D90 or D200

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by "bschmitz", Sep 1, 2008.

  1. I like to update my D70 with a new camera, I don't want to buy a second hand camera and the most important for me is de
    of the pictures. I like to do landscape and nature photography. What should I buy for $1000, the D90 or a D200? Is the
    picture quality the same for both?
  2. If you're going to spend a set amount of money, I believe it's best to get the most current technology you can. Get a D90, but hold off a bit and watch for user comments on the first units in case there are any bugs.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    This is a tough question to answer at this time when the D90 is not yet available.

    If you need metering with no-CPU manual-focus lenses from the AI/AI-S era, the D200 is definitely the way to go. Either the D90 and D200 should be fine for landscape work where under low light; you can use a tripod and a very slow shutter speed so that you don't need high ISO performance.

    Since the D90 uses a similar sensor as the D300 with newer electronics, I would imagine that the D90 will give you better high ISO results. How important the video feature will turn out to be is hard to project at this time.

    I would say if you don't need metering with AI/AI-S lenses and the weather sealing in the D200, it is probably better to go with newer technology by almost 3 years.
  4. Buy a D200, it is a tried and tested camera and well respected and capable semi-professional model. The D90 is a consumer camera and is far too new to have proved itself yet.
  5. Saying the D90 is a consumer camera is like saying the FE2 and FM2 are consumer cameras. I don't agree. Plenty of pros used the FE2/FM2 in daily work, and plenty of pros use the D80 and will use the D90 too. You don't have to use an expensive camera to get pro results.

    My advice would be to wait for the D90 to come out and take a look at it. The D200 is a great camera but you will see significantly improved image quality in the D90 if it's anything like the image quality out of the D300, which I expect it will be.
  6. Shun (above) gave a very good answer.

    I will add that D200 has much better ergonomics than D90. Two years ago I was comparing D200 to D80 (it has the
    same ergonomics as D90), and D200 was a clear winner. I decided to buy D200 even if at that time it was almost
    twice as much expensive.

    However, with D90 you get better high ISO performance, better jpeg conversion, live view, video feature, improved
    user interface, bigger and better LCD.

    Another way to look is, D200 was made for serious photo armatures, and D80 (and D90) was made for trendy people
    who like technical gadgets. If you belong clearly to one of the above categories, the choice is obvious. If you are mix,
    then you have a thought choice.

    If I would buy know, I would most likely buy D300, or ... D200 if money would be concern.
  7. It depends on price. I'd buy a D200 if it were more than 1/3 less expensive than the D90.
  8. I would go with the D90 over the D200. I agree with Dave Lee on this as former FE-2 and FM-2 shooter. When I look at the
    specs of this camera it screams out to be a reporter's camera with the video features. I would say go with the D90 because of
    the sensor. This sensor will give you greater latitude of exposure and tonal range. Spec wise this camera matches really close
    to the D200. The one big issue with the D90 is that it using a compressed NEF (RAW) file instead of a standard NEF (RAW).
    This a little bizarre I don't see the logic except again this would make good reporters camera, and about 75% of journalist do
    not shoot RAW.
  9. I think, if your D70 is paying enough for your needs, there is no need to think about any upgradation now just because you are seeing new models in hands of your surrounding people at photographic places.

    Just buy one or two sharp prime lenses for that sharp landscapes because neother the D200 nor the D90 are going to be way greater than D70 in terms of picture quality except the megapixels. Why don't you think that D70 is one of the most sold bodies yet.

    I would suggest you to wait for one or one & half more year for the new generation Digital Bodies.

    Here I should clear that I am not refusing the benifits of low light capabilities of both the mentioned cameras, but these are not going to be the real upgradation as both are crop sensored.

    If you realy want to experience the the difference in terms of results, you should try the full frame digital like D700 or D3 or a medium format film body for real landscape feel.
  10. I would base the decision first on what lenses you have or will have. If you use older lenses and want metering then I would look strongly at the D200. I upgraded from a D70 to a D200 and its quite a difference.
  11. The D200 is a very capable body for landscape photography, and the sharpness of your pictures would probably improve
    noticeably over what is possible with the D70, at least when good glass and technique (tripod + optimal aperture) are used. But the D90
    has even better resolution. If your nature photography includes wildlife then probably you would benefit from the better high ISO
    performance of the D90. However, the D200 has better ergonomics and build and as pointed out above, meters with manual focus glass.

    I am considering replacing my D200 with the D90 to get access to the new video technology. I'm not really concerned
    about reliability, weather sealing or viewfinder ergonomics here but I do have lots of manual focus lenses. If you're
    interesting doing wildlife video then again you might consider again the D90. But on the other hand, the D-movie is a
    "first" in a DSLR and its implementation may prove out to have practical glitches which are then fixed in subsequent new

    One thing I find annoying about the D90 is that my MC-30 and existing GPS unit won't work on it and I'd have to
  12. The D80 may drop in price when the D90 comes out. If it went to $599.00 that would be a nice bargain. I do not know what camera you should buy however or which model will produce the best image.. I am not going to buy a camera with a vidio mode myself. I do not want that or need that. For what it's worth I have the D200 and do not have any complaints about it. I plan on shooting it for 4 more years and then buy something new. I am with you and would not purchase a used DSLR body.
  13. For me it would be a no brainer. D90 -- Newer technology, much better LCD, Newer 12mp CMOS sensor, Live view and video capability.

    Bottom line is it's your money and decision -- I would make sure I took a look at the D90 before making a decision.

    Good luck and best wishes for your future enjoyment with photography.


    Ed Walke
  14. It depends on what you shoot. Yes, the D90 should have better low light capability. But that won't matter to some folks. Anyway, there is a price where most of us would be tempted to buy the older camera. What if it was 50% of the cost? Or 60%? It varies by individual.
  15. "the most important for me is the sharpness of the pictures"

    Perhaps you need a new lens, not a new body. What image processing software are you using? These two factors can affect IQ more than a new body will. What lenses do you have now?
  16. Digital photography, different from film, is largely driven by technology - and the D90 has the latest from Nikon. For the same cost between the D90 and D200 (a few years older), the choice should be apparent.
  17. Landscape and Nature photos.

    For the most part, I doubt you'll be taking pictures in very low light AND need to keep the shutter speed up to hand held range, right ? Probably walking around with a tripod, I would guess. I think you're comparing cameras that are 12mp vs 10mp. I suspect for your type of shots, the result won't really be that much different. For landscape stuff, having a mirror lock up feature might a real plus. The D200 has it, the D90 does not. If you're out in the elements at all, the better build of the D200 might be a bonus as well. The real difference is the MF lenses. If you have them, the D200 would be the best way to go. If you don't, then it may not be the deal maker. The D90 has a more modern AF module. Does that mean much for Nature shots ? Only if the subject moves quickly. If the D90 truly has a wider dynamic range, so that you can have more detail in brighter sections and darker sections that would be burned out or just black on the D200, that would be something. Probably, the best test is to handle them, if you can. Ergonomics might be the final yardstick.
  18. The D200 is certainly bigger and heavier than the D90; that might also be a factor in the decision. It was for me when I
    chose a D80 over a D200.
  19. I would say get the D90, its up to date, and will likely have much better dynamic range then the D200, which was not very impressive in that particular area. The D200 is also starting to look a little dated next to the D 90, although I'm sure its build is a bit more robust.
  20. D200. No question
  21. "D200 has much better ergonomics than D90... ...D200 was made for serious photo armatures, and D80 (and D90) was made for trendy people who like technical gadgets. If you belong clearly to one of the above categories, the choice is obvious."

    How doergonomic and trendy issues make the choice obvious when Bert says his primary issue is sharpness? On that issue, Eliot presents a good alternative suggestion which is to consider new lenses instead or as well.
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Landscape photography only requires decent lenses; you don't need very good lenses.
    Most landscape is shot at small apertures such as f8, f11. At those apertures, just about any lens is fine. In fact, for
    those who don't understand the issues, they usually take an image from a mediocre lens stopped it down to f11 and
    claim that it is totally indistinguishable to high-end lenses at f11, which is often the case.

    If you don't have the focal lengths to cover what you need for landcape, by all means add those focal lengths. If your
    landscape images don't have the right quality, the primary problems are due to not using a sturdy tripod and other
    photographer errors.
  23. If sharpness is a primary consideration then the choice is obvious: the D90 has a sensor similar to that in the D300, which has been shown to give crisper images in numerous side by side comparisons. Or just save a bit more and get the D300, which has superior autofocus (for wildlife).

    The high ISO performance is also important for close-ups in natural light. To get close-ups of flowers you need to stop down for DOF and then the shutter speeds are so slow that wind affects sharpness, unless you raise the ISO. I routinely shoot at ISO 800 with the D3 for flower close-ups - beyond that there may be a bit of a loss in dynamic range.
  24. If sharpness is your only criiteria then the D90 because of higher MP and (probably) better high ISO performance.
  25. Thanks for all your comments helping me decide what to choose.
    About 9 persons wrote to buy the D90 and 6 persons were for the D200. The rest was undecided.
    Some asked what for lenses I was using with my D70. Nikon DX18-200mm 3.5-5.6; Nikon 75-300mm 3.5-5.6 (Older model
    with tripod color); Nikon 70-200mm 3.5-4.5; Sigma APO 400mm 5.6; and my only non CPU lens a Kiron macro 100mm
    I always use a tripod and I am using Capture NX2 for processing my Raw files. After reading all your posts, I am
    leaning too the D90 but might wait for the tests in the coming months.
    Thanks, Bert
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D90 essentially reuses the D80's body with some minor modifications such as the GPS input port. The two even share the same AF module (Multi-CAM 1000) and battery pack/vertical grip the MB-D80.
    The D90's sensor is a variation of the D300's, which can do 8 frames/second. Therefore, most of the D90 has already been checked out in previous DSLRs except for the new video feature. I'd say the risks are small for getting an early D90 body. You want to make sure that Nikon has fixed the exposure issues previously in the D80.

    Your only lens that cannot meter on the D90 is the Kiron. That is probably not important for macro work as you can always check the histogram and adjust exposure.

    If you indeed shoot a lot of landscape, I am a bit surprised that you don't have a true wide-angle lens, though.
  27. That 18-200mm is about the same as a 28mm in film use. That's not too bad for landscapes.
  28. You need to handle both cameras to decide. The D90 will be smaller than the D90. The D200 has more accessible features as switches, buttons and knobs. The D90 will require you to use more menus. This is a very big differentiation between cameras. It's like using a consumer vs pro video camera. They might have the same sensor, but getting to the image control quickly is a differentiating factor. Being able to change things on the fly with my D200 netted me many more shots than with a D70. The same will be with the D90.

    If you're not under pressure to purchase, wait. Handle the D300/200/90/80 in the store, hold them for a long time, see how long it takes you to change shutter, focus, iso, and such. How much info is shown in the D90 viewfinder. These subleties are not lost on you after lots of use. You won't initially notice, but you will if you regularly shoot.
  29. Lets be real here. The question that needs to be asked is, "How big of a print do you want?" If you're not doing large prints (> 11 x 14) you won't see any difference. I see too many people spending thousands of dollars on DSLR's and never printing anything bigger than an 8 x 10. Examine your needs truthfully. On the other hand, some people want the latest and greatest DLSR for MySapce pics and or 4 x 6 prints.
    The 11 x 14 prints from my Nikon FM3A (2002 35 mm) are just as good as those from my Nikon D60.

    Just a thought.


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