, and concentrate on lenses - since I know that's the most important thing.
  12. How well does the D200 focus? In good light, it works really well. In low light, it is fair to good. I very low light, it is poor.

    In my opinion, if you are shooting moving subjects on a regular basis or do a lot of low light work, the better focusing makes the d300 well, well worth it.

    The better image quality at higher ISO's could be viewed as a bonus. All-in-all, I consider the D300 a vast improvement over the D200.
  13. but is the D200 still worth $750-800 (used via Adorama)?

    As the owner of 2 D300's and 1 D200 and the D200 less then 2 years old...Bought new, I think it's worth more then the now used price it is being sold for :0(

  14. Gary: Honestly... I think that if I had $800 in my pocket, and needed a body right away, and had no other similar body, I'd think about a lightly used D200. But my real inclination would be to make some serious effort to come up with the extra $750 that would get you into a new, warranteed D300. Much newer technology on several fronts, somewhat higher resolution, and so on.
    It reallly does just come down to the money. If there's any chance of scraping together the extra, it would be worth it. You're also going to find some lightly used D300's, now that people are jumping at the D700. It's a tough call, and it's all about your financial landscape and priorities. The D300 is a better camera, no question.
  15. Very interesting points. The trouble for scraping up the money for a D300 is that you can end up having nothing left to
    actually, you know, get your images with (i.e. glass).

    I'm fine with used bodies, provided they haven't been too used, and likewise for the glass. I'd like to think there will be more of
    them soon, thanks to the D700 (as mentioned).
  16. I had one of the first D200 cameras available in Slovenia and replaced it with D300 as soon it was available. I am photographing nature and landscapes and I rarely shoot above 400 ISO. At low ISO the image quality of D200 and D300 is similar but the noise level of the D300 at ISO 400 is comparable with D200 at ISO 200. So from the point of pure image quality there is not much reason to buy D300.

    But my D200 had problems with precise auto focus even with stationary subjects. The pictures were generally in focus but often there was a little focus blurr which was inconsistent. I bought an expensive 17-55 f2,8 lens and I was not happy with the level of detail on landscape pictures. The same story with 85 f1,8 AFD. With 50 f1.8 AIs at infinity the detail was there. Also the auto WB of D200 left much to be desired. And D200 was eating batteries very rapidly. With D300 I can shoot the whole day on one battery.

    I am very happy with D300 and it's auto focus system and unlike with D200 I have the feeling I am in control of the process of taking pictures. It's the same feeling I had with F-100 film camera after I retired my venerable F4.

    Regards, Marko
  17. @ Marko - "It's the same feeling I had with F-100 film camera after I retired my venerable F4."

    So you give your stamp of approval on the F-100? I'm thinking of getting one.
  18. The D200 was and is a great camera. If you need weatherproofing and a fast autofocus screw to move a large AF lens
    (like a 300-AF) then it or the D300 are your choices. But, my experience with older lenses has been that the microfocus
    adjustment first introduced in the D3 and D300 is an absolute lifesaver. The D90 has this adjustment and improved high
    ISO performance. Best of all, you can
    probably find one for a little over $850. I doubt you will notice a difference in autofocus speed with the 50mm lens between
    a D90 and a D200.
  19. Gary raises an interesting question. What is the real value of last generation's semi-pro and pro DSLRs (i.e. D2X, D2H, D200, etc.)? The introduction of the D3, D300 and D90 in rapid succession has clearly put a lot of downward pressure on the value of these older models. And for that matter, the current lower end models (i.e. D40, D60) seem overpriced relative to the bargains on these older models. Or at least that's what I think. Personally, I never imagined that the D2H (now as low as $550 on KEH) or D200 (down to $750) would fall in price so rapidly.
    Personally, I'm waiting for the D200 to fall to an average price of $600. Of course, prices will continue to fall; if you wait until 2013, you can probably snag a D200 for $150. The real question is, how much do you need, and how much are you willing to spend right now.
  20. a d200 is definitely worth $750.
  21. Before I got my Nikon FE2, I used to use a few Russian mde cameras as they werer all I could afford at the time. Got the FE2 in 1984 and enjoyed it for more than 25 years. Never thinking of replacing it. The camera is currently sitting in my Wall Unit as it was replaced by a D200 in 2006.
    The digital age seems to have chnaged all that. Nothing seems to be good enough anymore. Are we doing any good to the art of photography by spending our most precious time thinking about extreme technicalities rather than taking pictures? Is photography today all about taking extremely sharp pictures of whatever? Should we remind oursleves of Ansel Adams who once said something to this effect: Nothing is worse that a sharp picture of a fuzzy idea.
  22. The D200 is $999.00 new at BHphoto. I would buy new instead of used since the difference is not that much. You get a new camera with warranty. A mint condition D200 can be sold to KEH.com for about $425.00. So that would help you see what the resale value is. A D300 is a better camera but in a couple years it will also lose most of it's value.. Anyway I own a D200 that I bought new. I like it a lot and have no issues with it. I also have no problem using a tripod. At ISO 1600 the pictures are junk.
  23. I wonder if it is cheaper and quicker for Nikon to make better , more sensitive sensors, than fast lenses at a good price ? If the D300 and above can shoot quality at iso 800 or 1600, then those f4.5-5.6 lenses are just fine for most people. No need to get an f2.8 or better.

    It is a tough place to be. We all have learned that the digital camera will not hold it's value, so should we buy at the end of the life cycle and save that money for glass instead ? If you don't lose money by not having the newest, whiz bang body, that might be the better plan.
  24. The D200 is an excellent camera. The D300 is even better, but that does not make the D200 worse. Piece of advice... A
    camera will never lose it's value until the owner decides it's not good enough anymore. That's when people upgrade,
    because something shinier and with this new feature comes out. Me? I am going to save up and get a D700 and I will not
    replace it until it is broken beyond repair. That's a camera that will produce fantastic results for the as long as it exists.
    Sure, new cameras will come and go. More megapixels, better LCDs, but I would rather buy 1 $3000 body now and use it
    for the next 20 years, than buy 1 $1700 body every other year. I don't know where all this came from, and it doesn't really
    help your situation much, I just felt a sudden urge to rant. Anyway, Both D200 and D300 are excellent cameras and
    produce fantastic results, but I think you might like the D300 better mainly because of it's better color output.
  25. Josh -

    For me and my shooting it was a simple choice - the D300 did things that the D200 could not. Not that the D200 isn't a great body, because it is, but for what I shoot, the upgrade was a no brainer.

    I shoot sports - 90% of which is indoor, cruddy lighting and no flash allowed. The D200 would produce somewhat usable images at ISO 2400 but the D300 produces usable images at up to 6400. That allows me to stop the action with a higher shutter speed.

    I also shoot weddings - For the dynamic range, black tux, light vest, white dress, the D300 rocks. D200 - sorry - Yes, I can get it close, but I have to do a lot more fiddling to get it there.

    On it's own, the D200 is a very good camera. I still have mine and pull it out every so often, plus, it's a great / cheap backup (since I know it's limits). For it's time, it was the 1st or 2nd most advanced DSLR out there. A lot of that comparison depends on where / how one values the Canon 5d. If you love full frame and higher dynamic range then the 5d ruled. If you like tough, get-r-done mentality cameras and faster AF and frame rate, then the D200 was the choice.

  26. You could also consider a D90 for $999. It has a better sensor than the D200 and it shares same AF module. You don't get the same build quality, but I'd expect it's at least pretty decent. Anyway, it seems that the used prices of D200's should fall with the launch of the D90.
  27. Amazing discussion about a camera that was introduced less than 3 years ago...

    Albin [happy D200 user, frequently appreciating the merits of the D300 and saving up for the D700..]
  28. The D200 is a great camera. Now I'm not saying that because I own a D200, but I considered purchasing the new D300 after it came out. Being on a budget, I just can't go that route yet. My suggestion, if you can afford it, and if you do a lot of low light photography, yes go for the D300, otherwise, get the D200, learn it's limitations, get some good glass and you will never be dissatisfied with the results. I am. Remember, its not the camera that takes the greatest shots, its the person behind the camera.
  29. I would go for a used d200, take the difference in money you would spend on a d300 and put it towards a lens.
    Despite the horror stories you read about on forums, buying used cameras is not that risky. All the cameras that I've
    used in the last couple of years (d70, d70s, d80, 2x d200) were bought/sold used and I've never had a problem with

    It all depends on where you live and who had the camera. The first d200 I bought I paid $1000 for (about 14 months
    ago), the guy had it for 10 months and completely babied it, it had 1000 pics on the shutter!

    Second d200 I bought about 8 months ago for $700, 24k on the shutter.

    I've taken tens of thousands of photos with both of them with absolutely no problems.

    Check your local craigslst, where I live (So Cal.) there are tons and tons of people that love to buy new equipment
    and not use it, then they sell it for half the price so they can get the "new best thing"

    As far as prices, I've seen plenty of d200's around $650-750 recently depending on condition/accessories.
  30. Josh.... My answer for you, especially considering you're on a budget, is the D200. I would probably suggest a new
    D200 from B&H for $999 over a used one for $800. That said, if you are in bigger city, you can probably get one
    locally from Craig*list for $600, and THAT would be a real choice. $600 for a D200, minus $250 for your D40. Ahhh.

    I shoot the D300 and D40 now. I had a D200 before (and a D70 before that), so I have used both of your choices.
    There is no doubt the D300 is a more advanced camera, but the D200 is still a GREAT photographic tool. You can
    expect one stop better ISO performance with the D300, not two. The real shining star in my opinion is the AF
    computer in the D300; that was the big change from the D200. I also enjoy shooting lots of manual focus AI and AIS
    lenses, and the D300 is better for that since you can store the data for 10 lenses.

    But don't get caught up in the new-upgrade-better-now talk. The D200 has a great feature set and will allow you to
    shoot just about anything. In the real world, in 95% of shooting, you will not see the difference in an 11x14 print from
    a D70, D40, D200, D300 or D3. Is the AF computer of the D200 a little slower than the D300? Yes. But people
    have been shooting action since long before there was autofocus, and the D200 will smoke almost every AF camera
    out there.

    As a plus, you can always sell the D200 for just about what you paid if you find it comes up short FOR YOU in the
    first couple of months. See if you can find a clean, local D200 from an individual. A properly-priced used D200 is
    arguably the best all-around dSLR choice out there.
  31. I still adore my D200. It was cheap and allowed me to buy better lenses after moving up from the D40. Go for it, now's the right time, you can pick up a used one for under 700. Which is an insane deal.
  32. I purchased a used D200 from B&H about 18 months ago, replaced a D70. It has worked fine. I would like to
    upgrade to a D300 but just can not seem to pull the trigger after collecting good glass. If I where buying today it
    would probably be a D300 used. You can take advantage of others upgrading to the D700. Either is a fine camera
    but for low light and sports the D300 seems the better body. After a few computer upgrades I have been very slow to
    my current six year old PC as it still works fine, just a bit slow like me.
  33. I'll pipe in for what it's worth- I have a D300 but I would have jumped on a D200 in a heartbeat if I could get either a new one for under $1K or a good used one for around $500 - 600 at the time. I wouldn't look back despite all the improvements in the D300. I'd just be telling myself to enjoy the D200 for a couple years, get some nice lenses, and then upgrade to the D300 successor when the time comes. There's a camera shop near me in Canada that is currently advertising new D200s in stock at a sale price of CA$989 which at current exchange rates would be somewhere around US$900. When I bought my D300 just a little over a month ago I couldn't find the D200 locally for under $1300- the D300 was only about $400 more.
  34. Sorry if anyone's interested it's Saneal Camera (http://www.sanealcamera.com/ ) that I was refering to. They are an established and reputable chain in Canada.
  35. As someone who bought his d200 when it first came out -- I have beat the heck out of it. I have fallen while looking over a waterfall and bashed the poor thing against stones while breaking my fall. It has held up like nothing I have ever purchased. Although after the waterfall drop -- the LCD back light does not work consistently. I can not wait to get my hands on a d300 but at the moment my d200 will do. For the cost difference I would buy the d200 and upgrade a lens.
  36. Another vote to stick with the D200. Save your money and buy good glass. As mentioned above, the D200 will
    manage more than effectively 95% of the time. Unless you have very very specialized needs and are counting your
    pennies this is a no brainer!!!
  37. I've been considering the same question (I'll be moving up from a D70s, which is great but I'd like something more
    robust, plus I'm interested in looking at getting some older lenses) - though I've been toying with a D90 as well.

    Having read all of these positive things, I'm definitely going to go down the D200 plus lenses route rather than the
    more expensive options.

    I think that there is always a view among some quarters that as soon as a new camera comes out that the previous
    models are automatically obsolete, which means that there are great bargains to be had by people who are happy to
    be one or two steps behind the current models.

    I just need to justify the spending now!
  38. I got a D300 for the low light issue, but my D200 is still giving me otherwise total satisfaction.Have a look at the photos of Ronnie Gaubert taken with a D200,I think it answers the Question.And confirms it's ability with good lenses. John.

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