D70s and D2H

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alvin_lim|5, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    I currently own a D70s and have been wanting to upgrade to a professional camera
    for quite a while. Since the D2H prices have dropped significantly, I was
    thinking of getting one.

    But now I am thinking should I be getting the D2H. Reason for such a doubt is
    that the D2H is technically an older camera as compared to the D70s (the former
    being introduced in I think 2002 or 2003 and the latter being in 2005).

    I admit that I am happy with my D70s but of course, I do have my gripes with it.
    For starters, it lacks a vertical grip and at times, I have found it a tad hard
    to focus especially when shooting at more awkward positions. The lack of flash
    sync on the D70s body is a little of a hassle too as I am hoping to go a bit
    more into studio shoots.

    Also, although the auto focus is good on the D70s, I still tend to miss some
    good shots as its focusing is a tad slow.

    So I am wondering, with my limited budget, would it be wise for me to get a D2H?
    I would of course love to get a D300 or even D3, but the former cost around
    three times the price and the latter, I dare not even think of buying one yet.

    Oh yes, I main shoot nature and am slowly moving to shooting events (both indoor
    and outdoor). While the 4mp on the D2H maybe a problem for some, it is not so
    much for me as I rarely enlarge past A4 size prints.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. Based on my experience with a D70 and a D2H: the D2H offers a huge improvement in autofocus, both in terms of the autofocus module and the torque of the motor. The battery seems to last forever compared to the D70. Viewfinder is a huge improvement, and the reduction in viewinder blackout is noticeable. However, in comparison with a Canon 10D, my D2H produced significantly noisier images at anything above 200 ISO - this was a real disappointment. I suggest shooting raw and be prepared to spend some time with noise reduction software. If I understand A4 correctly, that's slightly larger than 8 x 10 inches. I agree that 4mp from a D2H is sufficient for that size but in my experience 12 x 18 inch prints are really stretching 4mp.
     
  3. Step down in resolution. You might never print bigger than A4, but do you crop much?
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    4MP may be ok for 8x10 prints if you can use the entire 4MP. But the D2H is designed to be a sports camera, and you frequently need to crop and rotate before you print because when there is action, typically you can't compose and frame things precisely. At least for me, it is fairly common to print from about 50% of the original frame for a sports image, and all of a sudden you are down to 2M of useful pixels.

    If you are willing to buy used and even the D70's AF (which I consider to be poor) is generally OK with you, most likely you don't need the Multi-CAM 2000 AF module in the D2H. For more general photography, I would consider a used D200, which should be less than $1000, 2 years newer than the D2H and D70, has 10MP and gives you reasonably good high-ISO results. The D200 is certainly not in the same league as the D3 or even D300, but a used one is now quite affordable.
     
  5. It's a great news camera. Maybe a used D200 would be a good choice for more "studio"
    work.
     
  6. A low mileage D200 or even a used D80.

    For the type of photography you do, perhaps the lens wold have more influence than the deltas between a S80/200 than a D300.
     
  7. Alvin, The D2H is a HUGE step up from D70. I have one (and will be selling it soon), although I have moved to the D300 as my everyday body. The D2H has superior build, handling, viewfinder, speed and focusing. As for the 4mp images and noise, these factors have been vastly overblown in my experience. In addition to sports, I've shot a number of weddings with the D2H with excellent results. Noise is only a serious factor over ISO800. When noise is an issue, it's easily handles with a tool like Noise Ninja. I've produced beautiful 16x20 inch prints with D2H files. And you're right. With the cost of a D2H body right now being so reasonable, it's an amazing value. Given the affordability factor you mentioned, it's a great choice.
    00OyQj-42582284.jpg
     
  8. 100% agree with Dan,

    here is another with D2H, 80-200mm AFS.

    <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/05726262-1.jpg">
     
  9. I loved both of my D70s, but I will never part with my d2h and in some cases I prefer it over my D2x. Don't let the 4mp fool you, most of the stuff I shot is with the D2h and many of my customers have large posters to prove it. Camera shake and poor exposure are usually blamed after the camera. Granted it's not a large format camera but the viewfinder and the blazing speed and the 4 custom menus and 4 shooting menu make it a great deal.
     
  10. The D2H is an outstanding action camera. Even without autofocus it's excellent for action. I used it the other evening to photograph non-exotic "yardbirds" that were scuffling for food and turf. I'll attach an unretouched 1:1 crop of a dove in flight taken with the D2H and 300mm f/4.5 AI ED Nikkor. ISO 800, 1/2000 second, f/4.5. JPEG capture, medium high in-camera sharpening (my usual preference for JPEGs with the D2H, tho' sometimes I'll use the "normal" setting), color mode "III" sRGB. If it seems a bit flat keep in mind this was taken after 6 pm on an overcast afternoon. For ISO 800 the noise level seems reasonable. Thirty years ago this would probably have been considered pretty good. But by today's exceptionally high standards - with expectations increasing faster than manufacturers can keep pace with - it's not great for wildlife photography. But good enough for most sports and event photography, other, perhaps, than for the flagship sports magazines, etc. It's a helluva lot better than any ISO 800 color film I've tried. The resolution should be good enough to experiment with. If you do a simple global auto-everything edit to boost color saturation and contrast you'll probably see a dramatic increase in chroma noise and some increase in luminance noise. The best practice for reducing noise, at least with Noise Ninja, is to gently reduce it as the first step, followed by other editing tweaks. The D2H is a terrific camera if your expectations are in line with its intended usage and strengths. But be absolutely certain that you want/need the edge in autofocus speed, framerate, build quality and other factors more than you want/need maximum image quality.
    00OynO-42590184.jpg
     
  11. And this is a better example of the strength of the D2H. Grackles are hilarious when they battle for turf. They have fierce green eyes, as menacing as a shark's. Even without autofocus, the instantaneous response and rapid framerates make it possible to capture some amazing action sequences.
    00OynS-42590384.jpg
     
  12. here are few from yesterday with the D2H, love this camera..
    <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/BS/DSC_0118-1.jpg">
    <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/BS/DSC_0152-2.jpg">
    <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/BS/DSC_0163-2.jpg">
    <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/BS/DSC_0143-1.jpg">
    <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/BS/DSC_0131-1.jpg">
     
  13. I use the D2H for events as well as bird shooting and have no problems with 4mp file size. Crop with the lens and you can get A3 prints.

    http://slopoki1.smugmug.com/Nature
     
  14. Nice osprey photos, Rick. I used to live on Shelter Island, NY, one of the few places where osprey were almost common. I didn't realize 'til much later how relatively uncommon and not widely distributed they are.
     
  15. Thanks guys. I did consider the D200 too but the price with the MB-D200 is around 50% more than a two year old D2H. So I was thinking that the D2H might be better value for money.

    Moreover, being a professional camera, I would believe that the quality and built of the camera would be very much better than the D200.
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Alvin, what are the used prices for the D200 and D2H you have in mind? A used D200 should be below $1000 and the grip is $150 new.

    Unless you shoot a lot of sports, you can't really advantage of 8 frames/sec and the superior AF, but you suffer from 4MP and poor high-ISO results from the D2H. I have a D2X, D200 and D300, and I used a D3 extensively. I wouldn't say the D2H has much better build quality over the D200, maybe a bit better but not a lot better; however, that is when everything is new. In fact, since most used D2H have gone through a lot of professional abuse, if you buy used, the chance is that you'll find most D200's in better shape.
    Frequntly, things are cheap because they are really beaten up.
     
  17. Shun, the D2H that I was eying cost around $870 and the D200 with grip would cost around $1160; a brand new D200 with grip would cost around $1450.

    I do not think that the D2H owner was a professional and the shutter count is 9000+.

    One of the things that I do not like about the D200 is the battery life. I have been hearing things like the battery can only shoot about 200 to 300 on a full charge. That would be a problem for me if I decide to use it for an event or studio shoot. Even for a holiday, the need to constantly recharge would be a hassle.

    Since you have used the D200 before, does the battery really run out that quickly? And even with the MB-D200, would the battery also really run out that quickly?
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D200 has never been my primary camera, so I never shoot that much with it, but I think it should last more than 300 shots unless you use the pop-up flash and chimp a lot.

    But what is the big deal with its battery life anyway? The EN-EL3e batteries are small and fairly inexpensive; just bring an extra one or two:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BYCKU8/photonet

    Recall that just barely over a year since its introduction, Nikon deeply discounted the D2H in a fire sale. Even though the price dropped from $3300 to $2000, I decided against it because I didn't want to get stuck with 4MP for every image I shoot from that camera.
    I also felt Nikon was admitting that something was wrong with the D2H. Shortly after the fire sale started, Nikon replaced it with the D2Hs; it was still 4MP but the price went back up to $3500:
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00AQk2

    I guess I have just offended a bunch of D2H fans. :)
     
  19. Nah, not offended. I haven't experienced the problems others have described. The D2H is an excellent camera within the narrow parameters I've described before. But it's not the best do-everything camera around for the money.

    It's big and heavy. It's not a lot of fun to lug around. Unless you need a really rugged camera that's dust resistant and somewhat weather resistant (I hesitate to say weather*proof*), there are plenty of good smaller, lighter cameras around.

    A mom, dad or casual team shooter of kid sports might do as well with a smaller, lighter camera, especially in daylight where differences in autofocus response and high ISO noise tend to level out. But a mom, dad or other photographer who sweats a lot? Or who routinely shoots in damp conditions (not outright rain, but damp)? Yeh, maybe they'd be better off with something like the D2H. A handful of folks have used the D40, D50, D60, D70 and D80 types of cameras (including the Canon and other brand equivalents) have occasionally reported some problems that appear to be due to dampness or humidity. But I don't know whether there have been enough of these failures to call it statistically significant.

    I'm betting a lot of folks are attracted toward the D2H again because it appears to be a good value on the used market. And it is a good value, as long as you understand what you're getting.

    Ideally, the D2H niche would be shooting daylight action for publication using fast lenses. Everything would be shot between ISO 200-400. Publication reproduction tends to flatten out the field between 4 mp and 12 mp cameras unless the magazine prints to exceptionally high standards. And noise wouldn't be a significant factor. If you shoot for newspapers; school sports for sales of photos, posters and novelties to parents; or your wildlife photography will be published in a typical magazine (even National Geographic, which doesn't use the finest reproduction quality anymore); then, sure, the D2H is a great buy. Heck, at today's price, buy two of 'em.

    But if you have the slightest lingering suspicion that you'll routinely need better high ISO performance (above 800, because I find the D2H acceptable up to 800, tho' some publications' acceptability cutoff for the D2H is 640), plan to shoot under school gym lights a lot where the D2H at high ISOs is abysmal, and will either routinely print larger than 8x10 or, as Shun and others have pointed out, crop and print a small section from a larger frame to 8x10 or larger ... if you have any such doubts, get the higher resolution dSLR.

    The last factor, cropping and printing large from small sections, is key. For example, if the longest lens you can afford is a 300mm f/4, and you like to photograph birds in flight, you're gonna find it difficult to fill the frame. Cropping and printing such photos from the D2H with a 300mm lens taxes that camera's ability to produce quality 8x10 prints. That's about the maximum it'll do without resorting to interpolation. If you start out with more megapixels, you'll have a lot more breathing room for such cropping.

    Me, I'm a diehard photojournalist and documentary type photographer, and use that approach for almost everything with digital. I'd rather have two or three D2H bodies for my style, especially at today's used prices. But if I decided to abandon fine art b&w film photography and switch to digital for my fine art pretensions, I'd trade everything for the best, highest rez dSLR I could afford and one or two really good lenses.
     
  20. I have a D50 and my brother has a D70 with the firmware upgrade for D70s. Both D50 and D70 deliver excelent results but now that I'm taking photos in a professional way with lots of shutter actuations every week, I needed something more robust and I decided to buy a used D2H. It's in excelent conditions.. it looks new to be honest.
    I do some portraits / fashion photography, social events and soon I'l also do some sport pictures, for wich the D2h is great thanks to it's fast and accurate focus and the amazing 8fps.
    The 4Mp image quality is stunning, beating lots of 6, 8 and even 10mp cameras when it comes to real quality.
    I can get prints of 30cm x 40cm with no quality loss, so I'm really happy with this camera.
    Battery lasts for ever! I've managed to take over 2500 pictures over an entire day with just one charge. Can the D200 beat that even with the grip?
    Great camera regarding the value that you can get it for.
    Some pictures in http://www.olhares.com/crjardim .. check it out and see what the D2H does
     

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