Going Digital

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dave_brooks|1, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. After much debate I have decided to buy a digital SLR. While I`m not giviing up film,it seems a logical choice to buy one. After researching , the D200 seems to be the model to buy. This is based on price & the ability to use a fair number of my mf lenses. I think I have a grasp on the crop factor issue,but any other observations,advice or tips would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.
  2. Dave-go you realize that this camera came out in 2005? If you are going to get into digital, I would suggest that you get something newer. cb
  3. SCL


    I owned the D100 and currently own the D300, having skipped the D200. If you can swing it, I think the D300 is a better body, and of course can use many of your mf lenses. Since you haven't owned digital before, make sure you get a good editing program, preferably something like Elements, or even Nikon's Capture, and a good book or tutorial on post processing. Read and reread your user manual...things are definitely different from film. You may choose to initially shoot JPEGs, but most experienced users choose to shoot RAW (Nikon calls it NEF)...this is the image with all data, allowing you much more flexibility in your eventual editing than JPEG. ALL SHOTS TAKEN IN RAW WILL REQUIRE POST PROCESSING...so if that is an issue...get over it, that's just the way it is. In the past we sent our film to the drugstore for developing & printing and somebody else applied all the tools which go along with that...now camera manufacturers pass that along to you, the consumer. JPEG uses somebody else's idea of how corrections & how things should look, RAW/NEW leaves all choices to you. When I first began working with digital, I was disappointed as the images weren't as sharp as with my film bodies (same lenses on both) and then I learned about the sharpening function in post processing. There's a learning curve for sure, but don't get discouraged...keep at it and you will probably come to love digital for a whole variety of reasons. I still use film (I have a freezer full of bulk B&W rolls), but these days 90% of my work is digital..and much of that is older MF lenses on my D300. Enjoy and as you become increasingly proficient use the resources of PN to help you get over the humps.
  4. The D200 is now several generations old, having been surpassed in quality by the D300, D300s, and D7100. My first suggestion would be to buy a more recently engineered body. It's not like film, where old cameras can make photos that are just as good as newer cameras. Digital technology advances rapidly.
    My second suggestion is to consider the peripheral equipment that you'll need:
    • Computer and monitor
    • External hard drive (at least one) for backing up your photos
    • Photo browsing/editing software
    • Monitor calibration device (inexpensive and critically important)
    • Memory card reader (very cheap, and much faster and more reliable than connecting your camera to the computer directly)
    My third suggestion is knowledge and study - get a good book that explains digital photography clearly - and my fourth is not to expect stellar quality from those old MF lenses.
    Good luck!
  5. You might consider something like a refurbished D7000 in the Nikon store. Nice camera and not ungodly expensive. It has a DX (cropped) sensor.
  6. Since I don't know your budget, I can't say what the best deal for YOU would be, but I would look hard at the refurbished D7000 deals that Adorama keeps throwing out.
  7. Maybe you wanna try the Adobe Lightroom trial .... so much easier to organise pix, I use it for my film scans too and how one can even adjust white balance and other edits.
    D200 is not bad if you want a cheap camera, a pro who is a member of our club he was a club president before, mainly known for wedding work, he and his now deceased father has been commissioned to photograph the Queen when they do visits. They also provide work-scholarships if that is a thing to potential young photographers. Been judging for quite some time .. rubbed shouldes with Charlie Waite and who know who else when they have visited and gave seminars. He's probably on full frame now but when he gave seminars he had with him a D200 and a 18-200vr prob for his own walk about stuff ... It is 10MP.
    If you want something newer I think the D7000 new can be had for $650US on eBay HK. It can meter MF lenses too I think. Prob a better lower light and more versatile but if you just want something to play with the D200 and not sure if you do sell out later ... you may even stand a chance to break even or gain from it.
  8. Dave:
    My background is similar to yours and I agree that it would be a mistake for you to buy in to older technology. I was part of the generation that assumed that if you bought the latest Nikon F series camera it would not be replaced for ten years. Now it is ten months. I shot film only for 50 years and now working with a Nikon d7100 I know I will not go back. It is sad to say but unless you are working with medium or large format film is near dead. The other last option to digital is older techniques such as platinum and wet plate.
    Step into the new technology with a good camera and have fun. Trust me, it can be a lot of fun. Let us know what you decide.
  9. Strongly agree the D200 would not be your best choice. It is a decent camera at ISO 100, but above that quality quickly deteriorates. Perhaps you can look at the D7000 or D7100 instead? They are much more up to date and offer superb image quality at a decent price.
  10. The D200 can still take good pictures if you can keep it at 400 ISO or below, but really its pretty dated as others have said. But then you could probably pick one up for a song if you want to get into digital. Its a robust body though the sensor and electronics are dated.
  11. I am back to shooting some film (with cameras made before 1950) and still shoot digital too. The D300 would be a better choice than a D200, but the big question is what do you shoot? Match the gear to the use. I don't know your use.
    Kent in SD
  12. I shot with the F2 for about 30 years, until I borrowed my cousins digital camera while visiting Chicago in 2006. When I got back to Los Angeles, I immediately traded in my two F2 bodies, Nikkor 35mm f/2, 105mm f/2.5 and Vivitar Series One 70-210 f/3.5 for two D70s bodies and a couple of mid-level zoom lenses, and have never looked back. In 2011 I traded all that for two D300s bodies, that are head and shoulders above the D70s, plus all f/2.8 lenses. I had a lot of experience with computers, so I had little problem shifting to digital photo processing, I have no need to use film again.
  13. Dave: I'd also suggest a D7000 if you can possibly afford it - the D200 would be like using 1950s film stock. Failing that, as people have said, it depends what you're into shooting. If you typically manual focus (rather than just having some manual focus lenses), and if you're really budget-constrained, I'd not rule out the D5100. The camera meter won't work with manual focus lenses (unlike the D7000), but you may be able to make do by checking the exposure after you've shot; I suggest this camera because it has the same sensor as the D7000, and the dynamic range and resolution give you a better "film" to work with than the D200/D300. It won't autofocus AF-D lenses, though - again, the D7000 will - so it's very much a budget compromise.

    Not that there's anything wrong with a D200 other than the sensor being a bit old, and it does give you the same level of compatibility as the D7000, but there's a lot to be said for being able to "dodge and burn" a raw file with a lot of dynamic range - my D800 just saved me while editing a lot of wedding candids shot in direct sunlight. Bear in mind that you may have to budget for some replacement batteries for a camera of the D200 vintage.

    All this assumes that you're happy with the DX crop. Otherwise, I'm afraid you're looking at a D700 or D600 (or, less wisely, a Kodak DCS-14n); I assume you already considered that. Good luck with your move to digital!
  14. "After researching , the D200 seems to be the model to buy." - Gee Dave, which museum did you do your research in? ;-)
    Like most of the preceding responders, I'd suggest you think again about the D200. IME any digital camera above 12 megapixels will more than equal film for sheer resolution, but the dynamic range of older cameras lets them down a little. Good high ISO performance can be a real joy after film's frankly very limited light-gathering abilities too.
    Exactly what you'll find advantageous in moving to digital will obviously depend on your application(s). Therefore it'll help us to advise you Dave, if you tell us where your photographic interests lie.
  15. I can't help wondering if Dave meant to write D300. ;)
  16. pge


    I still shoot a D200 on vacations and other situations where I would prefer not to take my newer camera. There is nothing wrong at all with a D200. It will get you into digital with a very robust body for a very good price. Of course you can spend more money, but so far none of the above suggestions have stayed with the same budget, everyone has suggested that Dave spend more money. For the price of a D200 I don't think you could do better.
  17. I switched from decades of using film bodies to the D200 about five years ago, and it is still my only dSLR. As many have pointed out, there are newer and far better bodies today. But the D200 produces images meeting my needs. OP should tell us what kind of images/prints he expect, and how he shoot with his film bodies. At the current price, the D200 can be an extremely good value for those switching to digital.
    OP may find my "painful" going digital experience of interest.
    - I manual focus on the film bodies. I can't manual focus accurately with the D200's viewfinder, and has to switch to AF instead. IOW, say good bye to my MF lenses and buy AF lenses. The AF system on the D200 (and dSLRs in general) is extremely complex, and needs some getting used to.
    - I focus and recompose on the film bodies with ease. It took some digging in the D200's manual to figure out how to use "Back Button focus".
    - On occasions I use multiple exposure on the film bodies. The D200's multiple exposure works very differently and is far less flexible.
    - After getting a first dSLR, setting up a digital darkroom can be expensive and the learning curve will be steep. For me, it was less of a problem. By the time I got my D200, I had already learned how to film scan my slides, how to use PS and how to print digitally. So it was just a matter of learning how to use the D200.
    What I like about going digital:
    - No more film and processing expenses. No more scanning.
    - Instant gratification.
    - Love the histogram.
    In an old thread, I said:
    After reading tons of books on digital photography, I came across this book in 2007 and wished that it was available when I first transitioned from film to digital. Its merit is not the "how to", many other books are far superior. But it is a godsend for those transitioning from film to digital. Amazon's comments eloquently explained why.
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I hope people realize that film and processing has gotten quite expensive in the last few years. Ten years ago when I was still shooting slide film, a roll of 36 exposure plus processing was about $10. Today it is over $30. Whoever is still shooing film has to have some money because it is now a luxury.
    So perhaps the OP can afford a very decent, modern DSLR.
  19. Price is always a concern, but for my money, I'd certainly go with a more modern body like the D7000. Even the modest and "ancient" D3000 can be used with MF lenses (including non-AI ones) and while exposure is manual because the camera can't meter with older lenses, you do get a nice focus confirmation light in the viewfinder. Often much more reliable than using your eyes, especially in low light.

    Wow, Shun, you're getting ripped off. Take a look at thedarkroom.com for $10 developing and scanning. Even here in "nowhere" Iowa I dropped a roll off at my pro lab yesterday, a 36exp roll of Fuji Pro 160 S, and developing and prints was only ten bucks. I'm not saying developing (outsourcing) is cheap, but it's nowhere near $30 here. Most of the time I develop and scan my own film and it costs pennies per roll.
  20. I see lots of criticism and cautionary advice (well intended, and Rodeo Joe's was quite funny) about Dave's choice of of D200, but he has already made that choice "based on price & the ability to use a fair number of my mf lenses". I didn't see a question in the OP asking for recommendations on "which camera should I buy". Sure there are definitely more modern and more technologically advanced Nikon bodies available that deliver images superior to D200 files, but none that will also function as well with manual focus lenses at the price of a D200.
    There's nothing wrong with making the initial jump to digital from film with an older technology body if funds are limited. As Phil Evans and Robert K noted, it is a robust body at a very affordable price, and it can take good images within the limits of its dated technology. For some people, that's "good enough".
    If the budget will only allow a D200 it makes little sense, no matter how well intended, to recommend a $700+ refurb D7000. Nor should anyone assume what the OP can afford. Photography is a discretionary expense for most people, and for some there may well be more important places to spend their disposable income.
    It's so easy to make recommendations to spend another person's money. ;-) :)
  21. "...any other observations,advice or tips would be most welcome."
    As someone with older eyes that don't work nearly as well as they did when I was 24, manually focusing accurately using the smaller viewfinder of a DX format camera is more challenging.
  22. "I didn't see a question asking "which camera to buy"
    "...any other observations,advice or tips would be most welcome."
    Michael-do you see the contradiction in your posts?
  23. Yes Charles, I see the contradiction. I was well aware of it and quite certain that someone would point out that "observations, advice or tips" could encompass just about anything when I composed my post. Henceforth I retract my endorsement of the D200 choice and since money is no object under the "observations, advice or tips" umbrella I suggest that nothing less than a D3X or D4 should find a place in Dave's camera bag. :D
    Does everyone else see the contradiction to "This is based on price..." in their responses? ;-) :)
  24. Michael: Well, there's the AF confirmation light, some bodies have a full digital rangefinder, and anything recent can do live view (sort of, for the D800). It's true that trying to focus on a DX camera, especially one with a pentamirror, using the viewfinder is a bit painful - I've tried using a tilt-shift lens on an Eos 300D, and remember it well - but there are usually alternatives.

    It's true that the D200 is probably the cheapest option that can support metering and autofocus on AI and AF-D lenses. Nonetheless, the sensor is a long way behind current. I suggested a D5100 (which would be very annoying to use because it can't meter or autofocus AF-D) as an alternative if trading image quality for convenience is valid; the price of replacement batteries and cards really might mean that a D7000 isn't so far out of reach. If Dave was buying solely on price, the D200 is, I'm sure, quite capable (Veronica Mars had one); however, if price/performance was being considered, I don't think those mentioning the D7000 are off-topic for pointing out that it's a big step-up from the D200. Though I do think that those who are entirely dismissive of the D200 might be missing AF-D/AI lens requirements and assuming that Dave was willing to spend more.

    Dave: If you'd like to tell us what kind of thing you shoot and what lenses you have/use, we might be able to help more. If you spend all your time making small prints in good lighting conditions, the D200 is perfectly capable. If you do street photography at dusk, we might push the merits of the D7000 (and others). If you spend your time shooting sports, we might suggest that you consider some more modern lenses rather than putting money into a camera. If you have a particular film body that you're used to, we might suggest a body that behaves more like it. Etc. Good luck with your choice (and, believe it or not, it's unusual for denizens of this forum to suggest spending more money.)
  25. "Though I do think that those who are entirely dismissive of the D200 might be ... assuming that Dave was willing to spend more."​
    That was my point. :)
  26. Michael-sarcasm is rarely, if ever, helpful.
    yes-I saw the comment about 'based on price' but jumped to no conclusion about ability to spend more-in fact, the OP made no reference at all to his budget so I most certainly wasn't spending his money; what I did is simply point out that the technology was old in case he was not aware of it-nothing more and nothing less.
    Others gave options regarding specific newer models in order to be helpful-I don't see your posts as being at all helpful to the OP.
    You have over-reacted; chill Michael, chill.
  27. I have a kit with two D200s and my older AiS and original AF lenses that I use all the time, I shoot mostly at ISO 125 or
    400 just like I did with film. I have even used them with my fast lenses inside for concerts at 800-1600 ISO and it's decent.
    I use them outdoors for some sports and other things with my 180 f2.8 and my older 400 f3.5 and usually at ISO 200 to
    get an extra shutter speed and have no problems to speak of. I just used them to get club shots at the annual truck show
    using the newer basic 18-55 slow kit lens and the full resolution files were excellent. As a matter of point, I was quite
    impressed with how well the 18-55 worked on the D200, even better than another older zoom that had been a workhorse.

    A colleague of mine uses a D300s and a D800 and I can see some advantage with the lower light on the D300s, so if that
    fits in your budget would be a better choice than the D200.

    Currently for concert work and other low light situations I'm using newer lenses and the D5100 and D7100, in those cases
    the D200 is definitely limited and cannot keep up, so there would be a consideration for going with a more current rig. Also, what might be important is the battery life is not great on the D200, it's typical to use several batteries and charge often.
  28. Hey Dave,
    Like everyone says, a more recent model is better but even the D200 will help you get your feet wet in digital. It comes down to how much you have to spend. If that's all you can afford you'll be fine with D200 but keep in mind what Shun said about how expensive it is to to shoot film (although I develop my own black & white).
  29. Another view just my 2c.
    Can you borrow a old dSLR from a friend to try out for a week? They might not mind if it's not the latest one, lol.
    B/c I still shoot film still, I just like the more involvement in the process etc. If you do get a D7100 at the official places the price gap to a D600 full frame isn't that large. $700US isn't it. But if you went for DX and picked up a 3rd party Tamron 17-50/2.8 that itself would be $499. Also with the crop factor if you like wide angles you might find you need another $499 for a 3rd party lens again or double these figures if you want a Nikon one.
    Or maybe get a down right cheap D200 play with it, you probably won't loose much.
    Generally film is getting expensive but depends how you shoot, if you just shoot b/w and self develop it's not bad, some may find that fun as well.... some may shoot a roll over a month or two and then a few rolls on a family vacation. I know a few pro's and they use a point and shoot when they are not working .... But if you wanna take heaps of shots, have the SLR at all times, does get expensive.
  30. A lot of great responses to my post. I should have been more detailed in my op as to my choiceof the D200.
    1- cost: price will preserve domestic tranquility.
    2 - I don`t plan to stop shooting film , I enjoy it too much. Also , I have 14 mf lenses acquired over 37 years as well as 2 af zooms for my N90s. I would like to reduce film costs by shifting some things to digital.
    3 - As digital is a new thing to me ,for the time being, I want to keep the buy-in low for the time being.
    4 - I borrowed a D90,D700,& D300 ,I did quite like the D300,but at 2x the cost of a D200, I can`t justify that expense at this time
    5 Did I mention the price point of a D200 keeps the peace ?
    Thanks for all the replies ,I`ve enjoyed reading all of them.
  31. I have often wondered if Van Gogh, or Monet, or Gauguin, or Rothko or Jackson Pollock had "gone digital" what their photo graphics" might have looked like.
  32. Dave-keep the peace!
    I recently sold off my Nikon D-90 and still have my extra Nikon EN-EL3e battery; your D-200 uses the same one.
    If you email me your address through photo,net, I'll mail it to you.
    Happy shooting!
    regards, cb :)
  33. Yes, peace is good:) Charles' generous offer of the battery reminds me to mention that when you get the camera, make sure it includes the battery charger:)
  34. Dave, digital bodies become "obsolete" at a very fast pace, so no matter the one you buy now you will end up with an "old" camera in a short while, so just remember that when D200 came out it was used by a lot of professionals, including photojournalists that were rewarded with prizes.
    Therefore, if you take its specs into account and work accordingly, I'm sure it will still offer you pleasant images, keeping your domestic tranquility together with your peace of mind.
  35. Going from a D200 to a D600, I miss a lot of things. But the one thing I've noticed, even after sending the D200 away for adjustment, I just wasn't happy with the images. The D200 is quite bad at higher ISO (noise is quite apparent by ISO 400) and it's got a pretty strong anti-aliasing filter. And, of course, the battery life isn't particularly good. Is it a terrible camera? Hardly. Is it the camera I'd choose at that price point? No. I'd strongly consider a D90 first. The focusing screen on a DSLR is just not going to compare to the screen on a nice film SLR. They're not designed for manual focus lenses.
    Were it me, I'd save up the extra couple hundred dollars and just wait until I could afford something nicer. Put a couple dollars a day in a jar. Think of it this way: buy one camera now instead of one now and one later. In Nikon land I'd strongly look at a D300, in Canon land the original 5D is coming down in price (about $500 these days). Yeah, that's a $500 full-frame camera...
  36. Alex,
    Taking into account that Dave said " I borrowed a D90,D700,& D300 ,I did quite like the D300,but at 2x the cost of a D200, I can`t justify that expense at this time", that he says he wants to be sure he can use the 14 lenses he has and all the previous comments I will not elaborate more on his choice.
    I just want to say that I'm quite surprised your D200 has a poor noise behavior at ISO 400 as I used mine quite often at ISO 800 with no problem and DPreview review said the camera is usable at ISO 1600 if you turn noise reduction off ( http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond200/21 ) and even if my D700 has a much better performance in terms of noise if necessary I still use the D200 at these levels.
    I would say ISO 1600 is not the ideal but if you shoot RAW there are software applications that can help you in situations noise comes up, and the OP clearly indicated that he intends to use the camera up to ISO 400 that seems to be a safe level.
  37. Did I read 14 lenses? if so the answer is quite simple rationalise your lens kit by selling some off and buy a better body with the extra money you'll have - and thereby keep the peace as well.
  38. The camera arrived today so now I will set about learning to properly use its features. Thanks to all for your advice & help. in the near future ,I will post some results for comments.
  39. All that money, with all the problems? What's the point? Shoot film.
  40. Dave - glad you're happy. Good luck with the new toy.

    Don - I still have a load of film in the fridge from last year, and I'm bracing myself to pay for the development costs. Film really isn't that cheap, and it's certainly not convenient. I won't stop using it for special cases, but I think I've spent more on film and developing in my limited exposure (I started shooting film after I got a DSLR) than I would to replace any of my DSLRs, and that would certainly be true if any of my cameras were DX, or if I got all my film developed at 2013 prices. That's likely to get worse, since I still hope to do some 5x4 shooting some day. Film has merits, but a plenty big share of problems, and cost is one of them. And - for the "issues" we're discussing with the D200 in the context of ISO, dynamic range and AF, it will keep any 35mm film and camera very honest in all these areas. I like my F5, but you can drag my D800E (or even the D700 that I now use much less but keep for the battery grip frame rate and trap focus) out of my cold, dead hands. Occasionally, new technology actually is an improvement - even if it tends to be in most areas rather than in all. If you're happy with film, I won't say you're wrong, but I don't think dismissing a DSLR entirely is useful for most people.
  41. Andrew,
    As you say, and I agree, dismissing a DSLR is not useful for most people. Totally understand, and as I've eluded in other threads, and more as I read these threads concerning the difficulties people are having with new DSLRs, its heartbreaking! As an avid film user I'm not being snobbish about this, and I don't get the impression anyone thinks that, but what about this consumer? Me. I'm in the hunt for a DSLR, and the D600 has ripped my attention to this because of its reasonable price tag, and I know these machines are beautiful, and the intent and possibilities can be great, but read these threads! It's brutal with the dust, oil, poor customer service, excuses, thread after thread, and all the money thrown at this as if blindly. If Nikon sees this, and their going their merry way in spite of this, then who could blame me for continuing making pictures with film. No hassles. Shoot, develop, joy. Could be I'm in the wrong place here, I can't afford to pop for a new DSLR every year, and now that the D600 has got my attention...It's getting the worst reviews I've ever heard on anything, except maybe the Chevy Vega, but, no one wants Nikon to do well more than I do, the best times in life were with my F3, FA, and FM3a, and not to mention the 8 lenses that are eager to find their way onto a DSLR, and get a real workout. Lenses that are in impeccable condition by the way.

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