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Nikon D200
Digital Cameras/Camcorders | First Looks
Tue 24 Jan 2006



 


You can assign a host of options to a dedicated FUNC buttons beside the lens for improved workflow


The Nikon D200 comes with a manual release pop-up flash


The Nikon D200 is noticeably much bigger and closer to the design of Nikon D2X

Last year Nikon refreshed its entry-level DSLR cameras with the D50 and D70s and their professional-level DSLR cameras with the D2Hs and D2X. Hence, it comes as no surprise that an update to its mid-range D100 introduced back in 2002 is just about due. After three long years, Nikon finally unveils its successor with the release of D200. After comparing the specifications of the two cameras, it clearly shows that the D200 is a completely different monster well into the making of a new legend and here are the reasons why.

In comparison

When compared against a D100, the newer D200 comes with many improvements with the most notable ones being its new 10.2 effective megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD sensor (up from 6.1 effective megapixels on the D100), a bigger 2.5-inch LCD monitor, a magnesium alloy body, a new Multi-CAM 1000, 11 or 7-area TTL autofocus system, 3D Color Matrix II (using a 1005- pixel CCD readout), ISO sensitivity starting from ISO 100 up to 3200, a faster shutter speed limit of 1/8000 seconds, i-TTL flash metering system, Kelvin settings for white balance (with more manual presets), the additional of a time lapse mode, on-body 10-pin remote and PC sync terminals (*takes a deep breath*), a new AI aperture ring connector, support for new optional WT-3 802.11b/g wireless transmitter, GPS compatibility, a new battery status system, separate histograms for red, green and blue channels and an improved 1/250 second flash sync limit, among others.

One thing to note though, while the D200's flash sync limit is an improvement over the D100, it still pales in comparison to the D70s' impressive 1/500 second. Nikon has also seemed to have dropped support for the TIFF file format, which was available on the D100.

Robustly built for Pro-level Handling

The body of D200 does resemble after the professional-level D2 series rather than the D100. The buttons are larger and more well labeled. Veteran Nikon DSLR users will also notice clearer interface menus with a 230K-pixel display and the directional button isn't as stiff compared to the D70s and D50 making navigation easier on the thumb. Its rubberized handgrip has a generous surface area to give a comfortable hold, which is a good thing since the D200 is a slightly heavier camera. The layout of the buttons have also been reworked to make common functions more accessible. For example, Picture Quality, White Balance and ISO settings are more easily configured now with dedicated buttons at the top of the Mode Dial (on the D100, users would have to turn the jog dial to select each settings). Mode selection is also much easier on the D200 whereby users only need to press the mode button near the shutter release and turn the command dial (that is used to change shutter speed) to the desired mode.

Final Thoughts

The image quality of the D200 is absolutely first class. We fitted a 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S Zoom-Nikkor lens on the D200 and took photos indoors and outdoors. The NEF (RAW) files showed an amazing amount of detail. Sharpness and the resolution were excellent too. In our outdoor shots, the metering was spot-on and the dynamic range was as good as expected. On taking portraits, the skintones were smooth and natural looking with colors tending towards the more conservative side to allow for more free play during post processing. No matter what you use the camera for, you can be certain of excellent quality that is almost on par with the professional-level DSLRs. Indeed, the D200 is shaping up to be yet another class-leading camera and can be found retailing for about US$2000.


The D200 comes with a 2.5-inch LCD display with 230,000 pixels


To access the CF slot compartment, users will have to manually unlock it with the switch


The handgrip is generously covered with rubber and felt very natural and comfortable


In our day shot test, details were in abundance with very little noise even at ISO 400


Even in night shots like this, the D200 displayed great levels of detail and color reproduction


When fitted with a macro lens, we could get very detailed and sharp photos of the components.

Product Specifications
  • Sensor: 23.6 x 15.8mm CCD, DX Format, 10.2-megapixel
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100 - 1600 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps (ISO 2000, 2500 or 3200 with boost)
  • Continous Shooting: 5FPS (CH) / 1-4FPS (CL); 37 frames (JPEG Large/Fine) or 22 frames (NEF)
  • Flash: Front-Curtain Sync, Red-Eye Reduction, Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain Sync
  • Media: Compact Flash Type I/II  (Microdrive and FAT32 supported)
  • Dimension: 147 x 113 x 74mm
  • Weight: 830g (no battery)/ 920g (with battery)