To replace the D200...or wait

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by cicchetti, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Hi all,
    There has been much discussed on comparing and contrasting the D300s/D700 and D7000 in recent threads and I've read most of them, but how about a more dated question in comparing these to the D200 (I know, many more updates since then so seems *some* upgrade is warranted).
    I've used a D200 primarily since it was new and am contemplating getting a new body in time for an upcoming trip.
    I have a trip coming up where I'll be doing mostly landscape shots, a lot of dawn/dusk work as usual,
    rainforest photos and possibly night sky photos if the weather cooperates. I won't be doing much wildlife at all this time so I am leaving my telephotos at home.
    I also am aware of the aging design of the D300s/D700 and that both will likely be replaced in 2011. The D7000 appears to be the most updated but seems more of a consumer update to the D90 and seems less robust relative to even the D200. I am concerned it may not withstand being bounced around in a pack all day or deal well with a wet environment like I've put my D200 through. It also doesn't use compact flash which is a bit annoying as that's all I have, so would have to buy all new cards if I were to go that route.
    My question is: it worth getting a new body now? Is there enough material improvements over the D200 to justify it (in any of the three bodies above)?
    Thoughts/Suggestions?
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have a trip coming up where I'll be doing mostly landscape shots, a lot of dawn/dusk work as usual,
    rainforest photos and possibly night sky photos if the weather cooperates. I won't be doing much wildlife at all this time so I am leaving my telephotos at home.​
    Is your D200 insufficient for those types of photography?
    I currently have a D200, D300, D700, and D7000. As far as I am concerned, they all have very similar construction quality and weather sealing. Recently I took my new D7000 out and it started raining. It took me a couple of minutes to walk back to my car. I wiped off the rain drops and the camera is perfectly fine.
    For landscape work, as long as you use a proper tripod and shoot at low ISO, I doubt that you'll see a whole lot of difference among the D200, D300 and D7000. The D7000 has the most number of pixels and may give you a very slight advantage on large prints, as long as you use a high-quality lens and good technique.
    The D700 will let you use FX wide angles. Some of those lenses tend to be better than DX wides, but obviously you need some good lenses to take full advantage of an FX body.
    Unless your D200 is literally falling apart and need a replacement now, I would suggest waiting until 2011 when the D3 series, D700, and D300S are updated and then decide. At this point only the D7000 represents the new generation of sensor and battery technology. Both the D700 and D300S use the D3/D300 technology introduced back in 2007 and the D3S is a slight improvement over that.
    And don't worry about memory card cost. A high-quality 16G class-10 SDHC hard is like $30 or so and going down. For landscape work, $50 will get you all the memory cards you need that will last you the whole trip.
     
  3. I guess my unwritten rule is never to upgrade to the 'next' model, as that will usually give only marginal improvements, but always wait for at least 2 new models to come along before considering buying again.
    Hence, although I already have the 'NAS' urge to upgrade my own D200, I'll not do anything until the D400 comes out, whenever that might be.
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Chris, it highly depends on what you shoot. The D300 is a huge improvement over the D200 in terms of AF speed, frame rate, buffer write speeds, and high ISO results. In other words, if you shoot sports, wildlife, or indoors available light, the D300 is a much better camera. For what the OP is interested in: static subjects, low ISO, the D300 has little adavatage over the D200 as far as I am concerned.
    Since I have no idea what this future "D400" will be like, I cannot comment on that, but if Nikon puts the D7000 type sensor and video capability into a D300/D300S type body with further improvements in AF, it should be quite a camera. Will that be a much better landscape camera? I kind of doubt that.
     
  5. If you are working off a tripod with base ISO for mostly landscape shots, a lot of dawn/dusk work as usual, rainforest photos and possibly night sky photos if the weather cooperates. I don't see much need for the upgrade.
     
  6. As someone who also uses both a D200 and a D300, I completely agree with Shun on every point he's made. I should add that I continue to use the D200 in a studio lighting environment, and do so happily. I love that it has a base ISO of 100. The D300 completely eclipses it in the field, doing action-ish stuff. I'm feeling (while using a D300) no need at all to get a D7000. Another generation/model later, perhaps the D300's proper successor will be talking to me. In the meantime, I'd consider just wringing another trip's work out of that D200. It's a trooper, and still very well suited to low-ISO stuff like landscapes from a tripod. Further consideration might be hard without getting into talking about the lens(es) you're using, print sizes, and such.
     
  7. Thanks guys,
    This is all very helpful. Having not been in the market in a while, I've gotten pretty used to the D200, though though with its shutter coming up on 100K, and seeing what's out there, got me thinking...as my D70 had started acting weird around this usage point. I may just pick up a super wide lens.
    I won't be doing a wildlife focused trip, until probably mid year (unfortunately), so I may revisit what's out there then and see what the replacements look like.
    Has anyone had any issues with SD cards? They seem flimsy compard to CF cards.
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have been using CF cards since I bought the D100 back in 2002. So far I have had one card failed after like 2 years and another one brand new card dead on arrival. I have never physically damaged any CF card or damaged the pins inside a camera.
    I only started using SD card extensively since I bought my D7000 a couple of months ago. Last year I cracked one while using it on a D300S test sample. SD cards are a little flimsy and are somewhat easy to lose due to their small size. As long as you are reasonably careful, it should not be an issue. Some people have trouble handling SD cards while wearing gloves in a cold climate.
    The real issue for SD is the slower write speed. That is why all sports DSLRs use CF or at least have CF as an option, but that speed gap seems to be closing.
     
  9. My question is: it worth getting a new body now? Is there enough material improvements over the D200 to justify it (in any of the three bodies above)?​
    I own a D70s, a D200, and a D700. In terms of IQ, especially low light, in my experience the D700 is a huge improvement over the D200, but then it's a different format. The UI and ergonomics were very easy to adapt to. I never felt that the D300 or D300s were enough IQ improvement to justify getting eitherone.
    I'd already have a D7000 if Nikon had improved its AEB, which is unchanged from the D70s (I shoot both FX and DX). That was the stopper for me, and frustratingly, the only one. It's built much tougher than a D90, and to me the low light IQ is about on par with the D700. According to DxO Mark, the dynamic range of the D7000 is better than the D700 up to ISO 400 (good for landscapes), but the tonal range is a bit less (pick your poison for sunrises). If the D7000 has the features you need for what you shoot, and you want a DX body, I'd get one.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I'd already have a D7000 if Nikon had improved its AEB, which is unchanged from the D70s (I shoot both FX and DX). That was the stopper for me, and frustratingly, the only one.​
    I have seen DB Cooper posting this a couple of times. To me, this the strangest and most trivial reason for not getting a D7000. Unlike the D300 and D700, the D7000 has a dedicated Auto Bracketing button, which is more convenient. The only limitation is that the D7000 lets you bracket at most 3 images: 1 over-exposure, 1 normal, and 1 under; the exposure increment can be 0.3, 0.7, 1, 1.3, 1.7 or 2 stops.
    The D300 and D700 let you bracket up to a total of 9 frames. If one wants to do that on a D7000, just set the exposure manually after each frame. I will never understand what the major problem is. The D7000 has some drawbacks, but I would never imagine bracking being one.
     
  11. Shun writes
    I have been using CF cards since I bought the D100 back in 2002. So far I have had one card failed after like 2 years and another one brand new card dead on arrival. I have never physically damaged any CF card or damaged the pins inside a camera.​
    In the very early days of the D1, we had a BUNCH of CF cards go bad. Probably more than a half-dozen to be honest... and don't even get me started on those awful micro-drives. But from about 2003 till I left that company in 2005, probably none went bad. From 2006 when I bought my first digital camera till today I've had only one data failure with SD and SDHC cards, but no cards went totally bad. Today, you probably have no worries with any of the major card manufacturers.
     
  12. I think the D300 at ISO Lo -1.0 still beats the D200 at ISO 100 in terms of overall image quality and dynamic range. I don't have my D200 anymore, but would love to see someone do a test.
     
  13. If it ain't broke... wait till it breaks then you have the option of having the latest model. If you feeling like spending money now then buy some good lenses. The D200 is a nice camera.
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I think the D300 at ISO Lo -1.0 still beats the D200 at ISO 100 in terms of overall image quality and dynamic range. I don't have my D200 anymore, but would love to see someone do a test.​
    Dave, since you are the one who makes such a claim, it is your responsibility to provide evidence to support that claim. For example, an A/B side-by-side test.
    Otherwise, Dave Lee always prefers the camera model he currently owns, over something he doesn't have or no longer has. The should not be news to anybody who has been reading this forum.
    If it ain't broke... wait till it breaks then you have the option of having the latest model. If you feeling like spending money now then buy some good lenses. The D200 is a nice camera.​
    Ofer echos what I wrote earlier: "Is your D200 insufficient for those types of photography?"
     
  15. I have a D200 now as my back up and second to a D700, and it still a very good camera. The only drawback I find is that, even with flash, it can get noisy pretty fast around ISO 400 . I use it at indoor and outdoor events with a 70-200 zoom. It takes excellent pics when you can shoot it below ISO 400, and you can play with the noise up to, 800, 1600, if desperate. Also in lower light it can hunt for focus sometimes, especially if you don't have something to focus on that has a definate edge. However, it's still a good camera and I would wait for the next round of products. At least that's what I'm doing.
     
  16. I think the D300 at ISO Lo -1.0 still beats the D200 at ISO 100 in terms of overall image quality and dynamic range.​
    But really even if that's so, does it really matter in actual photography? Are you going to spend a good hunk of cash to go from a D200 to a 300 because under a magnifying glass there is a slight difference you think you can see in IQ? It's your money, good luck.
     
  17. I guess you are the only one that can actually weigh the new features vs the money spent. Everybody has different needs or wants. I have a D200 and I think it works fine. Personally I would rather spend that sum of money on a photo trip or just keep it in my savings.
     
  18. The only thing that I would consider buying (if you don't already have them) are some spare batteries - to ensure you have enough power at your disposal to last a full day.
    And if you are travelling where weird GPOs exist then some electrical adapters that will allow your battery charger to work - correctly.
     
  19. The worst time to learn a new camera is on a trip. Familiarity with one's gear is important. Many of your image opportunities will occur only once, and likely with not much time to visualize, and shoot, and then be on your way. Study the new gear when you get back would be my suggestion.
     
  20. "worth getting a new body now?" If you can afford one, yes.
    There is more to enjoying a camera than concerns over pixel peeping. The D200 was and still is a great body. But newer bodies offer numerous advantages that make them more appealing whether IQ is improved or not.
     
  21. IMHO Battery life was one of the most marked differences between D200 and later models. If you are doing night shots the D200 will not be any where as economical as the D700 with the D700 maybe 2.5 times better battery life? Just a guess. The D7000 is later technology again so I am presuming it would be an improvement over the D700.
     
  22. Something puzzles me in the OP question, and I don't see this addressed in detail in the previous responses. It is the fact of considering D300/7000 and D700 together as possible options, without a word on lenses. The improvement between D200 and 300s or 7000 can be debated, but lens choices stay the same, except for the fact that the D7000 will tax them somewhat more.
    But the D700 is a FX camera and as such it forces you to entirely rethink your lenses. The ones you own already might be FX compatible, but the role of each of them will change with FX, as well as their performance, so you would have to go through the process of readjusting yourself to the new format, and you would likely end up buying some new lens. If then you have some application covered with DX glass, you have to consider if there is a desirable FX replacement and how much it is going to cost you. Going the D700 route is a much more complex business than just updating a DX camera to the newest model. In my view, you buy a D700 because you WANT to go FX (there are many good reasons to), and you are willing to take the effort and the expenses that the transition brings. You don't do it just because you want to upgrade your camera body.
    This said, I did this transition (D200->D700), and I can tell you that the improvements are big, fat and readily perceivable in what I do. Then again, when I did so the D7000 was not around: it would take you a good part of the way between D200 and 700 with some (not very annoying I guess) compromise on the build/ergonomics front. Not quite ALL the way to what I see, but far enough, and without breaking your lens "training".
    Ciao
    L.
     
  23. Like Luca, above, I did the transition D200->D3 (the D700 was not around then) and he describes the improvements fluently. And, as he points out, I had to invest in a bunch of new lenses at the same time.
    I was using the 17-55/2.8 and a couple of primes. I got the 70-200/2.8 for the D200, but it works on the D3 too. Getting the 24-70 and even the 14-24 gave me a great lens combo. I still have the D200 and lenses, and I use them for "studio" work (my studio is any available flat surface).
    The real difference for me going from the D200 to the D3 was the ISO range. I was always pushing the D200 ISO as hard as I could and trying to deal with the noise. The D3 changed all that, and the D700 is the same in that respect. Of course I now push the ISO on the D3, but not to the extent (in terms of noise performance) that I had to on the D200.
    The D700 will be replaced, but it could easily be a year to 18 months away. Even then, it will be a great camera and worth using. My D3 will probably survive the introduction of the D4 unless Nikon comes up with something truly astounding. My standard answer to people considering a new body is "If you need it now, get it now. If you only WANT it now, then your decision will depend on the intensity of your desire, and we can't answer the question for you."
    Since the OP mentioned night work and rainforests, higher ISO may well benefit him. He will have to decide whether going for those subjects is worth a large expenditure for a new body and new lenses together. I did it, and I'm glad.
     
  24. Shun, you know full well that I am a unrepentant pixel peeper through and through. And of course I prefer the camera that I own over anything else, because it's mine! :) Seriously though, I know the D200 has superb quality at ISO 100, but anything above that isn't much to write home about in my experience.
     
  25. I am enjoying this particular post as I have a D200 and have camera envy when new models come out. I really don't have the money to spend on a new model and am not in the 'biz' so this is all just a nice hobby for me. I do love detail and am always fascinated (enamored) by intense detail in others work. That said...
    I went in to a Best Buy several weeks ago with my D200 and 70-200 F2.8 VR1 and asked to sample the cameras they had on display with my lens. I did a variety of shooting around from where I stood with a D300 and a D700 (the Best Buy employee was keeping his eye on his goods) and used one of my cards so I could take the pics home to look at them closely. Since I didn't use a tripod I had very little go on regarding preferences and differences and quality. There were no moving subjects to track and such like the wetland I had come from so I couldn't evaluate the focus capabilities. I know that either would outperform my D200 easily in that area. Had I the money that day, I would have gone home with the D700. I liked the look of the shots better. I know that 'better' is a totally subjective word but didn't feel that I wanted for more megapixels and that other factors were playing a role in the quality of the capture. Less 'digital' looking, perhaps?
    I have a lot of out-of-focus shots of birds in flight so the focus-follow upgrades in a new body would be welcomed but as far as actually spending money on something new... I think my D200 is still way better than I am. The fast-moving subject topic aside, I think my camera has the capability to do so much more than I am capable of as a photographer. So until I can verify that I am unable to get shots that I want without an upgrade, I will stay with what I have. Rob, your camera is getting up there in shutter actuations so we are in different situations but if it were me, I think I would hold out for the next upgrade(s) to see what is offered and make your decision then.
    Incidentally, I use several Topaz products and am especially fond of Topaz DeNoise. What it can do with the noise in my higher ISO shots from my D200 are nothing short of amazing. More than anything, that and other editing software is what keeps me from slapping some plastic at a new camera. Good luck on your decision.
     
  26. Hey guys, you're comments are all valid. Thanks.
    I think I will hang on to my D200 for a bit longer while its still kicking.
    Agreed on performance on anything above ISO 400, even 400 is a stretch on some photos,
    especially when I've seen full frame samples at 1600, 3200 or higher. I do have lenses that will happily fit well on FF, though if and when I get one I'll need to get a new super wide to take advantage of the FF sensor, as my 10-24 is a DX lens.
     
  27. i think that you should go DX (lenses and crop factor) and wait for the D7000 replacement (with all this about hot-pixels, banding..)
     
  28. I'm still very happy with my pair of D200s and older lenses. While I'm sure I could easily talk myself into another camera, right now it's just not a good idea financially. So, I just keep shooting with these and enjoy what I'm doing, and don't worry about the newest latest thing. I think we should have a D200 support group... ;-))
     

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